Picture of the month #9: Lambs

After watching ‘Lambing Live’, seeing lambs in fields on my way to work and  cute pictures of lambs from @herdyuk, @farmersoftheuk and many more, every time I log on to Twitter, lambs seemed to be the obvious seasonal subject matter for our Picture of the Month post this time. One picture from our collections immediately springs to mind, as it featured in the John Tarlton exhibition last year, and is one of my personal favourites.

Image from John Tarlton countryside photographer 4 May to 8 Sept 2013

Image from ‘John Tarlton: countryside photographer’ exhibition, 4 May to 8 Sept 2013

But I felt sure that there must be more lambs in our photographic collections and sure enough, Photographic Assistant Caroline Benson was able to come up with these two beautiful images from the Eric Guy collection

P DX289 PH3_4049_1

Eric Guy Collection P DX289 PH3_4049_1


P DX289 PH3_4087B

Eric Guy collection P DX289 PH3_4087B

Pinterest & MERL

written by Adam Koszary, Project Officer for Our Country Lives.


Everybody – regardless of whether they use them or not – is aware of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. There are also the professional sites such as Yammer and LinkedIn. However, one site which you may not have heard of – and which is becoming increasingly popular – is Pinterest.


Pinterest is a site which helps you cope with the sheer amount of websites you visit and data you accumulate on the internet, and allows you to pin images from webpages on a virtual pinboard. It is essentially a more visually pleasing way of bookmarking interesting content that you find online, and it is a website that more and more museums (and their shops) are taking advantage of in order to show off their objects and archives.

The John Tarlton Board on the MERL Pinterest account

The John Tarlton Board on the MERL Pinterest account

After gathering advice from other institutions (such as the Getty Museum in New York) MERL now has its own Pinterest account. We are hoping to use it as a way of archiving temporary exhibitions so that they can be viewed after they have finished (such as the John Tarlton exhibition), as well as letting people see the objects and archives which usually don’t see the light of day. We are experimenting with different ways of using Pinterest, and Tom Paganuzzi – a student who was on work experience at the museum – very helpfully agreed to pilot a Volunteers Board, which will allow volunteers to pin their favourite objects or whatever they are working on, with notes giving their opinions and further information. Tom also wrote a post about his time at MERL, which you can see above!

If you are already on Pinterest then please follow us, or if you are not already signed up it’s very easy to do so – either by email or through your facebook account.

Picture of the Month #1: The John Tarlton Collection

written by Caroline Benson, Photographic Assistant.

The current temporary exhibition at MERL features the work of the photographer John Tarlton. This wonderful collection came to the museum in 2004 and  now, on the completion of the Rural Images Discovered Project,  we are ready to promote its full commercial potential.

A 'typical Essex college interior'

A ‘typical Essex cottage interior’

These two photographs showing domestic scenes & farmhouse interiors are quite a departure from Tarlton’s usual images. They are both quarter plate glass negatives and are amongst only a very few glass plates in the Tarlton Collection. I am often asked for interior shots by picture researchers and so I was particularly excited to find these – I was also pleased when the fireside image was used in the recently published Pitkin guide “Life on the Farm”.

'Typical Essex farmhouse kitchen showing C16th beams'

‘Typical Essex farmhouse kitchen showing C16th beams’

Little is known about the two photographs. The fireside image is described on the negative envelope as “Typical Essex cottage interior; farm bailiff & his wife” and the other as “Typical Essex farmhouse kitchen showing C16th beams.” I feel the longer I look at these two photographs the more I see, until I can almost hear the tick of the clock, and certainly the smell of pipe tobacco.