Articles and Papers

Articles and Papers are written from time to time that inform the reader about stories and artefacts held by the museum. Although often written for a specific reason we list here the most popular and hope you find them interesting.

There is also a series of studies by Nicola Durbridge of objects in the Museum collection; objects which for the most part once belonged to William Cowper, members of Cowper’s circle, or to Rev. John Newton.

Each study opens by focussing on the materials of which an object was made as well as how it was made, and goes on to discuss the object’s cultural and historical significance.

Copies of the booklets are available from the Museum shop and are priced individually; the majority cost £2.80 each.

TopicDescription
Cowper's Cameo RingIn this study we look at a cameo ring which dates from the mid
eighteenth century and is said to have belonged to William Cowper.
We discuss too the romantic nuances associated with this ring.
Chinoiserie WallpaperIn this study we look at a decorative item: wallpaper dating from
the early 1700’s. The two sheets of paper concerned were brought
into the Museum a few years ago, having been found in a house a
few doors away on the Market Place. They are a marvellous and
rare find – paper hangings ........
Cowper's CounterpaneThe counterpane is made of cotton, and was finished in about
1790. It was made for William Cowper by one of his female
devotees, a Mrs King.
Cowper's Electric MachineIt might seem strange to us to learn that William Cowper, gentle
poet of nature, owned and operated an electric shock machine.
But he did.
Lace BobbinsThis study focusses upon a nineteenth century lace bobbin. Or at
least, we’ll start with one bobbin and then look at a few others.
This will allow us to peep at the varied work - sometimes fancy,
sometimes very basic - coaxed into being by the requirements of
this simple lace-making tool.
Cowper's Letter CabinetIn another study we look at Cowper’s writing slope, the one depicted
in the portrait of him that hangs in the hall of the museum. This time
we continue the writing topic by looking at a letter cabinet designed
especially for him in the 1790’s.
Lady Hesketh's Seal FobThis focusses on a triple seal fob. It dates from the reign of George
III (1760-1820) and belonged to Lady Harriot Hesketh Cowper’s
cousin.
Mrs Unwin's SpectaclesThis study concentrates on a pair of spectacles that belonged to
Mrs. Unwin. Mrs. Unwin was Cowper’s long standing companion
with whom he once lodged and later shared homes.
Cowper's Stock BuckleWe are going to look at a stock buckle owned by William Cowper.
It is a fashion accessory Cowper was eager to acquire despite his
straitened circumstances.
Cowper's Tame HaresThis booklet is about the three tame hares that Cowper reared when
he lived at Olney and some of the related hare memorabilia at the
Cowper and Newton Museum.
Cowper's Lavendar Water BottleIn this study we discuss at a small bottle that once contained a
distillation of lavender. It was purchased for William Cowper
from a London, Bond Street, shop owned by James Smyth. We
know that William Cowper used this bottle not long before his
death.
Cowper's Writing SlopeA box, but a very special box for this study. It is Cowper’s
portable writing box which opens up to become a miniature desk.
The box, or ‘writing slope’, dates from around 1790. It was
bought by the museum, in 2006, from a sale of Cowper’s
artefacts, some of which had passed by descent to the Cowper
Johnson family.

SubjectAuthorBrief Description
The Mystery of Cowper's TableHelen Dilley“Cowper’s Table” is the shorthand name we have been using for a small, rather unremarkable, side table standing some 73cm high and 79cm wide and recently donated to the Museum by a very generous lady living in Canada.
Bucks Family History SocietyElizabeth KnightBucks Family History Society Open Day. Report by Elizabeth Knight