Salon: Issue 376
29 November 2016
Next issue: 13 December 2016
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
We Have Appointed a Project Manager to Lead Kelmscott and Morris:
Past, Present & Future
I am delighted to announce that after a rigorous selection process, the Society has appointed Jeremy Stone of Greenwood Projects Ltd. as the Project Manager to lead our Kelmscott and Morris: Past Present & Future
HLF project. Jeremy will work closely with staff, Fellows and volunteers and will report to the Project Board (established by Council at its last meeting).
Greenwood Projects Ltd. are now in their 30th year of successfully managing an array of heritage projects including Shakespeare’s New Place in Stratford-upon-Avon, The Walronds in Collumpton and Wellbrook Manor in Hertfordshire, winning RIBA, RICS and Heritage Angel Awards on a number of recent projects. They are very experienced in HLF-funded projects and take pride in working closely with the client organisations to deliver the very best that can be achieved.
Jeremy Stone, Project Manager said “We are delighted to have secured the Project Management role for Kelmscott Manor. On a personal level, I couldn’t be more thrilled, as Kelmscott is just a few miles from my home and it is always an extra privilege to be able to work on local projects. Of course critical to the role of PM is ensuring that everything runs to programme and to budget, but I will also be fully involved in ensuring that we find the most skilled crafts-people who have a passion for heritage to create a project that is as accessible to as many people as possible”. For more information on Greenwoods and their work go to www.greenwoodprojects.com
We Are Now Publishing Open Access!
In order to make our publications as widely available as possible, and to meet our charitable objectives to promote understanding of the past and its material remains, the Society is moving to an open access publishing policy.
Therefore, our two most recent monographs, Glastonbury Abbey
and Sherborne Old Castle, Dorset
, are now available online as open access publications. Both publications are free to download, and can be accessed through the Publications area
on the Society’s website.
In future all monographs published by the Society will be available both as hard copy books for purchase and as open access titles. We are also working to make the Society’s backlist of publications open access and will announce in Salon
as titles become available.
Starting with Volume 96, now available in print and online, the Antiquaries Journal
has adopted a hybrid open access policy, meaning that we can now offer contributors full open access (Gold OA) as well as self-archiving (Green OA). Our first Gold OA paper is ‘The Winter Camp of the Viking Great Army, AD 872–3, Torksey, Lincolnshire’ by Fellows Dawn Hadley and Julian Richards
. Contributors considering Gold OA for their papers are invited to discuss this with the Publications Manager, Lavinia Porter (email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Antiquaries Journal (vol 96): Author Makes Exciting Discovery Post Publication!
In the paper ‘Post-Medieval Cross Slabs in South-East Wales: Closet Catholics or Stubborn Traditionalists?
’, published this month in Vol. 96 of the Antiquaries Journal
, Madeleine Gray FSA stated that there were no explicitly Catholic sentiments on the post-Reformation cross slabs in Glamorgan.
Inevitably, perhaps, Madeleine has now found some! The parish church of Llantrithyd, near Cowbridge, has taken up the chancel carpet in preparation for conservation work on the massive triple-decker monument to the Bassett, Mansell and Aubrey families which dominates the chancel. Within the sanctuary are a number of cross slabs commemorating individual members of the families in the late sixteenth century, including several with implicit or explicit requests for prayer for their souls. Interestingly, the explicit requests are all on the graves of children. The families were known traditionalists in their religious sympathies, but never overtly recusant: this seems to be an unusually extreme example of the combination of traditionalism and loyalism which characterised religious life in Wales in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.
For photographs and further information, please see Madeleine’s blog
. Madeleine has also submitted a more detailed study to the journal Church Monuments
Shakespeare and the Character of Kingship: Buy Your Tickets Today (Before They Sell Out)
Dramatic Readings by Simon Russell Beale CBE
Simon Russell Beale CBE will be performing monologues from Shakespeare’s history plays in the Society’s Meeting Room on Sunday, 29 January 2017
at 18.30 – alongside the Society’s collection of royal medieval and Tudor portraiture, depicting the people who inspired Shakespeare’s plays and whom Simon will bring to life!
We are planning an entertaining evening reception for our guests (the event is limited to an intimate 100 seats), featuring performances by 'one of the finest actors of his generation' that reveal something of the ‘character’ of the Portraits. Funds raised at this event will be crucial in launching our Library Campaign, for which we need to raise £500,000 over the next three years. The evening will also help raise awareness of the Society, its treasures, and the part it plays in the history of Great Britain.
Guarantee your tickets by booking online today
Order a William Morris Fruitcake for Christmas
(Order Now! Kelmscott Manor Will Receive £5.50 from Each Cake)
Snap up a great opportunity to get a special cake inspired by William Morris’ book of recipes discovered at Kelmscott Manor. The owner of My Cottage Kitchen, Ursula Evans, has produced unique cakes for the Manor for the past three years and you can buy them online at www.mycottagekitche/williammorris
. Each order helps raise funds for Kelmscott Manor so what better way to enjoy something sweet for Christmas while helping to support the Manor, but be quick as they are selling like hot...you know the rest!
Bodies, Dragons and a Many-headed Whore
This extraordinary scene is among many painted on the walls of a church across the road from the house in which William Shakespeare was born. He would not have seen it, however. The year before his birth in 1564, his father saw to it that the murals were ‘defaced and limewashed’.
The Stratford Town Trust
, custodian of the Guild Chapel in Stratford-upon-Avon, has restored two of the paintings, helped by a £100,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. They once covered most of the chapel walls, and survive (or not) in varying states of preservation. One of the best panels is this depiction of death at work. A feathered angel watches over a shrouded corpse in the bony soil, the message elaborated for the literate with stanzas about the penalties of sin and the transitory nature of earthly glories. Other scenes show the bloody murder of Becket, the Last Judgement (with people wearing no more than headdresses rising gratefully from their graves), St George slaying a winged dragon, and a many-headed beast who may be the Whore of Babylon.
The paintings have been known about since the early 19th century, and have acquired a long history of concealment, uncovering and antiquarian study and recording that carries its own interest, and informs conservation. The latter follows completion of work to the building that has ensured a stable atmosphere and moisture levels. The Trust is seeking further funding to unveil and conserve more of the paintings. Top photo Daily Mail
• In London, a three-month excavation
on the site of Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch has ended with the news that the expected ‘wooden O’ was in fact a long brick rectangle. Perhaps the prologue for Henry V,
premiered at the Curtain, was extended when the company moved to a polygonal playhouse on the Thames’ south bank, Julian Bowsher FSA
told Maev Kennedy FSA
for the Guardian
. Finds included part of a water-filled bird whistle which may have been used at performances of Romeo and Juliet, also known to have been staged at the Curtain.
‘The Worst Damage that Isil has Inflicted on Iraqi Archaeology’
‘The Nimrud ziggurat was apparently bulldozed and pushed into the ancient bed of the Tigris river,’ John Curtis FSA
told The Art Newspaper
. He learnt about this in early September from Iraqi sources, says Martin Bailey, but was asked to keep it confidential. However, satellite photos
appeared in mid November confirming the destruction.
Curtis, President of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, wrote to The Times
on 15 November. ‘The reoccupation of the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud by the Iraqi army’, he says, ‘will give archaeologists an opportunity to assess the extent of the appalling damage done to this iconic site. It was known through an obscene propaganda video that in April 2015 the palace of Ashurnasirpal II (883–859 BC), with its contents of priceless stone wall carvings, was reduced to a pile of rubble in a massive explosion.
‘We now learn that the ziggurat at Nimrud, a huge man-built mound that would originally have had a temple at its top, has been levelled. It was nearly 50 m high and measured at the base about 100 m x 100 m. It was a landmark visible from many miles around, and its obliteration will remove a distinctive feature from the Iraq landscape, which was perhaps the intention of the perpetrators.
‘However that may be, the time has surely come when the international community must rally behind Iraq and provide all possible assistance towards the repair of the Iraqi cultural heritage. This can best be done through Unesco, which is uniquely well qualified to supervise this sort of operation.’
With the capture of Nimrud by Iraqi government forces, he told Bailey, the immediate task for archaeologists will be to secure the damaged site from looting. The hardest longer-term task will be to decide what, if anything, should be reconstructed. Curtis believes the destruction of the Nimrud ziggurat and that of the north-west palace represent ‘the worst damage that Isil has inflicted on Iraqi archaeology.’
Stephanie Dalley FSA
Assyriologist at the Oriental Institute and Wolfson College and Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Somerville College, University of Oxford, writes with some good news from Basra:
‘At the end of September the first gallery in a new Museum of Antiquities was opened in Basra in southern Iraq, an event supported by the Friends of Basrah Museum and the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, and very well organised by its director, Qahtan Alabeed. The building was originally a small palace built for Saddam Hussein, and was decorated by Moroccan craftsmen. It stands beside the Shatt al-Arab on the outskirts of Basra, in a park beside a lagoon. Two other buildings in the same general area have been designated for ethnography and for natural history. A small conference followed the event, at which local scholars interacted with western scholars, with very promising results for further interaction, facilitated by an exceptionally good interpreter.
‘We, the conferees, were treated to an evening boat trip on the Shatt al-Arab, a visit to Ur where three expeditions, joint with Iraqi archaeologists, are excavating in three different areas, and a boat trip in the marshes, which now cover an area the size of Belgium. Several families now live there in traditional reed houses, raising water buffalo. It was wonderful to be able to give positive support to Iraq, and we were made to feel very welcome.’
Saving Wentworth from Politicians
The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, said The Economist
, ‘was always going to be a strange exercise’. One of the more surprising, and welcome, announcements was a pledge of £7.6 million to help repair what The Daily Telegraph
described as ‘the largest private house in the country.’
Wentworth Woodhouse, South Yorkshire, is a monumental Grade I Baroque (at the back) and Palladian (front) house – so big, a whole room could be given to one painting by George Stubbs (pictured below). The Telegraph
said the house was the likely inspiration for Pemberley in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
(a claim dismissed by the Jane Austen Society). When Peter Wentworth-Fitzwilliam inherited it during a national coal shortage in 1942, said the paper, Wentworth was targeted by the Labour minister for fuel and power ‘in an act of perceived class-spite. He ordered mining right up to the windows of the house, despite the coal stock having been described as “not worth the getting”.’ The family never returned.
The Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust (of which Martin Drury FSA
and Merlin Waterson FSA
are Trustees) bought the house earlier this year from its last private owners, the Newbold family, who continue in residence (they lost a case
against the Coal Authority in October). The Wentworth Trust proposes that the main interiors and gardens should be opened to the public by the National Trust, and that other parts of the house could be used for events, offices and residential or holiday letting. The Chancellor’s money would go towards the cost of conservation.
Marcus Binney FSA
, SAVE Britain’s Executive President, says, ‘Our plans will open the house to the general public and bring back all the listed buildings into regular use… as a major new attraction to the 1.7 million people living in the Sheffield Region, providing jobs and access to the extensive gardens and the mansion.’ The house, he says, ‘is the most important historic building at risk in Britain today.’ Simon Jenkins FSA
echoes the judgment: ‘This is far and away the most important historic house currently at risk. It is unthinkable that it should be allowed to fall into serious decay or not be open to visitors on a regular basis.’
In The Times
, Jane Merrick charted the partisan politicking that led to the house’s current positon. In the 1940s, she writes, an aristocrat’s country estate was dug up for an open cast coal mine. In 2016 a Conservative Chancellor, announcing the funds to help restore the house, hailed his magnanimity as righting a wrong perpetrated by a former Labour government. Yet the rescue was partly due to the lobbying efforts of Wentworth’s local Labour MP, John Healey. And this fact was apparently missed by Labour Shadow Minister Kate Osamor, who thought the money would be better spent on ‘84,900 homeless households’.
In other announcements, the Chancellor said the Government will extend tax relief introduced earlier this year for museums and galleries
developing temporary or touring exhibitions, to cover permanent exhibitions as well. A number of military museums will benefit from funds raised from Libor banking fines, including the Aberdeen Museums Development Trust, the Army Museums Ogilby Trust, Biggin Hill Memorial Museum and the Royal Air Force Museum.
reported that £450 million has been allocated for new technology trials to enable trains to run closer together, increasing the number of services. If it works, some 500 signal boxes will become redundant, including many that rely on hand levers and Morse code-style messages.
photos are from The Wentworth Trust website
Admiral Russell’s Frame
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, seeks to acquire what it describes as a superb trophy frame, ‘a work of art which will not only fill a gap in the Museum’s collection, but which has both local and national importance.’ Hoping a successful purchase will commemorate the Fitzwilliam’s bicentenary, the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum have negotiated a price of £345,000. They have until 31 December to raise the final £70,000.
Tim Knox FSA
, Director and Marlay Curator of the Fitzwilliam, puts a detailed case for this fabulous object on The Frame Blog
, and you can see him talk about it in a short video.
Thanks to the arms at the top, the giltwood frame, he writes, can be identified as having been commissioned by Admiral Edward Russell, probably for Chippenham Park, Cambridgeshire, between 1692 and 1697. It was in the collection of Michel Dezarnaud, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Paris, when he died in June 2016, and is currently with a New York dealer.
The item is a ‘spectacular frame of deeply carved and gilded limewood, with full-length flanking figures depicting Hercules and Mercury holding their respective attributes, perched on brackets formed of ship’s prows, flags and military equipment. Below, a flying figure of Fame blows two trumpets. The frame is surmounted by a pair of wreath-bearing Tritons holding a shield bearing the arms of Edward Russell, and putti seated on overflowing vases, with marine molluscs etc.’
The designer and carver are not known, says Knox, but it has been suggested they were professional artisans employed by the Royal Dockyards – Russell was Admiral of the Fleet (1693) and First Lord of the Admiralty (1694), and the navy employed highly skilled woodcarvers for decorating ships, a craft which reached ‘astounding levels of quality and complexity in the 1690s’. Alternatively, the frame may be the work of carvers who worked on elaborate house interiors, a taste for which culminated in the virtuosity of Grinling Gibbons. Further research may identify the actual carver.
What did it frame? It may have contained a portrait of a naval hero, for which there is a well-established Dutch tradition, says Knox. He prefers, however, the idea that its current antique mirror plate replaced an original glass for which it was made – and in which Russell could have gazed on himself, pondering his great naval victories of Barfleur and La Hogue in 1692, as Fame trumpeted his glory.
1,211,201 Antiquities and Counting
Launching the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) Annual Report 2015
, Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum (right in photo), said on 28 November that ‘The PAS contributes enormously to [the Museum’s] National Programme activity and our work across the country. It is an amazing partnership, drawing together over 100 local museums and other organisations to deliver the Scheme’s aims of recording the past to advance knowledge, and sharing that knowledge with all.’
Introducing himself as the Member of Parliament who represents West Suffolk, where the Mildenhall treasure was found (newly described by the British Museum, see ‘Fellows (and Friends)’ below), Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture (left in photo), said, ‘We as a nation are stronger for having a clear set of regulations for Treasure.’ He acknowledged the importance of the PAS’s network of Finds Liaison Officers.
The press were shown three finds made by detectorists: a hoard of some 460 silver coin clippings from Gloucestershire, buried during the English Civil War; a fine Anglo-Saxon copper-alloy hanging-bowl mount from near Littlehampton, West Sussex, decorated with red enamel and millefiori glass; and an outstanding Bronze Age gold torc (1300–1200 BC) from Cambridgeshire. The latter, long enough to hold up my trousers with plenty to spare for a knot, is one of the largest of its kind known. It weighs 732 gm, more than the famous Early Bronze Age Mold sheet-gold cape (560 gm). Among guesses offered for its use is decoration of a prized animal in the course of its sacrifice.
International admiration of a system for recording public finds of antiquities, which combines legislation with a voluntary code and freely given professional advice, has led to the adoption of comparable projects outside the UK. The PAS is working on recording initiatives with other European authorities, including in Denmark, Flanders and the Netherlands. A North Sea Area Finds Recording Group has recently been set up to share information about discoveries.
‘Looking ahead,’ writes Fischer in the Foreword to the Report
, ‘I am keen to see the PAS develop and prosper.’ ‘The British Museum is a world museum,’ he said, ‘but it is also a museum for Britain’.
• On 25 November Sussex Police reported ground disturbance at Cissbury Iron Age hillfort, a Scheduled Monument, which they interpreted as the result of someone using metal detectors. ‘Illicit metal detecting is a shady unscrupulous act,’ said Heritage Crime Officer PCSO Daryl Holter, ‘and deliberate damage to this site is irreversible. There has been outrage from the ethical metal detecting community at this news,’ he added.
In a letter to the Times
, Peter Saunders FSA
, Curator Emeritus, Salisbury Museum, said, ‘There is simply no excuse now for detector users to act illegally: the Treasure Act of 1996 offers fair rewards provided discoveries are made with the landowner’s permission and reported promptly to a Coroner or a Finds Liaison Officer of the Portable Antiquities Scheme. It would be regrettable if the Cissbury incident resulted in landowners denying detectors access to land unlikely to be harmed. The majority act responsibly and have contributed enormously to the scheme’s database of finds (now more than a million objects) – a research resource unimaginable 20 years ago.’
The Traces of Vikings and Anglo-Saxons
As DNA analysis becomes faster, more reliable and much cheaper, understanding the genetic history of ancient populations is attracting growing interest from historians and archaeologists around the world. Debate is growing on the relative merits, and differing applications, of using data from living populations, from which genetic histories can be inferred, and from excavated human remains (ancient DNA or aDNA), from which characteristics of early individuals can be directly observed.
In ‘The “People of the British Isles” project and Viking settlement in England’
90, 1670–80, published 23 much-publicised historical genetic study, published earlier this year in Nature
. The article proposed significant continental input to lowland British populations from Anglo-Saxon invasions, with little evidence for Viking admixture. This appeared to contradict some archaeological studies, which have been down-playing Anglo-Saxon immigration and seeing increasing evidence for Viking settlement.
Kershaw and Røyrvik argue that the People of the British Isles project’s DNA data, obtained from modern Europeans, can be read differently, largely on the grounds that the alleged Anglo-Saxon and Viking genetic homeland areas are similar or even indistinguishable: the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ signature might in fact be a Danish ‘Viking’ one. To support an alternative view, they point to ‘substantial archaeological connections between Hedeby [Denmark] and the Danelaw [England]’, and argue that ‘linguistic and archaeological sources suggest sizeable Danish Viking settlement in England.’
The map (adapted from Antiquity
) shows Scandinavian artefacts found in Britain, mostly by men with metal detectors, the subject of Kershaw’s doctoral thesis and her book, Viking Identities: Scandinavian Jewellery in England
Cultural Property (Armed Conflict) Bill Progresses
‘We are delighted to see that the Committee Stage of the Cultural Property (Armed Conflict) Bill takes place on 15 November in the House of Commons’, opened a letter published on that day in the Guardian
newspaper, ‘after its all-party-supported, steady progress through the House of Lords.’ The long-delayed Bill had received its Second Reading
on 31 October.
‘We have the opportunity to become the leading international player [regarding the protection of cultural property during war],’ continued the letter, whose 13 signatories included Mike Heyworth FSA, Baroness Kay Andrews FSA, Lord Rupert Redesdale FSA, Lord Colin Renfrew FSA, Barry Cunliffe FSA
and Nigel Pollard FSA
. ‘The UK government currently faces a similar opportunity to that confronted by the Swiss in the 1860s: to help an embryonic international organisation become established… Through the UK’s newly created Cultural Protection Fund (CPF) we could, and must, support a small Blue Shield team in London.’
The Bill was discussed in the morning
and the afternoon
of 15 November. Addressing concern from art and antiquities dealers that the proposed Act would unfairly affect their business, evidence from Peter Stone FSA
, the Council for British Archaeology and the British Red Cross was noted, advising no change to the Bill. Concluding, Kevin Brennan said, ‘It may have taken us 62 years, but we are engaged in an extremely important process. We can all take some pride in the fact that finally, after Report and once the Bill gets Royal Assent, we will have ratified The Hague convention, albeit 62 years after it was originally brought about.’
Fellows (and Friends)
Norman Palmer FSA
, barrister and leading specialist in the law of art and cultural property, died in October.
Brian Young FSA
, Director-General of the Independent Broadcasting Authority, died in November.
Peter Gibson FSA
, glazier who worked on York Minster and saved its Rose Window after a fire in 1984, died in November.
Appreciations appear in Fellows Remembered below. The section also contains further notices on the late Luke Herrmann FSA
, the late Alf Smith FSA
, the late Anthony Bryer FSA
and the late Giles Waterfield FSA
Klavs Randsborg, Professor of World Archaeology, Copenhagen University, died on 13 November aged 72. Richard Hodges FSA
, writing on the Current World Archaeology
website, describes him as ‘one of the great figures in Scandinavian and world archaeology over the past half-century.’ Randsborg spent most of his academic life in Copenhagen University, Hodges continues, and he is best known for his Danish books, on the Bronze Age, on the Viking Age, and Anatomy of Denmark.
‘But it was for the great breadth of his international research that he should be celebrated,’ says Hodges. His work included field projects in the Aegean, Kephallonia, Ukraine, Sudan, Benin and the USA. He was a Visiting Professor at several British, Dutch and German universities, as well as at George Washington University at St Louis. ‘In essence’, concludes Hodges, ‘Randsborg was a romantic… He was a prehistorian who evolved and reinvented himself repeatedly to make archaeology thrilling and hugely relevant to our fast-changing world.’ Photo shows Randsborg at Stourhead, Wiltshire.
Richard Hobbs FSA
says he is pleased to be able to inform Fellows of the publication by the British Museum of The Mildenhall Treasure
. Though the hoard of silver vessels was found in 1942 and has attracted a great deal of interest ever since (not least from Roald Dahl, who was sufficiently intrigued by the curious circumstances of the discovery to write a story about it
), it has, in the Museum’s words, long remained ‘inadequately researched and published’. The job is now done. ‘The treasure came to the Museum 70 years ago,’ writes Hobbs, ‘and this is the first time that it’s received a full and comprehensive treatment. The bulk of the research for the monograph was undertaken in 2012 when I was the recipient of a British Academy mid-career Fellowship. The book is in memoriam of Kenneth Painter FSA
, who sadly passed away earlier this year
. Although I’m responsible for most of the publication, the scientific work was written by Janet Lang and Michael J Hughes FSA
, the inscriptions by Roger Tomlin FSA
and the local archaeological context by Jude Plouviez FSA
Claire Hyman, a surgeon, and James Hyman, an art historian and dealer, are building their own museum of British photography, backed by a website
launched in 2015. They are interested in photographs (of which they have over 3,000) as historic artefacts as well as images; the Hyman Collection, they say, is open one day a week in central London to postgraduates, academics and curators by prior appointment. James Hyman told Cristina Ruiz at the Art Newspaper
that Tate needs a senior curator of British photography. ‘They have bought too many works that were printed later’, he said, ‘and not enough original vintage prints. They have focused too much on the image, not the historical object.’ Richard Long or Gilbert & George, conceptual artists using photography, ‘pass’, he said, but ‘great British photographers’ – Bill Brandt, Bert Hardy, Roger Mayne, Tony Ray-Jones ‘or a host of wonderful contemporary photographers’ – are not understood. ‘What we lack here is someone promoting our own photographers at an institutional level,’ he added, suggesting their own collection may end up outside the UK.
BBC Radio 3 will broadcast a programme presented by David Attenborough FSA
on Christmas day. In 1953–54 he produced a TV series called Alan Lomax – Song Hunter
, in which the collector of American blues and folk music assembled traditional musicians from across Britain and Ireland for the cameras. Inspired by the experience, Attenborough started to collect music himself, taking advantage of location facilities to record music during his travels for Zoo Quest
and later projects. The BBC has his tapes, and in the programme the broadcaster plays and talks about the recordings. Sunday Feature: Sir David Attenborough – World Music Collector
goes out on 25 December at 6.45 pm.
The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, Newcastle, has received £600,000 development funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with support of £4.7m. The project involves restoring the exterior of the Grade II*-listed Neville Hall, renovating interior rooms, including the Romano-Gothic Wood Memorial Hall and Edwardian Lecture Theatre, and digitising the archive of a collection important for the study of the birth of the Industrial Revolution.
The Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, announced an exhibition that will use witness accounts, scientific research and art to show how our understanding of volcanoes has evolved. Richard Ovenden FSA
, Bodley’s Librarian, said, ‘Volcanoes are one of the most extraordinary marvels of the natural world and have fascinated us for millennia. This exhibition draws on both the rich collections held at the Bodleian and cutting edge scientific research to demonstrate the power and fascination of volcanoes through time.’ Volcanoes
will be at the Weston Library from 10 February to 21 May 2017.
On 26 November Joe Corre – son of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren – carried out his threat to burn punk memorabilia said to be worth £5 to £10 million, which he did on a barge on the River Thames. The Mayor of London, the British Library and the British Film Institute are backing a programme to celebrate 40 years of the anti-establishment subculture. ‘Punk was never, never meant to be nostalgic,’ said Corre
, ‘and you can't learn how to be one at a Museum of London workshop.’
‘We are delighted to see that the Committee Stage of the Cultural Property (Armed Conflict) Bill takes place on 15 November in the House of Commons’, opened a letter published on that day in the Guardian
, ‘after its all-party-supported, steady progress through the House of Lords.’ The long-delayed Bill had received its Second Reading
on 31 October. ‘We have the opportunity to become the leading international player [regarding the protection of cultural property during war],’ continued the letter, whose 13 signatories included Mike Heyworth FSA, Baroness Kay Andrews FSA, Lord Rupert Redesdale FSA, Lord Colin Renfrew FSA, Barry Cunliffe FSA
and Nigel Pollard FSA
. ‘The UK government currently faces a similar opportunity to that confronted by the Swiss in the 1860s: to help an embryonic international organisation become established… Through the UK’s newly created Cultural Protection Fund (CPF) we could, and must, support a small Blue Shield team in London.’
Britain’s two archaeology magazine, Current Archaeology
and British Archaeology
, have both launched digital archives of their entire runs. The former was founded by Andrew Selkirk FSA
in 1967 (No 1 illustrated), and is now edited by Matthew Symonds FSA
. The latter, launched by the Council for British Archaeology in 1995 with Simon Dennison as editor, grew out of earlier newsletters which in various forms reach back to 1951 (these are not yet digitised). I have been editing British Archaeology
Anselm Kiefer, a German artist whose exhibition at the Royal Academy in 2014 featured shipwrecks and the mathematical stratigraphy of Futurist poet Velimir Khlebnikov, has a new show at the White Cube gallery
in Bermondsey, London (until 12 February 2017). Called Walhalla
, the exhibition references Norse mythology and Bavarian King Ludwig I’s Neoclassical Walhalla memorial, built between 1830 and 1842 to honour heroic figures ‘of the German tongue’ (who now range from Alfred the Great and Bede to J S Bach and German anti-Nazi resistance fighters). In one huge work, a rusty spiral staircase rises to White Cube’s ceiling, draped with the remains of clothing discarded by the Valkyries as they climb into Valhalla, Odin’s hall of the dead. I wrote about Kiefer’s archaeological engagements (and those of the Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei) in British Archaeology
The Castle Studies Trust
funded a geophysical survey of Pembroke Castle grounds over the summer, conducted by the Dyfed Archaeological Trust. The survey, said the Trust in a press release, revealed two or three previously unknown buildings in the inner ward, and several buildings and a possible well in the outer ward. It also confirmed details of the outline of a late Medieval building in the outer ward revealed by grass parch-marks in aerial photographs in 2013 – perhaps the building where Henry VII was born (visible at right in the RCAHMW photo). Castle Studies Trust Patron John Goodall FSA
said the survey had ‘greatly advanced our understanding of Pembroke Castle, one of Wales' greatest but also least understood castles.’
Accidents and Violent Death in Early Modern London: 1650–1750
, by Craig Spence FSA
, relates the deaths of more than 15,000 Londoners, and shows how accidental and 'disorderly' deaths – from drowning, falls, stabbing, shooting, fires, explosions, suffocation, and animals and vehicles, among others – were a regular feature of urban life. The book establishes the historical significance of the accident, says the blurb, and shows how accidents came to be seen less as a matter of luck, and more as threats to be managed.
In The Sunday Times
on 27 November Dominic Sandbrook listed Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts
by Christopher de Hamel FSA
, as ‘History book of the year’. ‘In an excellent year for history books,’ he writes, ‘de Hamel’s stands out because it brings an apparently obscure subject to such rich and dazzling life… History books are often said to have brought the past to life, but I can’t think of many that have done so with such learning, beauty and wonderfully boyish gusto.’
Historic England has replaced its Conservation Bulletin
, which was printed twice a year, with themed heritage debates published online four times a year. Debate Number 1
is Why is a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace Essential for the Heritage Sector?
‘The demographics of the UK are changing rapidly,’ says the introduction, ‘by immigration, emigration, changing global norms, ageing populations and generational differences, coupled with varying birth rates. Successful organisations understand how demographics can affect their markets, client base, customers and how to effectively leverage diversity to create value by attracting and retaining the best talent.’ Duncan Wilson FSA
starts the discussion, with ‘The Importance of Bringing Greater Diversity to Historic England.’ ‘It would be naive to ignore the feelings of insecurity which mass migration can give rise to,’ he writes. ‘But the historical record, and the stories locked up in our historic places, helps to shine an objective and dispassionate light on these issues. This is the power of our subject-matter.’
262 palaces, 514 pigsties. This is a current promotional postcard from Historic England; it refers to listed buildings. One of these has been much discussed since the last Salon
, and it wasn't a pigsty. Buckingham Palace, the main residence of the reigning British monarch, has been no better maintained than the Palace of Westminster, which politicians are preparing to vacate to assist a £4 billion conservation project. On 18 November it was announced that the Government is backing an increase in the sovereign grant, which comes from Crown Estate profit, as contribution to a £369 million ten-year restoration of Buckingham Palace. ‘Even more money will be taken from the public pocket’, said the Mail Online
. The Queen will not have to move out, but, said the Mail
, ‘she is likely to have to change bedrooms at some point’, adding that ‘Dozens of her staff will be put up in Portacabins on the palace lawn.’ An online petition
protesting that taxpayers should not pay for the work (Make Royals Pay for Palace Renovation
) has attracted over 140,000 signatures. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who entertained the right-wing press last year by quoting Mao Zedong in the House of Commons, defended the expenditure. ‘It’s a national monument,’ he told LBC Radio
. ‘When you have these old buildings they have to be looked after.’
The Servants' Story: Managing a Great Country House
, by Pamela Sambrook FSA
, considers the personal lives of the people who served one of the richest families in Britain, drawing on first-hand accounts. Trentham was the Staffordshire home of the Leveson-Gower family, the Dukes of Sutherland. They owned many other country houses and estates, and left a huge archive which is relatively unexplored. The stories of Trentham’s servants are not just family histories, says the blurb; they reveal experiences and unravel relationships to which we can all relate, and demonstrate how people coped in the face of the immense change to country-house life in the early years of the transition into a modern nation.
On 22 November the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland (IAI) and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding
setting out the basis for cooperation between the two institutes. CIfA is the leading professional body representing archaeologists working in the UK and overseas. The IAI is the primary all-island professional organisation representing archaeologists working in Ireland and Northern Ireland. CIfA Chief Executive, Peter Hinton FSA
, said, ‘This understanding comes at a time when political shifts are bringing significant challenges to the practice of archaeology in Ireland, the rest of Europe and beyond; but it also coincides with a much stronger recognition of the value of archaeology to society and the consequent need to ensure that it is conducted to professional standards.’
Sir Nikolaus Pevsner FSA
fled Germany for Britain in 1933, researched industrial design at Birmingham University, was interned in 1940 and soon released (with the help of Frank Pick), and began a career in art history at Birkbeck, University of London. He had already written and published much on architecture, including An Outline of European Architecture
for Penguin, when Allen Lane asked him for new ideas. Pevsner suggested a series of books on English architecture, and Penguin published the first volume of Buildings of England
in 1951. By the time they were all done in 1974, Pevsner himself had written or co-authored 42. A Welsh series was completed in 2009, and now, with the publication of Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire by Yale University Press, the buildings of Scotland have all been described. ‘What Pevsner did was incredible,’ series editor Charles O’Brien told The Times
. ‘There is nothing really comparable in the world.’
The National Churches Trust (whose Trustees include Lord Cormack FSA
and Rory O'Donnell FSA
) has launched a new website
encouraging the public to visit churches. It currently features 1,200 across the UK, and invites people to propose others to add to the interactive map.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there seem to be more space archaeologists in north America than in the UK, interested in space debris, the physical impacts of human exploration on explored bodies and, at the outer fringes, investigating lost civilisations. A British arts project called Adrift
, run by Cath Le Couteur and Nick Ryan, will appeal to many contemporary archaeologists, with its focus on ‘the troubling, beautiful, dangerous and fascinating world of space junk.’ There are worse ways of spending 11 minutes than watching their lyrically beautiful short film. Also well worth a look is Kieran Baxter’s four and a half minute film of two Iron Age earthworks, the White and Brown Caterthun hillforts near Edzell, which he created as part of his PhD project at Duncan of Jordanstone. The lovely The Caterthuns
, a seamless digital creation, has won an AHRC Research in Film Awards prize of £2000.
Janet Miller FSA
will join MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) as Chief Executive in January 2017. She succeeds Taryn Nixon FSA
, who is standing down after 19 years in the post. Miller is currently Director of Cities and Development at Atkins, where she has overall responsibility for heritage. ‘It is a great honour to be asked to lead an organisation like MOLA,’ she said in a press release, ‘which has really set the benchmark for archaeological investigation and research over many decades… [with] an exceptional and internationally well regarded team.’
Steven Mithen FSA
writes about the human brain in the New York Review of Books
(24 November). Reviewing The Human Advantage: A New Understanding of How Our Brain Became Remarkable
, by Suzana Herculano-Houzel, Mithen says there’s nothing special about the size of our brains. ‘When one draws a correlation between body mass and brain mass for living primates and extinct species of Homo
, it is not humans – whose brains are three times larger than those of chimpanzees, their closest primate relative – that are an outlier. Instead, it is the great apes – gorillas and the orangutan – with brains far smaller than would be expected in relation to their body mass… [they] are the evolutionary oddity that requires explanation.’ ‘This is a book written with passion,’ he concludes, ‘about a scientific quest pursued with passion.’
In 2013 Trevor Rowley FSA
, Emeritus Fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford, published The Man Behind the Bayeux Tapestry: Odo, William the Conqueror’s Half Brother
. He has now followed that with An Archaeological Study of the Bayeux Tapestry,
which considers the great embroidery from the perspective of historical geography and archaeology. Michael Lewis is another archaeologist to have written about the tapestry, in books such as The Archaeological Authority of the Bayeux Tapestry
(2005) and The Real World of the Bayeux Tapestry
(2008). Focussing less on artefacts and dress, Rowley looks at the embroidered landscapes, buildings and structures, and compares them to what can be seen today. This approach allows him to challenge a number of generally accepted assumptions, says the blurb, regarding the location of scenes; he thinks William may never have gone to Hastings. And he tackles the tapestry’s missing end, suggesting places and events which would have been featured on it.
The Victorian Society has asked Westminster City Council to reject demolition of a former Royal Mail sorting and delivery office at Paddington, London, to make way for Renzo Piano’s Paddington Cube. The office, which, says the Society, reflects the development of the railways in the 19th and early 20th centuries when Paddington became one of Britain's great railway termini, was recognised by the Council as a ‘Building of Merit' in 2010.
Culture Minister Matt Hancock has placed a temporary export bar on The Christening,
made in about 1728 by William Hogarth (detail in picture). The work, said the Department for Culture, Media & Sport
in a press release, was Hogarth’s first painted comical scene. Lowell Libson FSA
, a member of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, which recommended deferring the export licence, said, ‘Hogarth’s importance in imbuing art and artists with a sense of a national character at a time when England was consolidating its international position as the dominant economic and political power cannot be underestimated. This important painting demonstrates Hogarth’s concern with the effects that this new affluence had on all sectors of society. Its retention in this country would considerably add to the story we can tell of a painter who helped define our national identity.’ The decision on the export licence application will be deferred until February 15 2017. This may be extended until May 15 2017, if a serious intention to purchase is made at the recommended price of £1,223,100. ‘Satire is an important part of our cultural heritage’, said Hancock, ‘and as a fan of Hogarth’s work I hope [the painting] can remain in the UK for the public to enjoy.’
Technology in the Country House
, by Marilyn Palmer FSA
and Ian West and published by Historic England, explores how new technologies changed country houses and the lives of the families within them. The book was inspired, writes Palmer, ‘by the statement by Mark Girouard FSA
that “even when the customs have gone, the houses remain, enriched by the accumulated alterations, and often accumulated contents of several centuries. Abandoned lifestyles can be disinterred from them in much the same way as from the layers of an archaeological dig.” She and West visited nearly 100 houses around the UK, mostly those open to the public and in the hands of the National Trust. The book looks not so much at the social records, as at the physical evidence for greater levels of comfort and convenience sought by landowners from the 18th to the early 20th centuries.
Simon Thurley FSA
, former Chief Executive of English Heritage, used his first lecture at Gresham College (see ‘Other Forthcoming Heritage Events’ below) to vent his frustration at what he considers public and political lack of understanding of 20th-century architecture. It was, he said, as Dalya Alberge reported in the Observer
, born of ‘optimism and determination to use architecture to transform society… These buildings are about ideas and other things.’ Listing, however, has the effect of convincing both politicians and conservationists that buildings cannot be altered, and this is not how they should be treated. ‘For the 20th century,’ he said, ‘you’ve got to have a different system.’ ‘Saving the late 20th century’, he added, ‘is the most controversial and difficult area of modern conservation practice and debate.’ Having left English Heritage in May last year when it split into two, spawning Historic England, Thurley says he ‘decided that I could politely say all the things I was bursting to say for 10 years about what’s wrong with the system.'
Midsea Books, with the Department of the History of Art at the University of Malta, is publishing At Home In Art: Essays In Honour Of Mario Buhagiar.
for Mario Buhagiar FSA
, the book brings together essays on the themes of art and history by Maltese and other researchers, and is published in English, with some papers in Italian and French. It has four sections: From Medieval to Baroque: archaeology, history, painting, and architecture; Design and Decoration: fashion, manuscripts, precious metals, and wood; Neo-Classicism, Romanticism, Revivalism, and the Modern; and Interpreting the arts, society, and documentation.
The Private Life of Edward IV
, by John Ashdown-Hill FSA
, says the blurb, reveals that ‘much of what we know as “history” is mythology.’ Examples in his book include Edward IV’s birth and death dates, and the claim that the king ‘had relationships with loads of women,’ while there is ‘real contemporary evidence for Edward’s same-sex relationship with his cousin, Somerset.’ Ashdown-Hill says he has identified ‘living modern all-female-line descendants of one of [the “princes in the Tower” ’s] mother’s sisters. Could publication of this line of descent lead to contact and samples from these newly identified living relatives?’ He has commissioned the facial reconstruction of Lady Anne Mowbray (wife of the younger “prince in the Tower”), which he has offered to English Heritage for Framlingham Castle, where Anne was born. ‘It is under debate’, he says, ‘whether they will accept it.’
Sue O’Connor FSA,
at the Australian National University in Canberra, found a 13-cm-long piece of bone in Carpenter's Gap 1 rock shelter in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, in a context dated to more than 46,000 years ago. Microscopic analysis revealed red ochre stains and scratches made by stone tools. Fractures were consistent with a twisting, pushing action that resulted in a pointed tip snapping off, possibly as it was being driven through someone’s nasal septum, or when working leather or basketry. Michelle Langley, O'Connor and Ken Aplin, writing in Quaternary Science Reviews
154 (December 2016), say the possible ‘nose-bone’ ‘demonstrates not only that Australian osseous technology has a time depth almost 25,000 years older than previously believed, but that bone technology was present in the opposite corner of the country from which it was proposed to have been innovated around 20,000 years ago.’
of 21 November carried an obituary for Luke Herrmann FSA
, headlined ‘art historian and expert on Turner’; he died in September
. Herrmann, says the paper, ‘never entirely lost contact with his German roots because his father had inherited a Bavarian baroque schloss, Pretzfeld, which was seized by the Nazis in 1937 and returned to the family in 1948; and this, along with a 300-acre estate in former East Germany returned in 1989, was restored by the Herrmann family.’ In his later years, he moved to a 19th-century vicarage near Raglan, where he made ‘an outstanding collection of studio pottery, including many pieces by Lucie Rie, Hans Coper and William Staite Murray.’ ‘An inspiring, generous and patient teacher,’ and ‘Always beautifully turned out, with a rose in his buttonhole, Herrmann exemplified the five essential qualities required for a good art historian: a deep love of art; an insight into unexplored niches in the field; a hard head for research; a lucid, simple style of writing, and a gift for lecturing and retaining the attention of his audience.’
Norman Palmer FSA
died on 3 October aged 68. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in May 2004. In a distinguished career in cultural property law, Palmer worked with many cases that affected not just the status of individual antiquities and works of art (including rare motor cars, which he collected though unable to drive), but the wider and international contexts in which such items are owned, acquired and disposed of. His highly informed analyses, and his preference for seeking agreements without going to court or framing new laws, have had a deep impact on public notions and practice in the world of cultural property.
Palmer’s life has been honoured within the legal profession, and The Times
and the Guardian
published obituaries in November. The Times
highlighted his recent work with Amal Clooney and Geoffrey Robertson for the Greek government, in connection with the Parthenon marbles in the British Museum. Arriving in Greece three weeks after the marriage of Amal Alamuddin and American actor George Clooney, the lawyers were chased by the press. ‘The bemused Palmer’, says The Times
, ‘remarked drily that he never thought the day would come when his photograph would feature in Paris Match
.’ Palmer and Clooney prepared a detailed case for the return of the marbles, to be presented to the English courts, the International Court of Justice, and the European Court of Human Rights. Greece decided not to take legal action against Britain, having been advised of a 15% chance of success. ‘Palmer’, adds The Times
, ‘privately admitted that he could see both sides of the argument, but eventually came down on the side of the Greeks.’
Among other high-profile cases on which Palmer advised was the Sevso treasure. A complex saga began in the 1980s, when the Marquess of Northampton acquired 14 exceptional pieces of late Roman silver, and a copper alloy cauldron said to have contained them; the number of pieces claimed to have been in the hoard later rose to over 200. The Getty Museum pulled out of a purchase over concerns about provenance, and proposed auction sales were cancelled. Lebanese export licenses were exposed as fakes, the Marquess sued solicitors who had advised him to buy the silver, and Hungary claimed ownership, supported by Rupert Redesdale FSA
and Colin Renfrew FSA
. Despite moves by Bonhams in 2006 that were interpreted as preparations for a sale, in March 2014 seven pieces of silver and the cauldron were returned to Hungary, after Palmer had been acting for the Hungarian government for 13 years.
Palmer chaired a Working Group on Human Remains in Museum Collections, whose conclusions published by the UK government in 2003 were widely known as the Palmer report. This originated in a declaration by the UK and Australian prime ministers to facilitate repatriation of remains held in Britain to Aboriginal communities. Neil Chalmers, then Director of the Natural History Museum, objected to the Palmer report’s ‘tone’, and Robert Foley FSA
said that its proposals would, if implemented, go ‘far beyond any other country’s legislation or intent’, leading to ‘the beginning of the dismantling of British museums.’ In due course remains were passed to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.
In 2007 he won a landmark case with a ruling that the Islamic Republic of Iran had a legal claim to 18 Bronze Age bowls, jars and cups in the Barakat Gallery in Mayfair, London. The artefacts had been illegally excavated and exported, and though the gallery’s legitimate trade purchase was not challenged, it was held that Iran still owned the vessels and they were returned. More recently he advised Leicester City Council on the discovery and exhumation of the remains of King Richard III.
Palmer’s work is felt by many in the UK through the Treasure Act 1996, to which he made significant contributions and for which he chaired the Treasure Valuation Committee. The Act’s implementation was instrumental in the setting up of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS). The two arrangements, the one legal and the other voluntary and advisory, have had a profound impact on amateur collecting in Britain, and professional research into ancient artefacts. Internationally praised, the PAS, with Roger Bland FSA
for long at the helm, is now being extended in principle into continental Europe (see ***).
Palmer chaired the Illicit Trade Advisory Panel, which advised the UK government on the Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, and was instrumental in seeing through the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003, the Human Tissue Act 2004, the Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Act 2009 and the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013 (Commonwealth of Australia). He was a member of the Advisory Group to the All Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group, and Expert Advisor to the UK’s Spoliation Advisory Panel.
He was Professor of Law at the universities of Reading, Essex, Southampton and UCL, at the latter first as Professor of Commercial Law, and from 2002, Emeritus Professor of the Law of Art and Cultural Property. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel honoris causa
He founded and co-edited the periodical Art Antiquity and Law
. His books included The Recovery of Stolen Art
(1998), Museums and the Holocaust
(2000) and Art, Advocacy and Adven
ture (2014). His Fellows entry listed among his interests monumental brasses, epitaphs, tombstones and memorial inscriptions; church architecture; and archaeology in general.
Writing on the website
of the Institute of Art and Law, of which he was Academic Principal, Alexander Herman remembers Palmer as ‘a brilliant teacher, a tireless seeker after the truth, and the kindest, most forgiving of souls.’
Leslie Smith FSA
writes to say that Alf Smith FSA
, who died in October
, was instrumental in setting up Godmersham Park Heritage Centre, Canterbury. It is in the old estate granary, and open on the first Monday of the month from April to October, or by appointment (see the website
). Godmersham Park was in the news recently, notes Smith, as it is pictured on the new £10 note featuring its frequent visitor Jane Austen, whose brother owned the house.
has published an obituary for Anthony Bryer FSA
, who died in October
, by Judith Herren FSA
. Herren identifies Bryer as the person responsible for making Britain ‘a flourishing base from which to study Byzantium,’ the eastern Roman Christian empire (AD 330–1453), when before, ‘“Byzantine” was more often used as a term of abuse.’ Bryer was the founder, in 1976, and long-serving first director of Birmingham’s Centre for Byzantine Studies (now the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies). ‘Accompanied by generations of students,’ writes Herren, ‘he led expeditions exploring the Byzantine and Ottoman buildings and culture of north-eastern Turkey, the Pontos and the Pontic Alps behind Trebizond.’ He founded the journal Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, and inspired a large number of Byzantine PhD students, and scholars worldwide. He was the first modern historian to identify Byzantine villages, castles and churches with important frescoes known from medieval records of the Vazelon monastery. He was chairman of the British Committee of the International Association of Byzantine Studies, and served on the managing committees of the British School at Athens and the British Institute at Ankara.
Obituaries for Giles Waterfield FSA
, who died in November
, have appeared in The Telegraph
(17 November), The Times
(18 November) and the Guardian
leads with Waterfield’s novels, including The Long Afternoon
(2000), ‘a tragedy closely based on his grandparents' life in a splendid villa in Menton, [which] showed how a purposeless existence, for all its superficial attractions, risks sapping the will,’ and The Hound in the Left-hand Corner
(2002), ‘a sparkling satire on the museum world which also served the serious purpose of revealing the shabby compromises necessitated by dwindling government grants.’
He was only 30, says the paper, when he became the first director of Sir John Soane's gallery in Dulwich. It was then ‘on its uppers … being obliged to sell a picture in order to finance running expenses’. He turned the gallery around, revealing an ability ‘to combine a steely will with a lightest of touches, and to achieve results as much through the affection he gave and inspired, as through any cracking of the whip.’ ‘He had a vast range of friends,’ adds The Telegraph
, ‘by no means all of them art experts.’
For The Times
, Waterfield was a ‘Visionary curator who rescued the ailing Dulwich Picture Gallery and came to the defence of the Soviet spy Anthony Blunt.’ ‘I found the gallery in the state in which it had been since 1910,’ he recalled, ‘operating an old-fashioned 19th-century museum, the pictures more or less kept intact, but nothing in the way of exhibitions, education or conservation.’ ‘He could come across as a rather enigmatic figure,’ says The Times
, ‘His friend the TV historian Lucy Worsley FSA
recalled feeling thrown when, as her tutor, he arrived at a college “pool party” wearing long, vampiric false fingernails.’
Writing in the Guardian
, Anna Somers Cocks FSA
says Waterfield was not ‘a conventionally ambitious man, he chose to leave [the Dulwich Picture Gallery] before its much praised remodelling was complete … to become a traveller, independent curator, lecturer and writer. He won the 2001 McKitterick prize for his first novel, The Long Afternoon
, but the quality his students and many friends single out above all others was his capacity to inspire as a teacher.’ An important part of his life after leaving Dulwich, says Somers Cocks, was the Attingham Summer School, ‘an intellectually rigorous, three-week course in historic architecture and the decorative and fine arts in the context of country houses. Its thousands of alumni, nearly all museum curators, have been forged into a fiercely loyal and quietly influential network by this “artistic boot camp”, as one called it.’
Sir Brian Young FSA
died on 11 November aged 94. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in November 1994. He was Headmaster of Charterhouse (1952–64), Director of the Nuffield Foundation (1964–70) and Director-General of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (1970–82). He was Chairman of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and of Christian Aid, and a member of the Central Advisory Council for Education, the Central Religious Advisory Committee of the BBC and the ITA, and the Arts Council (for which he was Chairman of the Advisory Panel on Music for England). He was a frequent guest lecturer for Serenissima Travel and Swan's Hellenic Cruises, and author of The Villein's Bible: Stories in Romanesque Carving (
1990), an illustrated book in which he placed Romanesque sculptures from Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and elsewhere in their Biblical settings. The funeral service will be at 2.30 pm on 1 December, at St James' Church, Gerrards Cross.
Peter Gibson FSA
died on 13 November aged 87. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in March 1979. Superintendent of the York Glaziers Trust, he worked for the Dean and Chapter of York Minster for 60 years, twice restoring the Rose window.
From the age of 12, says The Yorkshire Post
, he was an altar server, and York Minster ‘was always part of his life.’ Sarah Brown FSA
, current Director of the York Glaziers’ Trust, said his mother asked the Dean what he might do when he left school. ‘The Dean was an enormous stained-glass window enthusiast,’ she said, ‘and he suggested he might come as an apprentice to what was then York Minster Glaziers.’ He joined the workshop straight from school, and became a leading international expert on the conservation of medieval stained glass.
In July 1984 fire devastated the Minster’s South Transept and threatened to destroy the Tudor Rose Window. ‘When I carried out my initial examination of the glass’, he said later
, ‘from a narrow internal walkway at the base of the window only an hour after the fire, the glass was still warm to touch. Strapped to a fireman’s turntable ladder I then carried out a thorough external examination of the glass from its uppermost rung more than 100 feet above the ground.’ An hour later he told the Dean that ‘although the glass was as severely damaged as it could possibly be, I was confident that one day it would shine once again in the South Transept.’
‘And so it did,’ said Brown. ‘Over the next few years he spearheaded the programme of conservation. The whole question of how to stabilise fire-damaged glass had rarely been tackled before. He was really going into unchartered territory.’
He lectured widely. Among other honours, he received an MBE and an OBE, the St William Cross from the Archbishop of York, and the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic with insignia.
The funeral service will be on 6 December at 11.00 am at St Michael Le Belfry Church, York, followed by a private cremation.
The Wisdom of Fellows
Jean Wilson FSA
would like to remind Fellows that the Church Monuments Society Guidebook Competition for 2016 closes on 31 December. It is not so much the guide itself that matters, says the Society
, as the treatment of the monuments – and ‘superlative treatment of a group of undistinguished monuments would beat a mediocre account of outstanding ones.’ David Meara FSA
will choose a winner from a shortlist.
60 New Fellows Elected This Past Autumn
We post the results of each ballot on our website, immediately following the Ordinary Meeting at which results are announced. Here's a recap of the new Fellows elected to the Society this past October and November. The next ballot will be on 8 December (same day as our Christmas Miscellany and Mulled Wine Reception).
Charlotte Berry, MScEcon, PhD.
Richard Hoggett, BA, MA, PhD.
Michael Hall, MA, MPhil, PhD.
David Taylor, BA, MSc.
Susan Patricia Berry, CertEd, BA, MSc, PhD.
Michael Ramage, MArch, PhD.
Chantal Conneller, BA, MA, PhD.
Sheila ffolliott, AB, PhD.
Malin Holst, BA, MSc.
Clare Randall, BSc, MSc, PhD.
Peter Robert Keith Andrew Davidson, MA, PhD.
Nicholas Doggett, BA, PGCert Field Arch, PhD.
Julia Walworth, MA, PhD.
Steve Mills, BA, MA, PhD.
James Edward Ede, MA.
Colin Sheaf, MA.
Jill Whitelock, MA, MA, MPhil, PhD.
Augustine Casiday, BSc, BA, MA, PhD.
Philippa Hoskin, MA, DPhil.
Alison Betts, BA, MA, PhD.
David Nicolle, PhD.
Alexander (Sandy) Murray Kidd, BSc, MA.
Peter Biehl, PhD.
Jayne Lydon, BA, MA, PhD.
Jonathan (Jon) Cannon, BA.
Cecily Hennessy, BA, MA, PhD.
Matthew Winterbottom, BA, DipMusStud.
John Wells, BA, MA.
Ben Outhwaite, BA, MPhil, PhD.
Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, BSc, PhD.
Richard Pears, BA, PhD.
(William) Lawrence Banks, MA, DL, CBE.
Peter Lindfield, MA, PhD.
Adrian Seville, MA, PhD.
Cherry Ann Knott, BA, PhD.
Charlotte Potts, BA, MA, DPhil.
Ian Brown, PhD.
Seif el Rashidi, BA, MA, MSc.
Christopher Wood, BSc, MSc.
Adrian Charles James, MA, DipLib.
Tony Waldron, MA, PhD, MD, DSc.
Michael John Christian Bellamy, BA.
Alice Gorman, BA, PhD.
Sabine Gaudzinski-Windheuser, BA, MA, PhD.
John Baker, BA, PhD.
Jayne Carroll, BA, PhD.
John Naylor, BA, PhD.
Andy Bliss, BA, QPM.
Rebecca Maria Wragg Sykes, BA, MA, PhD.
James Peter Wright, BA.
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.
1 December: 'English Alabasters Reconsidered', by Dr Kim Woods, FSA
8 December*: 'Miscellany of Papers' (including 'Friend of My Youth: Vernon Lushington and William Morris' by David Taylor, FSA, and 'Vera Evison and the Anglo-Saxon Comb' by Ian Riddler, FSA)
*A Ballot is scheduled for this date.
8 December: 'Mulled Wine Reception', including Christmas carols and raffle prizes!
Interested in proposing a lecture? Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Manager (email@example.com). 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.
31 January: 'From the Dungheap to the Stars: The History of Early Gunpowder', by Kay Smith, FSA.
14 February: 'Revealing Verulamium: Community Heritage, Geophysics and the Archaeology of a Roman Town,' by Dr Kris Lockyear, FSA, and Dr Ellen Shlasko.
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
Burlington House Closures
The Society's apartments (including the Library and Fellows' Room) will be closed for the Christmas holidays 24 December to 2 January (inclusive).
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 Prof Christopher Scull, FSA, a joint lecture with the Department of Archaeology of University of Exeter (14.30-15.30 at 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
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.
Photo from 26 November: Christmas Luncheon at Library, The Grange Hotel, York.
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
See next article for 'Call for Papers'.
6 December: A Colourful History/A Bright Future: Celebrating the Reredos Project at St Cuthbert’s (Wells)
The summer's investigations into two magnificent 15th-century painted reredos frameworks at St Cuthbert’s church, Wells, and the 449 pieces of broken sculpture which once populated them, are now complete. A day of presentations and discussion will share the project's findings and start the conversation about the sculptures' future. Cataloguing undertaken by Jerry Sampson FSA sheds light on the original composition and structure of the two reredoses. What can the iconography tell us about the nature of worship in the 15th century church? How and when were they destroyed? The event will take place in the Lecture Hall at Wells and Mendip Museum. See blog for more about the project, and Eventbrite for tickets.
7 December: The Botany of Christmas (London)
Mark Nesbitt, curator and ethnobotanist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, will present a lunchtime lecture at the Linnean Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, on the past and future of plants with Christmas associations, from frankincense and myrrh or mistletoe, to the ingredients of Christmas food and drink. He will draw on Kew’s and the Linnean Society’s rich biological and art collections. 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. The lectures are:
10 December: Celebrating 50 Years Recording and Collecting the Archaeology of Oxfordshire (Woodstock)
- 7 December 2016: Tough Choices: Heritage or Housing? (The one built environment issue on which there is political consensus is an urgent need to build more houses. Housebuilding and heritage can be reconciled, but at the moment far too few local authorities know how to do it.)
- 1 February 2017: Perfection or Pastiche? New Buildings in Old Places (The blight of the concrete municipal buildings of the 1960s and 70s in the historic centres of our cathedral cities is all too familiar. Everyone wants to avoid the same mistakes being made again, but can we reconcile old and new in our historic cities?)
- 8 March 2017: 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 2017: Fifty Years of Conservation Areas (Simon 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.)
- 12 December 2017: ‘Business as Usual’: The Great War and the Ceramics Trade (London) (The Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology’s Geoff Egan Memorial Lecture 2016 will be given by David Barker, at the Society of Antiquaries, Piccadilly, at 7pm. The lecture considers the impact of events of 1914–1919 on British manufacturing industries. The pottery industry was not alone in feeling the effects of labour shortages – and the need to fill male roles with women workers – and it suffered from the closure of markets, shortages of raw materials and difficulties in pursuing the all-important export trade. The lecture will be preceded by the SPMA’s AGM at 5.30pm and a wine reception at 6pm. See online for details.)
The Oxfordshire Museums Service has recently enjoyed its 50th birthday, and in October celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Oxfordshire (County) Museum at Woodstock. From its origins the service collected and recorded the county's archaeology, and soon developed a unique method of recording this information, the origins of the Oxfordshire County Museum Sites and Monuments Record, the first of its kind in Britain. The adoption of this system by every English county has led to a remarkable expansion of our knowledge of British archaeology. To celebrate these achievements the Oxfordshire Museum is hosting an afternoon of archaeology. Speakers include Susan Lisk, David Miles FSA and Julian Munby FSA. See online for details.
15 December: In the Footsteps of the Ancestors – Excursions into the Gorham’s Cave Complex World Heritage Site (London)
Clive Finlayson, Director of the Gibraltar Museum and of the Gorham’s Cave Complex, will give the ICOMOS-UK annual Christmas lecture at the Gallery, 70 Cowcross St, to celebrate the inscription of the UK’s latest World Heritage Site. Conventional wisdom tells us that competitively superior modern humans were responsible for the demise of all who they came across in their relentless path towards global colonisation. The story of humanity is much more complex than this, and it is becoming increasingly clear that the evidence does not support this simple model. New technologies, and sites which have survived the attention of Victorian archaeologists and their contemporaries, have the potential to reveal the secrets of the ancestors. Booking online.
12 January 2017: Grave Disturbance in Early Medieval Europe (Stockholm)
An international symposium to be held at the Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University, organised by Alison Klevnäs, who won the Kent Archaeological Society's Hasted Prize in 2011 for her Cambridge PhD on the symposium’s theme. One of the most intriguing chapters in early Medieval archaeology is an outbreak of grave disturbance from Hungary to England, peaking in the seventh century. Thousands of recent burials were reopened and rifled, with grave goods and human remains removed or scattered. This will be the first conference on Merovingian-period grave disturbance since 1977. Substantive new research is being carried out into this phenomenon in England, Germany, France, the Low Countries, and Austria. See online for more information.
21 January 2017: New Insights into 16th- and 17th-Century British Architecture (London)
The programme and booking form for the seventh in this conference series are available. The conference will be held at the Society of Antiquaries, and many of the speakers are Fellows. For more information, please contact Paula Henderson FSA or Claire Gapper FSA.
18 February 2017: The Man who Collected Oxfordshire (Oxford)
A day school at Rewley House, exploring the life and collections of Percy Manning (1870–1917). Manning amassed an enormous wealth of materials covering the whole county, which he gave to Oxford University, where they are held by the Bodleian Libraries and the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums. His collections range from prehistoric to modern times, from Stone-age implements and truncheons to historical records, plans and drawings. Kate Tiller FSA will chair a panel of five speakers. See online for details.
29 April 2017: 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.
Call for Papers
2017: Institutions of Literature, 1700–1900 (Glasgow, London and York)
The AHRC-funded research network is pleased to invite expressions of interest from scholars working on the histories and practices of 18th- and 19th-century institutions, and from stakeholders and curators who work in surviving institutions originating from this period. During 2017, the network will run workshops and conduct a series of online discussions in order to explore collaboratively the ways in which the literary institutions of this era arose and operated. Each workshop will feature a combination of papers from participants, roundtable discussions and more open sessions designed to facilitate the sharing of perspectives and expertise. The funding kindly provided by the AHRC will allow us to keep the workshops free of charge for all participants and provide travel and accommodation for speakers at each event. Please email expressions of interest to Matthew Sangster, Jon Mee and Jenny Buckley at email@example.com. The deadline for submitting expressions of interest is 19 December. You can also follow the network's activities on our website.
22 March 2017: Are Archaeological Archives Relevant? (Birmingham)
The Archaeological Archives Group will be holding their AGM event at the Birmingham and Midland Institute. A day conference will explore the possible ways in which archives can be used and promoted across the sector, and how closer collaboration between creators and repositories can enhance their visibility and value. We will be asking if the relevance of archaeological archives can be demonstrated through the projects presented, as well as questioning the future of those deemed of little use for current analysis and research. We are seeking papers from contractors, museums, academic researchers (including students) and community groups to give their experience with archaeological archives. Papers should be around 20–25 minutes though groups of shorter papers will be considered. An abstract of no more than 300 words should be sent to Samantha Paul (CIfA AAG events coordinator) no later than 15 December 2016, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
31 March–2 April 2017: Post-Medieval Archaeology Congress 2017 (Hull)
The Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology is building on the success of its 50th Anniversary Congress in Sheffield with a similar event in Hull as it celebrates being UK City of Culture. The event is open to all researchers at any stage of their career, whether academics, students, commercial or community archaeologists, to report recent research on any aspect of post-medieval/historical archaeology. We encourage contributors to offer 15-minute papers or poster displays which will be grouped by the organisers into themed sessions. Please send offers of papers (title and abstract of up to 150 words) to Harold Mytum FSA by 1 December, at email@example.com. Further information about the conference is available online.
19–21 April 2017: Archaeology: A Global Profession (Newcastle)
The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists’ annual conference and training event will be hosted at the University of Newcastle next year. The three broad themes are professionalism, protection and discovery. Archaeology should be without borders, and professional archaeology must be without borders. We hope the conference will provide an opportunity to report on some of the progress made and to explore both the opportunities and difficulties of professionalising across borders. Deadline for proposals 14 October 2016. See online for further details.
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.
16–17 November 2017: The Black Prince and Canterbury Cathedral (Canterbury)
Proposals are invited for a conference at Canterbury Cathedral, part of a wider project to preserve and research the material culture of the Black Prince held at the Cathedral through The Canterbury Journey project. The conference will explore and appraise current and developing studies of the Black Prince, his life, his influence past and present, and will contextualise him within the cathedral setting. A keynote address will be complemented by a series of presentations and panel discussions and unusual access to the Cathedral’s architecture. The aim is to offer a vibrant and challenging perspective on the field, review ongoing projects and public and scholarly engagement. Original proposals are welcome from professionals, rising and established academic scholars and graduate students. Email Sarah Turner and Heather Newton by 30 January 2017, at firstname.lastname@example.org and Heather.Newton@canterbury-cathedral.org. See online for details.
The Bodleian Libraries are accepting applications for Visiting Fellowships to be taken up during academic year 2017–18. Deadline for applications 9 am 5 December 2016.
Fellowships support periods of research in the Special Collections of the Bodleian Libraries. Fellows are hosted in the Visiting Scholars’ Centre at the Weston Library, where they join a lively research environment. Of particular interest are the Humfrey Wanley Fellowship and the Sassoon Visiting Fellowship, which are for any field of study.
Details can be found on our Fellowships website (please also see the left-hand links). A list of the current Visiting Fellows in the academic year 2016–17 can also be found online. For further information please email Michelle Chew at email@example.com.
Royal Armouries is seeking a Director of Collections, £65,650 per annum. Closing date for applications 19 December 2016.
We are seeking someone who can develop and sustain the Royal Armouries as a major national museum and an internationally recognised centre of expertise and excellence in the study and display of arms, armour and artillery. You will increase the understanding of the collection and its significance through research, and its understanding and enjoyment by specialists and the public. The ideal candidate will combine strong management experience and academic distinction in one or more subject areas covered by the Royal Armouries collection.
Apply online or email, with a covering letter and your most recent CV including current salary, setting out why you are interested in the position and why you believe yourself to be a suitable candidate.
The Leverhulme Trust is currently inviting applications for 2017 Emeritus Fellowships. Closing date for applications 2 February 2017 at 4 pm.
The Fellowships enable retired academics from UK institutions to complete a body of research for publication. Up to £22,000 is available for research costs directly related to the project. Fellowships are offered for periods of three to 24 months, and must begin between 1 August 2017 and 1 July 2018. Approximately 35 fellowships are available in 2017. Applicants must have retired by the time of taking up the Fellowship and no longer have a normal contract of employment, but they may hold a part-time position of up to 0.5 FTE. See online for further details.
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.