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Museum Shop Sunday: 9 items inspired by museum collections

Forget about Black Friday, Sunday November 25 is Museum Shop Sunday – your chance to support museums, heritage and the arts by picking up a bargain

Museum Shop Sunday sees over 160 not-for-profit museums, galleries and heritage attractions hosting special events, book signings, demonstrations and exclusive discounts to encourage shoppers to support heritage and the arts.

We take a look at some of the participating museum shops, and how they’ve used their collection to create unique and exclusive items, often with local and independent artists.

A Bloomsbury-inspired bauble

photograph of six ceramic baubles with hand painted designs in orange, yellow, brown and pink

Charleston’s Handmade Ceramic Bauble Decoration

Channelling the Bloomsbury style, artist and designer Emma Carlow creates these ceramic baubles in Lewes, just a few miles away from Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s spectacularly-decorated home.

Each bauble is handmade and one-of-a-kind, echoing Bell and Grant’s handmade aesthetic. They wouldn’t look out of place within the unique interiors of Charleston and nearby Monk’s House.

An homage to a careful curator

photograph of pair of earrings with grey circles and lemons, pair of lemon stud earrings and brooch with great circle and lemon

Kettle’s Yard’s Lemon on a Pewter Dish Brooch and Earrings by I Am Acrylic

In the dining room of Kettle’s Yard – the home of prolific art collector Jim Ede – a single fresh lemon sits on a pewter serving dish. Ede’s purposeful placement of the fruit echoes the nearby painting Tic Tic by Joan Mirò and can be seen as an extension of the canvas into the room.

Individually handmade by Bristol-based jewellery company I Am Acrylic, these pieces of jewellery pay homage to a small statement made by Ede which perfectly reflects how he curated his art, his home and his life.


A piece of iconic design

photograph of lightbox in the shape of the london underground roundel sign, reading 'underground'

London Transport Museum’s TfL London Underground Lightbox

The heat, the wind, the rats, that smell – whether the tube is a novel rarity or part of the dreaded daily commute, who wouldn’t want the glowing reminder of one of London’s most iconic feats of engineering in their own home?

Based on the recognisable roundel that’s known the world round as a symbol for London, this lightbox comes with 10 interchangeable signs including some of the network’s most famous stations, and the classic ‘mind the gap’ slogan.


A theatre of insects

photograph of dark blue scarf with gold butterfly design with book showing same illustration

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s Swallowtail Butterfly Scarf

Made exclusively for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust this modal scarf comes adorned with a beautifully intricate illustration of a swallowtail butterfly from Thomas Muffet’s Theatre of Insects, which was included in the 1658 edition of Edward Topsell’s The History of Four-footed Beasts, Serpents and Insects.

Thomas Muffet was an English naturalist, physician and politician who had a fascination with silkworms and other insects and arachnids. He inherited the Insectorum sive Minimorum Animalium Theatrum (Theatre of Insects), editing and expanding it with the hopes of it being published. It was finally published in 1634, 30 years after his death.


A piece of affordable luxury

photograph of tin plate with pink and gold butterfly design

Ashmolean Museum Gold Butterfly Tin Plate

This decorative plate made especially for the Ashmolean is modelled on a saucer from the collection made by Chelsea Porcelain Factory in the mid-1700s. The Chelsea Porcelain Factory operated independently, producing the finest examples of Rococo art in England until it merged with Derby porcelain in 1770.

The Ashmolean has more than 130 pieces of Chelsea porcelain in its collection, which cover the factory’s red anchor period (1752-1756) and gold anchor period (1756-1769).


A technicolour pachyderm

photograph of yellow scarf with multicoloured floral design, elephant at centre

Sir John Soane’s Museum’s Saffron Agra Silk Scarf

This fabulous, psychedelic scarf from the Sir John Soane’s Museum shop was designed by PJ Studio Accessories. Drawing on images from the museum’s fascinating collection of antiquities, furniture, sculptures, architectural models and paintings, their designs reimagine the Soane Heritage and continue his vision in stimulating creativity through his collections.

Sir John Soane was one of England’s greatest architects, designing many public buildings from the 1780s onwards. The museum is his former home, left as it was when he died in 1837 and acting as a repository for the many curios he collected during his lifetime.


A miniature piece of Liverpool heritage

photograph of ceramic sculpture half lamb half banana in blue

National Museums Liverpool’s Ceramic Super Lambanana

Part lamb, part banana, Superlambanana is a sculpture designed by Japanese artist Taro Chiezo to warn of the dangers of genetic engineering. Combining two cargoes common to Liverpool’s docks – sheep and bananas – the intriguing piece of Liverpudlian public art can be found outside the Avril Robarts Library.

The Museum of Liverpool’s shop has ceramic replicas of this adorable oddity, if you fancy owning an unusual piece of Liverpool heritage yourself.


An eye out for Freud

photograph of illustration of freud's face with 'an eye out for freud' in place of his eye

Freud Museum’s An Eye Out for Freud T-Shirt

Designed by the British conceptual artist and sculptor Jane McAdam Freud, also Freud’s great-granddaughter, this t-shirt features a striking line drawing of Freud, available in two different designs – one fitted and one loose.

The Freud Museum is situated in the Sigmund Freud’s final home in Hampstead North London. The Austrian neurologist and psychoanalyst fled to London in the late 1930s, escaping Nazi rule. He died just a year later and his daughter, the pioneering child psychoanalyst Anna Freud, continued to live here until her death in 1982. The museum opened to the public four years later.


A good-luck charm

photograph of gold bangle in the shape of a snake

The British Museum’s Gold snake bracelet

Inspired by an original dating from the 1st or 2nd century AD which is in the British Museum’s Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, this gold-plated bangle takes the form of a snake – an important and enduring symbol throughout history. The original piece of jewellery was a gold ring from Alexandria.

Snakes were a very popular theme in jewellery from antiquity, and it is thought that they were worn to help protect against the evil eye, and to aid fertility. The snake, which lends its shape so well to bracelets and rings, has many different interpretations in many different ancient civilisations including good, evil, royalty, everlasting love and good luck.

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