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Salon: Issue 321
2 June 2014

Next issue: 23 June 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.
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Inside this issue

Anniversary Meeting report

Retiring President Maurice Howard with Officers for the year 2014—15 (left to right): Stephen Johnson, Treasurer, Gill Andrews, President, John Creighton, Director, and Brian Ayers, Hon Secretary

A video record of the Society’s Anniversary meeting can now be seen on the Events page of the Society's website. Despite that day’s tube strike, a good number of Fellows managed to gather to hear Maurice Howard give his fourth and final Anniversary Address as President. He used the occasion to review the Society’s recent initiatives for greater public engagement. Maurice also welcomed the election of Gill Andrews as our third lady President, following the election of Dame Joan Evans in 1959 and Dame Rosemary Cramp in 2001.

Society Medals (awarded for outstanding service to the Society) were presented to John Maddison and Merlin Waterson, for their work on researching and writing the Kelmscott Manor Conservation Management Plan, and to Pamela Tudor-Craig for her work on the Society’s picture collection, which dates back sixty-four years, to when, in 1950, she was invited to curate the Society’s 1951 Bicentenary Exhibition. In presenting Pamela with her medal, Maurice said that the long-awaited catalogue of the Society’s oil paintings, on which Pamela has been working for five decades, will be published by Brepols later this year.

Maurice also announced that the Society’s Gold Medal, awarded for distinguished services to archaeology, would be presented to our Fellow Beatrice de Cardi at a Council for British Archaeology reception to be held in her honour on 5 June 2014, her 100th birthday. Maurice was then resented with gifts by President Gill Andrews on behalf of the Officers anpthe Society.

Prior to the public part of the meeting, the Society’s Treasurer and General Secretary made presentations that are available for viewing on the Fellows’ side of the website. The Treasurer, Stephen Johnson, explained that the audited accounts would not be available until later in the year and that a special meeting would be called, probably in November, for the presentation and discussion of these accounts. He was, though, able to report that the Society’s investments are producing a relatively healthy income and capital growth, while the Finance Committee was continuing to seek ways of driving down costs and increasing the Society’s income: the aim being to bring the Society’s income and expenditure into balance, while allowing for greater expenditure in such areas as the award of research grants.

The General Secretary, John Lewis, outlined the work that had been done over the year in the Society’s core activities of conservation, research and dissemination; he emphasised the increasing importance of fundraising and revenue generation to the achievement of the Society’s plans for the future, which include a series of public exhibitions based on our picture collection and our copy of the Magna Carta, a new vision for Kelmscott Manor, new statutes and the successful negotiation of a new ten-year lease on our apartments at Burlington House.

Fashion through the ages

Also on the website is a video record of the public lecture given on 27 May 2014 when the aisles of the Society’s packed Meeting Room were turned into a catwalk for a show illustrating changing fashions in female dress over the last two centuries.

Advance publicity for the meeting simply said that Nancy Hills, a Janet Arnold Award recipient, would talk about ‘Historical Dress: a project inspired by Janet Arnold’. It transpired that Nancy Hills is Professor of Costume Design at Utah State University and a leading designer of authentic period costume for theatres and opera houses all over the United States. Her Janet Arnold-inspired project involved studying historic clothing in the collections of Hereford Museum and the National Trust (at Berrington Hall, near Leominster, Herefordshire, and Snowshill Manor, in Gloucestershire). Nancy made drawings and measurements that she then used to make new patterns enabling the historic garments to be re-created using modern materials but as close as possible to the original fabrics.

The garments in these three collections span the period from the late 1780s ― when cotton was the coming fabric, taking over in popularity from silk, and when full skirts with extravagant gathers were fashionable ― to the stripped back Utility dresses of the 1940s, made to conform to the government’s Controlled Commodity 1941 (CC41) austerity regulations, which went so far as to dictate the maximum number of buttons that could be used on each garment.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the simplicity of this garment, the speaker admitted that the Utility dress (on the right in the above picture) was marginally her favourite in the collection, and most members of the audience agreed ― indeed, historians of this period now say that initial hostility towards cheap, price-controlled Utility clothing was whipped up by retailers fearful for their profits: the public, by contrast, came to like the hard-wearing, good-quality and surprisingly stylish CC41 products.

NPG plans major Morris exhibition for the autumn

At the Society’s final meeting of this academic year, Fellows and guests were given an insight into the work that Sasha Ward has been doing as Kelmscott Manor’s Artist in Residence, including numerous sketches of the Manor in its landscape and designs inspired by aerial views of the village and its pattern of streets and field boundaries.

This was followed by a potted biography of Janey Morris (1839―1914), presented by National Portrait Gallery curator Jan Marsh and illustrated by photographs of the Morris and Rossetti families and other close friends. Jan said that many of these photographs and sketches will be returning to Kelmscott Manor for a special exhibition this summer, having originally come from the Manor, being among the treasured personal possessions of Jane Morris that were donated to the National Portrait Gallery after her death.

Jan Marsh ended her presentation by announcing that the National Portrait Gallery will host a major exhibition in the autumn called Anarchy & Beauty: William Morris and his Legacy, 1860—1960 (1860 being the date at which the company that became William Morris & Co was formed). The exhibition will look at the influence of William Morris’s artistic and political ideals on twentieth-century life and design.

Eric Gill's Adam and Eve garden roller will be one of the exhibits in the forthcoming exhibition

That influence has been pervasive: as the Guardian reported, tongue in cheek, we even have Morris to thank for the ‘beard and sandals’ look that George Orwell called the uniform of ‘fruit juice drinkers, nudists, sex maniacs, Quakers, nature-cure quacks, pacifists and feminists’, not to mention Guardian writers and readers and Hoxton hipsters.

Not that Morris himself adopted this look: apparently it was Morris’s acolyte, Edward Carpenter, who, keen to liberate people from ‘the coffin-like imprisonment of shoes’, set up a sandal-making workshop at his Millthorpe home, near Sheffield in the 1880s. He was, according to the NPG exhibition’s curator, Fiona MacCarthy, ‘the man who introduced the sandal into left-wing circles so that they became a kind of cult among left-leaning middle-class intellectuals’.

The exhibition will feature an original pair of Carpenter sandals, which are being borrowed from Sheffield Archives, as part of a show that ‘looks far beyond the aspect for which Morris is best known, his wallpaper designs (like the Daisy wallpaper shown left). It will look at his politics, his revolutionary zeal, his undying belief in “art for everyone”, and his enormous influence on some of the most radical characters of the past 150 years’. The NPG promises that the exhibition will be a story of ‘networks and connections and influences’, embracing Socialism, the Suffragettes, the Pre-Raphaelites, garden city pioneers, the 1951 Festival of Britain and post-war designers such as Terence Conran.

Ballot results: 15 May 2014

The Society welcomes the following new Fellows, who were elected at the ballot held on 15 May 2014:
  • Christopher Henry Gibbs: art dealer, Chairman of the Paul Getty Charitable Trust; member of the National Trust Arts Panel
  • Debra Noel Adams: art historian and curator specialising in early medieval garnet jewellery and early modern material culture
  • Joanna Caruth: project manager, Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service, with long experience of excavating and publishing on significant sites in Suffolk
  • Andrew Stephen Robertshaw: Curator, Royal Logistic Corps Museum, with an international reputation as a military historian and consultant for military archaeology projects, particularly on the Western Front and the Second World War
  • Thomas Hufschmid: archaeologist responsible for the Roman monuments at Avenches, in Switzerland, and a leading scholar of the Roman theatre and amphitheatre
  • Thomas Oliver Addyman: buildings archaeologist and consultant to building and landscape archaeology projects in Britain, Ireland, India and America
  • Timothy Peter Connor: architectural historian and retired history teacher, specialising in English Palladianism and on the churches of Dorset
  • Jane Kershaw: British Academy Post-doctoral Research Fellow currently working on the bullion economy of Viking England, having previously published work on Anglo-Saxon and Viking jewellery and metalwork.

Ballot results: 22 May 2014

The Society welcomes the following new Fellows, who were elected at the ballot held on 22 May 2014
  • Carol Anderson: Head of Oxfordshire County Museum Service
  • Frances Pritchard: Curator of Textiles, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, specialising in early medieval textiles
  • Akira Matsuda: lecturer on Japanese art and archaeology, public archaeology, heritage and museum studies at the University of East Anglia; Secretary-Elect of the World Archaeological Congress
  • Andrew Long: founding director of one of the most respected cultural resource management consultancy firms in Victoria, Australia, recently appointed as Aboriginal heritage consultant to the Melbourne 2030 process
  • Abraham Thomas: Director, Sir John Soane’s Museum, formerly curator of designs and architectural drawings at the V&A and organiser of a series of significant exhibitions
  • Patrick Allen: archaeologist, Essex County Council, director of the mansio bath-house excavation and other Roman and medieval excavations in Chelmsford
  • Crispin Paine: museums and heritage consultant, former Director of the Area Museums Service for South Eastern England, author of Museum Basics, the international textbook, and editor of the ‘Standards in Museum Care’ series for the Museums and Galleries Commission
  • Sadie Gwen Watson: project officer, Museum of London Archaeology, responsible for major excavations on complex multi-period sites, such as that at Bucklersbury House, the largest excavation in London for more than twenty years.
  • Edward Anthony Smith: retired Under Master and Archivist, Westminster School, and Keeper of the Sanctuary, Westminster Abbey; author of numerous works on the history and buildings of Westminster Abbey and Westminster School
  • Richard Walter John Montagu Douglas Scott, Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry: Past President of the National Trust for Scotland and former Trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund; actively engaged in cultural heritage conservation and education at Boughton House, Northants.

Portraying the Past: paintings from the Society of Antiquaries of London

Volunteers are still needed to serve as stewards at our own Burlington House summer exhibition (30 June to 1 August, Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm, free admission) when the Society’s outstanding collection of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century royal portraits will be on display, along with portraits of Jan van Scorel, by Antonis Mor, and of Mary I, by Hans Eworth. Details of the volunteering opportunities can be found on the Society’s website.

'Pensions crisis threatens volunteering' says Simon Thurley

Speaking at the Hay-on-Wye Festival last week, our Fellow Simon Thurley warned that the falling value of pensions would have an unexpected knock-on effect for the heritage because fewer people would be able to afford to serve as volunteers. Heritage charities could lose their volunteer army of ‘well-off, fit and healthy people who have nothing to do’, he said, because more people would continue working up to and beyond the state retirement age at the cost of leisure time that might have been used in the past for charitable activity.

For the time being, he said, ‘we’re enjoying an extraordinary period with very wealthy pensioners with time on their hands’, but this will not last, so ‘I think it would be pretty unwise for bodies like mine or the National Trust or others to merrily sail on assuming that what we have now is going to be the case for ever more’.

Speaking at the same festival event, Simon Murray, the National Trust’s Chief Operating Officer, accused Government of shirking its ‘civic responsibility’ for heritage, saying that the state has responsibility for more than just ‘health and education and war’. The Government had adopted the attitude that it is ‘none of our business’, when it comes to heritage and the arts, which is, said Murray, ‘a downward step for civilisation’.

100 conservators volunteer to restore Glasgow School of Art

On the other hand, the Government does seem able to step in when it looks like gaining a political advantage: welcome as it is, the Government’s pledge to spend whatever it takes, ‘millions, if necessary’, to restore the fire-damaged Glasgow School of Arts looks suspiciously like a manoeuvre connected with the forthcoming Scottish independence referendum and one wonders whether damage to an equivalent building in Birmingham or Leeds would have elicited the same swift and generous response.

Just as important as money, more than one hundred conservators have come forward to volunteer their expertise ‘with amazing speed and generosity of spirit,’ according to Alison Richmond, the chief executive of Icon, the Institute for Conservation. ‘We have people offering to source freezers, drying facilities and secure storage for collections,’ Richmond told the Art Newspaper, adding that some of the volunteers are already familiar with the building and its collection. Glasgow School Director, Tom Inns, said the priority was to retrieve items from the archive and collection that are in need of immediate conservation; then works by students will be recovered and will receive conservation treatment if necessary.

The school’s wood-panelled Arts and Crafts library (shown above) has been lost, and Muriel Gray, Chairman of the School’s Board Of Governors, said this was an ‘enormous blow, but the majority of the Mackintosh Building is still intact and the damage is ‘considerably less than we dreaded’. ‘The joy that our archives are safe combines with the delight in seeing most of our beloved building bruised and battered but most certainly not destroyed’, she said.
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Heritage in a Cold Climate

Treasury largesse in the case of the Glasgow School of Art does not extend to the whole of the heritage sector according to a new report published by the Prospect union documenting the impact of government cuts on the heritage sector, based on a survey of some 6,000 union members who work as curators, archaeologists, conservators and museum and gallery assistants.

The report makes gloomy reading and shows that many arts and heritage-based organisations have closed or are under threat and those that have survived are curtailing their services and programmes or increasing their charges or introducing new charges to keep budgets going; that pay has stagnated for those who remain in employment, affecting staff morale. Recruitment has stopped and job reductions are affecting the provision of services, while experienced staff are leaving the sector so that key skills are being lost. This, the union says, is despite clear evidence that every £1 invested in the heritage sector yields £6 and that the sector is directly responsible for at least £865m of spending by tourists.

English Heritage is characterised in the report as an organisation facing almost perpetual reorganisation, leading to a loss of experience and expertise. Employees of the National Trust say they feel caught in a poverty trap and that the Trust has changed from being a paternalistic heritage body to being a hard-nosed commercial enterprise.

The full report can be downloaded from the Prospect website here.
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Signs of a thaw

If Prospect and others see this as something of an Ice Age for public stewardship of the heritage, there is just the tiniest hint of a thaw under way in the news that the Council of the European Union has adopted ‘Conclusions on Cultural Heritage as a Strategic Resource for a Sustainable Europe’ as an official policy document.

This might not sound significant, and if you are of a UKIP cast of mind, you might object to the mangled English, bureaucratic Eurospeak and instrumentalist ideology of the document, but it is good news in the sense that heritage has been marginalised within European Union politics and policy until now: recognition that heritage is ‘a unique and non-renewable resource and a major asset for Europe and for the entire European project’ is therefore something of a step forward that might in the long term mean more funding and better stewardship.

These ‘Conclusions’, adopted as policy on 21 May 2014, emphasise the important role that cultural heritage plays in creating and enhancing social capital, as well as its important economic impact and its specific role in achieving the Europe 2020 strategy goals for sustainable and inclusive growth because of its social and economic impact and its key contribution to environmental sustainability. The ‘Conclusions’ call for more resources to be invested in cultural heritage and for the mainstreaming of cultural heritage in national and European policies.

The full text of the ‘Conclusions’ can be downloaded from the Europa Nostra website.
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The future of the Institutes of English Studies and of Musical Research

Another piece of welcome news is the withdrawal for the time being of a plan to close two of the ten institutes that make up the University of London’s School of Advanced Study (SAS). As recently as April the School was advertising for new Directors of the Institute of English Studies and the Institute of Musical Research, so it came as something of a shock to the academic world to discover on 14 May 2014 that the University of London was considering the closure of both Institutes and the merger of their activities into the eight remaining Institutes.

According to the Times Higher Education Supplement, the proposals came in the form of a letter from SAS Chief Executive Roger Kain to the Vice‐Chancellor’s Executive Group, arguing that a 3 per cent cut in funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England could best be absorbed by concentrating funds on a smaller number of institutes.

In response, our Fellow David McKitterick, Chair of the Executive Group and Vice-Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, wrote to Professor Kain, resigning with immediate effect. Anne Varty, Head of English at Royal Holloway, University of London, commented (appropriately enough) on the ‘expert grammatical speed’ with which Professor Kain’s letter to the Executive Group moved from ‘recommendations’ to the language of a fait accompli, and she pointed out that ‘there has been no consultation with stakeholders as far as I and my fellow heads of English in the University of London are aware’.

Our Fellow Gordon Campbell, Professor of Renaissance Studies at the University of Leicester, joined forces with Anne Varty to head a vigorous campaign of opposition to the closure: their ‘Save the IES’ steering group’ set up a petition that rapidly drew support from heads of English and Music departments in universities around the world.

As a result, on 23 May 2014, Roger Kain wrote another letter to SAS colleagues, this time saying that ‘following discussions at Wednesday’s meeting of the University’s Board of Trustees the Vice-Chancellor and I concluded that we need time to explore a wider range of options regarding the structure of SAS. We still, of course, need to work towards achieving long-term financial sustainability but we are now able to approach this on a more extended timescale. This will enable us to engage more fully with all relevant stakeholders, identify options and work them through, beginning the discussion process with the meetings of the SAS Board and the Strategic Advisory Group next month and continuing into the next academic year. In the meantime, we will continue to run the Institute of English Studies and Institute of Musical Research in their current form.’

The letter went on to point out that the HEFCE cut had ‘created major financial difficulties for SAS’, and it called on those who had supported the campaign to save the English Studies and Musical Research Institutes to direct their campaigning zeal towards persuading HEFCE to reverse the cuts.

Meanwhile, the Institute of Classical Studies, another member of the SAS, has announced the appointment of Greg Woolf, currently Professor of Ancient History at St Andrews University, as its new Director with effect from 1 January 2015. The Institute of Historical Research has announced that Richard Hoyle, currently Professor of Rural History at the University of Reading, has been appointed to the post of Director and General Editor of the Victoria County History in succession to our Fellow Elisabeth Williamson with effect from 1 October 2014.
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V&A campaign to save medal cabinet

The V&A is currently trying to raise the funds to acquire a very important French medal cabinet. Made in around 1810 for someone in the court of Napoleon, the cabinet has mounts signed by Martin Guillaume Biennais, who was goldsmith to the French imperial family. A superlative example of the fashion for Egypt that existed throughout Europe in the years 1800―15, the cabinet is one of the finest pieces of French Empire furniture in Britain today.

Because of its great importance for the history of design, the Culture Minister has placed an export deferral on the cabinet, giving the V&A until 28 July 2014 to raise the £524,000 needed for its acquisition. It is currently on display in the Whiteley Silver Galleries at the V&A. In conjunction with the appeal, Antony Griffiths will give a special lecture at the V&A on 6 June 2014, starting at 6.30pm, examining the central role that medals played in Napoleon’s empire. Tickets can be booked via the V&A website.
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The Château de Juvisy Appeal

This detail from the painting shows gardeners at work in the kitchen gardens

The medal cabinet is not the only French work of art that the V&A is currently seeking to acquire. It is also trying to raise £500,000 for a major baroque oil painting of the Château de Juvisy, painted in 1700 by Pierre-Denis Martin, court painter to Louis XIV.

The V&A hopes that this significant work will be one of the highlights of the seven new ‘Europe 1600―1800’ galleries that are due to open later this year. If the appeal is successful, this very large painting (1,650 x 2,650mm), showing the arrival of Louis XIV at the château, as well as an accurate depiction of the gardens and various aspects of château life, will be the first object that visitors to gallery 5 will see, setting the tone for the whole gallery, which is concerned with the rise of France during 1660 to 1720 and the artistic taste of the time.

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The Wolsey Angels Appeal

The even more ambitious target of raising £5m has been set for the four famous Renaissance angels cast in England about 1524―9 by Benedetto da Rovezzano (1474―1554), the eminent Florentine sculptor. The 1m-tall candle-bearing angels were intended for the four corners of Cardinal Wolsey’s tomb. After Wolsey’s death, Henry VIII employed Benedetto da Rovezzano to create an even grander tomb, incorporating the angels, but this was never completed, and the parts were sold during the Civil War, the black marble sarcophagus being used later to inter the body of Admiral Lord Nelson in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Lost for many decades, two of the angels appeared in a Sotheby’s sale in 1994. They were subsequently identified by the Italian art historian Francesco Cagliotti as those made for Wolsey; it also turned out that they had been stolen from Harrowden Hall, Northamptonshire, in 1988, and that the remaining angels still stood above the posts of the Hall’s entrance gates. The V&A now wants to purchase all four and unite them again for the public to enjoy. The angels are currently on display in the V&A’s Medieval and Renaissance Galleries, Room 50.


Richard III reburial: judicial review

It looks almost certain now that Richard III will be reburied in Leicester Cathedral, and not in York, following a judicial review ruling that there is no legal basis on which the courts could or should interfere in the decision with the plans for reburial in Leicester.

A full account of the judicial hearing and of the evidence presented to the High Court hearing, can be found on the blog of our Fellow Mike Pitts, including copies of the Exhumation Licence granted to Fellow Richard Buckley by the Ministry of Justice in advance of the excavation.This states that: ‘in the unlikely event that the remains of Richard III are located, the intention is for these to be reinterred at St Martin’s Cathedral, Leicester’. Descendants of Richard III, supported by the Plantagenet Alliance, had asked for a review of the legality of the licence, arguing that it had been issued without consulting any other stakeholders, and that York was a more suitable location for the reburial of Richard’s remains.

The re-interment ceremony has now been scheduled for spring 2015 and a new design for the tomb is expected to be revealed later this month. Channel 4 has announced that it will broadcast the re-interment live as part of a series of programmes about Richard III.

The verdict on Richard III’s appearance: short but not visibly disabled

According to a research paper published in The Lancet, Richard III’s severe scoliosis would not have been obvious during his lifetime, and ‘a good tailor and custom-made armour could have minimised the visual impact of his condition’. This conclusion follows an analysis of the remains of Richard’s spine by a research team made up of osteologists from Leicester, Cambridge and Loughborough universities and the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. Using CT scans to make 3D polymer replicas of each vertebra, they re-created the shape of Richard’s spine during his life, leading to the conclusion that the king’s disfigurement was probably slight because a ‘well-balanced’ sideways curvature in the spine would have meant his head and neck were straight, not tilted to one side.

The researchers established that Richard would have been about 5ft 8in (1.7m) tall without his scoliosis; the condition meant he appeared several inches shorter. His torso was short relative to the length of his arms and legs, and his right shoulder was a little higher than his left, but there was no evidence that Richard walked with an obvious limp — his leg bones were symmetrical and well formed — and the condition would not have reduced his ability to exercise or to fight on the battlefield.

Phil Stone, Chairman of the Richard III Society, which helped fund the Leicester excavation, said that: ‘the Shakespearean description of a “bunch-backed toad” is a complete fabrication. History tells us Richard III was a great warrior. Clearly, he was little inconvenienced by his spinal problem and accounts of his appearance, written when he was alive, tell that he was “of person and bodily shape comely enough” and “the most handsome man in the room after his brother, Edward IV”.’

Another king excavated: this time in Scotland

Fiona Hyslop, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, used the occasion of a visit to Newgrange, the Neolithic monument in Ireland’s County Meath, to reveal that the possible remains of Olaf Guthfrithsson, the Irish Viking King of Dublin and Northumbria from AD 934 to 941, had been discovered during an archaeological excavation in East Lothian.

A full account of the excavation is to be published by our sister society, the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, in 2015; the remains were excavated by the AOC Archaeology Group at Auldhame in East Lothian in 2005 and are those of a young adult male who was buried with a number of grave goods indicative of his high rank,

Olaf Guthfrithsson sacked Auldhame and nearby Tyninghame — both part of a complex of East Lothian churches dedicated to the eighth-century Saint Balthere — shortly before his death in 941. The proximity of the burial to the site of the conflict, the age of the skeleton and the high-status items found with the body have led archaeologists to conclude that this is either the body of the young Irish king, or of one of his retinue.

Dr Alex Woolf, of the School of History at the University of St Andrews, who is a consultant on the project. said: ‘Whilst there is no way to prove the identity of the young man buried at Auldhame, the date of the burial and the equipment make it very likely that this death was connected with Olaf’s attack on the locale. Since we have a single furnished burial in what was probably perceived as St Balthere’s original foundation, there is a strong likelihood that the king’s followers hoped that by burying him in the saint’s cemetery he might have benefited from some sort of post-mortem penance.’

Fiona Hyslop’s visit to Newgrange was designed to highlight archaeological links between Scotland and Ireland. A seminar will take place at Edinburgh Castle on 30 October 2014 to look at opportunities for greater archaeological collaboration between Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Santa Maria found off Haiti coast

Little bigger than a modern yacht, Columbus’s flagship, Santa Maria, survived an Atlantic crossing but ran aground on a reef off the coast of Haiti on Christmas Eve 1492, sinking the following day — hence the fort that Columbus and his men built from timbers salvaged from the wrecked ship was named La Navidad (Nativity). A week later Columbus sailed back to Spain with his two remaining ships to report his ‘discovery’ of the ‘New World’.

Five hundred years later, the remains of the Santa Maria seem to have been found. The wreck was actually found in 2003, but only now has a team led by Barry Clifford, one of America’s top underwater archaeologists, identified it as the Santa Maria. Clifford had done so using diary notes made by Columbus on the location of the wreck in relation to his fort and by drawing on work undertaken by a different group of archaeologists who found the probable location of the fort some ten years ago.

Regrettably, many parts of the wreck now exist only as photographs taken in 2003. Since that date, the Santa Maria has been looted by illicit raiders and stripped of cannon and diagnostic artefacts. The Haitian government has now provided security for the wreck so that what little now survives can be recorded in detail by Barry Clifford’s team, which is hoping that timbers from the keel have survived below the ballast that preserves the footprint of the wreck.

News of Fellows

Our Fellow Mike Fulford is one of seven new English Heritage commissioners appointed to take up their posts in June 2014. Probably best known for his long-standing fieldwork at Silchester, Mike is Professor of Archaeology at the University of Reading and is currently Honorary Treasurer at the British Academy and President of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies. Full details of all the new appointments can be found on the Government News website.

Fellow Patrick Green, CEO, Museum Victoria, is celebrating after the museum was judged to be the ‘Overall Winner’ at the 26th annual American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Excellence in Exhibitions Competition for its cutting-edge exhibition, First Peoples, focusing on Aboriginal Victoria. A week previously, First Peoples was judged ‘Best Exhibition’ and ‘Best Project Nationwide’ at the Australian Museums and Galleries National Award ceremony.

Australian Minister for the Arts Heidi Victoria congratulated the museum, saying that the awards ‘recognise the global leadership of Museum Victoria in developing state-of-the-art exhibitions that appeal to a wide range of audiences’. Patrick Greene said that at Museum Victoria ‘we are truly delighted with this national and international recognition for First Peoples — THE destination for everyone to learn about Aboriginal Victoria’.

First Peoples tells the story of Victoria’s more than forty Aboriginal language groups, and features more than 600 historic and contemporary artefacts from across Victoria and Australia, making it one of the world’s premier collections of Aboriginal cultural material. Caroline Martin, Manager of the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum, said: ‘First Peoples is the largest exhibition ever to focus on the story of Aboriginal Victoria, celebrating 2,000 generations of the world’s oldest continuing culture. The exhibition celebrates the diversity, continuity, strength and vitality of Koorie people, and presents a new and truly shared approach to the telling of history. We celebrate these wonderful awards with the Victorian Aboriginal community, who have so generously shared their deep and compelling stories, personal objects, culture and knowledge. Without the partnership of the community, First Peoples simply could not have happened.’

Lives Remembered: Christopher Parish, FSA (1917—2014)

Christopher Parish, elected a Fellow on 2 March 1972, has died at his home, Church Farm, Boxworth, Cambridge, on his ninety-seventh birthday. Christopher Parish was a pioneering cardio-thoracic surgeon who helped to develop Papworth Hospital into one of the world’s most successful heart transplant facilities. Professor Parish’s account of his work at Papworth was recorded as part of an Oral History Project carried out by Cambridgeshire County Archives Department in 2004 and can be read here.

Christopher Parish was elected a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, in 1968 and he taught medicine for the college for many years as well as serving as Dean of postgraduate study at the Medical School in Cambridge. Among his many achievements, Christopher was a member of the History and Philosophy of Science Syndicate, in which capacity he negotiated the funding and establishment of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, becoming its first Chairman.

A fuller obituary will follow in due course.


Apologies are due to Fellow John Cattell, newly elected member of the Society’s Council, and to Lizzie Glithero-West, newly elected Fellow, whose names were spelled incorrectly in the last issue of Salon. The same issue of Salon neglected to mention that Malcom Baker, Distinguished Professor, Department of Art History, University of California, Riverside, and curator of the forthcoming Waddesdon Manor exhibition of portrait busts of Alexander Pope, is, of course, a Fellow (for more on this exhibition and the related interdisciplinary conference, see ‘Events’ below).

Exalted, Eminent and Imperial: honours of the British Raj

In what spare time he has from his work as Chaplain of The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy and Chaplain of the Royal Victorian Order, our Fellow the Revd Professor Peter Galloway has written a number of books on orders of merit, honours and decorations, including The Order of the British Empire (1996), The Most Illustrious Order (1999), The Order of St Michael and St George (2000), Companions of Honour (2002), The Order of the Bath (2006) and The Order of the Thistle (2009).

To add to this illustrious list, Peter has now turned to the long-forgotten honours of the British Raj, orders that once adorned the uniforms of the members of the Indian Civil Service as well as the sumptuous costumes of the Indian princely elite. The book is the first comprehensive history of this large class of honours, created during the period from 1861 to 1947 to recognise rank and service in the Indian subcontinent.

Of these, the principal honours ― the Order of the Star of India, the Order of the Indian Empire and the Order of the Crown of India ― last appeared in the New Year Honours List for 1948. Since then they have faded from memory, and almost all the recipients are now dead; this book brings back to life an important aspect of the now distant world of that fascinating period in British imperial history.

Exalted, Eminent and Imperial: honours of the British Raj, by Peter Galloway; Spink Books, 2014

From Antiquarian to Archaeologist: the history and philosophy of archaeology

This book brings together fourteen papers by our Fellow Tim Murray, FSA, that have been published elsewhere over the last twenty-five years, along with a new introductory essay. Together they trace the emergence of the study of the history of archaeology from its marginal position in the 1970s to the mainstream subject that it is today.That the subject is so much studied now is in no small part to Tim Murray himself, not only as a leading researcher in the field and conference speaker, but also through his editorship of the Bulletin of the History of Archaeology, founded in 1991 as a forum for academics working in this field.

In the newly penned opening chapter, Tim Murray tackles the question of what we gain by a historiographical approach to archaeology. Salon’s editor remembers to his cost that this was considered something of an eccentric interest in the 1970s, not quite ‘real’ archaeology, a soft option for those who could not cope with stratigraphy or seriation or statistical modelling, more akin to history than archaeology, and certainly not a fit topic for a PhD (not at Cambridge, at any event, despite Glyn Daniel being one of the subject’s pioneers).

Something has changed since then and that is part of the point that Tim makes in defence of his speciality: archaeology as a discipline is constantly changing and that has changed so much in our lifetimes that it is important to reflect on how we have arrived where we are today. When the purpose and aims of  archaeology are hotly debated, and even the nature of the archaeological record and the limits of what we can learn from it, it is valuable to look back through the history of the discipline and consider what past practitioners have said.

Contempt for study of the history of archaeology in the past was partly based on the belief that the work of older generations of scholars was simple, naive and unsophisticated, tainted by politically incorrect prejudices or just plain wrong. What possible benefit could there be to reading their work? One contemporary of Salon’s editor with a reputation for being something of a young Turk embarked on a PhD with the specific aim of showing that the authors of the standard works on Roman Britain with which we had all grown up were wrong; it came as a shock to discover on reading those works attentively that they were not the imagined simpletons and that the questions they had been asking were sophisticated and of continuing relevance.

Discarding past thinking is an odd attitude for an archaeologist or historian: but it was motivated back then by the idea that archaeology was a science: Tim Murray’s book shows how far from the truth this is, and how much archaeology is really a branch of rhetoric. It uses scientific methods for the colletion and analysis of data but the final product is created by fashioning a plausible story from the evidence. Tim’s approach to the past could be called ‘literary criticism’ applied to archaeological discourse. His is the study of how arguments are expressed and developed in archaeology, the role of language in the coining of new and persuasive concepts, and the role of institutions (especially the academy) in defining what they are prepared to endorse as ‘acceptable’ or ‘appropriate’ modes of expression. Th academy is often wrong, and that is another valuable lesson that we can learn from historiography ― we need more, not less, and we need it to be courageous and critical. Tim's book is both, and it serves both as a primer for anyone wishing to explore the subject further, and as a fascinating historiography of the historiography of archaeology.

From Antiquarian to Archaeologist: the history and philosophy of archaeology, by Tim Murray; ISBN 9781783463527; Pen and Sword Books, 2014

The Archaeology of Fazzān Volume 4

Those of us lucky enough to have been invited to the British Museum-hosted launch of this book were treated not only to Fellow David Mattingly’s lecture on his team’s work in Fazzān, Libya’s vast south-western desert province, but also to the very superior wine and canapés that came courtesy of the sponsorship of BP Exploration Libya Limited. The same sponsors have enabled David and his team to publish the results of their work in a handsome series of volumes of which this, the fourth and final volume, is concerned with work carried out at the desert town of Old Jarma (ancient Garama).

This remarkable oasis town, one of the earliest and longest lived urban centres in the Sahara, has been continuously inhabited for 2,500 years and offers the perfect opportunity to study the ways in which humans have adapted to harsh and changing environmental and climatic conditions over that period of time. It also happens to be the capital of the ancient Libyan people known in literature as the Garamantes, a little-known culture that David Mattingly, and before him the late Charles Daniels, has studied in some detail, with the support of the Department of Antiquities, in Libya, and the Society for Libyan Studies, in the UK. Curiosity about the Garamantes is understandable when you consider that this is an indigenous urban culture, one that developed 1,000km south of Tripoli, well away from the coastal towns of Libya that were founded by external Mediterranean people, including Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans.

The huge depth of surviving stratigraphy at Jarma, the finds and the environmental data have been combined in the report to write the biography of this important group of people, revealing their settlement forms and architecture, their hydraulic technology, crop cultivation, animal husbandry, food processing, diet and health, their manufacturing, trading and inter-cultural contacts, their funerary traditions and their pottery, glass and figurines. The story that emerges is one of initial investment around 400 BC in a town that served as an important node in trans-Saharan trading networks at a time when trade and manufacturing was concentrated at a few key sites. The subsequent fragmentation of power that saw the end of Garamantian control of the region by the seventh century AD led to the town’s decline, as did the decisions made by the region’s Islamic conquerors from AD 660 to focus on towns elsewhere, leading to the emergence of new and different trade networks in the early Islamic period.

In David Mattingly’s own words: ‘oases are hard work to develop and sustain ... they are vulnerable economically if not cross-subsidised by political authority or by the profits of trade. The Islamic trade network created more profitable oases at new communication nodes and Jarma suffered as a consequence [so that by the] Early Modern period, Jarma was urban in external appearance more than functional reality.’

The Archaeology of Fazzān. Volume 4: survey and excavations at Old Jarma (Ancient Garama) carried out by C M Daniels (1962—69) and the Fazzān Project (1997—2001), edited by David Mattingly; ISBN 9781900971188; Society for Libya Studies Monograph 9, 2014

Richard III: the king under the car park

Another week, another Richard III book (and there are more to come), this time by Matthew Morris and our Fellow Richard Buckley, fieldwork director and lead archaeologists respectively of the Greyfriars Project that led to the discovery of the remains of ‘the king under the car park’. Where Fellow Mike Pitts’s book, reviewed in the last issue of Salon, relied upon words to conjure visual images, including even the clothing and facial appearance of the principal scientists and archaeologists involved in the project, this book is packed with figures.

They include photographs and plans of the excavation and of Richard III’s grave, reconstructions of the likely appearance of Grey Friars church at the time of the burial, pictures of osteologist Jo Appleby examining the remains in her lab for signs of battle injuries, of Michael Ibsen, Richard III’s great nephew seventeen times removed, and of Turi King in her lab examining the DNA sample donated by Michael Ibsen, not to mention enlarged images of skeletal material and graphs of DNA results and radiocarbon determinations.

Along with much background material on Richard III, the history of medieval Leicester, the Battle of Boswell and the genesis of the Greyfriars Project, this packs into 64 pages everything you probably want to know about the story of the search for England’s last Plantagenet king.

Richard III: the king under the car park, by Matthew Morris and Richard Buckley; ISBN 9780957479227; University of Leicester Archaeological Services, 2013


As well as being the genuine name of a pair of villages (Lower and Upper Oddington), in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds, Oddington is also the title of a newly published whodunit cum mystery story by the American writer M J Mollenhour. With tongue ever so slightly in cheek, this tells the story of landscape gardener Rex Bowman who is employed to tidy up Oddington’s churchyard and who stumbles across a recently murdered body. With the help of Inspector Stothard, Bowman discovers that this is the latest in a long sequence of 250 murders, all committed by the members of a single family down the generations, beginning with one particular murder committed at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. What Bowman discovers about the murder changes entirely our understanding of the events of 1066 and leads to the discovery of a vast royal treasure that is revealed to the world at a press conference hosted by none other than our own Society.

The last two chapters of the book are set at Burlington House, where the story of the discovery is narrated at the press conference by a Mr Anthony Roberts of BBC’s ‘Time Detective’ series (echoes of Tony Robinson), at the climax of which Rex Bowman is awarded Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his contribution to archaeology and history.

When you think how easily the denouement could have been set at the British Museum, it is quite pleasing to think that an American fiction writer (who admits he has never visited Burlington House) should nevertheless think of the Society as the authoritative body in England for authenticating archaeological and historical discoveries — clear evidence of the Society’s academic ‘impact’!

Oddington, by M J Mollenhour; ISBN 9780979967252; Talavera Media, 2013

The Curriers’ Company London History Essay Prize

The Worshipful Company of Curriers, one of the livery companies of the City of London, has established an essay prize on the history of London, in association with The London Journal Trust and the Institute of Historical Research. The author of the winning submission will receive £1,000 and the essay will normally be published in The London Journal. Essays may be on any aspect of the history of London, from the Romans to the present day, reflect any relevant approach or disciplinary perspective, and can consider London alone or in comparison with other cities. Essays must be based on original research, and should not have been previously published.

The prize is open to postgraduate students registered at UK universities, and to early career scholars based in the UK. ‘Early career’ is defined for this purpose as someone who has completed (ie been successfully examined for) a PhD within the previous three years. The deadline for submissions is 31 August 2014; for further information, see the website of the Institute of Historical Research.


14 June 2014: New Silver Projects: reassessing the evidence. This Silver Society Seminar is dedicated to important scholarly research and new developments within the world of silver, and it forms part of the Art Antiques London Fair, at Albert Memorial West Lawn, Kensington Gardens, London SW7. Dirk-Jan Biemond is coming from Amsterdam to speak on some of the great treasures in his new displays at the Rijksmuseum, and Michèle Bimbenet Privat, curator at the Louvre, is travelling from Paris to talk about an extraordinary seventeenth-century gold casket in the Louvre.

Fellow Hazel Forsyth of the Museum of London will discuss some of the insights gained from the acclaimed Cheapside Hoard exhibition, Fellow Christopher Hartop will speak on eighteenth-century Norfolk grandees and their silver, and Fellow James Rothwell of the National Trust will reveal some of the fruits of his research on the second Earl of Bristol and eighteenth-century Ickworth. The remaining two lectures will be given by Fellow Charles Truman, talking on cataloguing the eighteenth-century gold snuff boxes in the Wallace Collection, and Peter Taylor, who will talk about the new Goldsmiths’ Centre and what its creation will mean for the silver trade in this country.

Full details can be downloaded here.

12 July 2014: Originals, Translations and Imitations: the images and texts of Alexander Pope; a conference organised by Waddesdon Manor (the Rothschild Foundation) in collaboration with the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art that will explore some central themes running through Waddesdon Manor’s forthcoming exhibition, Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust in Eighteenth-Century Britain, curated by our Fellows Malcolm Baker and Juliet Carey with Martina Droth (18 June to 26 October 2014).

At the heart of the exhibition are eight portrait busts of the poet Alexander Pope by Roubiliac along with various replications of this model, shown alongside some of the most celebrated painted portraits of the poet and examples of his printed texts juxtaposed with French works celebrating Pope and other writers. These various processes of imitation and translation could hardly be more appropriate for a subject whose contemporary fame rested partly on his own translations of Homer and partly on original poetry that imitated classical models. All the papers in this conference will address different aspects of imitation and translation, in the form of both images and texts.

Full details of the conference can be found in the blog of the Mellon Centre for British Art.

26 and 27 July 2014: Westminster comes to St Mary’s, Little Brickhill, 2pm to 6pm. Fellow David Neal has been recording the Cosmati mosaics at Westminster Abbey for the last two years and as part of a money-raising event to support the restoration of the fabric of St Mary’s Church, Little Brickhill, Bucks, he is going to exhibit the resulting paintings in the church.

David says: ‘the painting of the mosaic around the tomb is finished but I am still working on the pavement in front of the High Altar and I will be working on the paintings with all my paints and brushes at the event, which will include an exhibition of photos of the pavements showing detailed of the various sections of the pavements linked to the working drawings. At half past each hour I will give a short presentation of aspects of the project. For children there will be a chance to “excavate” a mosaic and create mosaics on paper.

‘Adults will be asked to pay an entrance charge of £5; teas will be served in the village hall (where there will be a small exhibition of my paintings of Roman mosaics). Little Brickhill is on the old A5 just south of Bletchley and only about two miles from Bletchley Park, and there is a car park opposite the church.’

19 and 20 September 2014: 850th anniversary of the Constitution of Clarendon 1164, at Salisbury Museum, beginning with a lecture on the significance of Clarendon Palace to be given by our Fellow Tom Beaumont James, followed by a guided site visit to Clarendon Palace the next day and papers by leading experts in the field. For further information, contact Mary South, Treasurer of the Friends of Clarendon Palace.


The Battlefields Trust: Magna Carta 800 (MC 800) Development Officer
Salary: £25k to £30k; new closing date: 6 June 2014

The Battlefields Trust wishes to appoint a development officer to support the MC 800 project on an 18-month contract from July 2014 to December 2015. The role requires a good communicator with the ability to lead and motivate volunteers in interpreting the impact of 1215 and the Barons’ Wars and building capacity for the organisation. Outcomes will include: creating a nationwide awareness of the military aspects of the Magna Carta and the Barons’ Wars; developing volunteer competencies in the localities of battlefields and sieges and a sustainable programme of interpretation of the events; and producing information in range of media.

The post is home-based but will require travel, for which a car is necessary, weekend work and the ability to stay overnight, as the situation requires. Requests for further details should be sent to Peter Burley, The National Co-ordinator, Battlefields Trust, as should applications, in the form of letter supported by a CV.

National Trust: Interpretation National Specialist
Salary: £41,364; closing date: 15 June 2014

The Interpretation National Specialist is expected to be ‘the leading source of expertise in this area, advising, guiding and training colleagues in the latest ideas, techniques, technology and research for interpretation and creative programming ... based on substantial experience of leading creative presentation, programming or interpretation projects, in either heritage, museums, the arts or the natural environment’.

For further information, see the National Trust’s jobs 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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