Past Matters

Past Matters

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Museums, galleries and historic houses are treasure troves of items from the past. But how easy is it at these sites to unknowingly just walk straight past an object with an incredible story to tell? In this podcast series journalist Ploy Radford talks to the experts at different museums, galleries and historic houses about the most underrated objects in their collection, and unveils some fantastic facts.


‘Schooner approaching the harbour’ - Compton Verney
Jun 16 • 19 min
Compton Verney in Warwickshire has one of the finest collections of folk art in the UK. In this episode Director Julie Finch tells Ploy Radford why ‘Schooner approaching the harbour’ by Alfred Wallis, which is painted on a tea tray, is a piece of folk art…
Two smocks - The MERL
Jun 4 • 41 min
When you’re asked to imagine an iconic item of clothing the humble smock probably doesn’t come to mind. However, in this episode, Dr Ollie Douglas, Curator at The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL), convinces podcast host Ploy Radford as to the…
A patera - The Roman Baths, Bath
May 21 • 23 min
In this episode, Zofia Matyjaszkiewicz, who is the Collections Assistant at the Roman Baths in Bath, tells Ploy Radford why a patera - a shallow libation bowl - is her underrated object at this world-famous site. This one object sets off a whole…
Three ceilings - Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery
May 13 • 36 min
While the previous episode reminded listeners to look down when visiting historic houses, in a pleasing symmetry, this episode reminds them to look up. Podcast host Ploy Radford talks to Clare Gough, Director at Pitzhanger Museum & Gallery, about three…
Axminster carpet - Harewood House
May 6 • 27 min
This episode of Past Matters should encourage visitors to England’s finest stately homes to look down as well as up for future visits, as Assistant Curator and Archivist at Harewood House, Beckie Burton, describes the significance of a grand Axminster…
‘Colt hunting in the New Forest’ - Palace House
Apr 30 • 19 min
To kick off season 2 of Past Matters, podcast host Ploy Radford talks to Dr Steven Parissien, CEO of Palace House, Newmarket, about a painting by Lucy Kemp-Welch - ‘Colt hunting in the New Forest’. Kemp-Welch was a highly successful artist and illustrator…
Christmas 2019 special: Margaret Beaufort’s tomb - chosen by historian Nicola Tallis
Dec 15, 2019 • 34 min
As a special Christmas treat for you, my listeners, I have done something a bit different for this episode of Past Matters. Instead of asking a museum, gallery or historic house what their most underrated item is, I have instead asked historian Nicola…
Christmas 2019 special: Torcheres - Apsley House (with added bonus audio)
Dec 10, 2019 • 29 min
Apsley House (also known as No.1 London) is the home of the Dukes of Wellington and for the first time has extended its opening times to the 22nd December 2019 and decorated the house in 1840s style Christmas decorations. Visitors can therefore experience…
Christmas 2019 special: Two clocks - The Charles Dickens Museum
Dec 8, 2019 • 30 min
‘A Christmas Carol’ has got to be one of the most famous Christmas books out there, so it seemed fitting to interview Dr Cindy Sughrue, Director of the Charles Dickens Museum in London, for one of the three 2019 Christmas specials of Past Matters. With…
THREE GORILLAS – IPSWICH MUSEUM
Aug 9, 2019 • 13 min
It’s not all about the mammoth! Visitors to Ipswich Museum should also take note of three frightening looking taxidermied gorillas in the corner of the Victorian Natural History Gallery there. This group were the first gorillas the British public would…
Madame de Pompadour snuffbox - Waddesdon Manor
Aug 8, 2019 • 31 min
Art, dogs, and a famous royal mistress… what more could you want from a podcast episode? To round off Season 1 of Past Matters, journalist Ploy Radford talks to Dr Mia Jackson, Curator of Decorative Arts at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, about a…
Three tapestries - Hever Castle
Aug 1, 2019 • 37 min
This episode of Past Matters if for fans of the Tudors, Anne Boleyn and anyone who has ever wanted to learn more about tapestries, royal signifiers of power and historical fashion. Or those who enjoy looking for the comic scenes hidden in art. Download to…
Regency fan - The Holburne Museum
Jul 19, 2019 • 27 min
This episode takes us to the Holburne Museum in Bath, which runs an excellent programme called Pathways to Wellbeing whereby they offer art classes focusing on the objects in the museum to people with mental health issues referred by the local NHS trust.…
Roman jewellery - Colchester Castle
Jun 25, 2019 • 40 min
It can be very easy to walk by jewellery in an exhibition because these items tend to be very small. Don’t skip by this episode of Past Matters though - in it journalist Ploy Radford talks to Colchester Museums’ Senior Collections and Learning Curator…
Alfred Munnings’ Newlyn sketchbooks - Munnings Art Museum
Jun 20, 2019 • 19 min
This episode is for those people who love animals and art because in it, I interview Jenny Hand, curator at Munnings Art Museum. Alfred Munnings was a famous 20th century impressionist painter, particular known for his paintings of horses. The objects…
Regency dairy - Weald & Downland Living Museum
Jun 13, 2019 • 31 min
Nestled among the reconstructed low-status farm buildings in Weald & Downland Living Museum is an almost fairytale-like structure. It wasn’t the home of fairytale heroine though - it’s actually an ornamental dairy from Regency England. Although, there are…
Self-portrait of Emma Brownlow - The Foundling Museum
Jun 5, 2019 • 36 min
It would be very easy to walk by the small, understated self-portrait of Emma Brownlow at the Foundling Museum in London, but it would be a travesty to not pay more attention to someone whose works provide such an interesting insight into life at the UK’s…
Japanned Chinoiserie cabinet - Christchurch Mansion
May 22, 2019 • 21 min
Thought furniture was boring? Nonsense! Come and listen to episode 2 of Past Matters and learn about secret compartments and boudoir calendars in this interview with Bob Entwistle, Conservation Officer at Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich. The object up for…
Renaissance parade sallet - The Wallace Collection
May 15, 2019 • 36 min
Can weapons be art? How can you do armour - something worn to be admired from a 360 degree angle - justice in a museum? And did you know there were armour-making dynasties in renaissance Europe? Download this first ever episode of Past Matters to hear Dr…
Introduction to Past Matters
Apr 21, 2019 • 1 min
Journalist Ploy Radford introduces herself and what Past Matters is all about.