Rare jigsaw of Europe to feature in exhibition about Broken Relationships at York Castle Museum.

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Rare Jigsaw of Europe to Feature in Exhibition About Broken Relationships

29 January 2019

One of the first jigsaws ever made which divides Europe along its borders will feature in a new exhibition on Broken Relationships at York Castle Museum this March.

Just as Britain is set to break up with the European Union, the museum brings a collection of stories and symbolic possessions to York from the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia.

Always heartfelt, sometimes humorous and often deeply moving, the exhibition will also be enriched with objects from York which relate to the ways we fall out of love.

One such object is a jigsaw of Europe from 1766, designed by John Spilsbury who is said to have invented the type of puzzle. The maps were designed as teaching aids for geography classes, with different pieces representing different countries.

Philip Newton from York Castle Museum’s curatorial team, said:

“This extraordinary jigsaw is believed to be one of the first ever made. When looking through our archives it seemed fitting for inclusion in this exhibition at a time when division both culturally and geographically is so prominent in the news.

“It has been chosen as one of the objects which relate to the break-up of a relationship on a national level but the exhibition will also include objects which offer a much more personal story which capture a key moment from when love falls apart.”

The extremely rare jigsaw was made by Spilsbury who is believed to have been the first commercial manufacturer of jigsaws. His earliest examples were all based on maps, most likely to appeal to upper class English parents: the world, the four continents then known (Africa, America, Asia and Europe), England and Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

The loans from the Museum of Broken Relationships focus more closely on personal relationships and feature items which have been donated which to the individual resonate with the moment love fell apart.

They include a can of Love incense, the owner said “doesn’t work”, a dog’s toy hamburger (“his dog left more traces behind than he did”) and a pair of fluffy handcuffs with the note “tie me up”.