Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.
The Natural History Museum in London has installed the skeleton of a blue whale in its central hall, replacing the much-loved plaster cast of Dippy the Diplodocus that had stood in the space for more than a century.
Judging by the reaction to the new installation, the dramatically posed whale skeleton – which dives through the vast Victorian hall – is likely to prove as popular as its prehistoric predecessor.
Although the whale has been called Hope by the museum, there has been some mischievous speculation on Twitter about other possible names for her:
Oh no! Bring on Whaley McWhaleface???
— Mike Mason (@MrMikeMason) July 13, 2017
Finally can tweet pics of the new NHM whale. Hope is not what we have been calling her. We were calling her Ophelia. She’s amazing though! pic.twitter.com/ptkzdWlcRv
— Natalie Cooper (@nhcooper123) July 13, 2017
After Dippy, meet ‘Drippy’, blue whale skeleton that’ll greet visitors to @NHM_London @BBCBreakfast pic.twitter.com/1zMdmXJs01
— Tim Muffett (@timmuffett) July 13, 2017
Other institutions have jumped on the whale waggon to welcome Hope’s installation:
Congratulations @NHM_London on re-displaying its amazing blue whale. Here’s a photo from the 1980’s of a blue whale visiting the Great Bath pic.twitter.com/fIp07dQ5RM
— The Roman Baths (@RomanBathsBath) July 12, 2017
Team @NMNH and Phoenix, our North Atlantic right whale, welcome Hope, @NHM_London‘s #BlueWhale to the #MuseumWhales pod! pic.twitter.com/HcJIuPSUMb
— Smithsonian’s NMNH (@NMNH) July 13, 2017
And in The Times, the cartoonist Peter Brookes found cause for wailing:
A blue whale called Hope is unveiled at Natural History Museum today by Peter Brookes – political cartoon gallery pic.twitter.com/SoHyhU2fJb
— Political Cartoon (@Cartoon4sale) July 13, 2017
But what of Dippy? He will head out on a tour of museums across the UK at the start of next year. And Birmingham Museums, for one, are already getting animated about his visit:
We’re so looking forward to Dippy arriving @BM_AG next year, just hope he’s not as clumsy as this guy! #DippyOnTour https://t.co/1TEw0eNKu7 pic.twitter.com/ywRKh5SoTB
— Birmingham Museums (@BM_AG) July 3, 2017
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‘She changed how we encounter sculpture’ – remembering Phyllida Barlow (1944–2023)