Horn is defined as the hard material covering the outer soft core of the permanent growths on the upper part of the head and toes of certain ungulates, hoofed mammals, such as cattle, bison, buffalo, sheep, goats and rhinoceros. It is formed of keratin and other proteins surrounding a core of living soft tissue.
|The exhibition includes a display of fashion items.|
Horn is a natural thermoplastic substance which means that when heated to a certain temperature it becomes pliable. With little work it can be made into objects which exploit the natural shape of horn, or by the application of heat and/or pressure it can be manipulated to form a wide variety of objects such as spectacle frames, combs and cutlery. It can be carved, engraved, or simply polished to enhance the natural beauty of the material. Splitting the laminations or layers produces a thin, semi-transparent material which has been used in place of glass for windows and lantern panes. Pressing into moulds to produce formed shapes and intricate embossed designs was common practice. Boiling removes the colour from some types of horn leaving a translucent material which can be stained or dyed. The solid tip of horns and hooves is commonly cut, drilled and polished to make buttons.
|It is thought the word 'lantern' comes from the archaic English word 'lanthorn' reflecting the use of horn leaves in the sides of the light.|
The Worshipful Company of Horners
|Horn was used by many tradesmen including jewellers and opticians.|
Louise Dennis, (Assistant Curator)