Elephant tusk donated
21 November 2013
Devonian Nigel Morriss has donated a carved elephant tusk to the museum. The tusk offers an ideal opportunity to draw attention to the plight of wildlife and the illegal trade in ivory and plans are being formulated to incorporate it into the World Cultures gallery displays.
The exact origins of the carved tusk are obscure but it has been in the family for over 80 years and they believe that it was brought back by one of the several family members who served abroad.
Although Mr Morriss was born in Kano, Nigeria, he spent most of his adult life in Brazil and has retired to Kent, he has strong Devon links. His mother was born in South Street, Exeter. She attended the Marnard School and was for a while governess to the Buller children at Downes, Crediton (Sir General Redvers Buller’s statue stands opposite Exeter College in Hele Road). Her father was Donald Baker who ran Downe & Baker, brass founders and engineers in South Street. Their house was destroyed in the Blitz but the works were still operating on the site up to the early 1960s, when it was transferred to Heavitree. Mr Morris’ paternal grandmother was born in Crediton and married in Newton St Cyres. Her family were farmers in Kenn and North Devon. Mr Morris was brought up in Coleford, Crediton and attended Haywards School, Crediton, then Exeter School.
Mr Morriss said returning to Exeter was an eye-opener “Major changes have taken place since I knew Exeter in the 1950s-60s. Large areas were still just bomb sites and they have been redeveloped – with mixed results. The old Paris Street – Southernhay piece appears very impressive and leads well into the Cathedral precinct. To me, the Paul Street and South Street efforts seem to have been less happy in blending into the old centre. However, the modern utilisation of Gandy Street and the Queen Street Market are great examples of imaginative thinking – as of course, is the updated and respected RAMM!”