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The Cartoon Museum: Ink and the Bottle and The Wellcome Trust: High Society

Saturday, November 27th, 2010
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On my way to Dragon meet 2010 in London I decided to visit a couple of exhibitions on the way by chance both had a similar theme – Ink and the Bottle at the The Cartoon Museum and High Society at The Wellcome Collection.

The Cartoon Museum: Ink and the Bottle

Not the largest museum in the world but not without its own charms.  There are two permanent exhibitions.  Downstairs  take you through the history of cartoons .  The works of Hogarth, Gillray, Cruickshank, Heath Robinson and many others are arranged chronologically with extensive notes for each piece.  Upstairs covers comics there are original pages on display from The Beano, Eagle and graphic novels including V for Vendetta.

The current temporary exhibition is Ink and the Bottle featuring cartoons relating to Drink in cartoons.  It starts with cartoons from Hogarth and Cruikshank from the days of gin travels via temperance cartoons, cautionary series, modern comic representations and political cartoons.  It runs until 13th February 2011.

The museum’s facilities are basic – a toilet, lockers serving as a cloak room and a shop.  Within walking distance of the British museum and well worth the £5 admission.

The Wellcome Trust: High Society

High Society examines the history of narcotic drugs from plants to modern synthetic  chemicals.  The exhibition includes a mix of artefacts, artwork and installations.  The exhibition is divided into sections covering topics including production, control and the drugs trade.  Exhibits vary from small object to room sized items.  One room features an instillation showing views of poppies that I found particularly effective at creating a slightly disconcerting state.

I wish I’d had more time to take it in – I’ve come away more with impressions than knowledge.  While there was an extensive selection of books in the shop to compliment the exhibition there wasn’t anything specifically to accompany it, a shame as I’d have happily picked up a reasonably priced companion.

High Society is free and runs till 27th February 2011.

Update: Tim has kindly pointed out that I missed the book High Society, Mind Altering Drugs in History and Culture by Mike Jay.

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One Response to The Cartoon Museum: Ink and the Bottle and The Wellcome Trust: High Society

Tim Morley Monday, November 29th, 2010

Hiya there,

Really pleased you enjoyed the High Society exhibition. Just to say, Mike Jay, who co-curated the exhibition, has written a book to accompany the show. It has the same title: High Society, Mind Altering Drugs in History and Culture. Do look it out, it's a wonderful read.

all best

Tim

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