The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, June 21, 2018

Museum of London Docklands Rolls Out Balls Display to Celebrate Festival
Curator Jackie Keily with 19th Ceramic Bowls.

LONDON.- From medieval moss-stuffed balls to finely decorated ceramic carpet bowls, Museum of London Docklands rolled out a small case display of balls from across the centuries. The display is part of the West India Quay Festival, which has a sports week as part of its programme, and will run throughout the month of the festival.

The earliest balls on show are moss-stuffed and wound leather objects from the 1300s, when a London commentator remarked on ‘a much frequented game of ball’ taking place across the City. The rules have long been lost, but moss-stuffed balls were common and were used as new ball games developed. In Much Ado about Nothing, Shakespeare cites tennis balls filled with beard hair, whilst in France Louis IX introduced strict rules about stuffing materials. Balls were serious business.

Bowling, a favourite pastime in taverns and gaming houses, got numerous Londoners into trouble with the law. Visitors will see examples of a lead weighted bowling ball and a “cheese” (so called because of its shape), the balls of choice for carousers and gamblers who skittled for riches but more often rolled out of the pubs the poorer for their efforts. Bowling was banned in 1533, except for gentlemen playing on private premises, but by the 1600s most of London’s larger inns had their own bowling alley. Leicester Square was also home to a more genteel bowling green in the 17th century.

Decorative ceramic carpet bowls for well-to-do women, exhibited here, aimed well away from the debauchery of tavern alleys. An advert of 1846 described ‘parlour bowls’ as ‘an amusement in which the ladies can participate.’ The manufacturer believed that the ornate bowls would ward off competitive excess and unladylike behaviour, giving ‘all the enjoyments of curling, without causing over excitement.’ And on a smaller scale, the painted ceramic marbles on display join the millions that have been swapped, collected, played with and lost over millennia. Our London marbles most likely come from Germany, but were found on the Thames foreshore.

A collection of small bats, from an early twentieth century Soho school, accompanies the balls on display. These miniature cricket bats seem designed specifically to prevent too many balls being hit for six.

Jackie Keily, Curator, says “There’s a great story of London’s leisure times to be told through the simple instruments of their pleasure. Museum of London Docklands’ display is a small but well rounded reminder that despite the limiting measures of authorities throughout the ages Londoners have been adept at having a ball with balls.”

Museum of London | Docklands | West India Quay Festival | Jackie Keily |  |

Today's News

June 21, 2009

Figurative Paintings From the La Caixa Foundation Collection on View in Barcelona

Guggenheim Museum Launches Live Online Forum on June 22

Judith Leyster's 400th Birthday to be Celebrated with Exhibition at the National Gallery of Art

Frick Announces the Appointment of its First Decorative Arts Curator, Charlotte Vignon

Bass Museum to Celebrate Re-installation of Museum's Masterpiece

Hammer Museum Awarded $1 Million Grant by The James Irvine Foundation's Arts Innovation Fund

Wedgwood Museum Scoops The Art Fund Prize for Museums and Galleries

George Eastman House and Image Permanence Institute to Establish New Photography Center

Voices Of Che Guevara, Bernard Shaw And Darwin, Speak Through Their Letters - At Bonhams

Museum of London Docklands Rolls Out Balls Display to Celebrate Festival

Winner of the Inaugural Royal Institute of British Architects Stephen Williams Scholarship Announced

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Receives $750,000 Arts Innovation Fund Grant From James Irvine Foundation

Royal Academy of Art Opened Annual Exhibition of Final Year Postgraduates' Work

Tlaltecuhtli Cult was Exclusively for Priesthood

Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum Offers Free Summer Shuttle Service from the National Mall

Focus on Color: The Photography of Jeannette Klute at the Bruce Museum

Cantor Arts Center Announces it will Show Figure Drawings by Frank Lobdell in November

Record-Breaking Year For National Galleries of Scotland's Art Competition for Schools

Reynolda House Announces Exhibition to Showcase 50 Years of Contemporary Art through Eyes of Students

Guatemalan Government Negotiates Purchase of Maya Fortress Site

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

Related Stories

Museum of London Digs Up Shakespeare's First Theatre... Take Two

Sir Michael Caine Opens the New Galleries of Modern London

Museum of London Opens New Gallery Exploring a Tumultuous Century

Museum of London Docklands Delivers New Display

Treading the Bard: Shakespearian Shoes Go on Display

Museum of London Shows a Collection of Portraits of Londoners with Polish Roots by photographer Grzegorz Lepiarz

2012 Limited Edition Olympic Pin Launched at Museum of London

Loss and Liberty at Museum of London Docklands

Button Bonanza at the Museum of London

Ex-aid Specialist to Lead Museum of London Communications Team

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful