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Salon: Issue 329
3 November 2014

Next issue: 17 November 2014

The Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter (Salon) is a fortnightly digest of news from the heritage sector. It focuses on the activities of the Society and the contribution that the Society's Fellows make to public life. Like the intellectual salons of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe, it aims to amuse and to stimulate debate as well as to inform. A copy of Salon’s editorial policy can be found on the Society’s website. News and feedback for publication in Salon should be addressed to the Editor, Christopher Catling.
Lamp flame

Inside this issue

Forthcoming meetings

Unless stated otherwise, tea is served from 4.15pm and meetings start at 5pm. Guests are welcome if accompanied by a Fellow.

6 November 2014: ‘Painting, practice and purpose’, by John Chapman, FSA, and Bisserka Gaydarska
It is now recognised that Trypillia mega-sites of the Ukraine and Moldova were the largest settlements in fourth millennium BC Europe, the largest being as big as the first Near-Eastern cities. The first thirty-five years of research into Trypillia mega-sites (1971—2008) gave an understanding of broad planning principles but also provided exaggerated site sizes, little detail on intra-site grouping and no indication of intra-site phasing. On the basis of these results, Fletcher (1995) characterised Trypillia mega-sites as the major world exception to his limit to agrarian settlement size.

The key questions for current mega-site studies include: how did such massive sites develop, how were they maintained and why did they collapse? In the last five years, high-precision magnetometry has provided detailed settlement plans, identifying internal ditches, palaeo-channels, roads, kilns, regularly occurring household clusters, pit clusters, bounded unbuilt spaces and larger ensembles of houses, as well as large public buildings. These new elements reveal a far greater degree of internal spatial ordering than was ever detectable on the older plans and facilitate an improved understanding of social space at the neighbourhood as well as the community level. These approaches are exemplified at the mega site at Nebelivka.

13 November 2014: ‘Domesticating the exotic: recent research into Chinese wallpaper’, by Emile de Bruijn
The National Trust’s Collections Registrar will present the results of a recent project to catalogue the Chinese wallpapers in the Trust’s historic houses. A comparison of examples owned by the National Trust with others elsewhere has provided greater insight into the development of this early-modern global product. It is becoming clear that these wallpapers were not merely designed as ‘export’ art but that they closely reflect the style and iconography of Chinese professional painting traditions. More is also coming to light about the ways in which Chinese wallpaper was traded, hung and appreciated in Britain. A multi-disciplinary approach has proved crucial in understanding the social, economic and art-historical aspects of this hybrid art form.

20 November 2014: ‘Roman sculpture from London and south-east England’, by Martin Henig, FSA, Penny Coombe and Kevin Hayward, FSA
Francis Grew, Kevin Hayward, Martin Henig and Penny Coombe have been surveying Roman sculpture for the tenth British Fascicule of the Corpus Signorum Imperii Romani, focusing on London, Hertfordshire, Surrey and Kent. The area has more marble and bronze statuary fragments and sculptural elements from major monuments than any other region in the province, in the form of imperial portraits, religious sculptures, altars, votive reliefs, tombstones, civil and military pieces and sarcophagi. Some items have been known since the seventeenth century, while others are more recent finds. Many items are interesting for their iconography or what they tell us about religion or funerary rites. The survey has also identified approximately twenty-five different stone types brought to London from around England and from France.

27 November 2014: Presentation of the Statutory Report and Accounts 2013―14 at 3.45pm followed by ‘The style and iconography of the Westminster Retable: creating Gothic painting between France and England in the thirteenth century’, by Michael Michael, FSA, at 5pm
This week’s meeting will be preceded by a presentation of the Society’s Statutory Report and Accounts 2013―14, with the Treasurer, General Secretary, Finance Manager and members of the Finance Committee in attendance to answer questions. Tea will be served at the usual time (4.15pm), and the Ordinary Meeting will begin at the usual time (5pm).

Michael Michael’s paper will present new research into the sources for the iconography of the Westminster Retable, which will establish that models invented for use in the Bible moralisée in France of the second quarter of the thirteenth century were known to the artist and were adapted for use at Westminster. It will also propose that the Retable should be regarded as part of a project that included the Westminster Pavement as part of an iconographical scheme. Other sources will be examined in the text of the Golden Legend and in Byzantine art for compositional models.

The paper will then attempt to place the style of the Westminster Retable in the context of developments in French and English painting between c 1250 and 1290. It will suggest ways in which the work of the artist of the Westminster Retable should be understood in the broader European context as an example of one of the catalysts that helped to create the style of painting we have come to know as Gothic.

4 December 2014: ‘Brunanburh in AD 937: Bromborough or Lanchester?’, by Andrew Breeze, FSA
The English victory over invading Scots, Strathclyders and Dublin Vikings at Brunanburh in AD 937 was a crucial event in the unification of England. But the location of this great and bloody battle has mystified scholars ever since John Leland in the time of Henry VIII. Recent years have seen a shaky consensus in favour of Bromborough, in the Wirral. Yet recent research must rule this out. The battle was surely fought near Lanchester in County Durham, where a Roman fort or ‘burh’ stands on a major route north near the River ‘Brune’ or Browney. Location of Brunanburh near Durham thus solves permanently an old problem, opening possibilities for a new chapter of archaeological and historical research on the Anglo-Saxons and their neighbours.

Forthcoming public meetings

Public meetings are from 1pm to 2pm on Tuesdays. These meetings are very popular, so advance booking is advised to be sure of a place.

2 December 2014: ‘Building and rebuilding Castell Henllys hillfort’, by Harold Mytum, FSA
Professor Mytum has completed one monograph and is working on the second presenting the results of his long-running excavations at the Iron Age inland promontory fort of Castell Henllys, Pembrokeshire. His lecture will examine the site and its significance and also explore the issues of heritage interpretation raised by the site.

13 January 2015: ‘Maya art and Maya kingship’, by Norman Hammond, FSA
Norman’s lecture will focus on Mayan archaeology and art history based on his work in the Maya lowlands, with interdisciplinary projects at Lubaantun (1970―1), Nohmul (1973―86), Cuello (1975―93) and, most recently, La Milpa (1992―2002), a large Classic period (AD 250―900) city in north-western Belize.

Ballot results: 23 October 2014

The Society welcomes the following new Fellows, who were elected at the ballot held on 23 October 2014:
  • Jess Tipper: County Archaeologist for Suffolk, who has published on aspects of Anglo-Saxon archaeology, particularly pit-houses, and east African archaeology;
  • Alan Wilkins: retired Classics teacher, specialist in Greek and Roman artillery on which he has published major articles;
  • Stephen Laird: lecturer, teacher and parish priest, expert on aspects of nineteenth- and twentieth-century British painting and print-making, with a particular interest in John Piper;
  • Norman R Weiss: Preservation Scientist and Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Columbia University, international expert in the deterioration, cleaning and repair of historic building materials, with recent work on the US Capitol, Washington, and at Angkor Wat;
  • Jeremy James Milln: archaeologist, with a wide experience in field and fabric survey for the National Trust, to whose publications he is a regular contributor, with a particular interest in kitchen gardens and early glasshouses;
  • Bruce Boucher: Director of the Art Museum, University of Virginia, and a leading authority on Renaissance art and architecture whose major publications and exhibitions include those on Palladio and on baroque sculpture;
  • David Andrew Petts: Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Durham, with research interests in the social archaeology of the first millennium AD, in particular the development of Christianity;
  • Christine Diane Cox: aerial archaeologist who has worked worldwide as an air photo interpreter and trainer;
  • Suzanne Elisabeth Thomas: archaeologist specialising in archaeology and metal detecting, the illicit antiquities trade, museum ethics, education and community archaeology;
  • Mark Stocker: Associate Professor of Art History, Otago University, specialising in nineteenth- and early―mid twentieth-century art, especially sculpture, and New Zealand art and numismatics.

York Fellows

The York Fellows will next meet on 13 December 2014 for Christmas Luncheon at the Dean Court Hotel, York. Fellows are invited to bring objects, documents, photos, etc, of antiquarian interest for presentation and discussion. Further information from Fellow Jim Spriggs.

On 20 January 2015, Fellow Kate Gilles will give a paper entitled ‘Ways of seeing: antiquarian attitudes to the discovery and conservation of wall paintings: the case study of Pickering church’. On 17 March 2015, Fellow Martin Millet will give a lecture on ‘Recent work in the Roman town of Aldborough’. Both presentations will take place in the Bedingfield Room, The Bar Convent, York, beginning with refreshments at 6pm and followed by a meal in a local restaurant. Further information from Fellow Stephen Greep.

Cotswold Fellows

A meeting of the Cotswold Fellows is planned for 21 June 2015 in Cheltenham. The main event will be tea from 3pm to 6pm at Sydenham Lodge, 12 Cranham Road, Cheltenham, courtesy of our Fellow Tom James. Prior to that, starting at 1.30pm, our Fellow Steven Blake will lead a walking tour to look at some of Cheltenham’s most distinctive buildings. Steven is a founder member of the Cheltenham Local History Society, former Museum and Collections Manager at Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum and author of numerous books on the town’s architecture and history. Those taking part on the walk will be asked for a donation of £10 towards the forthcoming Cheltenham volume of the Victoria County History.

As we can only cater for fifty for tea and twenty-five places on the tour, early booking is advised; please let Salon’s editor  know whether you wish to attend the tour and tea or just the tea.

Launch of the Icon Conservation Awards 2015

The Institute of Conservation (Icon), founded in 2005 by the merger of a number of specialist conservation groups, is calling for entrants for its tenth anniversary conservation awards scheme, celebrating excellence in the conservation of moveable cultural heritage in the UK.

Alison Richmond, Icon’s Chief Executive, said ‘these awards recognise the people who are working to the highest standards of conservation practice and research ― conservators, scientists and volunteers working in museums, libraries and archives, in historic buildings and in small practices.’

Awards will be made in the following six categories:
  • The Pilgrim Trust Award for Conservation (£10,000) for conserving an individual cultural heritage object or collection of objects in the UK;
  • The Beko Award for Conservation in the Community (£5,000) for a project that has led to volunteers learning new skills and to further access to the cultural heritage on the part of the volunteers;
  • The Pilgrim Trust Student of the Year Award (£5,000) for a conservation, collection care or research and innovation project completed as part of the student’s training;
  • The Institution of Mechanical Engineers Award for the Conservation of an Industrial Heritage Artefact (£2,500): for the conservation of operational or static examples of engineering;
  • The Institution of Mechanical Engineers Award for Volunteering in the Conservation of an Industrial Heritage Artefact (£2,500): for volunteer engagement in engineering conservation of an artefact or collection;
  • The Anna Plowden Trust Award for Research and Innovation in Conservation (£2,500): for the best completed programme that has advanced the knowledge and practice of conservation.
Applications have to be submitted by 15 May 2015, but those who do so by 12 December 2014 will receive free Icon membership for the year. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony to be held at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on 22 October 2015. For further details see the Icon Awards website.

Preparations under way for the launch of the Icon Conservation Awards Programme 2015, held at Cutty Sark, Greenwich, on 21 October 2014. Here textile conservationist Zenzi Tiker and NADFAS volunteers Jacqui Wood and Caroline McCowen arrange a display of recently conserved
haute couture clothing, designed by the House of Worth, and that is usually on display at Wimbledon’s Southside House. Photograph: Ray Tang/REX (4216165ab)

Campaign news

Fellow Peter Carrington urges Fellows who have knowledge of or interest in Chester to respond to a consultation on the future of Cheshire’s archaeological services, which are under review yet again! The consultation runs until 28 November 2014. The comments of Chester Archaeological Society (CAS) on earlier cuts can be found on the CAS website.

Peter writes: ‘Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) is carrying out an online consultation on the future of the two archaeological services that it inherited on local government reorganisation in 2009: the Historic Environment Team (HET), formerly Chester Archaeology, and the Archaeological Planning Advisory Service (APAS), inherited from Cheshire County Council and now a shared service which maintains the SMR and provides planning advice to both Cheshire West and Cheshire East councils, plus Warrington and Halton (Runcorn).

‘HET has lost 50 per cent of its staff over the past few years and was decapitated last March; it now has a very skewed staff profile in terms of skills. APAS has only 1.5 development control staff to cover the whole of Cheshire, including the complexities of Chester itself, and is also due to be decapitated shortly.

‘CWaC committed in principle to becoming a “commissioning authority”, buying in services wherever possible rather than providing them in-house, but in the view of the Chester Archaeological Society, CWaC has no clear vision of what it wants regarding the historic environment. It is happy with capital spending to maintain the City Walls, install new signage, etc, but is relentlessly cutting back revenue spending to enable excavations to be published and new discoveries to be communicated to the public.

‘In its response CAS will be urging CWaC to formulate a positive vision for the borough’s historic environment to inform the shape of future services, rather than randomly cutting to save relatively small amounts of money.’

For more information, please contact Peter Carrington.

Fellow Paul Lane (Professor of Global Archaeology, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University) writes to draw attention to ‘worrying signs from Scandinavia regarding possible threats to various research bodies with archaeological, historical and antiquarian interests. The first concerns the announcement this week, as part of its budget statement, that the new Swedish government is proposing to reduce their contribution to the overall operating budget for the Swedish Institutes in Athens, Rome and Istanbul to 10 million Swedish Kronor in 2016 and to zero in 2017. These bodies currently receive 90 per cent of their funding from the state, so the impact on Swedish classical archaeology and ancient history if these go ahead is likely to be profound. The proposed cut in funding still has to be voted on in Parliament, so it may not happen; an online petition protesting against the proposal can be found here.

‘At the same time, there is disturbing news from Denmark concerning government plans to close down disciplines or to radically decimate student admission to undergraduate studies in language and area studies at the ToRS Department of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies, Copenhagen University, and in the humanities in general. Among disciplines threatened with closure are South-east Asian Languages, Indology, Iranian Studies, Turkish Studies, Hebrew Studies and Greek Studies. Religious studies are threatened by a 70 per cent cut in the number of admitted students at the introductory level. Those who are concerned by this news may wish to sign the online petition (in Danish) or contact the Danish Ministry of Education and /or write to the president of Copenhagen University.’

The Red Lady of Paviland and the last private owner of Stonehenge

The September 2014 update of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography includes the biographies of ‘119 people active from the earliest times to the early twenty-first century’. Perhaps ‘active’ is not the first word that springs to mind to describe two of the ‘people’ included in this update, which marks the tenth anniversary of the online edition: namely the Red Lady of Paviland (a man, in fact, discovered on the Gower peninsula in 1823 and now dated to c 33,000 years BP) and the so-called ‘Worcester Pilgrim’ (fl 1450s), discovered minus his skull during excavations in Worcester Cathedral in 1987.

Also included for the first time are the architect Sir Frank Baines, who saved the medieval hammer beam roof of Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster, Gabrielle Enthoven, who established the V&A’s theatre collection, Kenneth Monkman, restorer of Laurence Sterne’s home, Shandy Hall, near York, James Roberts, a textile industrialist who purchased Haworth parsonage for the Brontë Society in 1928, Edith Pretty, who donated the Sutton Hoo finds to the British Museum, and Cecil Chubb who, having purchased the site at auction in 1915, gave Stonehenge to the nation in 1918.

The entry for  Chubb describes the ceremony held on 26 October 1918 at which our then President, Sir Arthur Evans, formally received the deed of gift, which had been witnessed by our Fellow George Herbert Engleheart, of Little Clarindon, Dinton, Wilts. The deed stated that the cost of admission to view the stones was not to exceed one shilling, that the revenue from these entrance fees should be handed to the Red Cross Society and that no building was to be erected within 400 yards of the Amesbury milestone (one wonders when these three terms were varied or abolished). Chubb was rewarded for his ‘patriotic and public spirited gift’ by the creation of a baronetcy in September 1919 and he took Stonehenge as his designation, his coat of arms being based on the outline of a trilithon.

News of Fellows

Our Fellow Patrick Greene has been appointed to chair the Australian National Cultural Heritage Committee, which supports the operation of the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986. The committee plays a role in the protection of Australia’s movable cultural heritage by advising the Minister on the maintenance of the National Cultural Heritage Control List and the operation of the National Cultural Heritage Account.

In making the announcement, Senator The Hon George Brandis, QC, Attorney-General and Minister for the Arts, said that the role of this important committee was ‘to maintain a robust system for the protection of Australia’s movable cultural heritage. My department will work with the committee to streamline its operations so it can take a more strategic focus on the critical national and international issues that impact the sector. The committee’s recommendations on the export and protection of Australia’s movable cultural heritage will continue to be informed by the advice of registered expert examiners. For the past 26 years, expert examiners have assessed the cultural significance of thousands of objects in a voluntary capacity. I am also pleased to announce a new payment system for expert examiners in recognition of the critical role they play in the protection of Australian movable cultural heritage.’

Dr Greene was appointed CEO of Museums Victoria, the largest museum organisation in Australia, with a collection of nearly 17 million items in 2002 and is highly regarded in the cultural heritage and collections sector internationally. He has held senior positions in a number of key cultural heritage organisations, including as Chair and member of the Council of Australasian Museum Directors, the Council of the National Collections Advisory Forum, and the Industry Advisory Panel of the Centre for Cultural Materials. Prior to that, Dr Greene was appointed the inaugural Director of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, England. The ambitious project resulted in the creation of the largest museum of industry housed in historic industrial buildings in the world. During this period he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and was Chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund Expert Panel on Museums Libraries and Archives.

UK export deferrals

Giovanni da Rimini, a leading artist in Rimini at the turn of the thirteenth/fourteenth century, formed a bridge between the artists of the Assisi fresco cycles, Giotto (who had worked in Rimini) and the Riminese school of the early fourteenth century.
The UK’s equivalent, the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art (RCEWA), now administered by Arts Council England, has published details of three works that are currently the subject of temporary export deferrals. They include the left wing of a diptych painted in tempura on a gold ground with episodes from the lives of the Virgin and other saints, including the Apotheosis of St Augustine, the Coronation of the Virgin and St John the Baptist in the wilderness.

This early fourteenth-century work by Giovanni da Rimini will be exported overseas unless money can be found to match the asking price of £5,682,500. The work was in the collection of the Dukes of Northumberland at Alnwick Castle since 1853 until its recent sale. It is described as being ‘more inventive in design’ than the right-hand panel, which is in the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica (Palazzo Barberini) in Rome.

Aidan Weston-Lewis, of the RCEWA, said: ‘this jewel-like, exquisitely preserved, seven-hundred-year-old panel is, by a good margin, the most important example in the UK of the seminal Riminese school of painting. Although this country can boast impressive collections of early Italian art, there is nothing comparable to this in any British public collection.’ The decision on the export licence application for the painting will be deferred for a period ending at midnight on 28 January 2015.

Naval news

Our Fellow Dominic Tweddle, Director General of the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN), has received three major pieces of good news in the last fortnight. One was the announcement that Northern Ireland’s largest ever Heritage Lottery Fund grant had been awarded to the NMRN to restore HMS Caroline, the lone survivor of the 1916 Battle of Jutland. The grant of £11.5m means that plans to transform the historic ship into a world-class heritage visitor attraction in time for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 2016 can now go ahead.

HMS Caroline’s job was rapid intelligence gathering and reporting back to command. After she arrived in Belfast in 1924, the ship began a new life as a drill ship for the Royal Naval Reserve and then served as a command centre during the Second World War. Highlights of a visit to the ship will be the bridge with its original compasses and telegraphs, the engine rooms with four Parson’s turbines still in position and many other aspects of the ship’s living quarters, which have remained unchanged in one hundred years.

Carole Souter, Chief Executive of the HLF, said: ‘as we mark the centenary of the First World War, people across the UK are learning more about how it changed millions of lives. This Lottery grant will restore and open up HMS Caroline, and enable future generations to explore the incredibly important, yet often lesser known, role played by those who served in the Royal Navy during this momentous conflict.’

The NMRN also learned last month of a grant from the National Memorial Heritage Fund of £916,149 to enable the museum to save a rare example of Second World War heritage in the form of a D-Day landing craft. More than 800 such craft, known as LCTs, took part in Operation Overlord on 6 June 1944, each capable of carrying ten tanks or other heavy armoured vehicles into battle. Of this fleet, fewer than ten LCTs are believed to have survived. Dominic Tweddle said: ‘as far as we can tell, LCT 7074 is the last of these vital workhorses known to have participated in D-Day. They were the backbone of the fleet, transporting almost all of the tanks, heavy artillery and armoured vehicles landed in Normandy, allowing the amphibious force to win major engagements and remain equipped to fight for months without a friendly port’.

Finally, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded £1.75million to the museum for the restoration of HMS M33, launched in May 1915 and the sole remaining British veteran of that year’s Gallipoli Campaign. The ship sits in in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in No. 1 Dock, itself a scheduled moment, alongside HMS Victory.

The Gallipoli Campaign, fought between April 1915 and January 2016 in what is now modern-day Turkey, claimed the lives of more than 100,000 personnel from around the world. With her shallow draft, M33 was used to get close in to shore and fire at land targets. The seventy-two officers and men who sailed her in the Gallipoli Campaign were crammed inside what was in effect a metal box for more than three years. After the War, M33 was refitted and returned to action in the Russian Civil War, where she covered the withdrawal of Allied and White Russian troops from North Russia during the Dvina River Campaign. Following her return from Russia, she spent the rest of her active life in Portsmouth Harbour.

‘Commemorating Gallipoli ― the HMS M33 Project’ is part of the NMRN’s wider ‘Great War at Sea 1914―1918’ programme to mark the Royal Navy’s First World War. It will be also accompanied by the special exhibition, ‘Gallipoli: myth and memory’, opening in March 2015.

Saving Mr Turner’s country retreat

The members of the Turner’s House Trust are hoping that the release this week, to critical acclaim, of Mike Leigh’s award-winning film, ‘Mr Turner’, will help them in their campaign to rescue Turner’s House, the country villa that the artist designed and built for use by himself and his father. Completed in 1813, Sandycombe Lodge, located near the Thames between Richmond and Twickenham, was the place to which Turner retreated to escape the London art world and the hurly-burly of his own household. Listed at Grade II*, the house remains largely as built, apart from some later additions, but seriously threatened by damp and long neglect. It is now on English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk Register and badly in need of restoration.

Catherine Parry-Wingfield, Chairman of Turner’s House Trust, is appealing to the nation for help to save it from dereliction: ‘with additional damage caused by extreme weather conditions in recent years, this is now urgent. We have generous promises of grants and funding, which we must match in order to proceed. We hope that this new film will inspire people to visit the artist’s masterpieces in our galleries and help us save his country home so that it can be enjoyed by future generations.’

For more information about Turner’s House and the appeal, visit the ‘Turner in Twickenham’ website.

Turner trained as an architectural draughtsman and declared that, if he could have had his life over again, he would have been an architect. From 1810 Turner’s sketchbooks contain a number of preliminary drawings for his planned house, initially to be called Solus House but later to become Sandycombe Lodge.


Lives remembered

The Society has been informed of the recent deaths of the following Fellows and former Fellows: John A Williams (elected 6 December 1973; died 7 October 2014); Rosamond Pollock, Dowager Viscountess Hanworth (elected 8 January 1970; died 13 October 2014, at the age of ninety-seven); Hermione Hobhouse (elected 27 November 1980; died 17 October 2014); Sonia Rolt (elected 23 November 1989; died 22 October 2014, at the age of ninety-five). We hope to publish obituaries in future issues of Salon, but the SPAB website already has a tribute to Sonia Rolt (shown on the left).


Lives remembered: Derek Roe

Several Fellows have pointed out that Salon 328 gave the wrong date of birth for our late Fellow Derek Roe, who was born on 31 August 1937, so that he was just seventy-seven when he died, rather than eighty-three.

Fellow John Nandris writes to say that ‘Derek’s sudden departure after a very short illness was perhaps a blessing, but is not a consolation. He was the most generous and dependable of friends’. John goes on to say that: ‘Roe and I met in the late fifties during the course of our National Service in the Intelligence Corps in Berlin, in itself a momentous time and place. Having arrived there just before me he was able to act as mentor to a naïve subaltern, for example in dealing with the fearsome but ultimately loveable Sgt-Major Ball.

‘This means that, since we were coevals both there and later at Cambridge, he became my oldest friend of some fifty-seven years, but I have never called him “Derek”. We employed the admirably economical English convention of simply using surnames; so that Corporal Roe morphed smoothly into an Oxford Professor, with no necessity for odious distinctions. We had a joking relationship, and I can only seek in the same way to mask my personal sense of loss. At slack moments in the office we plotted imaginary Russian submarines on the Havel Lake in Berlin, or planned a visit to Rudolph Hess in Spandau Prison, but all was done without compromising global security. Roe’s outward distinction was unflappability, which fitted well enough into Cold War Berlin, but equally into his visits to Olduvai, where I always claimed to believe that he persisted in wearing his Harris Tweed jacket.

‘We continued to exchange frequent situation reports, on the military model, known as Sitreps. Two minutes after I had sent him my latest, I received notice of his sudden passing from the Master of our mutual college in Oxford, Saint Cross. Although he had gently alluded to some of his symptoms he played down his problems to such an extent that I was desolated and astonished.

‘Roe is well known for his contributions to Palaeolithic scholarship. One achievement, which gave him quiet satisfaction, was to draw up in a gravel pit in his car and detect a Palaeolithic hand-axe without getting out of the car. Many will recall the polite attention given equally to his research students and to visiting scholars at the Baden-Powell Quaternary Research Institute, 60 Banbury Road, which he had founded and directed.

‘His roles in college reflect some of his wider cultural interests. He possessed a very fine collection of English watercolours, and was able to curate and enlarge the college’s collection with authority. He published an informative description of it, illustrating most of them in colour. He had equally distinguished personal collections of old silver, and glass, and the knowledge to go with it, which also extended to the details of antique furniture. Browsing antique fairs together, he was invariably able to offer a critique of potentially rash choices. He was a Governor of his Alma Mater, St Edward’s School in Oxford, where a Service of Remembrance was held on 28 October 2014.’

Lives remembered: Elizabeth Slater

Colleagues of our late Fellow Elizabeth Slater have published a tribute to her life and work on the Liverpool University website. This records the fact that Elizabeth was only the second person to enjoy the title ‘Professor of Archaeology’ at Liverpool, the first being John Garstang (1876―1956), founder in 1904 of the university’s archaeology institute. Elizabeth took up her chair in 1991, and took the title of Garstang Professor of Archaeology in 2004 to celebrate the centenary of Garstang’s creation. The title ‘Professor of Archaeology’ emphasises the fact that the incumbents, whilst retaining their particular specialist interests, were also required to possess a much broader understanding of the theory and practice of archaeology. Garstang, an expert in Near Eastern archaeology, is also regarded as a pioneer in excavation recording techniques (notably with the application of photography) while Slater, trained in archaeo-metallurgy, was recognised as an authority on the application of scientific methodologies in archaeological research.

Lives remembered: Charmian Woodfield

Fellow David Breeze writes to say: ‘I was sorry to see the death of Charmian Woodfield. There are others better able to write an informed obituary but I offer a note which might be attached to such. In 1965, Charmian Woodfield published in Archaeologia Aeliana her report on six excavations at turrets on Hadrian’s Wall. In her meticulous excavation, the level of detail provided in the report and her analysis of all the evidence, Charmian set a new standard for the Wall. I was delighted when she came with her husband to the launch of the 14th edition of the Handbook to the Roman Wall, in which, I trust, I gave her work suitable recognition.’


Fellow Vincent Megaw says that ‘something got unstuck over the Matthew Flinders story in the last issue of Salon, because, though I would be honoured to be counted a member of the Flinders Petrie clan, I am not Flinders’s grandson, and the only connection I can claim is that of having been a member of the university named after him for the last thirty-five years. What Salon should have said is that Captain Matthew Flinders RN (16 March 1774 to 19 July 1814), now commemorated by a bronze statue on Euston station close to the site of the churchyard where he lies buried, was the grandfather of our distinguished former Fellow Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie (3 June 1853 to 28 July 1942).’

Vincent adds that ‘Matthew Flinders wrote a life of his cat Trim which has become a very popular children’s book (Trim: Being the True Story of a Brave Seafaring Cat) and it was he who guessed that Trim’s unexplained disappearance while Flinders himself was held captive on the Isle de France (Mauritius) was due to the cat’s having been stolen and eaten by hungry slaves.’

Our newly elected Fellow Jeremy Milln has written to provide further insight into the reasons why the National Trust declined the offer that our Fellow Sir Roy Strong made to donate The Laskett. The offer, says Jeremy, ‘was quietly considered and declined about five years ago. For similar reasons Sir Bernard Lovell’s remarkable contemporary arboretum at The Quinta, Swettenham, Cheshire, was also declined around 1995. It was felt that a local trust, perhaps one bespoke for the site, would offer a better prospect given its size and interest. Such trusts tend to be more responsive and capable at a local level and, unimpeded by the NT’s internal red tape, are better able to access external funding and concentrate on core purposes. Cheshire Wildlife Trust took on The Quinta for a while and then, when it left the walled garden at Tatton, which the National Trust wished to restore, the Tatton Garden Society became responsible.

‘A “non” from the NT need not be the end of the matter. In the case of the much longer-established gardens at Castle Bromwich Hall, near Solihull, the National Trust accepted covenants and provides continuing professional and curatorial advice to its own Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens Trust. A similar arrangement involving the Welsh Gardens Trust and owners Wrexham Council is being considered for Chirk Castle’s very early walled garden at Whitehurst, where National Trust volunteers have already given practical assistance. On the other hand, Hellens Manor and Gardens, Much Marcle, Herefordshire, just a dozen miles from The Laskett, and run by the Pennington Mellor-Munthe Trust (who also own Wimbledon’s Southside House, mentioned in the caption to the ICON awards above), benefits from the trusteeship of Fellow Martin Drury, CBE, former National Trust Director General.

‘Many years ago Fellow Alan Garner spoke to me about his concern for the future of Blackden and asked would the NT be interested? With the Quinta experience in mind, it seemed prudent to head off an entanglement there and then; I am delighted he and Griselda set up the Blackden Trust, which I am sure will be a much happier arrangement. A Laskett Trust free to pick and choose talent from the National Trust and elsewhere on its own terms could do better than a Laskett picked over by a National Trust that alone had been given the keys.’

Further monuments to antiquaries

Fellow John Clark (President, London and Middlesex Archaeological Society) writes with a correction to the mention of the John Stow monument in St Andrew Undershaft church in the last issue of Salon: ‘the memorial service, currently held every three years, is sponsored jointly by the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors (Stow’s own company) and the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society (LAMAS). The service includes a short ceremony in which Stow’s old quill pen is exchanged for a new one (which, however carefully placed in Stow’s hand, often topples over as shown in Salon’s photograph!).

‘There is a puzzle, however. The “quill ceremony” is one of those “since time immemorial” customs whose actual origin is difficult to pin down. The earliest public mention of it that I have found so far is in newspaper accounts in April 1914, which merely state: “to mark the anniversary of the death of John Stow the historian of London, a new quill pen was placed in the hand of his statue at the City church of St Andrew Undershaft, on Sunday [5 April]”. Four years later it is described as “usual” and “the annual ceremony of renewing the quill pen”. It was attended in 1918 by members of LAMAS “and of other societies”, and Lady Brabrook, wife of Sir Edward Brabrook (Vice President of our Society, then President of LAMAS), replaced the quill. At this time, the event seems to have been quite small-scale and informal ― it is not even mentioned in LAMAS’s own annual reports.

‘In June 1922, however, there was a major commemorative service to mark the restoration of the Stow monument, attended by the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, which included an address on Stow’s work by C L Kingsford, editor of Stow’s Survey of London and another former Vice President of our Society. This event seems to have inspired the Council of LAMAS Council to approach the Rector with the suggestion that there should be an annual service, with an address by a London historian, and incorporating the “quill ceremony”. The first of these was held on 8 April 1924. It was attended by the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, and attracted over 300 people. The service was held annually, right through the Second World War, until 1992, when it had to be cancelled because of extensive damage to the church caused by the IRA bomb that destroyed the nearby Baltic Exchange. The service was revived in 1994, but since 1996 it has been held only once every three years.

‘The puzzle remains ― when and how did the “quill ceremony” start? The answer may lie in LAMAS’s own records, which I have yet to investigate. But perhaps one of our Fellows knows of references to it earlier than 1914. Is there any connection with the similar ceremony that has taken place occasionally at the monument to William Shakespeare in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon?’

‘Is John Ives (1751―76), antiquary and herald, the youngest person ever to be elected an FSA?’ asks Fellow James Bettley in submitting this photograph of Ives’s memorial in Benhall, Suffolk. Ives was elected on 13 June 1771, at the age of nineteen. White’s History, Gazetteer and Directory of Suffolk (1844) described the memorial thus: ‘at the foot of his monument is carved an oak tree, broken in the middle, from which a few acorns have fallen ― a touching and appropriate emblem of the untimely death of this accomplished antiquary’.

Ives was educated, according to the ODNB, by the Congregationalist minister in the town of his birth, Great Yarmouth, and very briefly at Norwich grammar school in 1762. Where he acquired his ‘passionate and acquisitive interest in British antiquities’ we do not know, but his father’s affluence allowed him to indulge this freely, including the purchase of a number of important manuscripts from the widow of ‘Honest’ Tom Martin that Martin had in turn acquired from Peter Le Neve and Francis Blomefield.

Paternal munificence enabled him to retain others to search for and acquire manuscripts, seals, and other artefacts on his behalf, and to act the part of liberal patron and benefactor, paying for the engraving of portraits, which he distributed to interested parties, and facsimile seal impressions: his Sigilla antiqua Norfolcensia, nine woodcuts of medieval seals with commentary by himself, came out in 1772 and his Select Papers Chiefly Relating to English Antiquities came out in three volumes in 1773, 1774 and 1775, containing editions of various documents in Ives’s possession, including ‘Remarks upon our English coins’ by Archbishop Sharp of York, Dugdale’s ‘Directions for the search of records’, Blomefield’s ‘Annals of Gonvile and Caius’ and accounts of the coronations of Henry VII and Elizabeth I. In 1774 Ives brought out his Remarks upon the Garianonum of the Romans, an essay on Burgh Castle near Belton, and later that year he was appointed Suffolk Herald Extraordinary at the College of Arms, but he was to die two years later, from tuberculosis.

Perhaps the strong friendship that existed between Ives and Tom Martin (1697―1771) was based on their shared experiences as self-taught antiquaries, for neither was Martin a university man, having been taught at the free school in his native town of Thetford ― where, according to our Fellow David Stoker in the ODNB, he was for some time ‘the only scholar and left to his own devices’. His memorial in the porch at Palgrave church, Norfolk, again submitted by Fellow James Bettley, describes Martin as ‘that able and indefatigable antiquary’, but he was known in his day by the ironic sobriquet ‘Honest’ Tom because of what the ODNB entry delicately describes as his ‘malversation’ in the administration of Peter le Neve’s admittedly complex and idiosyncratic will. In a nutshell, Martin took his pick of the manuscripts that Le Neve had intended for a public repository, though Martin redeemed himself by his willingness to make them available to interested scholars. He also provided visitors and correspondents with the benefit of his substantial knowledge, by which means he played an important role in the compilation and production of several historical works relating to East Anglia.

Perhaps of greatest interest to the Society is the distinct possibility that some of the pictures in our collection (including Hans Eworth’s portrait of Mary I) were acquired by Thomas Kerrich from Tom Martin, who in turn may have acquired them as part of Peter le Neve’s estate when he married Le Neve’s widow. Martin was admitted a Fellow of our Society of Antiquaries in 1719 on Le Neve’s recommendation and remained an enthusiastic and influential member until his death. Fellow Sir John Fenn (1739―94) read an account of Martin’s life to the Society in November 1780 and later left money for the Palgrave church monument.

And on the subject of money for monuments, Fellow Paul Bahn is campaigning for a memorial to that ‘giant of prehistory’, V Gordon Childe. Writing in a recent issue of Current World Archaeology magazine, Paul describes visiting Childe’s grave, which is located in Sydney’s Northern Suburbs Crematorium. A previous visitor to the grave, Huw Barton, of the University of Sydney, had written in Antiquity in 2000 that it was not easy to find, the spot where his ashes were laid being marked by a tiny and inconspicuous plaque. Now, reports Paul, the grave is far easier to find because, by some strange quirk of fate, it is a few feet away from the very conspicuous and much-visited grave of Michael Hutchence, lead singer of the Australian rock group INXS. ‘How curious that two such different celebrated Australians, who took their lives almost exactly forty years apart, should have their markers so close together', Paul remarks.

‘Back in 2000, Huw Barton raised the question of a new memorial to Childe being sponsored by the readers of Antiquity, and the journal’s then editor, our Fellow Martin Carver, applauded the proposal’, Paul writes. ‘Regrettably, nothing came of it, and the little half-plaque is still all that marks the last resting place of this giant among prehistorians. Surely, almost sixty years after his sad but dignified death, it is high time that a more suitable and imposing marker be erected.’


3 November 2014:  at 6pm, ‘Princely Pleasures: the picture collection of Robert Dudley (1532/3―88), Earl of Leicester’, by Elizabeth Goldring at The Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St, London WC1E 7HU. Dr Goldring is an Associate Fellow of the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at the University of Warwick and is the author of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and the World of Elizabethan Art: Painting and Patronage at the Court of Elizabeth I, which has just been published by Yale University Press / The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. Further information can be found on the IHR website.

11 November 2014: ‘Lutyens and Remembrance’. Our Fellow Gavin Stamp will talk about the development of the architect’s First World War memorials at 6.30pm at 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1. Further information from the website of the Mausolea and Monuments Trust.

14 November 2014: ‘Portrait of a Lady: ruin and reputation in the Georgian era’, 9.15am to 6pm at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, 16―18 Queen Square, Bath BA1 2HN. To coincide with the current exhibition at No. 1 Royal Crescent, this symposium brings together academics, curators and writers to consider how women were viewed in the eighteenth century, in particular through the medium of the mezzotint. The symposium programme can be downloaded here and bookings can be made here.

5 December 2014: ‘Materials, techniques and the conservation of portrait miniatures’, by Alan Derbyshire, Head of Paper, Books and Paintings Conservation at the Victoria and Albert Museum, hosted by the British Association of Paintings Conservator-Restorers at the Art Workers’ Guild, 6 Queens’ Square, London WC1N 3AT, 6pm for 6.30pm, followed by drinks and buffet. For further information, email Gemma Collins, BAPCR Secretary.

5 and 6 December 2014: The British Museum Classical Colloquium: ‘Smyrna: the eye of Asia’, in honour of our Fellow Charles Sebag-Montefiore, will take place in the BP Lecture Theatre at the British Museum. The colloquium begins on Friday night with two lectures: the first will be given by our Fellow Cyprian Broodbank and is entitled ‘Compound eyes: a “prehistoric” perspective on Mediterranean cosmopolitanism’, while Philip Mansel will give the second, entitled ‘Smyrna: the eye of Asia’. At the reception that follows, music will be provided by PAKAW, the very lively folk group specialising in rebetika.

The following day’s lectures are designed to mark the 250th anniversary of the first Ionian expedition to the west coast of Turkey, commissioned by the Society of Dilettanti and one of the most important cultural enterprises of the eighteenth century. The members of the expedition (Classics scholar Richard Chandler, architect Nicholas Revett and painter and draughtsman William Pars) based themselves at Smyrna (modern Izmir) and the published record of their experiences had far-reaching consequences for modern understanding of Classical Turkey.

For details of the programme and booking information, see the British Museum’s website.

Pilaster capitals from the Temple of Apollo at Didyma, drawn by William Pars, 1765

6 and 7 March 2015: ‘“Only a Cornishman would have the endurance to carve intractable granite”: Cornwall’s architecture and architectural legacy’, a two-day inter-disciplinary conference organised by the Cornish Buildings Group in conjunction with Cornwall Heritage Trust, Yale University Press and the National Trust at the National Maritime Museum, Falmouth. Fellows John Allan, Peter Beacham, Paul Holden, Jo Mattingly and Alex Woodcock will be among the speakers at this two-day conference to celebrate the new Pevsner Buildings of England volume on Cornwall celebrating all aspects of Cornish architecture, from the early-medieval period to the future of Cornish buildings. For more details, including the full programme, abstracts of speakers and how to book, see the Cornish Buildings Group's website.

Free access to digital books from English Heritage

English Heritage has a long tradition of producing high-quality, well-illustrated archaeological monographs about key sites and topics of importance to the understanding of the historic environment in England. Many of the past titles have long been out of print and yet are still of value for reference purposes. English Heritage is now making eighty-four titles available either as eBooks (see the English Heritage Publishing Catalogue for details) or as PDFs that can be downloaded for free from the ADS English Heritage Archaeological Monographs archive page.

Ortrun Peyn, our Society’s Head of Library Cataloguing, reports that work is in progress to add links to these PDFs to the Society’s online catalogue.

The Richard Wilson Online Catalogue

Also new online is the catalogue raisonné of works by Richard Wilson (1713/14―82), the subject of recent major exhibitions celebrating the tercentenary of his birth at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, USA, and Amgueddfa Cymru ― National Museum Wales, Cardiff. The website is a work-in-progress designed to provide an up-to-date and freely accessible record of Wilson's autograph paintings and works on paper.

Heritage Crime: progress, prospects and prevention

Fellow Mark Harrison, National Policing and Crime Adviser with English Heritage, has contributed the foreword to this new book from Palgrave Macmillan in which he says he is delighted to have been asked to contribute but disappointed that there was enough material to produce such a book. Edited by Louise Grove, Lecturer in Criminology and Social Policy, University of Loughborough, and Suzie Thomas, Lecturer in Museology, University of Helsinki, the book includes contributions and case studies from archaeologists, criminologists, lawyers, heritage managers, enforcement agencies, government and the media.

Celtic Art in Europe

Conventional publishing wisdom has it that Festschrifts do not sell. This one will not only sell, it will be devoured by everyone with a serious interest in the subject. Edited by Fellows Chris Gosden and Sally Crawford and Katharina Ulmschneider, and published in honour of Fellow Vincent Megaw on the occasion of his eightieth birthday, it contains thirty-seven essays, many of them by leading scholars in the field. These papers link together as pleasingly as the decoration of the Auchenbadie armlet that is used on the cover; in sum, they add up to a multifaceted statement of where we are in terms of our understanding of that very complex mesh of ideas termed ‘Celtic’ ― ideas that become more complex still when you add that difficult word ‘art’.

Many have tried to simplify these ideas in the past and as a result we have lost one of the most pleasing aspects of what we term Celtic art: the fact that it is created from the fusion of many different styles and sensibilities. That is why Vincent stands out (as did Ruth, his companion in life and in scholarship) in this field: they got out and looked at material from every part of the ‘Celtic’ world, mastering many languages and making many friends in the process, not least with other scholars ploughing lonely furrows in parts of Europe that were, until 1989, the wrong side of that spirit-draining Iron Curtain.

The revolution in thinking about the nature of Celtic Art that has occurred in recent years as a result of the work of the Megaws and other scholars is reflected in the editors’ introduction where they discuss the new connections that are being canvassed by linguists, archaeologists and geneticists to explain the transmission of the ideas that feed into the Celtic phenomenon. Key to those new connections is the recognition that the art styles of the early Iron Age in Europe do not come solely from some imagined Celtic heartland in central Europe, but reflect transmission and transformation via many different trade routes and connections. One such route ― explored in this volume by linguist John Koch ― extends from the eastern Mediterranean via Spain and Portugal and the Atlantic coast to Anglesey and beyond. Several other papers in this volume explore Danubian and Alpine and central European artistic linkages.

Just as it is surely a mistake (and a very odd idea) that there was only ever one ‘out of Africa migration’ in early human history, so this book shows that the mistake in Celtic art studies is to try to force everything into one simple linear chain of single-point origin, transmission and adaptation. That doesn’t mean that there are no patterns: clearly, mining for tin and copper was key to the manufacture of Celtic metalwork and a means by which artistic ideas were passed on; equally those who were made wealthy by controlling the mining and transport of these resources were probably the clients and patrons of the art.

What were they looking for? Various contributors address this question: what did the images and patterns and colours of Celtic art mean to those who commissioned it and who were buried with it? Here this reader begins to depart from the propositions of some of the contributors, who argue that Iron Age and early medieval clients for Celtic art used it for rituals that were based on their understanding of ancient Greek (and, in due course, Roman) ideas of hero worship and kingship. It is another characteristic of a good book that it provokes a debate, and this is definitely one that the book invites: whether in fact the opposite is the case, and that Celtic art is actually striving to be as unlike Roman and Greek art as possible.

Celtic Art in Europe: making connections, edited by Chris Gosden, Sally Crawford and Katharina Ulmschneider; ISBN 9781782976554; Oxbow Books, 2014

In These Times: living in Britain through Napoleon’s Wars 1793―1815

If Vincent Megaw’s Festschrift is about a Europe without borders, and the fluidity of the cultural links between east and west, north and south, Jenny Uglow’s latest book is about the opposite: what happens when the borders are closed and culture turns inwards? The answer is not necessarily a UKIP land of boorish nationalism and a desert of creativity: this period gave us a huge repertoire of folk music and song, the acidic caricatures of Gillray, Cruikshank and Rowlandson, the flowering of Romanticism, the novels of Jane Austen. Those are just a few headlines from the era, and there are many more, but Jenny’s book is not just about the names we already know: over 700 pages she gives us the main events of the Napoleonic Wars interwoven with a finely detailed portrait of the time as it was lived by ordinary people, based on diaries, letters and newspaper accounts.

The past is brought vividly to life in, for example, the chapter on the celebrations for George III’s Jubilee on 25 October 1809. Jenny particularly relishes the tension that exists even in the midst of national jubilation, when celebration can slip so easily into chaos. High streets all over Britain are dressed with garlands and evergreens and triumphal arches, but rockets and firecrackers set fire to houses. Bunting enveloped Covent Garden but the crowds who gathered below were rioting because of the hike in theatre prices: they succeeded in preventing the theatres from opening for six nights in a row until owner-managers relented and made a humiliating public apology. Theatregoers gasped at the novelty of chandeliers and statues of naked Greek gods, but scenery was set ablaze by the firing of a gun that caused a terrible blaze and twenty people died. Theatre-going is hugely popular  ― and very town had a playhouse ― but, as readers of Mansfield Park will remember, amateur dramatics is regarded with suspicion, providing as it did the occasion for flirtation and an ambiguous relationship between the real world and the world created by the dramatist.

The following year, in 1810, 2,000 people sat down to dinner at Carlton House to celebrate the official opening of the Regency: ‘diamonds glittered’, Jenny writes, but then adds ‘many [of these were] borrowed back for the night from pawnbrokers at a special high rate’; a real stream flowed down the middle of the dining table, populated by shoals of goldfish. Champagne flowed (despite the difficulty of trade with France) and the food was lavish. Members of the public were allowed in afterwards to see the decorations, but the crowds were so great that people were crushed and injured, dresses ripped or, in one instance, torn off entirely, leaving the wearer naked.

It all sounds utterly chaotic, and that is before we even get to the evil politics and the disastrous military and naval campaigns, the bankruptcies, the disease and the poverty. Such is the reality of history, and it is good to be reminded by this brilliantly written book, packed with facts, contrast and colour, just how far we have come since mothers would threaten crying children with the warning that if Boney hears you, ‘As he gallops past the house / Limb from limb at once he'll tear you / Just as pussy tears a mouse’.

In These Times: living in Britain through Napoleon’s Wars 1793―1815, by Jenny Uglow; ISBN 9780571269525; Faber & Faber, 2014

Heralds and Heraldry in Shakespeare’s England

Opening the pages of this handsome new book of essays, edited by our Fellow Nigel Ramsay, it was a surprise to discover that the Earl of Leicester, when he wasn’t busy wooing Elizabeth I or pursuing various other personal causes, had a genuine interest in heraldic matters and his correspondence with the Earl Marshal, George Talbot, sixth earl of Shrewsbury, is part of the rich legacy of material from the Elizabethan age that this book addresses. It was an age in which heraldry came to the fore in all sorts of ways: in portraiture, as Fellow Karen Hearn reminds us in her contribution on ‘Heraldry in Tudor and Jacobean portraits’, in architecture (we learn from Tara Hamling’s essay on ‘Heraldic decoration in lesser houses’ that the coat of arms proudly carved on the fireplaces by the Turners at Kelmscott Manor were very much part of the fashion of the age); in funerary ceremonies and church monuments (Roger Kuin’s essay on the ‘Heraldic funeral’ deals with this) and, as the title of the book reminds us, in the literature and drama of the age (Fellow Adrian Ailes contributes a chapter analysing the ways in which Shakespeare used heraldic vocabulary to make rather bad puns (Hamlet’s gravediggers inform us that Adam must have been a gentleman, because he bore arms, how else could he dig?) or to mock comic characters with pretensions to gentility).

In these, and scores of other ways, this book shows that heraldry really became part of everyday culture during this period ― so much so that, as Beatrice Groves shows in her essay on ‘Heraldic language’, Shakespeare could count on his audience to understand his deliberately ambiguous deployment of such heraldic terms such as ‘difference’, ‘field’, ‘stain’, ‘charge’ and ‘cognizance’ to give us insights into the moral values of his characters.

The book is also packed with insights into the ways of the College of Arms, the processes of applying for the grant of arms, and the all-important ‘visitations’, the surveys made in different parts of the country to register the names and lineages of the local gentry. To be registered or, as Shakespeare puts it in The Taming of the Shrew, to be ‘put in thy book’, involved the payment of a fee, and some gentry saw no reason to co-operate, sure in their own sense of superiority and an unimpeachable lineage (in reality, most lineages were invented or inaccurate), while others no doubt were made gentlemen overnight by payment of the appropriate fee. Heralds had considerable power and, in the event of the fee not being forthcoming, could publicly denounce those who were unable to prove their gentry status or their right to legitimate arms . Much comic potential lies in this situation, and we are reminded that the ‘impressive body of records left behind by visiting heralds consists today of many thousands of detailed pedigrees accompanied by finely tricked arms’.

And yet out of this emerges something more scholarly and more serious: William Camden, appointed Clarenceux King of Arms in 1597, began a programme of much-needed reform. The 1603 visitation commission authorised Camden to enter churches, houses and castles to record the arms displayed there and to correct them where necessary or even to deface those usurped or used unlawfully; one can see in this the beginnings of the antiquarian pursuit of English local history. Tourism is not long behind: already in 1612 a character in a work by Henry Peacham boasts of heraldic skills that enable him to ‘busie myself in viewing Armes, and matches of Houses’, when visiting ‘an old decayed Church or Monastery ... or Gentlemans house’. You might just find yourself doing the same if you read this book, for it is packed with just the sort of fascinating material that might turn you into a heraldry enthusiast ― or at least help you understand better people who are.

Heralds and Heraldry in Shakespeare’s England, edited by Nigel Ramsay; ISBN 9781907730351; Shaun Tyas, 2014


Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales: Secretary
Salary range: £57,550 to £68,150; closing date: 13 November 2014

Following ministerial commitment to the RCAHMW remaining an independent body, this is a remarkable opportunity to lead, inspire and motivate the Commission through a period of change within the organisation and the wider historic environment sector in Wales. An application form and further details are available from Stephen Bailey John.

The Institute for Conservation (Icon): Chair and Trustees
Closing date: 4 November 2014

Icon, the Institute of Conservation, is seeking as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees someone who understands the sector, its culture, people and processes and who can provide inspiring and energising leadership. Icon is also seeking two new Trustees. For more information, see the Icon website.

Propose a lecture

Please email Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer if you are interested in giving a lecture at one of the Society's Ordinary Meetings (Thursday evenings at 5pm) or as part of our Public Lecture series (occasional Tuesday afternoons at 1pm).

We welcome papers based on new research on 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.


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