Salon: Issue 380
21 February 2017
Next issue: 7 March 2017
The Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter (Salon) is a fortnightly digest of heritage news. It focuses on the activities of the Society and the contributions that the Society's Fellows make to public life. A copy of Salon’s editorial policy can be found on the Society’s website.
Please send news, comment and feedback for publication to the Editor, Mike Pitts, at Salon Editor.
Salon does not review books, but the Editor is pleased to receive details and front cover images of new titles written by Fellows. Scholarly publications are reviewed in The Antiquaries Journal: for details see Publications.
From the Desk of the General Secretary
Out-of-London Meeting in Cardiff
We are looking forward to the forthcoming out-of-London Ordinary Meeting of Fellows in Cardiff on Thursday, 2 March
. The President, General Secretary, Communications Manager and Publications Manager will be in attendance and are all looking forward to connecting with Welsh Fellows. We will hear a lecture by Fellows Paul Nicholson
and Steve Mills
, entitled 'Views of an Antique Land: Imaging Egypt and Palestine in the First World War'. More information about the event is on our website
Fellows wishing to use the opportunity to be formally admitted
are asked to call or email our Executive Assistant, Jola Zdunek, in advance (020 7479 7080 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We would like to thank Fellow John Hines
for his generous time and effort in organising this event in Cardiff.
Reminder: Nominations for Council, President and Treasurer
Fellows are reminded that the deadline for nominations for vacant posts for 2017-2020 on Council, including the roles of President and Treasurer, is 1 March 2017 (in time for the Anniversary Meeting on Thursday, 27 April). Our current President and Treasurer each come to the end of their term of appointment, and there are in addition three vacancies for Council Members. According to the Statutes, no Fellow can be elected into any of these positions unless either nominated by five Fellows before 1 March 2017, or recommended by Council. A nomination form
can be found in the Fellows’ area of the website (login required).
Unlocking Our Collections: Beith Shield (LDSAL 80)
The Society of Antiquaries has, over more than 300 years, accumulated astonishing collections. Through the Library and Museum collections at Burlington House (London) and Kelmscott Manor (Oxfordshire), the Society cares for a vast array of material, ranging from Old Master paintings to archaeological objects, from prints and drawings to one of the finest libraries for antiquarian and archaeological research anywhere.
Our current 'Unlocking Our Collections' feature is by Dr Brendan J O'Connor, FSA, who helps us understand the Beith Bronze Age shield, one of the Society's earliest museum objects.
Fellows, We Need Your Help!
If you have a favourite object in the Society's Library or Museum collections and would be willing to research and write a short feature for our website, please contact the Communications Manager Renée LaDue, at email@example.com.
Raising Horizons Photographic Exhibition
Ends 28 February
Highlighting women in geoscience past and present, the exhibition will be on public display at the Geological Society, Burlington House
A collaboration between Leonora Saunders and Trowelblazers has created a stunning re-imagining of fourteen historic women from archaeology, geology and palaeontology - including 19th-century Mary Anning, known as the “world’s greatest fossil hunter”.
The Raising Horizons exhibition aims to bring to life women from the past at the same time as highlighting contemporary ‘trowel-blazers’. Ranging from the 1830s through to the 1960s, each historic woman is posed by her modern counterpart. Photographer Leonora Saunders’ captivating images represent a moment in time from the lives of each historic individual. Working with TrowelBlazers, an organisation run by three archaeologists and a palaeobiologist, both famous and little-known women are paired with a range of diverse individuals working today from different sectors and at varied career levels.
The Society is proud to be a sponsor of the Raising Horizons exhibition, hosting educational activities at Burlington House
'Come Dig With Me', by the Harris Academy Bermondsey
On Monday, 20 February, the Society hosted an event for the Harris Academy Bermondsey
. A group of female students, including the HAB Feminist Society, took a tour of the Raising Horizons
exhibition at the Geological Society, and were then welcomed to the Society of Antiquaries of London for a unique learning experience.
The HAB Feminst Society presented 'Come Dig With Me: And Adventure into the Forgotten Archaeological, Paleontological and Geological Herstory' to their peers and a panel of professional trowel-blazing women. 'Come Dig With Me' (based of course on the popular Channel 4 programme 'Come Dine With Me') was a short skit – researched, written, produced and performed by the young women of the Feminist Society – that highlighted the history and lasting legacies of historic women. The figures presented included palaeontologist Annie Montague Alexander, archaeologist Gertrude Bell (one of the first female Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of London), palaeontologist Mignon Talbot, geologist Mary Ann Mantell, archaeologist Zelia Nuttal, and archaeologist Jane Dieulafoy.
Following the theatrical presentation, students heard from six trowel-blazing professionals about their paths into their fields, including: Professor Carenza Lewis FSA
(University of Lincoln), Jessica Bryan (Museum of London Archaeology), Dr Rachel Bynoe (Natural History Museum), Dr Amara Thornton FSA
(University College London), Professor Anjali Goswami (University College London, Co-Director of the Centre for Ecology), and Professor Sue Hamilton FSA
(Director of the Institute of Archaeology).
After the presentations, the students were broken up into six smaller groups and engaged in a 'speed networking' activity, with the opportunity to sit and ask questions of the professional women they had heard from.
The event was organised by Rebecca Wragg Sykes
(elected to the Society on 10 November), of TrowelBlazers
, and Leonora Saunders, the photographer who shot the portraits in the Raising Horizons
Tears in Heaven
Constable called it The Great Salisbury
, and wrote of it, ‘I am told I got it to look better than anything I have yet done.’ One of his 13 monumental ‘six-footer’ canvases, Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows
is among the UK’s best known paintings. A new research project may change the way we think about it. On 19 February Tate published a study to which Charles Watkins FSA
has contributed, suggesting the artist added the spectacular rainbow to a previously completed canvas to commemorate a friend's death.
In Focus: Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows exhibited 1831 by John Constable
, is the outcome of a Tate project prompted by the gallery’s acquisition of the painting in 2013. Amy Concannon (Assistant Curator, British Art, 1790–1850, Tate) writes about the artist and the work. Brian Young (Tutor in Modern History, University of Oxford) addresses religion and politics; Watkins (Professor of Rural Geography, University of Nottingham), landscape management, with a focus on Constable’s closely observed trees and on the Harnham Water Meadows, from where the view is seen; and the Very Reverend June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury, assesses the cathedral today.
There is much of interest in these detailed essays, but the point that will enter future exhibition captions is presented by John E Thornes, Emeritus Professor of Applied Meteorology, University of Birmingham. In ‘A reassessment of the solar geometry of Constable’s Salisbury rainbow,’ Thornes suggests ‘for the first time, that Constable’s remarkable scientific knowledge enabled him, at a later date, to add a rainbow that corresponds to the time of his friend Archdeacon John Fisher’s death on the afternoon of 25 August 1832.’
Concannon shows it is possible that there was no rainbow in the original version of the painting exhibited in 1831. Thornes argues that although Constable was ‘a perfectionist about the weather in his scenes’, this painting’s rainbow is ‘meteorologically inconsistent’. Light and shadow show the sun was not behind the artist when he painted the landscape, which it would have to have been for a rainbow to have been visible, as Constable knew; and a rainbow created by the painting’s light would have been much lower in the sky. The rainbow can only have been inserted at a later date, says Thornes.
It had already been recognised that the rainbow meets the horizon at Fisher’s house, Leadenhall. Thornes now argues that the rainbow would have been possible from Constable’s viewpoint on the afternoon of Fisher’s death. He finds a ‘convincing confirmation that such a rainbow is in fact plausible’ in an article by Tim Tatton-Brown FSA
published in 1997. Tatton-Brown located the exact viewpoint from which Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows
was painted, the Longbridge, and illustrated the point with this photo taken near sunset in late September, which, says Thornes, confirms the small size of the cathedral relative to ‘a real, possibly full, 42-degree rainbow.’
The painting is on display at Salisbury Museum until 25 March, in Constable in Context: Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows in Perspective
and will travel to the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh, where it will be displayed from 8 April 2017 to March 2018.
Main photo: Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows,
John Constable 1831, © Tate, London 2013, purchased with assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Manton Foundation, the Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation) and Tate Members.
After considerable research and conservation, Jennifer Scott FSA
has identified Wedding Dance in the Open Air
as a work by Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564–1638). It had previously been attributed to a copyist or a follower of the Flemish master. Scott began her quest in 2014 when she was planning an exhibition at the Holburne Museum in Bath. Together with two other paintings acquired by William Holburne in the 19th century (Robbing the Bird’s Nest
and Visit to a Farmhouse
), the discovery makes the Museum’s the UK's largest collection of Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s work.
Scott told Alastair Sooke, writing for BBC Culture
, that she thought the panel had ‘potential’ as soon as she saw it in the museum’s store. ‘It sounds silly,’ she said, ‘but it’s instinct. You look at something and think either, “Ooh, no,” or, “Hang on a second.” In this case, certain things jumped out through that murky surface.’ After consulting Flemish art specialist Amy Orrock and raising funds through a donor, Scott gave the picture to Elizabeth Holford, an experienced painting conservator. ‘The results’, says Sooke, ‘are spectacular.’
Bruegel: Defining a Dynasty
is open until 4 June.
Dame Jennifer Jenkins 1921–2017
Dame Jennifer Jenkins died on 2 February aged 96. Obituaries led with her leadership of the National Trust, where she ‘oversaw the addition to its estates of well over 50 villages and hamlets and half the coastline of Britain, including the white cliffs of Dover’ (Guardian).
‘In the course of a career spent mostly in the voluntary sector’, said the Times
, ‘she was, as the Evening Standard
reported on her 80th birthday, “a member of more public bodies than anyone may care to count”: the National Trust, Historic Buildings Council, Ancient Monuments Society, Royal Parks Review Group, Heritage Lottery Fund, Architectural Heritage Fund, British Standards Institution, Design Council and the Courtauld Institute, not to mention 11 years as head of the Consumers’ Association.’ The Telegraph
said that at the Trust, where she was Chair from 1985 to 1991, ‘she was widely regarded as providing a much needed shock to the system. She alarmed stuffier elements in the Trust by eschewing the chauffeur-driven car favoured by her predecessor. Lord Gibson, preferring to travel by public transport.’
Many Fellows will remember Jenkins’ as Chair of the Historic Buildings Council (1975–84). ‘In those years’, wrote Marc Girouard FSA
to the Times
, ‘she played a key role in halting the appalling destruction of the historic fabric of English towns that had raged unchecked through the 1950s and 1960s, and on into the 1970s. The HBC under her leadership was concerned with buildings of all kinds in both town and country, but her special interest was in the towns.
‘Legislation in 1967 had made possible conservation areas, and she worked tirelessly to make the system effective, liaising with the local authorities, visiting existing conservation areas, promoting the creation of new ones, and encouraging both with HBC grants. Towns all over England owe her a debt that can scarcely be exaggerated.’
Her work led to the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England in 1984. She was appointed DBE In 1985 for services to ancient and historical buildings. Photo shows Dame Jenkins with her husband Roy Jenkins, a prominent politician (Times
MP: ‘Progressive’ to Remove Ivory from Museums
Rachael Maskell, Labour Member of Parliament for York Central, has said ancient art and artefacts made from ivory are ‘a shameful part of our history’ and should be taken ‘off the shelves of our museums.’ ‘Why have them on display?’ she asked
David Starkey FSA
and Simon Thurley FSA
think otherwise. On 15 February the Antiques Trade Gazette asked for comment
on a proposed total ban on trading ivory in the UK, regardless of the age or nature of pieces. The ban ‘is one of the largest threats to the preservation of Western decorative art,’ said Starkey. ‘Some of the greatest artworks in the world contain ivory,’ said Thurley. ‘We need to have guarantees that pre-1947 ivory can be traded. Without the trade these items will have no value, as museums will not be able to add to their collections.’ Laura Chesters reported similar comments from two other TV presenters, Philip Mould, art and antiques dealer, and gardener Alan Titchmarsh.
Martin Levy FSA
, Chairman of H Blairman and Sons and a member of the Spoliation Advisory Panel, wrote to Salon in 2015
to say that a Director’s Order from President Obama had ‘led to a de facto ban on the import of any ivory into the USA.’ In May last year
we learnt that some 19th-century antiques containing ivory had been taken apart at the order of US customs. In October
the British government proposed stricter trading rules, by making the present ban on the sale of ivory artefacts less than 70 years old subject to documentary or scientific proof.
Things have moved on again. On 6 February MPs considered bringing in a complete ban on ivory trading. The Westminster Hall debate responded to an e-petition, Shut down the domestic ivory market in the UK
, which had received a little over the required 100,000 signatures. Luke Hall opened the discussion with a vivid summary of the extreme threat to the world’s elephant populations (between seven and ten elephants would be killed while members sat and talked, he said). He noted the difficulty law enforcement officers have in distinguishing pre- from post-1947 ivory, ‘especially as newer ivory is frequently and deliberately disguised as antique,’ and questioned how the age of all ivories could be determined (‘Radiocarbon dating every piece of ivory would be hugely expensive and significantly increase the cost of the licensing regime’).
Rob Marris asked, several times, how much such dating would cost. Hall said he didn’t know, and both Pauline Latham and Danny Kinahan said they had ‘no idea’. Victoria Borwick said the ‘usual cost is a few hundred pounds, but it very much depends on the complexity of the object.’ Notwithstanding, Latham said she had ‘just been emailed that it costs roughly £1,000.’ Owen Patterson noted a 2016 Carlisle Crown court case in which ‘cow bone carvings’ were carbon dated at a total cost of £1,134. ‘I have also picked up’, he added, ‘that the University of Oxford does a cheap deal on a single item for £500.’
can reveal the true cost of radiocarbon dating. The University of Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit (ORAU) charges £500 + VAT for a single sample. The Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC) Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory charges £315, with a special price of £415 for a faster four-week turnaround. Beta Analytic will date a sample within 14 days for $595 (£406 before the Brexit Referendum vote, currently £475). Discounts are available for larger batches: SUERC charges £295 a date for 40 samples or more. Questions may be asked about provenance: ‘We reserve the right to refuse material for dating if the provenance is uncertain or for other ethical considerations,’ says OARU. Selling Antiques
website currently lists
126 ivory items from a number of dealers, ranging in price from £105 (a miniature carved seal, said to be Victorian) to £6,850 (a Japanese screen said to have been made in 1900); no provenance information is given for either item.
Latham felt that ‘Until we bring in a near total ban I fear that criminals will find a way to pretend that illegal pieces are legal.’ Rachael Maskell wanted to do more than ban ivory sales: she sought a devaluation of art. ‘We do not want these items displayed as glorious parts of our heritage,’ she said. ‘It is a shameful part of our history, and we should name it as that and realise what we did in leading the world in those trades.’ She described ‘tak[ing ivory] off the shelves of our museums’ as ‘progressive’. As she spoke, she was interrupted by Marris asking for evidence that a total ban would save elephants. ‘I will pick up those issues,’ she replied, but did not address them.
Tim Loughton FSA
said Maskell was ‘fundamentally wrong.’ Borwick said that ‘genuine experts can tell the difference between genuine works of art… the market in the Far East is for shiny, modern, contemporary pieces. That is entirely different from the antique ivory sold by our dealers and exhibited in our museums here.’ ‘We have to reach a consensus,’ said Ed Vaizey, ‘which I think is breaking out, that antiques should be exempt from any ban.’
Levy has frequently defended the trade in ivory antiques in Apollo
, most recently
in a piece titled ‘We can preserve elephants AND conserve art’ (7 February). Commenting on the Westminster debate, he described it as ‘a reminder that we are now living in a world of “alternative facts”.’ Rob Marris asked throughout, he writes, ‘the simple question: would a ban on the movement of bona fide
works of art made of or including ivory save a single living elephant? The question was not answered, nor indeed effectively addressed by any of those proposing a ban.’ ‘We agree unequivocally,’ says Levy, ‘with the “conservation lobby” … that poaching and the illicit trade in tusks is abhorrent and must be stamped out.’ ‘What came through strongly and quite properly from the debate,’ he concludes, ‘was the desire for some sort of authentication process that would give confidence that the market was not a cover for the meretricious trinkets that by and large have made up the case for alarmist television broadcasts and newspaper articles.’
In press statements, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum have defended their right to collect ivory. ‘Whilst the V&A is not actively seeking to collect early 20th century ivory,’ it said, ‘the Museum will consider acquiring objects dating prior to 1947 featuring or made from ivory where there is a strong link to the collection and within relevant regulations and guidelines.’ The British Museum said it ‘supports any efforts to protect elephants in Africa and Asia and to curb the illegal trade and export of ivory, but we are also clear that this should not include antique ivory works of art. There is no public benefit in restricting the display or movement of ivory works of art made before 1947 and legislation should not extend to cover actions carried out before that date.’
• The ‘cow bones’ Owen Patterson referred to was a coded description by an eBay seller who was convicted of illegal ivory trading
last year. He claimed his carvings had been brought out of Africa by his granny in 1947, but dating by SUERC showed the pieces to be more recent.
The Telegraph noted on 15 February
that the Duke of Cambridge had told Jane Goodall he ‘would like to see all the ivory owned by Buckingham Palace destroyed’ – the paper said this would include an ivory throne given to Queen Victoria by the Maharajah of Travancore. Writing in the Guardian
, Jonathan Jones, art critic, said, ‘If we stop ourselves looking at … premodern ivory we will be philistines and bigots, congratulating ourselves on a victory over art. The next step is cultural destruction. We should leave this deadly line of thinking to Islamic State.’
Photos shows smuggled ivory in transit from Nigeria to Hong Kong and China seized at Heathrow airport, and detail of a tusk depicting scenes from Buddha's life, in the National Museum, New Delhi (both from Wikimedia).
A British Holocaust Memorial
Neil Jackson FSA
, Charles Reilly Professor of Architecture at the School of Architecture, University of Liverpool in London, writes about proposals to put a Holocaust Memorial and Information Centre in Victoria Tower Gardens. This is a small strip of well-used green space surrounded by trees and fronting the Thames, immediately south of the Palace of Westminster. ‘In view of these proposals both infringing a World Heritage Site and being in contravention of Westminster City Council's published position on monuments,’ writes Jackson, ‘not to mention what they might do to the park itself, I wonder if Salon
would consider discussing this?’
David Cameron, then Prime Minister, announced in January last year
that a new national Holocaust memorial would be created next to the Houses of Parliament. Few have questioned the appropriateness of the memorial, though not everyone was comfortable with the government’s headline that it would be ‘a permanent statement of our British values.’ ‘Given Britain’s awkward relationship to events in prewar Germany,’ wrote Ian Jack in the Guardian
this February, ‘including the quota set on its refugees, a little less self-congratulation may be in order’; Cameron referred to modern refugees as a ‘bunch of migrants’ on the day that he launched the memorial, Rowan Moore wrote in the Observer
. However, Jackson is not the only one unhappy about the chosen site.
, Save VICTORIA TOWER GARDENS: no building in this precious London park!
has to date received nearly 1,000 supporters. The Save Victoria Tower Gardens Campaign, it says, ‘is of course not opposed in any way to the creation of a Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre… It simply says that Victoria Tower Gardens is the wrong place for it.’
The Thorney Island Society, concerned with the area’s local history and preservation, and of which the Very Rev the Dean of Westminster John Hall FSA
is a Vice President, finds it ‘very difficult to imagine that a project of this size and importance would not dominate the space and transform it from a tranquil local park to a busy civic space … we feel that there are more appropriate sites.’
On 9 February Edward Leigh led a brief debate
in the House of Commons, setting out his view that the gardens ‘are insufficient for this task, while pointing out that we have a very good solution available close by, at the Imperial War Museum.’ Andrew Percy, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, responded that it had already been decided the memorial would be in the park. The Government is consulting local residents, stakeholders, Royal Parks, Westminster City Council and Historic England, he said, to ensure that the gardens’ character is maintained.
Short-listed entries for an architectural competition can be seen online
. ‘Looking at them all,’ writes Jack, ‘I felt a sense of their failure – their littleness, their useless abstraction and vain attempt to give meaning or insight into such a barbarous thing. Perhaps there should be books, papers, photographs, interviews, film and no other memorial – the time for monuments having somehow passed.’
‘Given that the project has got this far,’ writes Moore, ‘the best thing might be to employ the most thoughtful team of the 10 and reconsider both the learning centre and the site.’
Old Slides: Candidate for National Project?
What should we do with our (or others’) slides when the time comes for disposal? Salon
has shown how they can be turned into lampshades
, and Fellows have been offered a collection of 4,000 photos
. Paul Stamper FSA
has a useful proposal:
‘In part’, he writes, ‘it’s the sheer number of slides which can be so daunting. I’d suggest the only way forward is to be ruthless, and to do a rapid triage. First, family slides, including ones where offspring are providing scale against ruins, should be passed to relatives. The great mass which might be termed “Where I went on my holidays” – views of Exeter cathedral or the Leaning Tower of Pisa – plus slides copied from books for lecture purposes, could (and should) be binned with the clearest of consciences. This would then leave the third category, which is material potentially of interest to posterity such as pictures of excavations, or of lost or changed vernacular buildings, townscapes and industrial landscapes.
‘I don’t pretend this is the entire solution. There’s then the question of finding a relevant repository to take the material, and whether it wants slides or digitised images. But at least by doing the triage what may well seem too daunting a prospect – tackling a slide collection – becomes something focussed and manageable. Lastly, we should each take responsibility for triaging our own collections. Don’t leave it too late, and don’t lumber others with the responsibility.’
This may offer little comfort for John Nandris FSA
, who writes with a dilemma common to many retiring university lecturers:
‘I have by my reckoning some 10,000 colour slides resulting from my career and travels mainly in Europe from the 1960s onwards. They document that long-term change in matters of European archaeology and comparative ethnoarchaeology, which is the object of our researches. It is essentially an irreplaceable record. They formed a basis for my lectures at the UCL Institute of Archaeology over about four decades. I believe that this is a widespread problem for excavators and field archaeologists.
‘Such an archive needs to be digitised to be effective. This is not a candidate for do-it-yourself. Slide film degrades and undergoes colour changes. Preservation is becoming paramount. Such a collection is not just a matter of shovelling all one’s selfies into a repository. I have tried to raise funding from numerous sources without success, including donating the originals. There is the institutional problem of curating such collections.
‘It’s essentially a problem about data. I know that there are organisations which deal with this, for example in relation to excavations, but like the ant in the tea cup, I finally gave up exhausted.’
What should Nandris do? The question applies equally to digital images: to be useful, they too need to be edited, captioned and archived (though the automatic capture of date and location at least solves what can be a big issue for old slides).
In earlier times at excavation and restoration projects, colour slides were often the only record of important transitory details; collections such as Nandris’ can contain views of life and landscapes long gone (he attached a summary list whose themes include ‘Gypsy smiths’, ‘The social role of Music & musical instruments’ and ‘Material Culture and Symbolic Values of the Romanian shepherd’).
In England local museums and Heritage Environment Records would be an obvious likely repository, but they are struggling without this new challenge. Researchers might actively seek slides from multiple sources specific to a site or topic of interest. But part of the problem is that we have very little idea of what is out there. How much? How important? Where? There is scope for a nationally funded project to consider the resource and its challenges, with some urgency.
Fellows (and Friends)
Ivor Noël Hume FSA
, pioneering historical archaeologist, died in February.
Charles Truman FSA
, curator, art historian and dealer, died in February.
Appreciations appear in Fellows Remembered below.
Alan Biggins FSA
, medical research scientist, archaeologist and geophysical surveyor, has died.
Iain MacIvor, formerly Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Scotland and a former Fellow, has died.
Appreciations will appear in the next Salon
John Goodchild, who was not a Fellow, died on 6 January aged 81. ‘John was a colossus in the field of West Yorkshire and industrial history,’ writes Richard Knowles FSA
, ‘and his loss will be irreplaceable to researchers at both local and national level. Whilst he lectured and wrote on innumerable topics, his most lasting legacy will be his vast collection of manuscript and related material which is the most substantial of its kind in private hands. Goodchild became founding Curator of Cusworth Hall Museum, Doncaster, in 1966. Returning to Wakefield as District Archivist, he became Principal Local Studies Officer. On retirement he established the John Goodchild Collection
beneath Drury Lane Library, Wakefield; the collection is currently housed in the new Local History Centre in Kirkgate. It includes material from the 12th century onwards, and is especially rich in the 18th and 19th centuries: there are over 1,000 boxes of manuscripts alone. Knowles’ obituary of Goodchild was published in the Guardian
on 22 January.
The Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies has published Kane From Canada,
the memoirs of George Kane (1916–2008) edited by Mary Kane and Jane Roberts FSA
. Kane, says the blurb, ’was at heart a farm boy from Saskatchewan.’ He looks back on his family background and schooldays, and university in Vancouver, Toronto, and Northwestern universities, before setting off for London on an Imperial Order of Daughters of the Empire graduate scholarship in 1938. He never lived in Canada again. Kane spoke rarely about his wartime years as an Army officer, but the greater part of his memoir focuses on 1939–1945, on POW life in Germany – and escape attempts. Kane later won international acclaim as a medieval scholar. The final chapter, to 1965, includes discussion of the origins of his Piers Plowman editions. Kane taught at University College London, and later held chairs at Royal Holloway (1955–65) and King’s College (1965–76). He then moved to the University of North Carolina, where he held the William Rand Kenan Jr Professorship of English (1976–87).
Crypts of London
is by Malcolm Johnson FSA
. The story really begins, says the blurb, when, against the wishes of architects such as Wren and Vanbrugh, clergy, churchwardens and vestries interred wealthy parishioners in their crypts to earn money. By 1800 there were 79 church crypts in London. Interments in inner London ended in the 1850s; since then, 52 crypts have been cleared, and five partially cleared. Many have a new life as chapels, restaurants, medical centres and museums. With rare illustrations, this study reveals the history hidden beneath London’s churches. Malcolm Johnson is a retired priest with a PhD from King’s College, London. His St Martin-in- the-Fields
was published in 2005.
On 8 February the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) committed £3.8 million to a new five-year Bats in Churches
partnership between Natural England, the Church of England, the Bat Conservation Trust, Historic England and the Churches Conservation Trust. The project will trial new techniques to help reconcile protecting bats with the effect of their droppings, which can ‘restrict activities, damage historic artefacts and put a strain on the volunteers who look after the buildings.’ Commenting on the announcement in the Times
, Clive Aslet (a former Country Life
editor) referred to Parish Church Treasures
by John Goodall FSA
. ‘You’ve only got to look at [the book] to see the marvels of craftsmanship contained in churches,’ he writes. ‘Those who want to see more bats and badgers’, he says, ‘aren’t generally the ones paying for them. If conservationists had to pay for the damage caused by bats would they be so clamorous?’ Jean Wilson FSA
, President, Church Monuments Society, claimed in a letter to the paper
that the damage bats do to churches had been ‘played down’ in the HLF announcement. ‘The extent of the irreparable damage to monumental brasses,’ she says, ‘is well documented. Bat faeces stain alabaster, marble and tiling. Bat urine damages wall paintings and screens.’ Photo Hugh Clark/Bat Conservation Trust.
Big Saves: Heroic Transformations of Great Landmarks
, by Marcus Binney FSA
, is published by SAVE Britain's Heritage. It is, says Diana Tyson FSA,
‘proof of how with energy and imagination, and above all with love, new, exciting and successful futures can be found and structured for the nation's historic buildings.’ Under themes such as Defence Buildings, Markets and Hospitals, the book, says Tyson, ‘describes how buildings which might have been doomed to dereliction and demolition have been given a new lease of life. The many twists and turns of their fates are recorded, with sometimes hair-raising last-minute rescues. Their new lives are enormously varied and inventive, and include their becoming mixed residential and commercial units, hotels or museums, or rediscovering their original uses as cinema, theatre or event hall. Perhaps the culmination of the struggle is Battersea Power Station, in Binney's words, “the Mount Everest of Preservation”.’
Danielle Schreve FSA
and Chris Stringer FSA
joined presenters Brian Cox and Robin Ince, and comedian Ross Noble, in The Human Story: How We Got Here and Why We Survived,
an episode in BBC Radio 4’s The Infinite Monkey Cage
first broadcast on 13 February. Stringer is among scientists quoted in an interesting piece on BBC Earth
(15 February), in which Richard Gray writes about the evolution of the modern human face. Specialist opinion, says Stringer, is moving from the view that Homo heidelbergensis
was the common ancestor for H sapiens
and H neanderthalensis
, to giving that role to H antecessor
, whose remains were first identified at Atapuerca in Spain.
Major Transitions in Human Evolution
is a discussion meeting issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B
, edited by Robert Foley FSA
, Lawrence Martin, Marta Mirazón Lahr FSA
and Chris Stringer FSA
. The editors discuss evolution in their introduction. Is there a major evolutionary divide between early and later hominins? (No.) Was change stepped or gradual? (It’s complex.) Why is Africa so prominent in the story? (Climate and geography seem to be part of the reason, but we’re not there yet, though Africa really does seem to be important.) And what parts did genes, phenotypes and behaviour play in the changes? ‘There cannot be a single cause of human evolution,’ they conclude, ‘because it consists of many independent transitions,’ affected by changing climate, cultural and social context, genes and behaviour, to name a few factors. ‘Bringing these all together is a major challenge to the field.’ Foley, Mirazón Lahr and Stringer also each contribute an article, and Mark Collard FSA
is among authors who write that a link commonly made between population size and cultural complexity in hunter-gatherer societies does not stand up.
Who knew that Britain’s first monorail hovertrain was made in Swindon by Vickers? It ran on an experimental concrete track in the Cambridgeshire Fens, reaching 100 miles per hour before the project was squashed by Michael Heseltine, the new Minister for Aerospace, as too expensive; one of the research teams migrated en masse to Canada. This archetypal British industrial story is told in a short film
produced with Nick Edwards through the Cambridge Archaeological Unit. Chris Evans FSA
introduces the film as he stands in front of a lichen-covered concrete monolith, one of the rail’s supports discovered in situ in a muddy meadow by Eddy Edwards.
The Ince Blundell Collection of Classical Sculpture: Volume 3 • The Ideal Sculpture
, by Elizabeth Bartman FSA
, is the first catalogue of this material since 1929; it includes the first modern published photos of almost all the works. Henry Blundell, of Ince Blundell Hall outside Liverpool, says the blurb, formed his important antiquities collection in the late 18th century. More than 500 marbles – the UK’s largest collection of Roman sculptures outside the British Museum – were assembled primarily in Italy during Blundell’s Grand Tour visits. The statues are typical of those that would have decorated Roman houses, villas, public spaces and even tombs, although their precise origins are largely unknown. Most are likely to have come from Rome, and at least one was found at Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli. The book aims to rehabilitate the reputations of a collector and a collection that have largely been ignored by art-lovers and scholars in post-war Britain.
Julian Richards FSA
(pictured) has made a video
to explain his views on the proposed road tunnel past Stonehenge. Concerned that the tunnel's western end would open ‘in the middle of the most important barrow cemetery in this pristine landscape’, he would rather the route stayed close to the present A303 (the proposal moves it south to avoid an area of complex archaeology around an existing roundabout). Worries about that portal (but not the route) were the principal point of a joint announcement
from Historic England, English Heritage and the National Trust on 8 February. ‘While the design and position of the western portal needs improvement,’ said Duncan Wilson FSA
in a release, ‘we welcome Highways England’s willingness to listen to this. We will provide constructive advice on how this can be achieved.’ A public consultation
closes on 5 March.
It’s not every day the Society of Antiquaries makes the Morning Star
, the Daily Mirror
or the Daily Mail
, still less all at once, which is what happened on 6 February (at least, online). The Stonehenge Alliance, supported by the Campaign for Better Transport, protested outside the Society’s premises at Burlington House, where Highways England was holding an event as part of the public consultation over the Stonehenge tunnel. ‘I think the proposal we are being offered is a really old-fashioned one,’ said broadcaster and former Time Team presenter Tony Robinson. ‘It assumes what needs to be protected is that little clump of stones.’ ‘As anyone who has watched Time Team will know,’ he added, ‘the context is all in archaeology. If you were going to protect Buckingham Palace, you wouldn’t put a tunnel in halfway down the Mall.’ Photo Gazette & Herald
On 2 February 48 university presidents and chancellors wrote to President Trump
‘to urge [him] to rectify or rescind the recent executive order closing our country’s borders to immigrants and others from seven majority-Muslim countries and to refugees from throughout the world. If left in place, the order threatens both American higher education and the defining principles of our country.’ For a few days the Davis Museum at Wellesley College in Massachusetts removed from display ‘all work created or donated by immigrants.’ Out went a portrait of George Washington by Adolf Ulrik Wertmüller; Wertmüller migrated to the US in the 1790s, and the painting was donated by an immigrant family (photo from CNN
). Meanwhile from Lichfield, England, Donaeld The Unready (@donaeldunready
) has been thinking about Making Mercia Great Again. ‘Canute. What a loser. Can't even hold back the sea. It's just water. We're going to be so tough on the sea. Canute was too soft. Sad,’ has been retweeted 9,400 times.
In Travels with an Archaeologist: Finding a Sense of Place
, Richard Hodges FSA
‘explores sites across the globe and ponders the relationship of the individual with the past and the present of the past in its ruins, monuments and traces of distant worlds and civilisations.’ Archaeology, says Hodges, is about hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting and touching past textures in our time. With these senses, in the company of friends, new places are created from old ones. Ahead of its publication in April, Mary Beard FSA
describes the book as ‘a wonderful and intriguing collection of his postcards … An insider's view of archaeology for the curious!’ Travels with an Archaeologist,
says Graeme Barker FSA
, ‘takes us on a magical mystery tour through some of the world's most fascinating ancient places and landscapes, in the company of one of my generation's most influential as well as charismatic archaeologists.’
Jacques Heyman FSA
writes to say that the American Academy in Rome has selected John Ochsendorf, a preservation engineer, historian and educator, as the 23rd Director of the Academy. Ochsendorf was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2008 for his pioneering work using comparative cultural and historical studies to explore pre-industrial engineering traditions – an ‘outstanding award’, says Heyman.
Michael Fisher FSA
has written Guarding the Pugin Flame: John Hardman Powell, 1827–1895
. Powell, says the blurb, more than adequately filled a huge gap in the realm of Gothic-revival art and design left by the premature death of A W N Pugin in 1852. Pugin’s sole pupil, Powell became chief designer for the Birmingham firm of John Hardman & Co, who manufactured metalwork, stained glass and other furnishings for Pugin and architects influenced by him. Powell was also married to Pugin’s eldest daughter, Anne; they had 12 children. Powell’s free-spirited artistic temperament led him to apply Pugin’s ‘True Principles’ of medieval art and design in innovative and imaginative ways. Researched from newly discovered original sources, this book examines Powell’s rich legacy of stained glass and metalwork – found in cathedrals, churches and great houses across the UK and overseas – and the ideas which shaped it.
The People of Early Winchester
(Winchester Studies 9.i
) by Caroline Stuckert traces the lives, health, and diseases of Winchester's inhabitants from Roman times to the 16th century, as seen in their remains. The study is unique, says the blurb, in providing a continuous story rather than a series of isolated studies, with over 2,000 skeletons from a Roman Cemetery at Lankhills, and a large sample of Anglo-Saxon burials. The population had an underlying continuity, concludes Stuckert, in spite of massive culture change between the Roman and Early Saxon periods. However, reported Norman Hammond FSA in the Times
on 11 February, one group of people stood out. ‘It was small, predominantly male, and increased in number through time. Caroline Stuckert and her collaborators believe that they were German warrior immigrants crossing from the Continent and marrying into the local population.’ ‘The results of archaeology and of genetics, independent of each other, reveal the same story,’ said Martin Biddle FSA
. ‘Thus the English people emerged.’
Ivor Noël Hume FSA
died on 4 February aged 89. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in January 1967, an honour he held for one month and 50 years. Born in London, he made a distinguished impact at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, where he was Chief Archaeologist from 1957 to 1988. He was a gifted communicator, who, as Bill Sullivan wrote in Making History,
‘profoundly influenced the field of historical archaeology and inspired generations of students both casual and professional.’
His autobiography, A Passion for the Past: The Odyssey of a Transatlantic Archaeologist,
was published in 2010. ‘When the author began his career,’ says the blurb, ‘historical archaeology did not exist as an academic discipline. It fell to Noël Hume’s books, lectures, and television presentations to help bring it to the forefront of his profession, where it stands today.’ Reviewing The Virginia Adventure
(1994) in the New York Times Book Review
, historian Arthur Quinn wrote that Hume ‘is now unquestionably the foremost colonial archaeologist of his generation.’
The New York Times’
obituary by Sam Robert (19 February) led on his discovery at Carter’s Grove, a 17th-century plantation near Williamsburg, of the remains of Wolstenholme Towne. The fortified settlement was founded in 1619 for the Virginia Company of London, but within three years it had all but gone. As many as 400 English were left dead after an attack by native Americans, a massacre verified by Hume’s excavations.
Hume was working as a stage manager in London when he heard on the radio about a man finding artefacts in the Thames. He took himself to the mud, and showed his finds to Adrian Oswald FSA
, the head of the Guildhall Museum. He helped the museum record war-damaged sites, and in 1949 took over from Oswald. His excavations for the museum included waterlogged depsoits on the Walbrook at Bucklebury House and a Bronze Age timber and wattle platform at Syon Reach, and he worked on the Roman Temple of Mithras. In 1956 he went to Williamsburg, drawn by an invitation to study wine bottles recovered from the site.
He directed ten major excavations at Williamsburg, including the Anthony Hay Cabinet Shop, the Public Hospital site, and the James Anderson House. After retirement from Williamsburg, Hume began a major field project on Roanoke Island, North Carolina, America’s first attempted English settlement. His excavations found the scientific centre of Thomas Hariot, who had reached the New World in a voyage sponsored by Walter Raleigh.
Hume was a founding director of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology and, in America, the Society for Historical for Archaeology. His Guide to Artifacts of Colonial America
(1969) remains a key reference work. He met his first wife, Audrey Baines, at the Guildhall Museum, where she worked as a volunteer. She became a distinguished Williamsburg archaeologist in her own right, and died in 1993. He later married Carol Grazier.
Photos show Hume on site for the Guildhall Museum (Museum of London), in 2003 (at top) and with President Richard Nixon and Pat Nixon in 1981 (Making History
Charles (Charlie) Truman FSA
died on 10 February aged 67. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in January 1986. An authority on gold boxes, silver and Renaissance jewellery, Truman had a distinguished career at the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), Christie’s and Asprey, and as an independent consultant. Richard Edgcumbe FSA,
Senior Curator of the V&A’s Metalwork Collection, has written this tribute of a man he describes as a ‘towering decorative arts figure and a great character’:
‘Charles Truman rejected the destiny in Law which had been mapped out for him, and worked as a volunteer in the archive of the Furniture and Woodwork Department at the V&A, before winning a post as a Museum Assistant in the Metalwork Department in 1971. Efficient and irrepressible, he was a popular colleague and an inspiration to visiting students. He was promoted to Assistant Keeper in the Ceramics Department in 1977. He had eagerly taken the chance to work with Shirley Bury on the redisplay of the gold boxes in the Jewellery Gallery, and this led to his assisting Serge Grandjean of the Louvre in the catalogue published in 1975 of the gold boxes at Waddesdon Manor.
‘Four years later appeared a slim article in the Connoisseur
on Reinhold Vasters, unmasking him as a pre-eminent designer of fake Renaissance goldsmith’s work. “It is hoped,” wrote Charlie, “that this article may bring to light more pieces attributable to this extraordinary workshop.” It was a decisive moment in the reappraisal of 19th-century faking. The reverberations continue in museums and auction houses to this day; any Renaissance-style jewel without a pre-19th century provenance meets a sceptical reception. Charlie contributed further to the debate in sections of Princely Magnificence
, an exhibition led by Anna Somers Cocks FSA
at the V&A in 1980, and of the catalogues Renaissance Jewelry in the Alsdorf Collection
(Art Institute of Chicago 2000) and The Robert Lehman Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
‘Charlie moved from the V&A to head the Silver Department at Christie’s in 1984, the year he co-authored with Somers Cocks the catalogue of Renaissance jewels, gold boxes and objets de vertu in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. He was made a Director of Christie’s in 1985.
‘In 1990 he was appointed head of the antiques department at Asprey. He catalogued the gold boxes in the Gilbert Collection in two volumes, 1991 and 1999, and edited Sotheby’s Concise Encyclopedia of Silver
in 1993. From 2000 he worked independently and as a consultant, the generous ally of many museums and collectors. He was a founder Director of C & L Burman (Works Of Art) Ltd, Chairman of the British Antique Dealers’ Association and of the Silver Society, and a Liveryman of the Goldsmiths’ Company.
‘In the new Europe Galleries 1600–1815
at the V&A sits one of many examples of his remarkable visual memory: a French gold eggcup of 1762 which he recognised in an auction in 2002 as a close parallel to a large design in an album from the workshop of Jean Ducrollay in the V&A’s Print Room.
‘Kenneth Snowman, the doyen of gold box scholars, described Charlie in 1990 as possessing “a splendid nose for rooting out anything which is not as it should be”, a superb judge of discrepancies and false marks. The eminent German scholar Lorenz Seelig, responsible for the rediscovery of Hanau as a centre of production, describes Charlie’s gold box catalogues as “indispensable Bibles”.
‘Charlie brought to his analysis of an object an acute mind and an experience gained over 40 years as a curator, auctioneer and dealer. His object descriptions, honed in the sale room and in his magisterial catalogues of four great collections, are succinct, clear and original. We see a box through his eyes, understanding why a mark can be judged to be doubtful and why an enamel was a later addition. A lid will normally open 45 degrees beyond the vertical. If it does not, a reason should be sought.
‘Yet he was not only concerned with detail. All his catalogues are prefaced by essays on aspects of box manufacture, design and collecting which are masterpieces of synthesis. The 39 pages which introduce the magnificent Wallace Collection Catalogue of Gold Boxes
(2013) are a finely judged survey of the current state of knowledge.
‘Charlie’s books will live within arm’s reach of every curator of gold boxes, but he will be missed sorely as a witty, sometimes outrageous, colleague and a friend of enormous energy and great courage. In 2012 he was an expert witness in a case concerning the Coleridge collar of Ss. The judge felt that Charlie’s characterisation of an opposing argument as “absolute insanity” was “unduly colourful”, but trusted Charlie’s judgement and agreed that his opinion reflected “the commercial reality”. Fearless in the justification of his professional opinions, his courage during the recent years of illness has been even more remarkable. Nothing has deterred him from answering a plea for advice, and his appreciation of the research of other scholars and students has unfailingly been expressed in the most generous terms.’
Photo taken by Peter Kelleher at the opening of the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries at the V&A, 2009.
Forthcoming Ordinary Meetings of Fellows
You can catch up on meetings you've missed by watching our lecture recordings (visit the events page and filter the results list by choosing 'past events'). Unless indicated otherwise, tea will be served at 16.15, and the Meeting will commence at 17.00 precisely. Online ballots close at noon at the date of the scheduled ballot. At Ordinary Meetings, ballots open at 16.00 and close at 16.20. The results are read at the beginning of the Meeting.
23 February: 'Bruegel: Defining a Dynasty', lecture by Jennifer Scott FSA
2 March: 'Views of an Antique Land: Imaging Egypt and Palestine in the First World War', (Out-of-London Ordinary Meeting in Cardiff), lecture by Paul Nicholson FSA, and Steve Mills FSA
9 March: 'Lapland’s Dark Heritage: Understanding the Material Legacy of the Second World War in Northern Finland', lecture by Suzanne Thomas FSA
Interested in proposing a lecture? Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please note that lecture programmes are planned between 6 and 12 months in advance.
Forthcoming Public Events
Public Lectures are held from 13.00 to 14.00 on Tuesdays. These lectures are very popular, so advance booking is advised to be sure of a place. Details of forthcoming lectures can be found on the 'Events' page of the Society's website.
21 March: 'Faking King Arthur in the Middle Ages' by Richard Barber FSA
25 April: 'Hands Across Time: Medieval Fingerprints in Wax Seals' by Fellows Elizabeth New and Philippa Hoskin
16 May: 'The Vulliamy Clockmakers: Two Clocks in the Antiquaries’ Collection' by Fellows Jonathan Betts and Roger Smith
Click here for more information on our public lectures. We also run public tours of our building and collections (£10 per person) preceding the lectures above.
Society Dates to Remember
Join us for an introductory tour of Burlington House to learn more about the Society and its resources. Whether you're a new Fellow or just haven't been to Burlington House, this is a great opportunity to learn more about your Society, your Fellowship benefits, and ways to become more involved.
Introductory Tours for Fellows
Tours are free for Fellows, but booking is required: 23 March, 11 May, 29 June.
Regional Fellows Groups
South West Fellows
2 March 2017: Archaeology at Rendlesham, Suffolk: An East Anglian Royal Settlement of the Time of Sutton Hoo by Christopher Scull FSA, a joint lecture with the Department of Archaeology of University of Exeter (14.30-15.30 at the University of Exeter, Streatham Campus, Laver Building, Lecture Theater 3).
Want to join the South West Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings, you can subscribe online at: http://eepurl.com/MvHUr
9 June 2017: Join us for lunch at the SWALEC Stadium, Cardiff, followed by a talk by Fellow David Jenkins (Principal Curator, Transport at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea) on his lates book, I Hope to Have a Good Passage (the Business Letter Book of Captain Daniel Jenkins, 1902-1911). Contact Bob Child FSA (email@example.com) for information.
Want to join the Welsh Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings, email Bob Child at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4 April 2017: Ivory: The Real Thing? The Roman Ivories from York and Brigantia by Fellows Stephen Greep and Sonia O'Connor. (18.00, Bar Convent, York.) Contact Stephen Greep, FSA, at email@example.com for information.
Want to join the York Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings in York, you can subscribe online at: http://eepurl.com/8nvxL
Other Forthcoming Heritage Events
2017: Courses and Workshops in the Historic Environment (Oxford)
Oxford University Department for Continuing Education has a programme of courses at Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills for the historic environment, grounded in everyday working experience. These short practical courses are open to all, from historic environment professionals to members of the public with a keen interest in archaeology and historic buildings. The programme is endorsed by CIfA, the IHBC, the Archaeology Training Forum and FAME, and has been developed in conjunction with leading heritage practices. Courses are linked to the National Occupational Standards for Archaeology, and for Town Planning, Conservation and Building Control, and are widely accepted for continuous professional development. Details of National Occupational Standards. Full details can be found online.
23 February: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessments
28 February: Starting in Post-Excavation
8–10 March: Public Inquiry Workshop
20–22 March: Short Course in Radiocarbon Dating and Bayesian Chronological Analysis
5–6 April: The Setting of Heritage Assets and Places
11 April: An Introduction to GIS for Archaeologists
8–10 May: Condition Surveys of Historic Buildings
15–16 May: Artefacts and Ecofacts in and out of the Field
18 May: Stratigraphic Analysis in Archaeology
24 May: Project Management in Archaeology: an Introduction
7 June: Photographing Historic Buildings
20–21 June: Understanding Place: Historic Area Assessment
26 June: Archaeological Writing for Publication
5–7 July: Heritage Values and the Assessment of Significance.
25 February: The Arts & Crafts Domestic Interior in Britain (London)
A day symposium in support of Emery Walker’s House, at the Art Workers’ Guild, WC1. As part of the programme of events leading up to the reopening of Emery Walker’s House in Hammersmith to the public on 20 April, this symposium will examine the history, materials and legacy of the Arts & Crafts movement in the smaller houses of Victorian and Edwardian Britain. Focusing on houses open to the public, the speakers will address such topics as the influence of William Morris, the role of textiles and wallpapers, and the relationship between architects, designers and crafts people in the creation of domestic interiors. Speakers include leading scholars of the Arts & Crafts movement and curators of house museums, among them Annette Carruthers FSA, Stefan Muthesius and Barley Roscoe, The meeting will be chaired by Michael Hall FSA, who has organised it with Aileen Reid. See online for details.
The Anglo-Saxons in Oxfordshire: Gewisse to Alfred and beyond (Woodstock)
To mark the opening of a new Anglo-Saxon exhibition at the Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock, featuring the Watlington Hoard (on loan from the Ashmolean until 19 March), the museum is offering a series of three lectures. This significant Viking hoard, buried around the end of the 870s, includes rare coins of King Alfred the Great and King Ceolwulf II of Mercia, as well as Viking arm-rings and silver ingots. All lectures at 2.30 pm:
25 February: The Private Lives of the Saints: Power, Passion and Politics in Anglo-Saxon England, by Janina Ramirez
11 March: Rule Britannia: How Alfred the Great became a National Hero, by Oliver Cox
18 March: King Alfred’s Coins: The inside story of the Watlington Hoard, by John Naylor FSA.
27 February: Capital Considerations: Winchester and the Birth of Urban Archaeology (Cambridge)
Martin Biddle FSA will give the third Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture in Archaeology in honour of Norman Hammond FSA, at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. Archaeological excavations in Winchester in 1961–71 evolved the concept of ‘urban archaeology’ – a discipline studying a town’s development from its origins to the present, using all available sources from documents, archaeology and the natural sciences. Three or four periods emerged when Winchester was exceptional. Why was this, how was each stage significant, and did any deserve the traditional description of ‘capital’? Details online.
2 March: The Middle Temple and the Secrets of Britannia (London)
Alan Ereira, a former BBC film producer and author of The Nine Lives of John Ogliby: Britain’s Master Map Maker and his Secrets, will speak at the Middle Temple about John Ogilby’s relation to the Temple and his road atlas Britannia, at 6 pm.
4 March: Architecture and Biography: Master Mason to the Modern Practice (Oxford)
A day school at Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square. What are the relationships between architecture and biography? This event looks at changing concepts of the architect and the architectural profession – from medieval master masons to those in post-war practices – and at the value of biography for an understanding and appreciation of British architecture. Leading architectural historians and biographers combine three thematic surveys of the architect, in medieval, early modern and modern Britain, with two case studies on biographical approaches to studying the built environment. The event is organised in connection with the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. See online for details.
Simon Thurley FSA is giving a series of free lectures in his capacity as Visiting Professor of the Built Environment at Gresham College, a positon created in 2009 for his continuing lectures on the history of English architecture. They will take place at the Museum of London, and will be accessible to the general public on a first come first served basis, beginning promptly at 6pm. Remaining lectures are:
8 March: The Value of Heritage and the Heritage of Value There was a time when old places were valued simply for their beauty and interest, but now this is not enough. Are calculations of the financial contribution of our history adding to the value of our heritage or have they fundamentally devalued it?
7 June: Fifty Years of Conservation Areas (Thurley and Desmond Fitzpatrick FSA) The first Conservation Areas were designated in 1967, today at the golden anniversary there are some 10,000 sites. The presentation will explore the origins, variety and some challenges for the future.
31 March–2 April: The Archaeology of Caesar in Britain and Gaul (Oxford)
Colin Haselgrove FSA and Andrew Fitzpatrick FSA have organised a conference of international speakers to discuss Julius Caesar’s Battle for Gaul. The dramatic opening chapter in Britain’s written history, Caesar's invasions have long been neglected by archaeologists and historians, and often dismissed as a sideshow to the Battle for Gaul that left few archaeological traces and changed little. This weekend conference will explore the war's archaeology and its aftermath. Leading scholars will consider Caesar as a politician and general, the combatants, their bases, the battle sites and the lasting consequences of the Battle for Gaul. The conference will appeal to those interested in archaeology, ancient history, military history, and numismatics. Speakers include Greg Woolf FSA and Ian Ralston FSA. See online for details.
3–6 April: Objects and Possessions: Material Goods in a Changing World, 1200–1800 (Southampton)
Objects and possessions define us, yet in many ways we know little about them from a historical perspective. This interdisciplinary conference, which takes place at the University of Southampton’s Avenue Campus, looks at material culture across a long timeframe in order to explore the worlds of goods and objects across Europe and its overseas colonies, the connections and relationships facilitated by the exchange of goods, the importance and interpretation of the inheritance of goods and objects, and the ways in which goods brokered relationships between Europe and the wider world in the period. The aim is to deepen our understanding of how goods ‘worked’ in a variety of social, economic and cultural contexts. A closing keynote address will be given by Chris Woolgar FSA. For details see online.
5–7 April: Architecture and Gardening: Sister Arts. English and Czech Perspectives (Stowe)
This two-day seminar (preceded by an evening dinner) will look at the resurgence of two key historic estates: Stowe, Buckinghamshire, and Lednice-Valtice in the Czech Republic. What can we learn regarding their evolution, restoration and exploration? Lectures from leading experts in the field and guided tours will draw together ideas and experiences from two countries to establish links and best practice. Tim Knox FSA and David Adshead FSA are among the speakers, and Martin Drury FSA will chair one of the conference days. See online for details.
7 April: Design for Cornwall (Truro)
The Cornish Buildings Group, Cornwall Council, Royal Institute of British Architects and the Cornwall Architectural Trust present new and challenging papers at a one-day conference based around the topic of architectural design. See online for details.
22 April: Late Iron Age Oppida (Reading)
A day conference at the Henley Business School, University of Reading Whiteknights Campus, which will examine current understanding of British Iron Age oppida. Ten invited speakers representing some of the most exciting and up to date research projects on Iron Age towns and their environs will present their thoughts and recent findings. There will also be discussion and debate on present and future directions for research in this area. Speakers include Michael Fulford FSA, Tom Moore FSA, Colin Haselgrove FSA, David McOmish FSA, Philip Crummy FSA and Stewart Bryant FSA. See online for details.
29 April: The Changing Parish Church: From Saxon to Victorian c 600–1900 (Lewes)
Against a background of declining congregations and large numbers of listed churches with uncertain futures, this day conference considers the emergence, use and decoration of the early parish church, how the parish church has changed, and what might lie ahead for rural parish churches. The delegates’ handbook will include illustrations and other information to help ‘read’ a church when you visit. See online for details.
6 May: The Fruitful Body: Gender and Image (London)
The Women’s Studies Group 1558–1837 holds its annual workshop at the Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, WC1N 1AZ. Karen Hearn FSA, keynote speaker, will talk on ‘Women, agency and fertility in early modern British portraits.’ Early modern painted portraits are constructs (like literary texts). They result from choices – to include, to exclude – and were made for specific contexts and purposes. Hearn’s paper will consider 16th- and early-17th-century British portraits of women, and will address the types of information that they offer today. All participants are invited to prepare a contribution of no more than five minutes, from any discipline related to the speaker's subject, with 30 copies of any handouts. See online for further information.
17–18 June: Norwich and the Medieval Parish Church c 900–2017: The Making of a Fine City (Norwich)
A conference hosted by the Medieval Parish Churches of Norwich Research Project (undertaken at the University of East Anglia and funded by The Leverhulme Trust). All 58 churches, existing, ruined or lost, are included in the project, which seeks insight into how the medieval city developed. The conference (supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art and Purcell) will present the churches in their immediate local context and in the broader framework of urban churches in Britain and northern Europe. Subjects will include documentary history, the architectural fabric of the buildings and their place in Norwich topography, the development of architecture and furnishings, the representation of the churches and their post-Reformation history. Speakers will include local and international scholars, as well as the UEA research team, Brian Ayers FSA, Clare Haynes, T A Heslop FSA, and Helen Lunnon FSA. Details to be announced.
24 June: Memorials in the Marches (Ludlow)
St Laurence's Church houses a fine set of memorials to people associated with the Council of Wales and the Marches over the period 1550–1650. The Ludlow Palmers, who raise money for the Conservation Trust for St Laurence, an independent charity devoted to conserving the church’s fabric and treasures, are hosting a conference in the church, on the church monuments, in association with the Church Monuments Society. Fellows can obtain a 15% discount. See online for details.
Call for Papers
17–18 May 2017: Archaeology and History of Lydia from Early Lydian Period to the Late Antiquity (Izmir, Turkey)
This symposium will take place at the Dokuz Eylul University. Lydia was an ancient region, located in inner western Anatolia, and compared to the coastline of western Asia Minor its archaeology is not well known. We warmly invite contributions by scholars and graduate students from a variety of disciplines of ancient classical studies related to this region. The aim of the symposium is to report on the state of research concerning Lydia between the 8th century BC and 6th century AD. See online for details.
2–3 June 2017: The Ceramics of Drink (Leicester)
The Medieval Pottery Research Group and the Centre for Historical Archaeology are organising a joint conference at the University of Leicester. Drinking-related ceramics form a significant part of archaeological assemblages in Europe and beyond throughout the Medieval and post-Medieval periods. Ceramic containers, used for producing, storing, transforming and consuming beverages, are associated with a wide range of activities from large-scale transnational trade and ceremonial consumption, to intimate daily rituals at home. The conference aims to explore the important social and economic roles that ceramics of drink filled and how they can be effectively studied., Papers addressing research both in and outside Britain are warmly welcomed, and should be around 20 minutes. Please send abstracts of no more than 150 words to Lorraine Mepham FSA, MPRG Meetings Secretary, by 1 March 2017: firstname.lastname@example.org.
6–10 September 2017: Death, Dying and Disposal Conference: Ritual, Religion and Magic (Preston)
This conference focuses on the role of ritual, religion and magic in healthcare, death, dying and burial. Individual papers might include death technology and magic, liminality, religion and spirituality in end of life care, ethics and culture at the deathbed, dying inside (and outside) of modern health care, spirituality and the death of animals, rites of passage in dying, superstition and funerals, ritual application in preparing the corpse and burying the dead; emergent religious and cultural practices in the disposal of the dead, ancestors online, death, dying and grief in public and on the internet; talking with the dead, the dead in popular horror, the dead in witchcraft execution or haunting or social rituals associated with the dead body, spirituality or lifeways and deathways. Abstracts should be no more than 250 words long. Deadline for submissions is 28 February 2017: forms can be found online. For further information see the conference website.
Members are being sought for the Cultural Protection Advisory Group. Deadline for applications 23:59 pm 26 February 2017.
The £30m Cultural Protection Fund is managed by the British Council in partnership with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It supports cultural heritage projects in conflict-affected regions overseas, by helping to create sustainable opportunities for economic and social development. The Advisory Group will advise the Fund’s Programme Board and on the Fund’s management. It will be a forum for advice on matters related to the Fund’s work, and will have no decision-making or executive powers. Applications are sought from heritage professionals with significant recent experience in cultural heritage protection and a broad network of contacts within the UK and the Middle East. Full details can be found online.
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales is recruiting a full-time member of staff to work on a Welsh Place Names list. Closing date for applications 5 pm 3 March 2017.
The Welsh Ministers have asked the Commission to compile and maintain a list of historic place names in Wales, and the Place Names Officer will be a key part of this commitment. The successful candidate for this new, permanent post will be responsible for compiling and maintaining the list, answering enquiries about the place names of Wales and promoting the place names work of the Commission. The ability to communicate in Welsh is essential. For an informal discussion about the role and the project contact David Thomas, Head of Public Services, on 01970 621205 or at email@example.com. Full details online.
Historic England is recruiting an Architectural Investigator. Closing date for applications 12 March.
Alongside a deep interest in, and knowledge of, British buildings, you will have a degree in Architectural History, Archaeology, Art History, History, or a related discipline. You may also have experience of working in the heritage sector in a similar investigation role. You will enjoy the detailed analysis of visually interrogating a building or place and have the ability to adapt your written and oral communications to suit your audience. The post is based at the Historic Places Investigation Team West in Swindon. Full details online.
Propose a Lecture or Seminar
Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Manager, if you are interested in giving a lecture at one of the Society's Ordinary Meetings (Thursday evenings at 17.00) or as part of our Public Lecture series (occasional Tuesday afternoons at 13.00). We welcome papers based on new research or themes related to the Society's field of interest: the study of the material past. You can view our current lecture programme in the Events section of our website.
Fellows are also encouraged to propose topics or themes for conferences or seminars that bring scholars and professionals from a variety of disciplines together to explain, discuss and debate our material culture. Please download and complete the Conference Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Manager, if you are interested in helping us organise such an event.