Graham Panton explains the story: “When SHARE Museums East and AfSM proposed running a workshop at Little Hall, it focussed our minds on how some items in our collection at Little Hall were not presented at their best. One particular object had been overlooked for many years, propped up in a medieval fireplace, below most people’s gaze. Encouraged by Llewela Selfridge, we put in an application for an AfSM grant.”
“Our curator was certain it should hang on an existing partition. For 20kg of stone that’s a small engineering challenge, given the unknown strength of the partition. After a few iterations of the design we realised that embedding it inside the framework was more secure and attractive. A couple of proposals from our larger building firms were for a total rebuild but we found a local man who would take a more exploratory approach, potentially a lot cheaper.”
“On the appointed day, he removed the front face which revealed a sturdy inner frame. After a bit of strengthening he made a new front panel with aperture and redecorated. To provide an adjustable and sturdy mounting we went to a blacksmith who sells at our craft fairs. After further improving the design he delivered the vital parts and we were ready to mount the stone.”
“We still need to find out more about this object but from Colonel Gayer-Anderson we understand it dates to about 900AD, is part of an Islamic tombstone of a woman and was acquired in Fayoum, Egypt. The inscription is in Arabic but we’ve not yet been able to obtain a translation. If you are an Arabic speaker or have experience of translating the text of objects like this one, we would love to hear from you.”
“Now when you enter the Well Room, it is the first thing you see. Our thanks to AfSM for encouraging this project with their grant.”
Find out more info about visiting on the Little Hall Lavenham website.