A 'blank' weekend

Taking advantage to scan and plan

Occasionally Mary Curzon had 'blank' days when appointments had been cancelled, or times when she deliberately removed herself from the relentless schedule of Viceregal life. These 'blank' days were not always what she wanted. In the 'retreat' theme that will be part of the prototype we will explore a difficult time for Mary when she visited the spa resort of Bad Ems in 'search of health and progeny'. However blank days also opened up time to think and she often wrote to her family in these moments.  

This weekend is unexpectedly 'blank' for me, a blessed relief from the regular context switching of the days in recent weeks. I have reconciled the accounts for the project as we have some final decisions to make on purchasing content this week and the budget is very tight. The urgency for doing the accounts emerged on Friday as  we got news that we have permission to photograph the Worth Peacock Dress at Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire as part of our 'Ceremony' theme. Jo Lansdowne has been great helping to get this to happen. The power of the REACT network has really supported us and the National Trust teams have pulled out the stops to support the project. We still have some tricky diary planning to do (access only on Fridays and multiple people involved at short notice). If it all comes off it does come with the addition of another line in the budget: textile conservation consultancy costs. In terms of the prototype this means that we will have to use black and white scanned of some images rather than the preferred option of colour scans. However I remind that at this stage of the project we want to explore the varied ways in which we can open up the materiality of Mary Curzon's life in digital form. Therefore the costs of the dress imaging trump the cost of colour scanning. 

Kevin of course has been saying this for some time - the gritty reality of the spreadsheet reminds me that his instincts are absolutely right. Kevin: thank you for everything you are doing, this would really not be possible without your tremendous leg work.

The rest of the weekend will be used to chose images for each theme, checking we have them at the right resolution, and putting the final lists together. The next few days Kevin and I will be in the British Library together. There is something very calming about working in the British Library and the priority is getting the final images for the 'Ceremony' theme chosen, and then an major offensive on the editing of text. On Thursday I'm spending the afternoon doing some short films and Friday will be a writing/editing day. 

This feels like a week that really must not get derailed. 

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