To mark our selection as a Finalist in the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2015 we’re embarking on a unique and ambitious tour of the country – the Dodo Roadshow.
Beginning at Land’s End on 8 June and concluding in John O’Groats one week later, the famous Oxford Dodo will visit more than 20 museums and galleries along the way. At each stop the Dodo will ‘interview’ one of the venue’s star objects.
The Whitworth: The Ancient of Days
So, tell me about yourself – who are you and where do you come from?
I’m The Ancient of Days, a watercolour at the Whitworth in Manchester. I was made by the great artist, poet and visionary William Blake in 1827.
What is it that makes you so special?
I was the last work of art that Blake made before he died. When he finished painting me he said, “There, that will do! I cannot mend it.” I also recently featured in a new work of art by the acclaimed artist, Cornelia Parker. With the help of the University of Manchester Nobel physicist Kostya Novoselov, she made a firework display called “Blakean Abstract” which was a pyrotechnical portrait of me.
Who looks after you in this place?
A lot of people. Curators show me to visitors in exhibitions and special viewings; conservators make me look my best; Visitor Assistants point me out to the public and keep me safe; and Learning staff show me to schoolchildren.
Do you remember life before the museum?
Yes, I was owned by the man who founded The Guardian newspaper, John Edward Taylor. He gave me to the gallery in 1892.
What does the future hold for you?
I travel internationally quite a lot as people all over the world want to see me, so more of that I expect, but I always enjoy coming home, back to the Whitworth.