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Jackson Family 2005
         
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October 27th 2014

James

Miscarriage

Almost 24 years ago Mary and I lost our first-born, a son whom we christened John; he survived only a few hours after being born prematurely.  We remember the horrors of that night with equal clarity whilst our memories of the subsequent few days are less clear, although we both recall the wonderful support that we received from friends – in particular Terry and Jane – and our families.  I am not sure what it is that has, after all this time, made me want to write about that evening but I have found it useful to do so. 

I have put this short piece, called ‘A Miscarriage’, up on the WTDW articles page, which is followed by a heart-wrenching letter that Mary wrote to her father about one week after the miscarriage and his reply.  Mary and I have always considered her father’s response to have been as near-perfect as such a letter could be given the circumstances.

To lighten the tone I have included a few black and white photographs of our sons that I have recently found, taken during a summer holiday in Ireland in 2005 in the days when I was still using a film camera. 

 

 





   
 
Luba figure holding bowl
         
    Baule Monkey figure    

October 5th 2014

James

Computed Tomography of objets d'art

I first met Marc Ghysels, a Belgian radiologist, many years ago when asked to give a lecture at the University of Liège. At that time he was producing the most extraordinarily beautiful casts of blood vessels in pigs, the most striking of which were of the carotid rete mirabile (Latin for 'wonderful net'). I remember him describing exactly what this entailed, which was anything but beautiful, given that it involved vats of noxious and foul-smelling chemicals in which the pig carcasses gradually dissolved before Marc painstakingly stripped away any remaining tissues from the plastic that he had previously injected into the circulatory system. He and Professor Robert Dondelinger, the head of the Radiology department in Liège at that time, published several examples of these casts in an article describing the radiological anatomy of the pig, which you can look at here; you will not be disappointed.

Since then Marc has become an international expert in the computed tomographic analysis of works of art to determine non-invasively how they were made and whether they have undergone repair; perhaps even more importantly to the art dealers and museum curators requesting Marc's expertise, he is able to confirm the artwork's authenticity. The images that he produces are works of art in themselves and are every bit as beautiful as those of the rete mirabile that he worked on all those years ago. He has just sent me a link to his most recent video presentation of the Meyer 'Feejee Mermaid' which you can see by clicking on the image below.

The mermaid has a central wooden frame but is otherwise largely made up of papier mâché. If you would like to know a little bit more about these mermaids have a look at the excellent paper by Paolo Viscardi et al in which there is a detailed description of the CT analysis of a very similar mermaid held by the Horniman museum in London.

Meyer Feejee mermaid

 

 





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