Last night 22nd Feb was bitterly cold but the Wincanton and District Museum and History Society had an excellent turnout of people who had come to hear local historian from Frome Roger Ford on how the game of Fives came to be played here and what influence the Napoleonic prisoners had on this. Sadly, when Roger unpacked his computer and projector he discovered he had not brought a vital connecting part and was thus unable to give what would have been a very interesting talk but which relied on the images he had to show. This was really sad for us all for he had attracted an audience both of members and some visitors who had come a long way to hear him. We hope we can arrange another date for him to come again next year.
Salvation though was at hand for Hendrika Foster was there and was able to rush home and get her projector and computer and in her usual inimitable way present us with a fascinating lecture richly illustrated with some quite unforgettable images of the Art of 12th Century Norman kingdom of Sicily under the rule of Roger the Second and his son William. What was unforgettable were the mosaics depicting stories from both the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament) and the Christian gospels. Certainly it was quite an eye opener to learn what an amazing collection of Norman churches are to be found in Sicily which also has a rich treasury of Greek temples and remains having been during its history a Greek colony, part of the Roman Empire, then Christian, then for some time a beacon of Muslim art and learning before being recaptured for Christianity by Roger and his Normans just when Norman William was invading England.
Next week Hendrika is off to Florence at the invitation of the British Council to present a series of lectures on Renaissance art to the Italians!