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Salon: Issue 296
8 April 2013

Next issue: 22 April 2013

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.
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Inside this issue

23 April 2013: The Society’s Anniversary Meeting

The Society’s Anniversary Meeting, to be held on St George’s Day, will be in three parts: at 3.30pm the Fellows-only part of the meeting begins with the election of members of Council and officers to serve during 2013—14, plus reports from the Treasurer and General Secretary on the Society’s activities during 2012—13. Tea will be served from 4.15pm and guests are welcome at the second part of the meeting, starting at 5pm, when the President will announce the results of the ballot and give his Presidential address. Admission to the third part, the reception that starts at 6pm, is by ticket only (£10, from the Society’s Executive Assistant).

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Forthcoming meetings

Tea is served from 4.15pm, and meetings start at 5pm

2 May 2013: ‘“Less mudslinging and more facts”: a new approach to public health in late medieval English towns’, by Carole Rawcliffe, FSA
The study of public health measures in late medieval English towns has made only limited progress since the 1920s when Lynn Thorndike urged historians to set aside their ‘Victorian’ preconceptions and to approach the primary evidence with fresh eyes. Despite his demand for ‘less mudslinging and more facts’, there is still a widespread presumption that magistrates remained passive in the face of repeated epidemics and that effective responses to disease were hampered by backwardness and superstition. This lecture will question such assumptions by examining the strenuous efforts that were made to improve the urban environment during an age of plague.

9 May 2013: ‘The “Seals in Medieval Wales” project: recent research and new discoveries’, by Elizabeth New, FSA, and John McEwan
Seals have been an important tool for communication since the earliest times, and are a valuable source for historical studies. The study of British medieval seals can be traced back to the later sixteenth century, with such eminent scholars as William Dugdale, Walter de Gray Birch and William St John Hope (all Fellows of our Society) using sigillographic evidence to make important contributions to the study of the Middle Ages. Building on such scholarship, the ‘Seals in Medieval Wales’ project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and based in Aberystwyth University, has taken sigillographic research in new and exciting directions, focusing on seals and sealing practices in Wales and the Welsh Marches from the twelfth to sixteenth centuries. This paper will explore in detail one aspect of the ground-breaking study, namely the type and distribution of motifs present on seals and what this can tell us about their historical development.

16 May 2013: ‘The Traprain Treasure: new light on a Late Roman silver hoard’, by Fraser Hunter, FSA, and Kenneth Painter, FSA
The hoard of late Roman silver from Traprain Law (East Lothian), found in 1919, is the finest example of a so-called ‘Hacksilber’ hoard, consisting of the bent, crushed and broken pieces of a number of vessels. An international collaborative research project co-ordinated by the speakers is now providing fresh insights into this important find. The interpretation of such hoards has long been debated. For many years they were seen as barbarian loot, but our research has revealed other intriguing possibilities, casting new light on the late Roman economy, the late Roman army and its links to people beyond the formal boundaries of Empire. The lecture will look at the various lives of this hoard, from the original range of high-quality elite silver to the processes leading to its fragmentation, movement beyond the Roman frontier and burial in a ‘barbarian’ power centre.

30 May 2013: ‘Climate and environment and the Indus civilisation: new Insights from the “Land, Water, and Settlement” project’, by Cameron Petrie
There has been considerable debate about the role of environment and climate in the development and decline of the urban phase of the Indus civilisation, which thrived on the plains of Pakistan and western India during the third millennium BC. Recent research by a collaborative University of Cambridge and Banaras Hindu University team is revealing new insights into these processes that are contributing to a fundamental change in the way that we understand this ancient society and the transformations that it underwent.

6 June 2013: Summer Soirée
Fellow Janet Owen, whose biography of Sir John Lubbock has just been published (to be reviewed in the next issue of Salon), will talk about the relationship between Lubbock, Darwin and other prominent scientists of their day and examine the parts they played in promoting new ideas in the intellectual ferment that resulted from the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) and Lubbock’s own Pre-historic Times (1872). Michael Archer, former conservator in the British Museum’s Clocks and Watches Department, will talk about the Society’s clocks, including the Benjamin Gray and Justin Vullliamy Regulator located in the Society’s entrance hall. Admission to the Pimms and wine reception that follows at 6pm is by ticket only (£10, from the Society’s Executive Assistant).

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14 July 2013: Fellows’ Day at Kelmscott Manor

Tickets for Fellows’ Day cost £15 (£7 for children under 16) and should be booked by 21 June 2103 by contacting the Kelmscott Manor staff.

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Public lectures

20 May 2013: ‘Historical Archaeology on Mauritius: Colonial Insights from the Indian Ocean World’, by Krish Seetah
Starting at 1pm, the lecture is free but it is advisable to book in advance by emailing the Society’s Executive Assistant.

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Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum

One might be forgiven for thinking that Pompeii and Herculaneum were simply abandoned after the eruption of Vesuvius that destroyed these towns in AD 79, mausolea for those who left it too late to escape, covered in a great depth of volcanic debris, doomed to fade from memory until they were rediscovered in the 1730s (see ‘Books by Fellows’ below). In fact, as the catalogue for this excellent exhibition at the British Museum informs us, the response to the disaster has a contemporary ring to it: the emperor Titus intervened immediately, appointing two commissioners who went straight down to the disaster area from Rome (probably accompanied by the emperor himself) to begin the process of reconstruction and to assist and compensate the survivors. Those who had survived but had lost property and land were given grants of money derived from the estates of those who had perished in the disaster.

Initially, the intention was to rebuild the two towns, but the commissioners soon realised that they were simply buried too deep and that they could not be rescued. People did return, however, and they salvaged or looted what remained on a massive scale, stripping the forum, baths, theatres and temples of statues, columns and any reusable marble — even the seating blocks from the amphitheatre. So large scale was the salvage exercise that some sort of central government organisation seems likely to have been involved.

Knowing this helps you understand why frescos are such an important feature of this exhibition: they are not the kind of object that could be recycled or taken away — thank goodness, for many of them are stunning, and they give the lie to those who, in the shadow of R G Collingwood, assert that the Romans couldn’t do art. Oh yes they could, and the evidence is here, in works that are every bit as vital and accomplished as the frescos of Renaissance Florence — not least the three gorgeous garden scenes from the House of the Golden Bracelet that come towards the end of the exhibition. The Romans could also do interior design — their rich and inventive colour combinations and ornamental borders are again exemplified here by frescos whose colours have been picked up by the exhibition’s designers for the red, green, black and gold panels that form the backdrop to the displays.

The Romans are often accused too of lacking a sense of humour; or rather of having a sense of humour so different from ours as to be almost irrecoverable. Again, this exhibition suggests otherwise, albeit the humour is somewhat earthy: one garden statue in white marble that escaped the salvagers shows the hero Hercules in a far from heroic pose, cross-eyed and smiling while almost unable to stand, conquered, despite his muscularity, club and lion skin, by the insidious power of Bacchus.

Almost to a fault, the exhibition makes much of the fact that the Romans were ‘just like us’. In some respects they were not at all like us, however: the popularity of gladiatorial combat is one area of difference and casual cruelty towards animals is another (despite the evidence that Pompeii’s citizens were clearly fond of pet dogs: the exhibition’s opening display shows the plaster cast of one such pet, contorted from the effects of extreme volcanic heat on muscle and sinew). It is not easy for the modern mind to understand why anyone would want to decorate their homes with statues of stags being torn apart by hunting dogs, and yet the evidence suggests that the minds of Pompeii’s children were infected by such imagery. One of the most accomplished frescos in the exhibition — from the House of the Cryptoporticus — is a masterpiece of false perspective, leading viewers to think they are looking through the walls onto scenes from mythology or from daily life. In the lower part of the frieze, at just about the height of a pre-teen child’s hand, the plaster has been gouged with graffiti of deer and ibex, stags and birds, all being attacked by dogs and men with spears.

Scribbling on the walls of the best dining room is an act of essentially innocent naughtiness, but the subject matter of the graffiti is far from childish and reminds us that death and suffering were not the relatively remote experiences they are for children growing up today; hence the need for all those apotropaic penises for which Pompeii is famous, and hence the fresco in the latrine that shows the goddess Fortuna standing guard over a defecating man alongside the words Cacator cave malu[m], warning him to ‘beware the evil’. In Pompeii you were never far from harm, especially not at your most private moments, as proved to be the case when the sky turned darker than night one day in AD 79.

Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum is on at the British Museum until 29 September 2013. Advance booking is strongly recommended, as the exhibition is proving to be very popular.

There will also be an opportunity to see the exhibits at one of 250 cinemas around the UK on Tuesday 18 June 2013, at 7pm, when ‘Pompeii Live’ will be introduced by our Fellow Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum. Further information can be found on the British Museum website.

Sacred Stitches: Ecclesiastical Textiles in the Rothschild Collection

Another special exhibition of potential interest to the many textile historians amongst the Fellowship has just opened at the Rothschild Collection, Waddesdon Manor (to 27 October 2013), consisting of textiles dating from c 1400 to the late 1800s. Sacred Stitches (Paul Holberton Publishing), the catalogue written for the exhibition by Rachel Boak, Curator at Waddesdon Manor, tells us that the Rothschilds had a very keen interest in ecclesiastical textiles, which they prized for their technical and artistic brilliance, although, when Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild and his sister, Alice, and their niece, Baroness Edmond de Rothschild, were collecting them in the late nineteenth century, many of the altar frontals, vestments and other church furnishings they acquired had been turned into cushions, banners, hangings and furniture upholstery, partly as a consequence of the Reformation and the French Revolution.

Curatorial tours will be given by Rachel Boak on 31 May, 12 July and 27 September 2012. For further information on the exhibition, see the Waddesdon Manor website.

Bust of the emperor Caracalla loaned to Chester’s Grosvenor Museum

Fellow Peter Boughton, Keeper of Art at the Grosvenor Museum, Chester, writes to say that a magnificent eighteenth-century marble bust of the Roman emperor Caracalla has gone on display, having been placed on long-term loan with the museum by the Chester-based Tyrer Charitable Trust. Caracalla, born in AD 188, almost certainly visited Chester with his father, the emperor Septimius Severus, when he came to Britain in 208 in order to invade Scotland. Severus died in 211 at York, and his sons were declared co-emperors, but Caracella had his brother Geta murdered later that year and then ruled alone until his own assassination in 217.

Peter says that the bust now in the Grosvenor Museum ‘is based on a famous one, dating from around 215, in the Museo Archaeologico in Naples and it marks a break with the detached images of the philosopher-emperors who preceded Caracalla: his close-cropped hair is that of a soldier, his pugnacious scowl a realistic and threatening presence. This rugged image of a soldier-emperor was adopted by most of the following emperors, whose rule depended on the army’s support.’

The white marble bust was probably made by an assistant in the studio of the British sculptor Francis Harwood, who worked in Florence from 1753 until his death there thirty years later. Harwood achieved considerable success through his serial production of marble portrait busts of Greek and Roman figures. His bust of Caracalla is arguably the most spectacular in this series, and many replicas of it were produced by Harwood and his assistants.

Long list announced for the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2013

The William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow and the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology are among the ten finalists on the long list for the UK’s largest arts prize, celebrating innovative and creative ways of bringing museum objects and collections to life for the public. The winner will be presented with £100,000 and declared to be ‘Art Fund Prize Museum of the Year 2013’ at an award ceremony in London on 4 June. The full list can be seen on the website of the Independent newspaper.

Fellow Martin Drury recognised by Europa Nostra for dedicated service

Our Fellow Martin Drury (on the right in the picture) is to be honoured at Europa Nostra’s fiftieth anniversary congress in Athens in June 2013 with an award for dedicated service to the cause of cultural heritage. The jury awarding the prize said that: ‘Martin Drury has been a major force for good in the field of conservation for more than forty years. He has nurtured and encouraged the skills, knowledge, idealism and self-confidence of others. His knowledge and experience of all areas of conservation is exceptional. His diplomatic skills were demonstrated during his time as Director General of the National Trust and in his unpaid position as Chairman of the Landmark Trust. The Jury salutes his knowledge, his judgement, his achievements and his dedication.’

Europe Nostra also announced that London’s King’s Cross station has won one of fifteen Europa Nostra Conservation Awards for 2013 for its exhilarating combination of early railway age architecture and ultra-modern design. The judges said that ‘Kings Cross Station was for many years a depressing place, despite its key role in the UK’s railway history and current network. This restoration and inspiring new work therefore represents a transformation ... the train sheds and eastern and western ranges have been adapted and re-used, the station’s previously obscured Grade I listed proto-modern façade (1852) has been restored, and a new visually striking western concourse has been designed as the centrepiece of the project.’

Strawberry Hill, Horace Walpole's whimsical London villa, also won an award for the first phase of restoration work, completed in 2010 when the house was once again opened to the public. The second phase, due to be competed in 2014, involves restoring Walpole’s private rooms. The jury applauded not only the conservation of the building’s interior and exterior, but also the dedication of its volunteers.

There was another UK winner in the education, training and awareness-raising category of the awards: the South Pennines Watershed Landscape project straddles Lancashire and Yorkshire and aims to raise awareness of the upland’s rich heritage. The judges described it as ‘a most imaginative project for raising awareness of a rich natural and archaeological heritage. Impressive in scale and multidisciplinary in approach, it tells fascinating stories, ensuring sustainable protection of the cultural landscape and enhancing regional development.’

For details of all the 2013 award winners, see the Europa Nostra website.

Constructive Conservation

King’s Cross station is also one of thirty-six case studies to be found in a new English Heritage publication, Constructive Conservation: sustainable growth for historic places, a document that shows the many ways in which historic buildings have been adapted to commercial use, and that are now the basis for thriving businesses, contributing to job creation, economic growth and distinctiveness in the built environment. A selection of sixteen ‘before and after’ photographs was published by the Daily Telegraph to coincide with the publication, showing how important listed buildings that were once considered at risk from neglect or the threat of demolition have been transformed, from bottle-kilns in Stoke-on-Trent to Tynemouth’s ornate railway station or Liverpool’s vandalised Isla Gladstone pavilion, now one of the city’s favourite party venues, much used for weddings and pre-match hospitality by Liverpool and Everton football clubs.

The publication aims to inspire developers and local authorities to think of listed buildings as assets and opportunities, not problems, and it showcases the approach that English Heritage takes to listed building consent, guided by its philosophy of ‘constructive conservation’, defined as ‘a positive and collaborative approach to conservation that focuses on the management of change in ways that recognise and reinforce the historic significance of places, while accommodating the changes necessary to ensure their continued use and enjoyment’.

An archaeologist takes over at the Louvre

Jean-Luc Martinez, head of the Louvre’s Greco-Roman antiquities department since 2007, is to take France’s most prestigious museum post on 15 April, succeeding Henri Loyrette as the new Director-President of the Louvre in Paris. Reporting the appointment, the Art Newspaper said that Martinez faces a number of challenges, not least steering the institution through new austerity measures following the French government’s announcement that it will cut the culture budget by 7.5 per cent, or €190m, over the next three years. Under his predecessor, the Louvre opened a new Islamic wing in Paris and a satellite museum in Lens, while the Louvre Abu Dhabi is due to be completed in 2015. Martinez says his priorities include expanding the reception area under I M Pei’s glass pyramid to cope with the increased number of visitors (9.7 million in 2012), refurbishing the Etruscan and Roman galleries and building on the Louvre’s partnership with Istanbul’s Archaeology Museums, focusing on training and joint publications.

British Museum top again

For the sixth year running, the British Museum was the UK’s most popular visitor attraction in 2012, with 5,575,946 visitors, according to figures published by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions. Second in popularity was Tate Modern (5,318,688 visitors), which overtook the National Gallery (5,163,902) this year, while fourth was the Natural History Museum (5,021,762) and fifth, enjoying its best ever year, with a 16 per cent rise to 3.2 million visitors, was the V&A. Exhibitions played a big part in attracting visitors, with Grayson Perry at the BM, Damien Hirst at Tate, Lucian Freud at the National Portrait Gallery and ‘Hollywood Costumes’ at the V&A proving especially popular. Despite the poor weather and the Olympics, there was an overall 5.1 per cent increase in visitors at all UK attractions last year, from 87.7 million in 2011 to 92.1 million in 2012. Although the Olympic and Paralympic Games affected visitor numbers in central London for a brief period, numbers soon bounced back: most of the attractions that saw a drop in visitor numbers were gardens or outdoor sites.

Met responds to charge that its admissions policy is illegal

The question of how long the UK’s policy of free admission to national museums and galleries can continue is being raised again; according to Brian Appleyard, writing in this week’s Sunday Times, some museums have said that they will have to reintroduce charges if the Government cuts their funding any further; our Fellow Neil MacGregor is quoted as saying that when he became Director of the National Gallery in 1987, Government funding covered 98 per cent of the costs; today it is about 50 per cent. Not that Neil is any fan of charging: when asked about this, he points out that the foundational principles of the British Museum were that it should belong to the nation, be open to the people of the world and free: ‘free admission’, he is quoted as saying, ‘is part of the identity of the museum; it’s a fundamental idea about freedom of information, and it’s part of the British identity, like the BBC or public parks and libraries. It’s about a citizen in a free country having free access to the best information'.

In New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is facing a lawsuit alleging that the policy whereby visitors are asked to ‘pay-what-you-wish’ violates a nineteenth-century New York State law requiring the public to be admitted for free, and ‘deceives the public’ by not making it clear that they need not pay. In response our Fellow Thomas Campbell, the Met’s Director, has issued a statement saying that there is ‘no current State legislation’ requiring the museum to be free to the public and that the ‘pay-what-you-wish’admission policy was instituted in the early 1970s only after the museum received approval from New York City’s Administrator of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs.

In the UK, free admission to national museums is only possible because the books are balanced using the income from special exhibitions, whereas the Met has never charged extra to visit any of its exhibitions. Tom Campbell points to the fact that the Met is twice the size it was in the 1970s, is visited by four times as many people and often has as many as ten special exhibitions open at any one time, none of which would be possible without admission fee income.

To read the full statement, see the Met’s website.

The launch of the National Funding Scheme

Another method of encouraging art lovers to give to museums and galleries was launched by Griff Rhys Jones at the Southbank Centre on 27 March 2013. The initiative, called the National Funding Scheme, enables donations to be made simply by scanning a logo with your iPhone and is intended to encourage donations to be made at the point of maximum ‘emotional impact’, when the potential donor is looking at a work of art or museum artefact or watching a ballet, play or opera.

We will soon be seeing small panels appearing on the backs of theatre seats or placed alongside objects or paintings, explaining why money is needed and how it will be spent. The idea is that any donation should be used for that specific work, rather than going into the big pot of a general appeal. Extensive testing and market research, including a three-month trial at the National Portrait Gallery, suggests that the scheme could generate £16 million in additional funding for the arts every year and enable arts institutions to build ‘long-term valuable relationships’ with donors.

Eleven ‘pathfinder’ institutions are already running the scheme, and the aim is that some 7,000 plus national and regional arts and heritage institutions will begin using it from the end of 2013. For further information, see the scheme’s website.

Sales reaching a record £100m a year in UK museum shops

Left: the best museum shops sell objects you would love to own wherever you encountered them, like this hand-blown glass vase on sale in the Royal Academy shop, created by Peter Layton and inspired by the colours in David Hockney’s work, The Arrival of Spring, centrepiece of the recent Hockney exhibition.

The importance of museum shops in generating extra revenue, often in association with special exhibitions, is the subject of an article in the Observer newspaper, which says that museum and gallery shops generated sales of £100m last year. The article goes on to describe David Bowie plectrums and signed limited edition prints of famous album covers, but this surely misses the point: the museum shops that do really well are the ones that have become destinations in their own right, selling outstanding examples of craft and design, as does the Royal Academy or the main V&A shop, not those that simply slap an exhibition image on a bar of soap or a set of placemats.

That is why, as the article points out, the London Transport Museum, run by our Fellow Sam Mullins, has done especially well. It sells desirable gifts that you would want to own wherever you encountered them: excellent posters and greetings cards based on 150 years of London Underground advertising, and a range of items (such as cushions and rugs, bags and wallets) made from the attractively designed moquette material used for upholstering the seats on buses and tube trains. Sales at the museum topped £2.5m last year and Mike Walton, head of trading at the museum, says that whereas ‘a shop used to be a necessary evil for many museums ... a sideshow with no great interest to those who ran the museums ... it has become vital for virtually all cultural institutions, whether they are in the public domain or independent, to raise more and more money as government and local authority grants dry up’.

An added bonus is that many of the best museum gift shops are providing an outlet for small British design and manufacturing companies: the London Transport’s moquette is woven in Yorkshire, the offcuts are turned into bags and purses in Shropshire, furniture made from the fabric is produced in Nottinghamshire and porcelain memorabilia are once again being made in the former Potteries town of Stoke-on-Trent.

This Unrivalled Collection: the Hunterian’s first catalogue

Perhaps one day a museum will mount a special exhibition devoted entirely to museum gifts, but until then the next closest thing is the new exhibition at Glasgow’s Hunterian Museum devoted to a museum guide: not just any old guide, of course, but one of the very first museum guides ever to be published, a room-by-room guide to objects and specimens on display in the Hunterian, written by Captain James Laskey (1760—1829), soldier, dealer and collector, and published 200 years ago, in 1813, six years after Scotland’s oldest museum opened to the public in 1807 to house the collections bequeathed by the anatomist Dr William Hunter (1718—83).

That first catalogue and guide has been used to re-create the appearance of the early collections, to explore contrasts between pre-Victorian knowledge and what we know today and to place on display some objects that have not been on show for 150 years, from giant clams, a three-toed sloth and rare insects and butterflies to Renaissance manuscripts, ‘artificial curiosities’ from the voyages of Captain Cook and the tooth of a Mastodon.

Geoff Hancock, the exhibition’s curator, says: ‘Captain Laskey was a wheeler and dealer in antiquities of all kinds, who was obsessed with capturing and recording the wonders of the world. His catalogue is rich in lavish detail and personal opinion, providing a unique insight into the mind of a gentleman collector in Georgian Britain as well as recording the displays of a new kind of Enlightenment museum.’

Can you dig it? Maney’s new blog

Museum gifts are the subject of the first item posted on a new blog launched by the Archaeology and Heritage Team at Maney Publishing — a review of the Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind exhibition at the British Museum, written by Fellow Robin Skeates, editor of the European Journal of Archaeology, one of many journals that Maney publishes. The blog promises to provide news and information on a variety of topics of interest to the archaeology and heritage communities, with forthcoming posts on the archaeology of the mill by Fellow Mike Nevell and on ‘the future of archaeology — the hopes and dreams of budding archaeologists’. Contributions on any topic relating to archaeology or heritage are welcome.

Memories of Exeter University wanted

Founded in 1955, Exeter University is heading for its sixtieth anniversary. Professor Jeremy Black, of the University’s Department of History, has been commissioned to write the official history and would be interested in hearing from Fellows with personal or professional recollections.

Do you know this church?

Our Fellow Charles Hind, Chief Curator and H J Heinz Curator of Drawings at the V&A’s RIBA Library, Drawings and Archives Collections, is hoping that a Salon reader can identify the church in this attractive watercolour by Peter de Wint (1784—1849). Charles says ‘the church does not look English, and de Wint is known to have visited Normandy in 1828. The owner was told it was “a Templar church” when he acquired it’.

St Ethelburga’s, Bishopsgate

On Saturday 24 April 1993, the IRA detonated a huge lorry bomb right outside St Ethelburga’s, Bishopsgate, destroying 60 per cent of a medieval building that had survived the Great Fire of London. Attempts to restore the church by a group of Friends, including the former parish clerk, our Fellow Paul Sutherland, were held up for many years because of the bleak picture painted for the future of City of London churches in the following year by the Templeman Report and the unwillingness of the Diocese of London to consider restoring one of more than twenty ‘poorly attended’ churches in the Square Mile.

A change came about when our Fellow Dr Richard Chartres was appointed Bishop of London and he immediately proposed that the church should be rebuilt to house a new ‘Centre for Reconciliation and Peace’, which idea found favour not only in the City and the Church of England, but also with the Roman Catholic Church when the late Cardinal Hume became Joint Patron. The result was the re-opening of St Ethelburga’s by the Prince of Wales in November 2002. The new Centre has turned out to be a remarkable success and today is open daily and runs a busy programme of weekday events, including outstanding performances of world music, under its director Simon Keyes. As the twentieth anniversary of the bombing approaches, everyone is encouraged to visit the church and help to celebrate its restoration and continuing role.

Volunteers needed for Open Churches policy

The Churches Conservation Trust, chaired by our Fellow Loyd Grossman, is calling for volunteers to help with its newly announced initiative to ensure that every church is open and accessible. The CCT says that there is a strong correlation between churches being open, the numbers of visitors and the amount of money left in the donations box. To kick start the initiative, the trust is asking volunteers to register with the CCT and work out which of three options is best for them: to leave the church open at all times, set up a volunteer key holder team to be responsible for opening and closing the church every day, or fitting an automatic time lock. For further details see the CCT website.

The Nigg cross-slab is back on display

Our Fellow Professor George Henderson writes to share the good news that ‘the Nigg cross-slab — a monument of international importance, the supreme example of the Insular Art style in stone sculpture and famously the close ally of the Book of Kells in decoration and date — is now again on display in its home-base, Nigg Old Church, Easter Ross, Scotland. The cross-slab has been broken in two portions since at least the early nineteenth century. The upper part is carved with the great scene of the Mass jointly celebrated by the Desert Fathers, Saints Paul and Antony; the lower bears the grand ornamental and symbolic cross-arms and shaft. Between these two portions a band of carving, recorded by the Scottish antiquary C C Petley, was subsequently lost.

‘Various methods have been used over the years to join the two portions and allow the monument to stand upright. Last year the cross-slab was found to be in urgent need of conservation, since the support system of internal metal rods, inserted in the 1970s, was threatening to split the stone. With the aid of grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Scottish Government, and the European Community Highland LEADER 2007—13 Programme, the Nigg Old Trust has now had the two portions conserved and prepared for re-erection by the immensely experienced historic stone conservator Graciela Ainsworth. By happy chance, a vitally significant fragment from the reverse of the missing band of carving was discovered near the Old Church in 1998, namely a substantial part of the “Pictish beast” symbol, and this has been able to be put back where it belongs, after nearly two centuries, inset on a veneer of sandstone of exactly matching colour, lightly engraved to give continuity of line.

‘Thanks to the skill and ingenuity of Martin Hadlington, the conservation architect, the whole monument now stands on a gleaming oval stainless steel base, protected by a broad balustrade, and supported externally by steel pillars and struts, boldly articulated, clean and handsome. The small room at the west end of the Old Church, formerly its workaday boiler house, is now, with its elegant metalwork and its unique exhibit, a match for many long-established ecclesiastical treasuries, and will richly reward all those who can make the journey to north-east Scotland to view for themselves this brilliant new combination of eighth- and twenty-first-century art and design.’

Who said ‘The letters FSA after a name have always ... caused me to shudder’?

In the last issue of Salon, Fellow John Clark asked who wrote that ‘the letters FSA after a name have always, since those days, caused me to shudder’, and in what context?

The answer, as many Fellows recognised, was John Betjeman in the Introduction to the revised edition of his book Ghastly Good Taste (London: Anthony Blond, 1970). In the course of what he called an ‘aesthetic autobiography’, he explains how he lost his early enthusiasm for medieval architecture: ‘By the time I reached Oxford in 1925, I had become bored by Gothic, whether it was genuine or false. This may have been due largely to the still unforgivable technological terms people will use when describing mediaeval buildings, the wearisome footnotes and the anxiety not to be caught out by being wrong in an attribution or a date. The letters FSA after a name have always, since those days, caused me to shudder. I realise now that antiquaries have become more liberal in their opinions and that the new profession of architectural history has done what was hardly attempted in the 1920s, it has discriminated between the shoddy and the solid and it has even admitted the present century into its consideration’ (pp xxi—xxii).’

John wonders whether Fellows can suggest which particular FSAs writing about medieval buildings in the 1920s Betjeman might have had in mind.

Council of Europe backing for 2015 as European Industrial Heritage Year

Fellow Keith Falconer writes with the good news that a report he wrote last year on Industrial Heritage in Europe has been adopted by the Standing Committee of the Council of Europe Assembly, including resolutions calling for new measures to safeguard and celebrate Europe’s Industrial Heritage, and supporting the proposal that 2015 should be designated as European Industrial Heritage Year. The resolution also recognised the key role of the voluntary sector in generating awareness and appreciation of the value of the industrial heritage and contributing through grassroots initiatives to the protection, preservation and conversion to new uses thousands of industrial heritage sites across Europe.

The trigger for this report on Europe’s industrial heritage was a concern for fast-disappearing historic industrial sites in eastern European countries and a desire for the transfer of good practice in documenting, protecting, preserving and re-using industrial sites to these countries. Keith was commissioned to identify the key players in European industrial heritage and outline the current state of recognition, appreciation, protection and preservation across Europe. The report, which by convention had to be limited to ten pages, attempted to summarise more than sixty years of developing interest and appreciation of industrial heritage spreading from the UK eastwards over that period.

Stressing Europe’s pioneering role in global industrialisation, which is reflected in the preponderance of European industrial heritage sites included in the World Heritage List (thirty-six out of forty-six), the report suggests the need for a European label for the industrial heritage. This would provide an intermediary (European) level of protection for the sites of a clearly European, if not world, significance. It would also cover so-called ‘heritage constellations’ (sites that are thematically or territorially interconnected). Amongst the British sites mentioned in this context are blast furnaces in Cumbria, jewellery workshops in Birmingham and colliery railways in north-east England.

For more on industrial archaeology, see ‘Books by Fellows: Britain’s Industrial Revolution’, below.


Bendor Grosvenor, Director of the art dealer Philip Mould & Company, writes to say that he knows of no evidence to support the suggestion in Salon 295 that the wonderful Hampden Portrait (c 1563) of Elizabeth I, currently being used to promote the V&A exhibition Treasures of the Royal Courts, was painted in an attempt to lure Ivan the Terrible into marriage with the English monarch. Bendor, who has carried out extensive research on the portrait and its probable artist, Steven van Herwijck, believes it was painted to convey a domestic political message after the queen nearly died after contracting smallpox in 1562, leading to considerable anxiety at court about the power vacuum that would result from her death without an heir. The pressure on her to marry and produce an heir, or else to name a successor, grew on her after her recovery, from both Houses of Parliament.

Bendor believes the Hampden portrait was part of her answer: deploying more gold than had ever been seen in any other English portrait of the period, the painting presents the queen at her most ‘official’, in front of the royal coat of arms, a cloth of state and a throne that, with its finials and cross-braced design, is strikingly similar to those seen in representations of the Parliament Chamber in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The tapestry in the background alludes to Elizabeth as a tree ready to bear fruit; the pairing of the fruit and flowers indicate the queen’s willingness to get married, while ripening fruit, such as the open pomegranate peas about to burst out from their pod, are all symbols of the queen’s ability to bear children. Elizabeth was famously averse to the idea of marriage, but for this portrait at least she sought to give the opposite impression and to quell anxiety about the likelihood of her ever bearing an heir.

Referring to the Moscow coach in the same exhibition, and our Fellow Julian Munby’s memorable lecture on the subject, Fellow Roger Smith writes to say that coaches remained in favour as royal gifts for at least a further two centuries. ‘The first British embassy to China in 1793 took three carriages by the London maker John Hatchett of Long Acre. London carriages were famous throughout Europe for their elegance and advanced technology, and the total cost was substantial, at over £2,000. However, they hit a cultural obstacle in Beijing. John Barrow (Travels in China, London, 1804, p 113) accompanied the embassy and noted that the Chinese palace officials were puzzled as to where the emperor Qianlong was supposed to sit. The explanation that he would sit inside and not on the elevated box in front, which was for the coachman, was scornfully rejected. The emperor could not possibly allow someone to sit higher than him or to turn his back on him! It seems doubtful whether the emperor ever used his new carriages.’

Our Fellow Peter Fowler was encouraged by the piece about humour in archaeology in Salon 295 to respond with a picture of one of his own works, entitled Homo nessiensis (vulg. ‘Coathanger Man’), which will appear in public, together with other ‘archaeological’ collages, constructed from similar materials, in a forthcoming exhibition of Peter’s recent artworks at the Old Printworks Gallery, High Street, Saxmundham, from 9 May to 3 June 2013. Peter says that ‘the Private View is either side of noon on Saturday 11 May, and all Fellows are of course most cordially welcome. Lunch will be served afterwards and I would appreciate it if Fellows intending to partake thereof would let me know in advance, so that, as with this skeleton, I get the numbers right.’

As for H nessiensis, Peter explains that ‘his creation might well appear humorous, but he nevertheless emerges from serious antecedents. His immediate inspiration is the nowadays frequent appearance on TV of re-assembled skeletons from archaeological contexts, the most recent being, of course, the supposed bones of Richard III. The academic background lies in the discovery over recent years of Palaeolithic material from the East Anglian coast at Happisburgh and Pakefield and my own current fieldwork along the Suffolk coast. I first discovered “Palaeolithic flints” (they proved not to be) low in the cliff face just north of Thorpe Ness, triggering a meticulous search for contemporary human remains along the shingle beach from there southwards as far as Shingle Street via Orford Ness. Last month I decided I had enough fragments to attempt assembling a complete skeleton, though of course I cannot know that all the pieces are from a single individual. All are as found on the beach; some look as if they are fossilised; all are rounded by wave action.

‘H nessiensis lies on a board 1.5m (5ft) long so his height is somewhat less than a modern human. In the absence of a pelvis “his” sex is uncertain but his broad, sloping shoulders (hence “Coathanger Man”), albeit lacking scapulae, and his powerful hands and fingers suggest “he” is indeed male. The small skull, surprisingly still with traces of brown hair, is worrying: investigation is at a very early stage and no modern scientific tests have yet been carried out, but some of the fragments occurred in the vicinity of Sizewell nuclear power station. Sizewell A is now defunct; Sizewell B is functioning. The current proposal to construct a third plant, Sizewell C, may well now require reconsideration in the light of this discovery.’

reader Carly Hilts, Assistant Editor at Current Archaeology, recently spotted another Mortimer Wheeler anecdote on the BBC News website, which reported that the Roman gold ring that inspired J R R Tolkien to write The Hobbit (1937) and the Lord of the Rings (1954—5) has gone on display at The Vyne, the National Trust property in Hampshire. In 1929, Tolkien turned to Mortimer Wheeler for further information about the ring, which was found in a field in Silchester in 1785, and it was Wheeler who realised that the ring, inscribed ‘Senicianus live well in God’ and inset with an image of the goddess Venus, was very likely to be the one that was mentioned on a curse tablet that Wheeler had excavated at Lydney, in Gloucestershire. The curse tablet was offered to the god Nodens Mars by a supplicant called Silvianus who asked Nodens to visit ill health upon all who ‘bear the name of Senicianus’ until the thief brings the ring to the temple.

It is usually assumed that the Lord of the Rings was inspired by the Niebelung legends, but Dr Lynn Forest-Hill, education officer with the Tolkien Trust, said Tolkien was fascinated by the Silchester ring’s story, and not only visited the Lydney temple, whose site just happens to be called Dwarf's Hill, but also explored the Iron Age fort nearby and the Forest of Dean’s ancient iron mines, known locally as ‘the Scowles’.

Lives Remembered: Richard Barrie Dobson, FBA, FSA (1931—2013)

The Society has been informed of the death on Good Friday, 29 March 2013, of our Fellow Professor Barrie Dobson, who was elected a Fellow on 1 May 1980. The funeral will take place in the Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York, on Tuesday 16 April at 2.30pm. There will be a reception afterwards at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall; it would be appreciated if anyone intending to come would email Caroline Kennan to let her know.

Salon will publish an obituary in due course, but a comprehensive summary of Barrie Dobson’s achievements up to the date of his retirement as Professor of Medieval History at Cambridge in 1999, written by John Taylor, can be found in one of the three (!) volumes of essays presented to him to mark that event, Pragmatic Utopias:  Ideals and Communities, 1200—1630 (CUP, 2001).

Lives Remembered: Peter Drewett, FSA

Just as Salon was about to be issued, Salon’s editor learned that our Fellow Peter Drewett, elected a Fellow on 3 March 1977, died on 1 April 2013. His funeral will be held at Ripe church, East Sussex, on Thursday 11 April at 2.30pm. An obituary will follow in due course.

Lives Remembered: John Thomas Driver, FSA (1925—2013)

Fellow Christopher Allmand, who gave the address at Tom Driver’s recent funeral, has kindly allowed Salon to publish the following condensed version.

‘Tom, as he was always known, was elected to the Fellowship in 1999. A man of very wide knowledge and great sociability, these qualities made him a born teacher. The recipient of a BA and a PhD from the University of Liverpool (on “The Parliament of 1472—5”), as well as a BLitt from Oxford (where he was at Oriel College and studied the parliamentary representation of the Wiltshire boroughs in the 1420s and 1430s), Tom taught in a number of schools, mainly in the north west of England, before being appointed to the staff of the department of History at Chester College, now the University of Chester, where he remained for the remainder of his teaching career.

‘Besides teaching students, including many future teachers, he also became very active in the work of “extension studies”, principally in the Cheshire area, where he was a well loved and much admired lecturer to adult groups, leading a veritable “following” who attended his lectures whatever the current subject was: local history, medieval history or architectural history. Whether he was lecturing to a group in Bishop Lloyd’s house in Chester, or leading it around a site of architectural significance, Tom’s followers could always count on him having well-prepared material presented with the flair of a man to whom the history of a locality, its topography and its buildings were of huge interest to be shared with others.

‘As a researcher Tom made some very useful contributions to the history, largely of the late medieval period, of his chosen area. His little book, Cheshire in the Later Middle Ages 1399—1540 (A History of Cheshire Vol. 6, Cheshire Community Council, 1971), is an excellent example of its kind, demonstrating the author’s ability to discuss a variety of aspects of the period’s history within a specific “local” context. In his retirement, he returned to the field which he had first ploughed for his BLitt: a series of articles concerned with the careers of fifteenth-century Members of Parliament appeared in a number of journals of county archaeological and historical societies, the last in 2011 (in Archaeologia Cantiana, vol 131). In these he underlined the significance of individual careers in both local and the national perspectives, stressing the importance of “networks” and patronage in English society at this time. This approach played to Tom’s strengths, notably the importance he attached to the role of the individual in society. He was always at home with people, and the history which he wrote was told in terms of people and of the everyday world — physical, political, religious — in which they had lived.’

Following up that last point, there is another tribute to Tom Driver on the website of the History of Parliament Trust.

Lives remembered

Since the last issue of Salon was published, obituaries have appeared in the Guardian for our late Fellows David Whitehouse and Sir Geoffrey de Bellaigue; in the Telegraph for Fellows Peter Smith and Thurstan Shaw; and in the Independent for Tony Legge.

In addition, an obituary for our late Fellow Michael Stammers has been posted on the website of National Historic Ships UK by Campbell McMurray (retired Director of the Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth), and Salon has received the following tribute from John Robinson, originally written for the bulletin board of the International Congress of Maritime Museums.

‘Michael Stammers, FSA, who died on 30 January 2013 after a period of illness, was outstanding among his generation of maritime curators for his energy and diligence, qualities tested over the several years that it required to establish the Merseyside Maritime Museum in the long-neglected Albert Dock complex at Liverpool. Born in Norfolk, Mike arrived in Liverpool in 1969 as Assistant Keeper of Shipping and Transport under Edward Paget-Tomlinson. He led the team that prepared new Land Transport Galleries, opened in 1972, and attended the inaugural Congress of ICMM at Greenwich later that year. Following the rescue of Brunel’s SS Great Britain from the Falkland Islands, Mike made several visits to Port Stanley to investigate and record other historic sailing ships abandoned there, including the Canadian Actaeon (1838), the British-built Vicar of Bray (1841) and Jhelum (1849) and the American clipper Snow Squall (1851). Having crawled all over these, he used his findings in a seminal paper on “Iron knees in wooden vessels”, published in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology in 2001.

‘Perhaps it was his familiarity with how these and other vessels decayed over time that bred in Mike a healthy caution towards over-ambitious ship preservation schemes. When other museums in the UK were rashly accepting custody of vessels that subsequently they were unable to care for, Mike avoided the temptation to fill the Albert Dock basin with the retired vessels that were regularly offered to the Maritime Museum. Thanks to the rigour of his collection policy, the museum which he led set an example in maintaining a dedicated team of shipwrights and craftsmen to look after the outside exhibits to a high standard. He was dismayed at the change of policy that brought a depletion of those resources following his retirement in August 2003.

‘Mike retained the honorary title of Keeper Emeritus into retirement, which gave him time to devote to other honorary roles, such as Curator of the Royal Mersey Yacht Club’s collection, and editorial duties for Maritime Wales and The Falkland Islands Journal. He wrote well over twenty books on maritime and local history topics, and was generous with his support for younger researchers, for whom he always found time during a busy professional life. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 2002, and in 2003 was honoured with the Desmond Wettern Maritime Media Award, particularly in recognition of his contributions to the events in Liverpool to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic, which had been directed from a wartime bunker at the Liverpool Pier Head.

‘His most substantial publication is perhaps The Passage Makers, a history of the Liverpool-based Black Ball line of Australian packet ships, published by Teredo Books in 1978. Towards the end of his life, Mike set about revising that work, but turned up so much new material in the Bank of England archives, the State Library of Victoria and the Australian NMM Library that the result is virtually a new book, published right at the end of Mike’s life by Milepost Research as Emigrant Clippers to Australia. Those privileged to know Mike will cherish memories of his good humour, patience, generosity of spirit and devotion to the cause of maritime history and responsible curatorship. In the words of Fellow Sir Neil Cossons, who worked with Mike at Liverpool from 1969—71, we have lost “a kind, generous, deeply knowledgeable man whose contribution to scholarship and maritime history vastly exceeds anything for which he gained credit or recognition”.’

Call for papers: deadline 30 April 2013

‘Europe and its Worlds: cultural mobility in, to and from Europe’, 16—18 October 2013. Full details are on the website of the Radboud University Nijmegen.


15 April to 20 May 2013: Art Fund Talks. Our Society’s meeting room is the venue for a series of talks organised by the Art Fund with watercolour as their central theme. Nicola Moorby’s talk on 15 April 2013, at 2.30pm, is called ‘As if by Magic: J M W Turner and watercolour’; on 22 April, at 2.30pm, Ann Clements will talk about ‘How Watercolours Have Developed and Evolved’; Anne Lyles will speak on 13 May, at 2.30pm, on the subject of ‘From Cozens to Cox: the golden age of British landscape watercolours c 1770—1850’; and Jo Walton will speak on 20 May, at 2.30pm, on ‘Watercolours and War: from the battlefields of the Crimea to the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan’. For tickets (£10 each), call 0844 415 4100, Monday to Friday 9am to 5.30pm.

16 April 2013: ‘“The Phidias of Modern Times”: Antonio Canova and George IV, Regent and King’, the Venice in Peril Spring Lecture will be given by our Fellow Jonathan Marsden, Director of the Royal Collection, in aid of the Canova Monument Appeal and the Venice in Peril Fund at the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. Doors open at 6pm and the lecture begins at 7pm. The marble memorial to sculptor Antonio Canova in the church of the Frari is Venice’s most striking monument from the age of neo-classicism. This magnificent monument is now seriously at risk as water and salts have permeated its statues and marble cladding; the proceeds from this lecture will help to fund a major conservation project to rescue it. Tickets: £20 (£15 for members), from the Venice in Peril Fund website.

18 April 2013: ‘On the Fascination of Objects: Greek and Etruscan art in the Shefton Collection’, a conference in honour of our late Fellow, Emeritus Professor Brian B Shefton, at the Great North Museum: Hancock, which includes free public lectures and an exhibition of children’s artwork inspired by the Shefton Collection. For further information, email Sally Waite.

23 April 2013: ‘Santiago de Compostela: new thoughts on the construction of the great pilgrimage church’, the 2013 Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland Annual Lecture will be given by our Fellow Dr Jenny Alexander (History of Art, University of Warwick) at 5.30pm in the Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN.

Dr Alexander will report on a project, funded by the regional government of Galicia, to study the masons’ marks on the fabric of the cathedral as a guide to the progress of construction. By precise recording of the sites of all the marks and subsequent computer analysis of the records, it is proving possible to demonstrate how the building was assembled, discover more about the organisation of the medieval works department and make a contribution to debates on the dating of the cathedral. Further details can be found on the Courtauld Institute's website.

3 to 4 May 2013: ‘Buddhist Art and its Conservation’. Organised by our Fellow Professor David Park (The Robert H N Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Art and its Conservation at The Courtauld Institute of Art) and John Clarke (Victoria and Albert Museum), this conference covers a wide diversity of object types: the Diamond Sutra (the earliest surviving printed book), early painted copies of the wall paintings of Ajanta, a bronze Buddha of the Yongle period, the myriad wall paintings of Dunhuang and Bhutan, a mixed-media shrine from Burma, a Korean slate funerary chest and a Burmese manuscript. Details can be found on the Courtauld Institute’s website.

13 to 18 June 2013: The lecture programme that accompanies the annual Art Antiques London fair that takes place in the pavilion on Albert Memorial West Lawn, in Kensington Gardens, opposite the Royal Albert Hall, from 13 to 19 June 2013, has a number of speakers and topics of potential interest to Fellows. Admission to each lecture costs £10 if booked in advance via the internet; £15 at the fair. Fellows who book a lecture will be given a complimentary ticket to the Fair (normal cost £15).

Highlights include Dr Katharina Hantschmann of the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich, talking about one of the world’s greatest ceramic sculptors, Franz Anton Bustelli; art historian and curator Dr Claudia Lehner-Jobst talking about the newly reopened Imperial Habsburg Kunstkammer in Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum; Dr Ekaterina Khmelnitskaya, Curator of Russian Porcelain at the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, talking about Russian Imperial porcelain and Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes; and Dr Guy Delmarcel, Emeritus Professor of History of Art, University of Leuven, talking about the design, production and marketing of Flemish tapestries from 1470 to 1770.

In addition, our Fellow Dame Rosalind Savill is one of the speakers at the related French Porcelain Society Study Day taking place on 14 June.

29 June 2013: ‘New Developments in Kentish Urban Studies’, a conference to be held at the Old Sessions House, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, 9.30am to 4.15pm. Organised by the Kent Archaeological Society (KAS), the Historical Association and the CCCU (Canterbury Christ Church University) Centre for Public and Regional History, this will include papers by a number of Fellows on recent research into the history and archaeology of Canterbury, Dover, Faversham, Folkestone, Gillingham, Grange, Hythe and Sevenoaks.

Fellow Dr Gillian Draper will talk about Grange (now a suburb of Gillingham) in the Middle Ages, when it was part of the Cinque Ports Confederation, and whose history has been laid bare by recent excavations by Pre-Construct Archaeology. Fellow Dr Andrew Richardson, Outreach and Archives Manager for the Canterbury Archaeological Trust, will outline the achievements of ‘A Town Unearthed’, a three-year project to research and record the archaeology and history of Folkestone before 1500. He will also open a discussion of the meaning of the name ‘Folkestone’ and its origins as a port, town and centre of production.

Further details are on the KAS website.

7 and 8 September 2013: ‘The Romanesque Church in Gloucestershire’, the annual conference of the Society for Church Archaeology and the Association of Diocesan and Cathedral Archaeologists, will be held in Gloucester Cathedral’s Parliament Room, and will include papers by our Fellows Malcolm Thurlby (on ‘Aachen, William of Malmesbury and Romanesque architecture in Gloucestershire’), Steven Blake (on ‘Saints and Serpents: Gloucestershire's Norman tympana’), and Richard Bryant and Carolyn Heighway (on ‘Recreating the Romanesque abbey of St Peter at Gloucester’).

The conference will include a visit to Deerhurst, for the annual Deerhurst Lecture, to be given by our Fellow Paul Barnwell on ‘Locating baptism in Anglo-Saxon and Norman churches’, and on Sunday there will be guided tours of such Romanesque sites in Gloucestershire as St Mary, Kempley, with its early twelfth-century wall paintings and mid-twelfth-century roof structure, and Tewkesbury Abbey.

For full details, see the Society for Church Archaeology website.

21 October 2013: ‘The Forgotten Past: post-medieval small finds and their contribution to our understanding of the past’, a conference hosted by the Portable Antiquities Scheme and Finds Research Group in the Stevenson Lecture Theatre, British Museum, 10am—5pm.

Once given little consideration by most archaeologists, post-medieval material was the ‘stuff machined through’ to get to the ‘interesting layers’ below. However, thanks to changing attitudes amongst archaeologists and also a growing dataset of finds recovered by metal-detectorists and others now being recorded with the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), there is increasing awareness of the importance of post-medieval finds for understanding the past. It is this interest, and research into such finds, that will be highlighted at this conference.

The contributors to this conference (including several Fellows) have been asked to consider the following questions. Why record post-medieval material, and are there aspects that can be disregarded or selectively studied? What types were once thought of as rare, but are now considered quite common, and does that change how we feel about what we record? What have we discovered that is new, and does this help with future research agendas? Post-medieval finds have greater potential to link objects to specific people or occasions, so does that make certain objects more interesting or important? How does the recording of post-medieval finds advance research?

For further information see the PAS website.

9 November 2013: ‘150 years of Roman Yorkshire’, a day conference to mark the Yorkshire Archaeological Society’s 150th anniversary at Temple Hall, York St John University, at which papers will be presented by a number of Fellows reviewing past understanding and current research in relation to Yorkshire’s Roman heritage. Further details of the conference and of other 150th anniversary year events can be found on the YAS website.

Books by Fellows: The Leche Trust

Our Fellow Simon Swynfen Jervis writes to say that: ‘a small contribution to the Society’s necrology and to the historiography of charities has reached the Library in the shape of an elegantly designed booklet entitled The Leche Trust 1963—2013, A Commemoration of Fifty Years (Leche Trust, 2013) This comprises a life of our late Fellow, Angus Whiteford Acworth CBE (1898—1981), the founder of the Leche Trust and the person most responsible for the introduction in 1944 of the system of listing buildings, along with an account of the grant-giving activities of the Trust, which has more than once assisted the Society and its Fellows.’

Simon is, of course, both the author of the booklet and the Trust’s outgoing Chairman. To request a copy, please send a cheque for £10 made out to ‘The Leche Trust’ to The Secretary, The Leche Trust, 84 Cicada Road, London SW18 2NZ. Anyone thinking of applying to the Leche Trust for a grant would be well advised to obtain a copy, since it fleshes out the somewhat out-of-date information on the Trust’s website and has a valuable section on the kinds of project that the Leche Trust has supported in the past, along with a financial analysis.

This shows that ninety-nine grants were made in 2010, ranging in size from £170 to £10,000, totalling £240,116 and averaging £2,425. Of this total, 32 per cent went towards arts projects, 28 per cent to church restoration work, 16 per cent to historic building conservation and 16 per cent to educational work in museums and analogous institutions, while the balance of 8 per cent went to helping individuals with educational costs, mainly to students from overseas.

Books by Fellows: Remembered Lives: personal memorials in churches

Left: a plaque to commemorate Wynkyn de Worde, carved by Lida Lopes Cardozo Kindersley and installed in St Bride’s, Fleet Street, the church of this book’s co-author, our Fellow The Venerable David Meara.

Our Fellow Ann Saunders writes to commend ‘this remarkable little book’, which, she says, ‘should be owned, read and studied by all who are interested in English history, architecture, sculpture and the Anglican Church — though it would be of use and value to men and women of other denominations and faiths as well. It is the work of our Fellow, the Venerable David Meara, Archdeacon of London, and Lida Lopes Cardozo Kindersley, designer, letter-cutter and, since the death of her husband, David Kindersley, in 1995, leader of the Cardozo Kindersley Workshop, in Cambridge.

‘The book describes the purpose and value of memorial tablets, and the lengthy and individual process involved in creating one, and it gives a detailed and most helpful account of how to apply for a faculty to set up such a tablet. Memorials from this workshop may be found throughout the UK; St Paul’s Cathedral and churchyard has a proliferation of them. The booklet illustrates some of these as well as many tablets from an earlier age, emphasising the long tradition of personal commemoration in this country. The text of the book is set in a typeface designed by Lida herself — 12 point Emilida italic — a beautiful and elegant design, if a little difficult to read when you are faced with a page of solid type. Get hold of a copy and see what you think: the book is too valuable to be missed.’

Remembered Lives: personal memorials in churches, by David Meara and Lida Lopes Cardozo Kindersley, ISBN 9781107664487; 2013

Books by Fellows: Being an Islander

Quoygrew is a late Viking Age and medieval rural settlement on the island of Westray, in Orkney, that was occupied until 1937 and partially excavated between 1999 and 2005. Now on the edge of Europe, Quoygrew was much more centrally placed in the maritime networks of the Viking Age, and this study looks at the balance between the continuity of local practice on the island and the impact of such trends as urbanism, centralisation of trade and power, population and productivity growth elsewhere on the Continent. It is, says our Fellow James Barrett, the editor, a study of the distinctive identity of an island society forged by a combination of isolation and connectedness.

To put this in more human terms, James asks in his concluding chapter what changes would an octogenarian point to on the island between the start and the end of his or her life in terms of the natural environment, agricultural practice and diet, the pots used for storage and cooking, jewellery and burial practice, habits, beliefs and prejudices, building styles and possessions, and the many other aspects of daily life that archaeology can inform us about. These are interesting questions that represent a novel way of interrogating archaeological data and they yield some interesting answers that replace the sweeping generalisations of economic and social historians with the particular details of daily life as a member of the Quoygrew community.

Being an Islander: production and identity at Quoygrew, Orkney, AD 900—1600, edited by James Barrett, ISBN 9781902937618; McDonald Institute, 2012

Books by Fellows: Rediscovering the Ancient World on the Bay of Naples 1710—1890

Well timed for the British Museum’s Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition, this collection of essays edited by our Fellow Carol Mattusch results from a conference held in 2009 to examine the impact of the discovery of these ancient Roman cities in the 1730s. Not only did the finds from these two cities inspire an outpouring of literature, art and architecture, there was also a major impact on the decorative arts, music and opera, collecting habits, antiquarian culture, tourism, guidebooks and souvenirs and even on such ephemeral phenomena as firework displays, which set out to imitate the eruption of Vesuvius, and garden design, with waterfalls coloured red to imitate lava.

As you would expect from a Yale book, the pictures alone are a revelation, well chosen to capture the many different ways in which people responded to the finds, philosophically, emotionally and commercially (including a healthy dose of earthy humour and eroticism). In one of the most entertaining papers in the volume, Fellow Mary Beard writes about what it was like to visit Pompeii in the past. Tourists were enticed to visit the ruins with re-enactments of chariot races, gladiatorial games, a mock marriage ceremony and mock funeral, all of which were made more enjoyable after a few glasses of wine served in antique vessels purchased from the original Roman shops and bars. Ghoulish interests were well catered for with displays of plaster casts capturing the dying moments of Pompeian men, women, children and animals. Distinguished visitors (who presumably tipped lavishly for the privilege) could visit a ‘live’ excavation, during which some splendid find would be uncovered, such as a skeleton.

The reductio ad absurdum of the fictionalisation of Pompeii is found in a letter from Lewis Englebach, written in 1802, in which he describes an encounter with one Don Michele, who insists that Pompeii is a complete fake: ‘fabricated (at immense expense, to be sure) by our Neapolitan government ... chiefly to attract travellers from all parts of Europe, and to make them spend their money in the kingdom’. If so, it has proved to be a worthwhile investment.

Rediscovering the Ancient World on the Bay of Naples 1710—1890, edited by Carol Mattusch, ISBN 9780300189216; Yale University Press, 2013

Books by Fellows: Roman Building Techniques

And for tips on how they might have faked up Pompeii, take a look at Fellow Tony Rook’s book on Roman Building Techniques, which has instructions on how to survey the site, lay the foundations, work timber and stone, make lime mortar and cement, stucco, bricks, walls, roofs, floors, stairs and windows, drainage, chimneys, hypocausts and baths, all illustrated by clear drawings and surviving Roman examples. The truth is, of course, that many of these techniques are not exclusively Roman, and as such the book is a very useful primer on ancient building tools, materials and methods, as practised from the beginnings of architecture until perhaps a hundred years ago.

Roman Building Techniques, by Tony Rook, ISBN 9781445601496; Amberley Publishing, 2013

Books by Fellows: South Wales from the Romans to the Normans

Fellow Jeremy Knight brings together in this book the astonishing amount of evidence there is from excavated sites, surviving buildings, memorial stones, landscapes, place-names, saints’ lives, poetry and literature for the character of south Wales from late Roman times to the Norman Conquest. Forget ideas of decline and decay: the picture that emerges is of a highly organised and structured post-Roman society, literate, learned and cosmopolitan, culturally linked to Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, Brittany and beyond, and, above all, Christian in character — no need for an Augustinian mission here: south Wales never lost its faith, though it was of the Celtic variety, which is another story.

The story told in this book is about the way that the Christian and Roman past shaped the culture of south Wales during this period, what was valued from the past and what use was made of it. Because Welsh is a closed book to many of us, we miss the fact that the language owes a huge debt to Latin (one sound change from ‘V’ to ‘Gw’, for example, gives us Guenta from Venta (town or market) and hence today’s Gwent), and that there is a great deal of continuity between Roman estates and the landholdings, courts and parishes of pre-Norman south Wales, and between the cemeteries of the Roman and post-Roman period, with their martyria and chapels that become parish churches. Wales in this respect seems much more like the Continent than it is like the Anglo-Saxon parts of Britain, and it is interesting to compare how from the same Romano-British soil, such a different society evolved in the west and east.

We all ought to spend more time reading Welsh (and Irish) literature too, for this seems to answer questions that archaeologists endlessly debate. To take but one example, we speculate that people in the past used burial mounds like property deeds: physical evidence that their ‘ancestors’ were here first and were the first to claim and cultivate this land. Proof that they did indeed do so is found in a series of short Welsh poems called Englynion y Beddau (‘Stanzas of the Graves’), in which prehistoric mounds are seen as the graves of fictive ancestors:

Whose is the grave in the fortified places
Opposite Bryn Beddau?
Gwryd, son of Gwryd the Swift

Whose is the four-sided grave
With four stones at its head?
The grave of Madawg, fierce horseman

South Wales from the Romans to the Normans: Christianity, literacy and lordship, by Jeremy Knight, ISBN 9781445604473; Amberley Publishing, 2013

Books by Fellows: Interpreting the English Village

Just the other side of the Bristol Channel from south Wales, Shapwick, in Somerset, is famous in archaeological circles as the focus for an attempt to write the history of a living village (as distinct from a deserted settlement one) from earliest prehistory to the present day; it is, say the authors, a micro-level examination of an ordinary English village, though not necessarily a typical one: indeed, despite the pastoral myth of England as a land of villages, they are the main form of settlement across only about half of England.

Past efforts to explain ‘the village’ have relied on migrants (specifically Germanic ‘tribes’ in the fifth century AD) arriving in a depopulated and heavily wooded land, clearing trees and planting nucleated settlements plus associated field systems. We now know that most of the primeval forest went in the Bronze Age, that Roman Britain probably had a population of at least 5 million, and that Anglo-Saxon settlement was rarely nucleated: farmsteads were the norm. So plenty of scope for writing a new story, which the Shapwick project set out to do with very considerable verve in 1988, and, as you would expect with someone as committed to teaching as Mick Aston, engaging as many members of the Shapwick community as cared to join the project.

This book, one of three to emerge from the project (the others are an academic monograph published by the Society for Medieval Archaeology and a booklet for schools and visitors), explains the many different techniques used in the investigation, and the types of result obtained from each, including field walking, metal detecting, geophysics, test pitting, aerial survey, field survey, soil analysis, geological survey, plant, hedgerow, woodland and insect survey, documentary and map research, artefact study, place-name study, buildings archaeology, dendrochronology and even a little excavation.

This is one of the great strengths of the book: it is a particular study that eschews generalisations about village formation (as far as the authors can tell, Shapwick was a tenth-century planned village founded under Abbott Dunstan of Glastonbury) but it is also a manual for tried and tested techniques packed with all sorts of ideas that could be tried elsewhere — to take one example, how to work back from field names in an 1839 tithe map to an approximation of the village in 1515 — not least on how to write up, illustrate and publish an account of an archaeological project.

Interpreting the English Village: landscape and community at Shapwick, Somerset, by Mick Aston and Chris Gerrard, ISBN 9781905119455; Windgather Press, 2013

Books by Fellows: Britain’s Industrial Revolution

Fellow Barrie Trinder writes to say that his book, Britain’s Industrial Revolution: the making of a manufacturing people, was published at the end of March. It is a substantial work (688 pages), with a generous helping of illustrations (640, many of them in colour) that 'sets out to describe in an accessible style the social and economic changes that took place in the British Isles between 1700 and 1870.’

‘It is not for me’, says Barrie, ‘to comment on its quality but it is endorsed on the jacket by five scholars who are all Fellows.’ Indeed it is, and to pick out just two, Fellow Peter Wakelin says: ‘Britain’s Industrial Revolution is a magisterial achievement. Compendious yet sharply incisive, expert yet wise, academically exact yet visually compelling, and at times almost poetic ... there has been no other book like it, and it will be the standard bearer for a generation, while Fellow Sir Neil Cossons says: ‘Renowned historian Barrie Trinder offers a magisterial and comprehensive view, sweeping in its perspectives yet coloured by a wealth of rich and vivid detail ... this new book brings — as no other does — the Industrial Revolution into focus.’

Britain’s Industrial Revolution: the making of a manufacturing people, by Barrie Trinder, ISBN 9781859361757; Carnegie Publishing, 2013

Books by Fellows: The Archaeology of Australia’s Deserts

Our Fellow Mike Smith, of the National Museum of Australia, Canberra, has written the first book-length study of the archaeology of Australia’s deserts based on the wealth of new environmental and archaeological data that has become available over the last few decades. Each chapter of the book examines the deep human and environmental history of Australia’s deserts from a different disciplinary perspective, weaving the story from the different threads of history and anthropology, economy and ecology, geography and earth sciences as the book explores the settlement of the desert in the late Pleistocene, the formation of distinctive desert societies and the origins and development of the hunter-gatherer societies documented in the classic nineteenth-century ethnographies of Spencer and Gillen.

The Archaeology of Australia’s Deserts, by Mike Smith, ISBN 9780521407458; Cambridge University Press, 2013


English Heritage Advisory Committee (EHAC) and London Advisory Committee (LAC)
Closing date for expressions of interest: 12 April 2013

Members of EHAC and LAC advise English Heritage (EH), on request, on historic environment issues that are novel, contentious, exceptionally sensitive, technically or intellectually complex or that raise broader policy issues (see the Terms of Reference on the EH website).

EH is currently seeking a new member for EHAC with expertise in industrial history and archaeology and a new member for LAC with expertise in modern architecture. These positions are not remunerated although meeting expenses will be paid.

If you are interested in one of these positions, please e-mail Vida Cody, Commission Secretariat Manager, by 12 April 2013, identifying the position you are applying for, explaining on no more than two sides of A4 why you are interested, saying how you heard of the vacancy and enclosing a CV. EH regrets candidates not shortlisted will not be given feedback.

Herefordshire Council: Countryside Adviser (Archaeology)
Salary: £22,221—£26,276 per annum; closing date: 29 April 2013

A vacancy has arisen in Herefordshire Council’s county archaeological team (led by our Fellow Keith Ray) for a suitably qualified, competent and experienced archaeologist to fulfil the role of Countryside Adviser (Archaeology). The post is offered on a renewable contract basis, in the first instance until 31 December 2015. Applicants should have a degree in archaeology or a closely similar discipline, relevant post-graduate professional experience (especially in monument management), and, preferably, Membership or Associate Membership of the Institute for Archaeologists or eligibility to apply for such Membership.

The successful applicant will have displayed a sound grasp of the archaeology of the British Isles, a skill-set including good organisational, communication and IT skills, and a willingness and capacity to develop and manage archaeological projects, supervise staff and present both advice and reports in a timely and coherent manner. An interest in practical aerial photography would be desirable. To apply please contact Recruitment Team and ask for an application form or visit Herefordshire Council’s website.

English Heritage: Stonehenge General Manager
Salary c £65,000 plus performance related pay and benefits; closing date 5 May 2013

Reporting to the Historic Properties Director, and part of the national leadership team, the new General Manager will have a unique opportunity to lead Stonehenge into a new era. The expanded commercial operations and transformed visitor experience will be supported by a team of more than eighty employees and one hundred new volunteers, a variety of educational activities and an engaging temporary exhibitions programme.

For further information, see the English Heritage website.

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