Wednesday 13 October 2021

Secrets of 'Secrets of the Museum’

Update to Guest Post by Arthur T

Having dug a little deeper since the previous post BBC, why ignore this piece of history? about the relationship between the BBC, Tristram Hunt and the Victoria and Albert Museum, I have unearthed what appears to be a late change to the content of Secrets of the Museum Series 2, which distances the BBC from Tristram Hunt and the V&A.

From 28 July 2021, the six episode series has as its last episode:
The last episode in the series sees Josiah Wedgwood’s masterpiece, the Portland Vase, one of over 100,000 objects from the Wedgwood collection, being prepared for display in the museum for the first time. As one of the final ceramics that Josiah Wedgwood undertook it represents the cumulation of a lifetime’s work refining his inventive pottery techniques and aesthetic sensibility. In Tristram Hunt’s new book The Radical Potter, Hunt aims to present Wedgwood as the radical that he was, not just for his designs but in his mind and politics. This hugely enjoyable new biography, strongly based on Wedgwood’s notebooks, letters and the words of his contemporaries, brilliantly captures the energy and originality of Wedgwood and his extraordinary contribution to the transformation of eighteenth-century Britain.
But from the BBC, the episode title is: Painting: The Great Renunciation of the Buddha, with the heading:
At the V&A, a Buddhist painting is a mystery, children’s art goes on show, and Josiah Wedgwood’s masterpiece - the Portland Vase - is brought into the 21st century.
It’s pretty clear that the BBC do not want anything to do with Tristram Hunt’s book about Josiah Wedgwood. Could the reason be tied up with BBC, why ignore this piece of history?

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