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The comfortable spacious T. Rex Grill seating area
T. Rex Grill eating area

The T. Rex Grill

– Located in the Green Zone           
– Hours: 11:00 – 16:00
– Very cool display with moving dinos. A large space, great for large or small groups to meet up for score tallying (more of a sit-down place)
– Children welcome! Lots of space
– Offers burgers, steaks and pizzas at a pretty affordable price range- prices £10 and up; also offers desserts

The Kitchen's ordering bar
The Kitchen’s ordering bar

The Kitchen

– Located in the Red Zone         
– Hours: 10:00 – 17:00 
– Very kid friendly – offers lunch and activity packs to keep them entertained while parents eat (or tally up their hunts!) sit down place 
– Offers a variety of food from sandwiches, wraps and salads, pizza and burgers; also has dessert options (similar to the coffee house)           
– Prices range from £8.50- £12.50 for adults and £4.25- £5 for the children’s menu (kids under 12)         
– Adult Meal Deal: main, dessert, soft drink for £12.95            
– Kids Meal Deal: main, dessert, soft drink for £8   

Muffins on a cake stand in the Natural History Museum's The Coffee House
Great-looking muffins at the Coffee House

The Coffee House

– Located in the Red Zone (Lasting Impressions Gallery)            
– Hours: 10:00- 17:00            
– Offers pastries and baked goods ranging from £4-£6; perfect for grabbing a quick bite on the hunt (or some caffeine to refuel) or for small groups to score tally; better for on-the-go and for groups without children        

Dining area at the Natural History Museum's Central Café
Dining area at the Central Café

Central Café

– Located in the Blue Zone
– Hours: 10:00- 17:30
– Very family friendly; offers high chairs for babies and toddlers
– Mostly offers sandwiches and salads, but has on the go snacks like crisps and fruit if you need to stop and refuel; this is mostly on-the-go

Darwin centre research building lit with neon green

Darwin Centre Café

– Located in the Orange Zone            
– Hours: 10:00- 17:00 
– Very similar to the Central Café in terms of food – offers sandwiches and salads for more filling options, but also has crisps and a variety of baked goods like caked and pastries

THATKid Tuesday is a monthly dose of Art History for kids, which will usually be posted on the first Tuesday of the month. In this series we’ll be blogging about different terms from the THATKid glossary we’ve created to help kids understand some of the art history terms that pop up in our hunts.

ATTIC BLACK-FIGURE DINOS, by the GORGON PAINTER Cerveteri (from Athens, Greece), Circa 580 BC

Continuous Narrative is when one painting, or piece of art, tells different parts of a story all at once. This means that the same figures are often shown over and over again in the same piece. This Greek Gorgon Pot, part of the Beauty & the Bestiary hunt at the Louvre, is an example of Continuous Narrative. The Greek pot above shows Perseus killing the monstrous Gorgon named Medusa. After Perseus has killed Medusa the pot also shows him being chased by Medusa’s Gorgon sisters. Kind of like a pre-classical movie or Snapchat story!

Fra ANgelico's coronation of the virgin, with life of st dominic predella
Fra Angelico also has an example of Continuous Narrative, telling us the story of St Dominic’s life in the predella.
Lion killed by arrows, Assyrian Lion Hunt frieze, British Museum
Lion Hunt, British Museum, Assyrian Art, 668-631 BC

If you go on our THATMuse hunt at the British Museum you’ll see yet another example of continuous narrative involving someone being chased, although this time it’s the people chasing the ‘beasts’ and not the other way around. The Assyrian Lion Hunt from Mesopotamia shows different stages of a lion hunt, including the fate of this unfortunate lion on the left! Although other parts of the story might make you feel a bit less sorry for the lions and a little more scared of them – look at the muscles in that lion’s arm, look at those claws!

Ashurbanipal chokes a lion with his bare hand and stabs it with a sword. Assyrian Frieze British Museum 600's BC
Lion Hunt, British Museum, Assyrian Art, 668-631 BC

Any questions about Continuous Narrative? Leave us a comment with any questions.

The idea for THATKid Tuesday stemmed from the Kid Pack’s glossary. The Kid Pack has supplemental exercises for after your Louvre hunt, from a Michelangelo Connect-the-Dots and a Mona Lisa sticker-puzzle to a Botticelli Spot-the-Difference. Good for train rides or long French dinners, kids can also pick up on some terms like composition, perspective and the lot. As THATMuse has grown to include the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert and Musée d’Orsay, THATKid Tuesday’s blog version has grown to include other examples.

Tune in the first Tuesday of the month if you’d like another art history dose of THATKid.

THATKid Tuesday is a dose of Art History terms for kids, simplified and illustrated. These terms are culled from the glossary found in our Kid Packs, booklets you receive on Luxe Hunts that offer travelling families exercises. I made one for families visiting London and Paris, b/c as a mother, I’ve really just wanted to have a glass of wine at the end of a lovely day touristing and have found it useful to give Storsh and Balthazar these exercises at restaurants when travelling. The Kid Packs have art fun such as a Botticelli spot-the-difference, Michelangelo connect-the-dots, some da Vinci Decoding (do you know he kept his journal in a secret language?!!) or even some color-in exercises for smaller siblings.

This is the 2nd of 2 posts on perspective, our previous post on single-point perspective here.

Today’s topic is another type of perspective, multi-point perspective. This is similar to one-point perspective, in that it has a horizon line, but different in that it has not just one vanishing point, but two or more.

Villa of Publius Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, near Pompeii, 1st C BC

Two-point perspective is used particularly when the subject is a building, or when the viewer is facing the corner or angle of the building.  For example, take a look at this photo (above). Unlike the example of the train tracks in our last blog post, we’re not dealing with parallel lines disappearing into the distance. Instead, we’re facing the corner of the building, and the bottom edges of the building seem to be going upwards the further away from us they get, while the top edges seem to come downwards. If we continued these lines outside of the edges of the photo, they would meet at each side, at the vanishing points. The horizontal line which connects the two vanishing points is the horizon (as seen in our previous post on one-point perspective, sometimes the two vanishing points are not visible within the plane of the painting). 

Two-point perspective can also be used to show interiors, as in this painting by William Hogarth, The Marriage Contract, (below) which is on display in the National Gallery in London.

William Hogarth’s Marriage a la Mode (1743-1745), National Gallery, London

For example, in this painting, The Lamentation over the Dead Christ (below) by Mantegna, the distance from his feet to his head is physically not much more than the width of his shoulders, creating the illusion of depth (it looks like his head is farther away from us, than his feet, no?).

Mantegna’s Lamentation over the Dead Christ, 1480, Pinacoteca di Brera (Milano)

A note on perspective for this particular painting, considering that Mantegna was a master of perspective, note that his feet are smaller than they would be in reality. If those feet were in our face they’d be much larger, but then this would cover Christ’s face, so he made them smaller.

Any questions about perspective in art? Leave us a comment with any questions.

Perspective is a word for various techniques that artists use to show a 3D world on a 2D surface (like a canvas or piece of paper). In Renaissance Italy, artists were rediscovering the rules of perspective and paying special attention to how they were depicting volumes and spatial relationships on flat surfaces. The word “perspective” comes from the Latin perspicere, meaning to see through. When perspective is used, it’s as if we’re looking through a window (2D) into the world of the painting (3D).

Tune in the first Tuesday of the month if you’d like another art history dose of THATKid.

The THATMuse blog has content pieces about the actual museums where you’re hunting, but we’ve also amassed plenty of recommendations of what to do in Paris and London apart from your museum time. Check out our Travel Tips category on the blog for pieces from kid-friendly parks, cafes and toyshops to romantic cocktail lounges near our museums. 

This post, which first appeared in the Telegraph, was written by expat Daisy de Plume, founder of THATMuse.

Is your notion of Christmas a Dickensian delight in London – or a stroll down the Passage des Princes in Paris? Which European capital is more Christmasy? From ice skating to toy shopping, there’s plenty to keep families entertained over the festive season – but which city has the best options? Daisy de Plume, mother of two and resident of both cities, lists the best Christmas-themed activites for families in London and Paris.

TOYS

Paris

The labyrinthine 19th century covered passages of Paris is the perfect spot for Christmas shopping and nestled in the elegant Passage Jouffroy is a family-run toyshop called Pain d’Epices. Specialising in dollhouses, children marvel at the tiny decorated Sapin de Noel with miniature cadeaux.

The crème de la crème of the passages couvert is Passage des Princes, exclusively devoted to fun and games, from stuffed animals to art supplies and race-bikes.

London

Pollock’s ground floor shop has old-fashioned toys for sale
CREDIT: ALAMY

Pollock’s ground floor shop has old-fashioned toys for sale CREDIT: ALAMY Where Paris has those tiny little dollhouses, London focuses on the ginormous. At seven storeys of toys, Hamleys is the biggest toyshop in the world. It’s not to be missed for visitors, but at the height of Christmas shopping, we prefer the more intimate Pollock’s Toy Museum. Benjamin Pollock was a Victorian creator of toy theatres and the fascinating museum has been family run since the Fifties.

If you’re short on time, keep to Pollock’s ground floor shop where there are reasonably priced wooden toys.

Paris: 1

ICE SKATING

London

After a festive meal, where better to burn off energy than on the rink in front of the Natural History Museum? London has plenty of other rinks to pirouette upon, including Skylight’s rooftop rink, with impressive city views, or cutting your crystal in the rink of the Tower of London, outside the Queen’s jewels. London rinks sell hot chocolate to warm hands and cockles after whizzing around the ice.

Paris

Usually Paris would win this one hands down, but this year there will not be a rink within the Eiffel Tower and all outdoor rinks have sadly been postponed. Instead, we head to the Zenith Theatre at La Villette to take inspiration for next year from Disney On Ice and marvel as our favourite characters perform impressive song and dance numbers on the ice. An awe-inspiring (and warmer) alternative.

London: 1

Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is a popular attraction.
CREDIT: BEN STEVENS

OUTDOORS

London

West London has the lion’s share of holiday fun, from Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland to the illuminated trails through Syon Park’s arboretum, and the dazzling light shows on the glasshouse at Kew Gardens. You can even sing “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer” to the deer in Richmond Park; deer scouting gives London a leg up on this Christmas competition.

Paris

Galeries Lafayette gets spruced up for Christmas The City of Light is an apt moniker for Paris at Christmas. The illuminated cheer of Paris market streets is distinct, with family-run fromagerie and fishmongers hoisting decorated Christmas trees on top of their awnings.  Excellent decorations can be seen on rue Montorguiel (2nd), rue des Martyrs (9th), rue Cler (7th) and du Commerce (15th). If you don’t mind a bit of jostling, there’s also the theatrical Christmas windows designed for tots at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, with raised platforms for the little ones to get a good, protected view. You don’t get that at Harrods.

London: 1

CHRISTMAS ON THE SCREEN

CREDIT: EVERETT COLLECTION/REX

London

Hunkering down in the daytime to watch a Christmas movie is a delight of the holidays and London has lots of pop-up cinemas in unexpected places. After venturing through a glistening icy cave at Backyard Cinema’s Snow Kingdom you can nestle into a beanbag and enjoy family films including Home Alone and It’s a Wonderful Life.

Paris

A perfect way for the family to escape the cold (and the tourists) is to duck into a beautiful theatre to introduce the children to some hilarious silent classics. A gorgeous Art Nouveau theatre, Le Luxor has Egyptian-esque architectural features, while Le Balzac (off the Champs-Elysées) has plush red velvet seats and dramatic curtains. Both cinemas host children’s programmes, often including silent greats such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, in case you don’t speak French.

Paris: 1

SWEET TREATS

Galeries Lafayette gets spruced up for Christmas

Paris

La Cuisine Paris has a fantastic selection of classes for the whole family to learn how to make a Bûche de Noël or a Galette des Rois. Children as young as five have fun getting their paws dirty kneading buttery French dough. The delicious treat to take home is a bonus!

London

Throughout December, Bread Ahead in London’s Borough Market hosts seasonal baking classes where you can learn how to bake mince pies, dense ginger cake and stollen together. London has plenty of places to simply ogle beautiful baked goods, including the snow-frosted gingerbread houses at The Savoy’s patisserie. While you’re there, be sure to count the baubles and crackers that festoon the glittering fir tree.

A tie!

THATKid Tuesday is a dose of Art History terms for kids, simplified and illustrated. These terms are culled from the glossary found in our Kid Packs, booklets you receive on Luxe Hunts that offer travelling families exercises that I, as a mother, have found useful giving to Storsh and Balthazar at restaurants when travelling. The Kid Packs have art fun such as a Botticelli spot-the-difference, Michelangelo connect-the-dots or some da Vinci Decoding (do you know he kept his journal in a secret language?!!)

Today’s THATKid Tuesday is … perspective. This is the 1st of 2 posts on perspective as it’s unreasonably complicated and can confuse plenty of adults, too.

Perspective is a word for various techniques that artists use to show a 3D world on a 2D surface (like a canvas or page).

It can be broken into two areas: Linear Perspective (such as Single-point perspective, which uses a typ of Linear Perspective) and Atmospheric Perspective.

painting of an empty city by Piero della Francesca
See the Vanishing Point in Piero della Francesca’s View of an Ideal City?

One point perspective is a system to assist in realistically rendering a three-dimensional scene on a two-dimensional surface by using lines which radiate from one point (known as a vanishing point) on the horizon line. One point perspective differs from two point and three point perspectives in that there is only one vanishing point. See the Renaissance painting above, by Piero della Francesca?

Perspective can be quite complicated (besides linear perspective there’s aerial/atmospheric perspective (just think of the Mona Lisa‘s landscape in the back), single-point and multi-point perspective). The nitty gritty of perspective in art is the way that objects appear smaller when they are further away and that objects are foreshortened. Foreshortening is when an object appears shorter than it would be, in order to give depth to the painting. We’ll be writing another THATKid post with some examples of foreshortening soon, so don’t worry if you don’t know what it means!

In Renaissance Italy, artists were rediscovering the rules of perspective and paying special attention to how they were depicting volumes and spatial relationships on flat surfaces. The word “perspective” comes from the Latin perspicere, meaning to see through. When perspective is used, it’s as if we’re looking through a window (2D) into the world of the painting (3D).

The first type of perspective we’ll be covering, though, is one-point perspective. This is a type of linear perspective, which is used for paintings or photos where the subject, which could be a building, a room, or something else, is directly facing the viewer. With one-point perspective, there’s a horizon line, which is the viewer’s eye level in the painting. Often, it’s the point where the sky meets the land or water in the painting.

Another important element is the way parallel lines appear to meet each other at the point in the distance, which is somewhere on the horizon line, and is called the vanishing point.

Sound complicated? Let’s see some examples!

Look at this photo of a railway track below. The horizon is pretty obvious – it’s where the sky meets everything else in the picture. But can you see how the railway lines seem to get closer together the further away they get? And, in the distance, they appear to meet – this is the vanishing point (where the lines meet the horizon and “vanish”). Of course, the tracks aren’t really getting closer together, it just looks that way, which is something that artists can use when trying to imply perspective and distance.

Sometimes, as in the photo above, the vanishing point – where the parallel lines meet – is visible in the painting, but not always. It can be imagined, and well outside of the plane of the painting.

For example, in this painting above, the Oath of Horatii by Jacques-Louis David, the straight lines which make up the building and the floor tiles meet up at a central point, as seen below. The point where all the lines meet is the focal point of the painting.  For David’s painting, which is in the Louvre, the father’s hands, holding the son’s three swords is where our eye is drawn. This is also highlighted by the muted colors in the background against the sharp light telling us where to look.

A focal point is the element in a scene or painting that pulls in the viewer’s eye and is the centre of attention. There are many different ways the artist can achieve this.

Next THATKid perspective will attack other elements of perspective, such as Atmospheric/Aerial Perspective, a whole ‘nother monster!

Any questions about perspective in art? Leave us a comment with any questions!

The THATMuse blog has content pieces about the actual museums where you’re hunting, but we’ve also amassed plenty of recommendations of what to do in Paris and London apart from your museum time. Check out our Travelling in Paris & London category on the blog for pieces from kid-friendly parks, cafes and toyshops to romantic cocktail lounges near our museums.

Having had fun reviewing cafes and pubs near the BM, past student intern Cheyenne has also put in her two cents on the great restaurants and cafes that are actually inside the British Museum. Considering London’s rain, you may just want to stay in the museum after your hunt and before you return to the galleries to linger over your treasure more slowly (the hope of our hunts is to extend your museum visit!)

Court Cafe

Nestled in the North-East and the North-West corner of the Great Court

British Museum Great Court Cafe
One of several Great Court Cafes

This double-sited cafe has plenty of little treats, such as scones, brownies, and other goodies to make your mouth drool! With long communal tables, you benefit from the impressive British Museum “Grand Court” view with natural light filtering in through Norman Foster’s famous glass ceiling. There are “Kid Packs” as well as sandwiches & hot & cold beverages. Perfect for when you’re looking for a delicious snack to recharge before you begin exploring once more.

Great Court Restaurant

3rd floor, Great Court

Diners at British Museum Great court  restaurant under Norman Foster glass ceiling
The Great Court Restaurant

If you’re looking for a good lunch (or dinner on Friday nights, when the museum is open late) then this is the place for you! It has a wonderful selection from great salads to a delicious dill salmon dish or steak frites. Or if you’d like to go local, they also have some great fish and chips if you’re in the mood to try some traditional British fare. They also do a formal, yet reasonably priced high tea*, although reservations for this might be useful as it can be popular (high teas are a formal affair and can run up a bill enormously). A plant-filled aerie, this is just below Norman Foster’s glass ceiling, and serves as the museum’s most formal restaurant.

Coffee Lounge

3rd floor, between the South stairs and Room 40

This is my personal favorite, as it’s right between two of my favorite galleries: Clocks & Watches and Money. They have some great open-face sandwiches, cake and make some absolutely amazing hot drinks. Whenever I need a quick breather from the actual museum, I like to come here and sip a hot chocolate while I people watch. If you happen to be near here on the hour, stick around and watch the fantastic Strasbourg Clock playing a sweet little tune on hour. This cafe is also the site of a Skull Scouting treasure hunt bonus question: teams have to trot like a Tang Horse for the café’s entertainment!

Montague Café

Near the Montague Place Entrance

A cute little café tucked into a corner, with plenty of snacks and hot drinks to suit your needs. Usually a little less busy than the cafes in or near the Great Court, it’s a great place to sit and have a quiet conversation over a coffee, although they also have small fruit bowls and chips for a snack. As a warning though, while Montague Place isn’t used quite as much as the main entrance, it does make a popular meeting point for school groups and tours, so it can get quite crowded in the entrance hall next to the café.

Sir Hans Sloane

bust of hans sloane british museum founder

This lovely gentleman right here is Sir Hans Sloane, whose collection is the basis of the British Museum. A physician and collector, Sloane amassed a huge array of scientific and historic artifacts — an impressive 71,000 books, manuscripts, natural specimens and “things relating to the customs of ancient times” which became the foundation of the museum.  Sloane started off his collecting spree by gathering natural specimens, many of which he got on an adventure in 1687 to Jamaica. During his time there, he amassed over 800 plants and other live specimens. He didn’t stop there though– Sloane became a collector of collections! He purchased collections by people such as William Charlton and James Petiver. Once word got around that Sloane enjoyed collecting these specimens and objects, you can bet that every birthday and Christmas he was gifted with more pieces to add to his collection.

Though the British Museum is known today primarily for its antiquities, it wasn’t until 1772 when Sir William Hamilton’s collection of Greek vases was bought by the museum that they began to accrue much of the classical antiquities collections. Now, the British Museum holds over 8 million objects – which all started from Sir Hans Sloane’s generous donation.

The THATMuse blog has content pieces about the actual museums where you’re hunting, but we’ve also amassed plenty of recommendations of what to do in Paris and London apart from your museum time. Check out our Travelling in Paris & London category on the blog for pieces from kid-friendly parks, cafes and toyshops to romantic cocktail lounges near our museums.

Following a morning or afternoon on a THATMuse treasure hunt at the British Museum you may want to go scouting for off-the-beaten track treasures in blooming Bloomsbury, the museum’s intellectual (& green!) neighborhood. Mother of two and founder of THATMuse, Daisy de Plume lists her top five picks of Quirky Kid Fun in Bloomsbury. The following five are free and within 15 minutes by foot from the British Museum:   

Coram’s Fields

families with kids sat under trees near play park at Coram's Fields

This 7-acre park on the former site of the Foundling Hospital is a treasure trove of fun for the kiddies. From a flock of farm animals for all ages (from goats to chickens, parrots to bunnies) to a sandbox for tots, Coram’s Fields suits all. My 6-year old, Storsh, does a bee line for the challenging sling line (aka “Death Slide”) although half the time he just ogles in envy as heavier teens zoom past him with their speed zeal. For quick rain showers there’s a gazebo as well as a café within the open colonnade that serves toasties, hot chocolate and fruit. In the warmer months there’s also a lovely sunken fountain for the kids to go a-frolicking. For teens & adults the neighboring Foundling Museum tells you about how Handel donated his organ to the Foundling Hospital and William Hogarth designed the orphans’ costumes. 93 Guilford Street – 

St George’s Gardens

greenery, trees and graves in St George's Gardens

Another hidden treasure is the gorgeous gardens of an 18th century graveyard which only locals tend to cross. Off the beaten track, it’s no surprise it’s a destination for Geocaching families to track down. The gated entrance is at the end of the tiny road, Handel Street, which leads to the convenient Brunswick Center  (of Brutalist fame). Pick up some aluminum-wrapped chocolates at the ginormous Waitrose and using the supermarket’s back entrance hang a right to the gated entrance of St George’s garden, which bookends the tiny Handel Street.  Sprinkle your chocolates about the flowered garden and send your kids on a treasure hunt of their own in the park, or just play hide and go seek among the enormous plane trees, some dating to the 1750s! 1 Handel St –     

Pollock’s Toy Museum

colourful painted facade of Pollock's Toy Museum with windows full d vintage toys

Family run since it was started in an attic in 1956, this precious toy museum was always my Bloomsbury treat when I was a kid visiting from the States. Named for Benjamin Pollock, Ltd, which was the last of the Victorian toy theater print companies, their collection of children’s theatre sets is wonderful. Split between two houses (one from the 1780s, the other from 1880s), you can skip the museum for the wonderfully antiquated toyshop on the ground floor where you’ll find reasonably priced Villac kites, beautiful travel sets of checkers, chess or backgammon & colorful wood toys such as a Jacob’s Ladder. 1 Scala Street –       

Russell Square

Path, benches, fountain and cafe in Russell Square London

RStorsh has the luck of being trilingual (& the bad luck of being culturally confused). As such has made many an international friend in the central fountain of Russell Square. If you have a change of clothes for them pick up a sandwich at the museum and bring it to the neighboring park where kids are bound to find other like-minded imps splashing about in the bursting fountain. The green of the park encourages clusters of picnickers, or there’s a Russell Square café which has Italian gelati or hot chocolate to warm up after their dunking!

Jeremy Bentham

Philosophy gawking… How better to get your kids to remember the 19th centuryphilosopher and founder of Utilitarianism than to visit his wax corpse?!? He presides over the University College London (UCL) from a glass box, he requested that his skeleton should be preserved and dressed in his own clothes. Talk about English eccentricities! The “spiritual founder of UCL”, he’s been known to attend the University’s council meetings (in 2013 he was recorded as “present but not voting”), but when this happens it takes 3 people to move him as he’s bolted to chair in a glass box (on display for anyone to visit) and must be moved in one piece! I always recommend this to families who have chosen the Skull Scouting THATMuse at the British Museum, to take their treasure hunting outside the museum! UCL directions to Jeremy (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/access-ucl/self-guided-tour)

Hello! Here’s a post from our series, THATKid Tuesday which is a dose of Art History pieces for kids, simplified and illustrated. These terms are culled from the glossary found in our Kid Packs, booklets you receive on Luxe Hunts that offer families the possibility of taking the museum-interaction with them. I made the Kid Packs for families visiting London and Paris, b/c as a mother, I’ve really just wanted to have a glass of wine at the end of a lovely day touristing. Have found such exercises fun to engage my boys, Storsh and Balthazar, in quieter museum fun when we’re at cafes and restaurants. The Kid Packs have exercises like Botticelli spot-the-difference, Parthenon architectural vocab, Michelangelo connect-the-dots, some da Vinci Decoding (do you know he kept his journal in a secret language?!!) & even some color-in exercises for siblings with shorter legs. Fancy un-covering what our color-by-number Norman Foster ceiling at the British Museum shows?

human headed winged bull, Lamassu
Lamassus at the University of Chicago Oriental Institute of Art, Neo-Assyria (Iraq) 721-705 BC

Anyway, this THATKid Tuesday covers Mesopotamian Lamassus! These gentle giants symbolize protection and power in the ‘Fertile Crescent’ of Assyria and Babylon. Human winged bulls, I love these guys because they’re meant to be seen from different perspectives. How many legs do you see? Can you guess why they have so many legs? You can find them in many major museums, from the Louvre and British Museum and Met (NYC) across to collections in Chicago, Mumbai, Berlin and even New Haven, Connecticut. Making museum connections is so important. Lamassus also make me (strangely!) grateful to imperialism, because during a particularly painful period the terrorist group ISIS sledgehammered their own history, destroying Palmyra and defacing statues including Lamassus in museums across Syria and the Middle East.

human headed winged bulls at the British Museum
Lamassus at the British Museum: Human Headed Winged Bulls from Dur-Sharrukin (present day Khorsabad, Iraq)

You may have seen them if you’ve done a hunt at the Louvre or the British Museum. These creatures are ginormous Mesopotamian protective genies and palace gate-keepers. Serving architectural functions, they flanked gates to cities and palaces, protecting what was behind them.

You can see they have a king’s head and so have the intelligence of a human, their wings give them the swiftness of an eagle, while their powerful bodies give them the strength of a bull. A pretty good guard dog!

If you look closely you can see that they actually have five legs. Because of this, if you look at them straight on they appear to be standing at attention, guarding what’s behind them (their job, as well as the city wall or palace). But! If you look at them from the side — when you’ve been allowed to enter the gate — they look like they’re on the move. They’re doing what you’re doing as you enter the gate you’ve been allowed through, they’re walking!

human headed bulls, Lamassus
Lamassus au Louvre, from Sargon II’s palace in Dur Sharrukin (Khorsabad, Iraq)

Keep an eye out for these beauties in the Louvre, which have a whole room to themselves (above), and at the British Museum, where there are six Lamassus! If you pay careful attention, one of the British Museum Lamassus has some ancient markings between their legs (or are we being polite and it’s actually called GRAFFITI!?!). This is one of my favorite pieces in our Fun & Games treasure hunt, because it’s a 7th Century BC board game graffitied by some guards (to keep themselves entertained!)… And guess what? The REAL board game, The Royal Game of Ur, is upstairs in the British Museum (and of course another piece of treasure on that hunt!).

Any questions about Lamassus? Please leave a comment below!

Having covered the Old Kingdom and the Middle Kingdom, we’re now turning our attention to the New Kingdom, Egypt’s most prosperous and powerful period. The New Kingdom, from 16th century BC to 11th century BC, covered the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties. The latter part is referred to as the Ramesside Period, due to eleven pharaohs named Ramesses.

Granite statue of pharaoh Ramesses II in British Museum, From Egypt around 1300 BC
Ramesses II from the British Museum Collection

The Napoleon of Egypt, Thutmose III, consolidated and expanded the Egyptian empire to great success, leaving a surplus of power and wealth to his successors. Interestingly, his Co-Regent was Hatshepsut (left), the second female pharaoh of Egypt. Although they were technically co-regents, Thutmose was only 2 years old when the pair ascended to the throne, leaving virtually all of the power in Hatshepsut’s hand for 22 years, during which she enjoyed a highly successful rule, establishing trade routes and overseeing major building projects.

The Pharaoh Amenhotep IV followed this period. He changed his name to Akhenaten in order to honor the god Aten, in what could be interpreted as the first instance of monotheism in history. This change wasn’t very well received, and he was subsequently written out of Egyptian history! That said, although art flourished to an unprecedented level during his reign.  

The 19th Dynasty is more famous for its great military than anything. Ramesses II, called the Great, was caught in the first ever recorded military ambush. He remained unfazed and won the battle! Thus his moniker, Ramesses the Great. He fathered a TON of kids, which is why his sons’ tombs in the Valley of the Kings is the largest funerary complex in Egypt. His statue (above) is one of many that you can see in the British Museum.

Bust of Hapshepsut from the Met In New York
Hatshepsut at the Met in New York City

The 20th Dynasty would see the last ‘great’ pharaoh of the New Kingdom, Ramesses III. He defeated the Sea Peoples in two great land and sea battles, and settled them in Southern Canaan as his subjects. He also had to fight invaders from Libya, and these wars drained Egypt’s treasury and led to a decline in the empire. The first known labor strike in history occurred during his reign, when tomb-builders and artisans did not receive their rations. After his death, the pharaoh’s power continued to decline, hurried on by droughts, famine, and corruption throughout the land. The last of the Kingdoms was coming to its end, and so are our Ancient Egypt posts, sadly.

Ramsesses II in the British Museum The Pharaoh Amenhotep IV followed this period. He changed his name to Akhenaten in order to honor the god Aten, in what could be interpreted as the first instance of monotheism in history. This change wasn’t very well received, and he was subsequently written out of Egyptian history! That said, art flourished to an unprecedented level during his reign.   The 19th Dynasty is more famous for its great military than anything. Ramesses II, called the Great, was caught in the first ever recorded military ambush. He remained unfazed and won the battle! Thus his moniker, Ramesses the Great. He fathered a ton of kids, which is why his sons’ tombs in the Valley of the Kings is the largest funerary complex in Egypt.

Image result for valley of the kings
The Valley of the Kings near Luxor, Egypt

sculpture of Michelangelo's David in Florence
David, by Michelangelo (1501-1504), at the Accademia in Florence, Italy… Staring off in to the middle distance, calculating!

THATKid Tuesday is a dose of Art History terms for kids, simplified and illustrated. These terms are culled from the glossary found in our Kid Packs, booklets you receive on Luxe Hunts that offer travelling families exercises. I made one for families visiting London and Paris, b/c as a mother, I’ve really just wanted to have a glass of wine at the end of a lovely day touristing and have found it useful to give Storsh and Balthazar these exercises at restaurants when travelling. The Kid Packs have art fun such as a Botticelli spot-the-difference, Michelangelo connect-the-dots, some da Vinci Decoding (do you know he kept his journal in a secret language?!!) or even some color-in exercises for smaller siblings.

painting of David beheading Goliath
Daniele da Volterra’s David slaying Goliath, circa 1550 – 1555 (au Louvre)

This time we’re going to look at the story of David vs Goliath!

Goliath, a 9-foot giant Philistine warrior, was defeated by the young boy David in the Bible’s Books of Samuel (Old Testament). King Saul had offered the shepherd David a sword and armor, but David refused and, defeating all odds, killing Goliath with a simple stone and sling. The term David vs Goliath refers to an underdog overcoming the odds with strong motivation and smarts. For instance, if two technology companies were competing — with one of them as Google and the other as a start-up — if the start-up outperforms Google by a massive margin, the term “David vs Goliath” would likely to be used.

Bronze sculpture of David by Donatello
a cast copy of Donatello’s young boy David at the V&A in London. The original is at the Bargello in Florence

This biblical story has been the subject of many pieces of art, music, and literature throughout the ages, such as these replicas by Donatello and Verrocchio in the V&A. There’s just something about the story of a little guy getting one over on a giant bully that really speaks to people of any time. The actual tale is a bit gruesome, as David hacks off his opponent’s head after killing him, and takes it with him as a sort of trophy. Not exactly a bronze participation trophy, eh?

bronze sculpture of David and Goliath
Verrocchio’s David leaves the tired old head of Goliath beheaded and at his foot. This cast copy from the V&A, the original is at the Bargello in Florence

Any questions about David vs Goliath in art? Or leave us a comment below with your favorite David & Goliath!

Have you built up an appetite after a hunt (or looking to fuel up before taking the museum by storm)? Listed below are a variety of hotels, pubs, cafés and restaurants near the British Museum where you can grab a bite to eat.

Please note, we’re happy to provide this list of places (all a stone’s throw to the BM) where we’ve conducted score tallying, but we don’t make reservations, nor do we negotiate menus. If your hunt starts between 2:30 & 3:30 pm it’s safe to make a 5:30 reservation (apart from Friday, when the museum’s open till 8:30)

The Bloomsbury Club

plush cafe bar in the bloomsbury hotel with comfortable sofas, coral coloured walls and a chandelier

The very first YMCA in the world, this exceptionally impressive Grade II building is now an elegant hotel. It has a 1920s-inspired Coral Room bar, a wood-lined, tony hipster lounge for cocktails in the lower level (where we’ve done several corporate score tallying), a lovely verdant terrace to serve high tea (the Dalloway Terrace, where we’ve done BuzzFeed, Lego & plenty of Hen Party Prize-givings). Any of their settings hits it just right, but it’s pricy. Not a surprise, as it’s to the standard of the Doyle Collection.
Address: 16-22 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NN
Tel: +44 20 7347 1000
Email: reservations@thecoralroom.co.uk
Directions: Exiting the BM, hang a right on Great Russell Street, cross traffic-filled Bloomsbury Street and the large, elegant red brick building will be on your left (so you have to cross the street again). Less than 5 minutes on foot.

map from British Museum to The Bloomsbury Club

The Russell Hotel

Doorman at the font door facade of the Russell Hotel London

The old RUSSELL HOTEL has a new incarnation! For hipster clients, the 5-star Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel on Russell Square recently finished its renovation of the Grade II 1898 The-au-Lait building, with superflash bars, cafes, restaurants and spaces for treasure hunt score tallying! They have an appropriately splendid cocktail bar, Fitz’s (named for the building’s architect Charles Fitzroy Doll), a Burr & Co coffee bar with a large communal table that can seat up to a 25 people hunt or the upmarket seafood restaurant, Neptune.
Address: 1-8 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 5BE
Tel: (0)20 7520 1800
Directions: We’ll exit the back of the British Museum & wander across Russell Square & we’re there!

The Plough

classic British pub The Plough on the corner of Museum Road

Sometimes you just want a good solid Victorian pub. The Plough has an upstairs room where we’ve done the score tallying for plenty of 20 to 50-person corporate and birthday hunts.  Typical authentic pub menu with fish & chips, burgers steak and ale pies, etc, this is a Greene King pub. As it’s just down the road from the museum, we’ve probably used this most often for score tallying. Staff are hit or miss…
Address: 27 Museum Street London WC1A 1LH
Tel: +44 (0)20 7636 7964     
Directions: Exiting the front of the BM, turn right onto Great Russell Street & walk half a block before crossing to Museum Street. The Plough, on the corner with hanging flowers, will be on your right. An easy 2 minute walk.

map from British Museum to the Plough

Princess Louise

patrons at the bar of the Princess Louise pub

Historic pub with gorgeous ornate Victorian etched glass, wonderful tile walls and an upstairs perfect for a group meal, we discovered this gem when the compliance team of Disney did their THATMuse score tallying here.
Address: 208 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7EP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7405 8816
Website: http://princesslouisepub.co.uk/
Directions: When exiting the museum’s front entrance on Great Russel Street, turn left onto Bury Place. Next, turn right onto Bloomsbury Way. Cross the street and make your way back onto Bury Place. Turn left onto New Oxford Street, continuing onto High Holborn till you reach the Princess Louise. This walk should take about 6 minutes.

map from British Museum to the Princess Lousie

Cake Shop

croissants and donuts on display in front of a table service sign

at the London Review of Books
Conveniently located just opposite the BM, who doesn’t like going through a bookshop to get to your cakes? As their website says: “Surrounded by books and fragrant with tea, the London Review Cake Shop is the modern answer to London’s long-lost literary coffee-houses” It’s a small space only good for small hunts, with a communal table that seats 16 near a green courtyard and about 8 tables seating another 16 along a banquette. Delicious heavy cakes, wide variety of teas. Plus it feels right to support small independent bookshops! We’ve hosted plenty of Luxe Travelling families on their score tallying here.
Hours:         Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 6:30
Address:     14 Bury Place, London WC1A 2JL
Tel: +44 (0)20 7269 9045

Pied Bull Yard

outdoor cafe seating in pied bull yard

Pied Bull Yard is an enchanting little gem of SILENCE just opposite the throngs of tourists mulling about the BM’s Great Russell Street. Tourists and natives alike walk right past its (many) elegant entrances, unaware of its picturesque, leafy courtyard just behind the London Review of Books, where you’ll find a flakey croissant by the hand of French culinary students of the Cordon Bleu or one of London’s few proper biergartens in the form of the English pub Truckles, which serves ales in pewter tankards. Tracing its history is tricky, as this delightful nest of back alleys and courtyards was off the map till 1746 when it appeared on the Rocque Map as “Stable Yard”. Accessed by Bury Lane & Bloomsbury Sq Garden.

Dickens Museum Garden Café

wood panelled cafe counter and brick lined garden cafe with flowers and trellises at the Dickens Museum

Dickens Museum Garden Café is about 10 minutes by foot from the BM, making it just far enough from the tourist trail that one finds themselves in genuine Bloomsbury. Well worth a walk to Doughty Street, the museum itself is a double Georgian row house where Dickens wrote Oliver Twist among others. Great for teens who may have just read one of his treasures, but also a treat for families with tots; my toddler, Baz, has investigated every stone of this garden as he patters about barefoot while I rest my tootsies over a gin ‘n tonic or tea & cake. Pleasant staff and a precious gift shop finish it off as a destination unto itself. 48 Doughty Street https://dickensmuseum.com/

The Life Goddess

patrons eating outside the life goddess greek deli

Just a four minute walk from the BM, the Life Goddess in Fitzrovia is the perfect spot for you and your crew to tally up points and grab a bite to eat. The Greek restaurant prides themselves on fresh and quality ingredients from Greece, and is equipped with a mouthwatering menu that will satisfy all guests. The Life Goddess also has a “carefully curated” wine and cocktail list, and “is a must for lovers of quality food and wine.” With a relaxed and stylish setting that can accommodate groups, this restaurant might be the perfect post-hunt location for you and your team.

Hours: Monday-Sunday, 12pm – 11pm

Address: 29 Store St, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7QB

Tel: + 020 7637 2401

Bibimbap Cafe

stone bowl of korean bibimbap with egg, carrots, spinach, cress and beansprouts

A Taste of Korea, Vegan Friendly!
If you’re not really in the mood for British cuisine, toddle along a little further (less than 5 minutes) to Bibimbab Café for some incredible Korean dishes. Bibimbab also has several vegan and vegetarian options if you have any dietary restrictions. A relaxed and cosy space, it has just enough room for a family or two to score tally after a Luxe Hunt!
Address: 37 Museum street, London WC1A 1LP
Website: http://bibimbabcafe.com/
Phone: 020 7404 8880

Konaki

White front of Konaki Greek restaurant

KONAKI is a Greek restaurant located just steps away from the front entrance of the British Museum. It’s a family run restaurant with typical Greek fare in a cosy setting. It sits up to 50 people and even has outdoor seating for when the weather is nice. Please note, they are only open for dinner service and are closed on Sundays.

Address: 5 Coptic St, Bloomsbury, London WC1A 1NH
Phone: 020 7580 9730
Website: http://www.konaki.co.uk/index.html