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Salon: Issue 331
1 December 2014

Next issue: 15 December 2014

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

Inside this issue

Christmas closing at Burlington House

The Society’s apartments and library will close for the Christmas and New Year holiday at 4pm on 23 December 2014 and re-open on 5 January 2015.

Forthcoming meetings

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

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

11 December 2014: Miscellany of Papers and Mulled Wine Reception

At this year’s Christmas Miscellany, we will hear from students who have been working on research projects at Burlington House ― auditing and recording the Society’s collection of seals and seal impressions ― and at Kelmscott Manor ― investigating hitherto uncatalogued correspondence (see ‘William Morris the political firebrand’ below).

The meeting will be followed by the traditional mulled wine reception, for which tickets costing £10 are required (these can be booked via the Society’s website or by email or by telephone (0207 479 7080), and guests are welcome to attend the meeting and the reception.

Photograph: the Christmas Miscellany Choir practising the carols that they will sing at the mulled wine reception on 11 December 2014

The Society’s statutory accounts for 2013—14

Stephen Johnson, our Society’s Honorary Treasurer, writes to say that ‘the Society’s 2013—14 Report and Accounts, covering the period from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014, have now been posted on the Society's website. This is the regular independently audited statement of the Society’s activities and financial position compiled to a format that is set by the Charity Commission and required to fulfil the Society’s obligations as a registered charity’. At a meeting on 27 November 2014 attended by most of the Members of the Finance Committee, Stephen also presented the key aspects of this year’s financial report to Fellows. This presentation, like other lectures given at the Society, was recorded, and is also available to view on the same page of the Society's website.

The Annual Report and Accounts is a public document that reports on key achievements and performance during this period, including highlights of the activities undertaken under the key themes of Conservation, Research and Dissemination, a summary financial review, a brief statement of some of our future plans and a full set of accounts for the last twelve months compared to the previous accounting period. Fellows who have any questions about the report should send them to John Lewis, our General Secretary. There will be a further opportunity for Fellows to ask questions about the Society’s performance and accounts at the Anniversary Meeting, which will be held on 23 April 2015.

Forthcoming public meetings

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

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

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

Preparations for Magna Carta year

On 20 November 2014, the Society welcomed the Guy Fox History Project Ltd and a group of students from John Donne Primary School in Peckham to see our copy of the 1225 reissue of Magna Carta, our eighteenth-century drawing of the British Library's original 1215 copy of Magna Carta, examples of medieval seals (and seal impressions) and our own sealed Royal Charter from 1751.

Guy Fox is a London-based educational charity that ‘creates innovative activities and publications FOR children WITH children in London’. The Society was delighted to be a part of the charity’s current ‘Happy Anniversary, Magna Carta!’ project celebrating the 800th year since Magna Carta was sealed by King John at Runnymede. Their project has connected children from John Donne Primary School in Peckham, volunteers from the local community, barristers from Blackstone Chambers and heritage organisations with a Magna Carta story to share in an effort to produce educational resources that explore the history and impact of Magna Carta.

Heather Rowland, our Head of Library and Collections, ran the workshop for the students. She helped them explore items in our collection related to Magna Carta, King John and medieval life. The students were able to make connections with the activities and lessons in which they had previously participated and to enhance their understanding of the history and significance of Magna Carta through the ages. Their interest and enthusiasm was evident in the way they crowded around each new artefact, asked questions and rushed to answer the questions asked of them. It was a fantastic opportunity for the Society to connect with a new audience and explore the potential of engaging with younger audiences in the future.

You can view pictures from the ‘Happy Anniversary, Magna Carta!’ project (including the Burlington House visit) on Facebook.

An open letter from the Warburg Institute to the University of London

Following the recent High Court judgment relating to the Warburg Institute’s trust deed, Professor Margaret M McGowan has sent an open letter on behalf of the Warburg Institute Advisory Council, which she chairs, inviting Sir Richard Dearlove, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of London, to ‘work together to resolve the long-standing dispute with the University concerning the Warburg Institute and its trust deed’.

The letter says that ‘we are sure that you and your colleagues have been as greatly touched, as we have been, by the outpouring of support and affection for the Institute over the last few months. Now that judgment has been handed down in the recent litigation, the parties have an opportunity finally to end the dispute and agree a way to deal with matters in the future ... to that end we would like to extend an invitation to you to join us in a mediation in the near future to agree ways to implement the terms of the judgment. It may not be an easy process, and there are undoubtedly strong feelings on both sides (and amongst our supporters), but if we all commit to participate in sensible, good faith discussions, we dare to believe that it can be accomplished.

‘In making this public approach, we are motivated by our desire to secure the long-term future of the Institute as a fully cooperative and viable unit (as defined by the trust deed) within the University of London. We are mindful of our many thousands of supporters who have openly demonstrated the esteem in which the Institute is held, not only in the UK but worldwide; we feel that the eyes of the world are on us, and on the University, at this time.

‘The statement by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, quoted in the university’s press release, regretted that the matter had gone to court at all and observed that “the financial and opportunity cost” to the University had been “serious” ... We also consider that prolonging the legal action could only exacerbate whatever damage may have been done, during the course of this dispute, to the University’s reputation. And we believe that both the Warburg Institute and the University would be harmed by subjecting both to another long period of uncertainty in these matters.

‘For all these reasons we very much hope that you and the Board of Trustees will decide not to exercise the right of appeal. Instead, we hope that you will agree to our proposal of mediation, and we look forward to discussing suitable mediators with you. The use of a mediator should make possible the resolution of any remaining disagreements in a constructive spirit, and certainly in a way that was less costly, less time-consuming and altogether less damaging to both sides than a return to the courts.’

The complete letter can be read on the website of the Warburg Institute.

Rebuilding the Houses of Parliament

‘If the Palace of Westminster was not a listed building of the highest heritage value, its owners would probably be advised to demolish and rebuild’. So said a report (downloadable here) published in October 2012 on the condition of the UK Houses of Parliament, setting out the case for a comprehensive restoration and modernisation programme. Now Dr Richard Ware, the author of that report, has told BBC2’s 'Newsnight' that, if nothing is done, politicians and staff will end up ‘working in a ruin’. ‘We’re moving backwards, the building is getting older, faster than we can deal with it’, he said, adding that ‘the building is on borrowed time, and if we don’t act soon we won’t have a choice.’

The 2012 report found that basic services within the building, such as electricity, water and sanitation, were functioning ‘with increasing difficulty and growing risks’, while asbestos was present throughout the palace and original roofs were no longer watertight, leading to extensive damp, leaks and floods. The present building has been home to the House of Lords since 1847 and the Commons since 1852; the last time major repairs were carried out was in the five years immediately after the Second World War.

MPs and peers will have to decide after the next election whether they favour building an entirely new home for parliament, or moving one or both houses out temporarily while the Palace of Westminster is renovated, or attempting to restore the building with MPs and peers working inside. Whichever option is chosen, work is not expected to begin in earnest until after 2020 and the likely cost will be in excess of £3bn at today’s prices.

Exhibitions at the J Paul Getty Museum

How do those gorgeous red-figure vases that fill so many museums of classical art manage to look so perfect after some 2,500 or more years? The Getty Villa and the Antikensammlung in Berlin have spent the last six years in a collaborative conservation project on a group of thirteen elaborately decorated Apulian vases and have learned a great deal about the techniques of early nineteenth-century Neapolitan restorers in the process. All is revealed in Dangerous Perfection: funerary vases from southern Italy, a special exhibition curated by our Fellow David Saunders at the J Paul Getty Museum (until 11 May 2015).

The vases come from tombs discovered at Ceglie del Campo, a substantial settlement in Apulia populated by the Peucetians, one of the region’s indigenous tribes. By the fourth century BC, their close engagement with Greek culture is evident in the massive red-figure vases created for rich graves decorated with scenes from Greek epic and myth, illustrating heroes facing and overcoming great challenges, or Dionysiac scenes suggesting an afterlife free from mortal concerns. When the vases were excavated they had shattered into hundreds of fragments. Their re-assembly was entrusted to Raffaele Gargiulo at the Real Museo Borbonico (now the Naples National Archaeological Museum). Gargiulo’s interventions — particularly the completion of painted decorations — were so effective that it was often difficult to identify what is ancient and what is modern: one antiquary described Gargiulo’s practice as ‘dangerous perfection’.

The exhibition reveals some of the methods that were used to attain this level of perfection, and the challenges posed to conservators today. Our Fellow Timothy Potts, Director of the J Paul Getty Museum, says ‘the collaboration between conservators in our Antiquities Conservation department and their colleagues at the Antikensammlung has yielded a wealth of new information on early nineteenth-century restoration techniques, adding an important new reference point for the burgeoning study of the history of archaeological conservation up to the present day.’

Terracotta red-figured volute krater from Apulia, 340—10 BC. Photograph: Johannes Laurentius © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Antikensammlung

Running in parallel with Dangerous Perfection is an exhibition of Gallo-Roman silver objects from the Cabinet des médailles (now the Department of Coins, Medals and Antiques) at the Bibliothèque nationale de France that has been undergoing conservation and study at the Getty Villa since 2010. Ancient Luxury and the Roman Silver Treasure from Berthouville (until 17 August 2015) consists of some ninety gilt-silver vessels and statuettes, plus gems, jewellery and glass vessels, ploughed up in 1830 at what was later revealed to be the site of a precinct with two temples, one dedicated to Mercury Canetonensis (of Canetonum) and the other to his mother Maia or his consort Rosmerta. The sanctuary, near the modern village of Berthouville, in Normandy, was not attached to a settlement and probably served as a place of pilgrimage visited during annual festivals.

Before returning to France, the exhibition will travel on to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

The Berthouville Treasure and the central medallion of an offering bowl (AD 175—225), with an inscription stating that it was dedicated to Mercury by a Roman citizen named Quintus Domitius Tutus. The medallion shows Mercury standing before a shrine, perhaps like the one from which the Berthouville Treasure was found.


Wall paintings at Llancarfan, Vale of Glamorgan

Since Salon last reported on the extraordinary fifteenth-century wall paintings in St Cadoc’s church, Llancarfan, in March 2013, the conservators Jane Rutherfoord and Ann Ballantyne have made further exciting discoveries, which they have generously shared with Fellows. Salon 294 featured the mural depicting St George and the Dragon, and reported that there was a sequence of paintings to the west of this depicting the Seven Deadly Sins, of which only the first — ‘Accidia’ (Sloth), shown as a violent suicide — had been revealed. Since then, ‘Luxuria’ (Lust), ‘Superbia’ (Pride), ‘Ira’ (Anger), ‘Avaritia’ (Avarice) and ‘Gula’ (Gluttony) have been uncovered, along with the seventh deadly sin, which would normally be ‘Invidia’ (Envy); instead, Jane and Anne report that they have found a second form of sloth, labelled ‘Sompnolentia’ (more usually spelt ‘Somnolentia’ and meaning torpor, sluggishness and laziness. Appropriately the wall painting so labelled depicts a figure in bed, being woken by the church bell, reaching for his shirt and being deterred by a demon.

The uncovering of more costume and armour details, combined with further research, now indicates that this remarkably complete and well-preserved cycle dates from c 1430—55, earlier than the third quarter of the fifteenth-century date previously suggested.

Work on the paintings has been enabled by generous grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, CADW and a number of private sponsors. It will be resumed next spring, with a view to completing it during, if not before, autumn 2015. As part of its commitment to the care of the church and its contents and the promotion of a wider understanding of the conservation issues, the St Cadoc Parish Consultative Committee has announced the details of an educational project that will introduce students to the materials and techniques used in the conservation of historic surfaces and give an understanding of how to recognise the tell-tale signs of paintings surviving behind layers of limewash.

Left to right: Sloth portrayed as a violent suicide; Pride depicted as a young man being crowned by demons; Anger shown as two young boys armed with swords and bucklers, being egged on by a demon. Photograph © Jane Rutherfoord and Ann Ballantyne, November 2014

Left to right: Sloth portrayed as a figure being woken by the church bell, reaching for his shirt and being deterred by a demon. Gluttony depicted as a man forced to consume ale from the bowl he is holding, which a demon continues to refill.
Photograph © Jane Rutherfoord and Ann Ballantyne, November 2014

Concrete memories

When Salon last reported on Fellow Christine Finn’s art project to celebrate the links between the Channel Island of Jersey and New Jersey in America, her ‘Garden States’ installation, sponsored by Jersey Arts Trust, had just opened. Consisting of 350 artfully arranged pots of various sizes made from pulverised Jersey granite, the installation alludes to the 350 years since the inception of the US state of New Jersey, the horticultural history of both the Channel Island and the ‘Garden State’ and the concrete legacy of the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II; Christine’s mother and grandmother lived through the occupation and Christine herself, who was born on the island, spent her childhood playing among the crumbling ruins of the concrete bunkers.

Christine has now been to America for the US leg of the project. The pots were held up for a week while customs officials pondered the poured concrete, but having x-rayed every one, they decided that the objects were solid and not hiding illicit substances, and the pots were able to travel on to Cape May Point State Park where Christine had found another concrete bunker, built as part of the Harbor Defense Project of 1942.

Hundreds of people took part in the placing of the pots on the bunker at the installation’s unveiling on 15 November 2014, and participants were invited to ‘water’ the pots using Atlantic sea water as a way of ritualising the experience. Christine talked about the history and archaeology of old and new Jersey, about the Occupation experience and about growing up in the shadow of war and concrete bunkers. She also played a recording of Jersey children learning Jèrriais, the Norman-French language that was spoken by half the island’s population until the Second World War, and that is now being revived.

Christine says: ‘I was touched, and amazed, to see how closely the arrangement of the pots in New Jersey mirrored those along the other Atlantic Wall, in Jersey last summer, and how altar-like was the result in both places, as well as resembling a series of mantelpieces’. Christine adds: ‘I shall be back in Cape May very soon, inspired by another wartime curio there, an experimental concrete ship from the First World War’.

Monuments to antiquaries

This week’s crop of monuments starts with one that has featured in Salon before, but not with such a fine photograph, so our thanks to ‘Stiffleaf’, the anonymous photographer who contributed these two images, both of monuments to antiquaries that were originally designed for somebody else. In the case of John Soane (d 1837), his monument in Old St Pancras churchyard in Camden (above) was designed for his first wife in 1816; while William Burges (d 1881) is buried in Norwood cemetery under the memorial he designed for his mother in 1855 (below).

Though we do not have a picture of this one, Fellow Martin Henig would like us to remember John Aubrey, who lived before our Society was formed, but who was a founder member of the Royal Society, which embraced Antiquity at its inception alongside the Physical Sciences. Martin says ‘there is a modern plaque on the wall at the back of the fourteenth-century Lady Chapel of the Church of Mary Magdalen in Oxford where I go to morning prayer each day and frequently celebrate. It reads: JOHN AUBREY 1625—1697 LIES BURIED IN THIS CHURCH ... BIOGRAPHER AND ANTIQUARY ... AN ORIGINAL MEMBER OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY ... THIS STONE WAS ERECTED AT THE WISH OF OLIVER LAWSON DICK 1920—1964. Aubrey died in the parish where he was buried as “a stranger”, but I like to think of this good and gentle man as I prepare myself for the day ahead. And I am sure he would have been delighted to see the fine church chest, like the Lady Chapel of the fourteenth century, so magnificently published in the current volume of the Antiquaries Journal.’

This tracery-carved, clamp-fronted medieval chest at St Mary Magdalen Church, Oxford, is the subject of a paper in the
Antiquaries Journal vol 95 by Christopher Pickvance, who concludes that the chest shares features in common with chests in north Germany and Sweden dating from around 1320—30 and that it is likely to have been imported from that region or made by craftsmen working in that regional tradition.

Fellow Gwen Yarker says 'I cannot resist sharing the details with Salon readers of a memorial stone to Fellow the Reverend Thomas Rackett (1756—1840) and his wife. This consists of a three-sided ashlar pyramid located opposite the entrance to the church of St John the Baptist at Spetisbury, near Blandford, Dorset. The inscription says: ‘His diligence and eminent talents were not confined to the exercise of ordinary Parochial duties; they extended themselves to the promotion and cultivation of the various useful arts which soften the asperity of human nature and of those sciences which fill the mind with the most exalted ideas of the goodness of our Creator. He died 29 November 1840 near the close of his 85th year.’
Rackett’s monument: Gwen wonders whether the three-sided shape of his memorial might have had some specific significance, given that Thomas Rackett was a mathematician as well as a priest.

The son of a wealthy Covent Garden tailor, Thomas Rackett was the rector at Spetisbury for nearly sixty years. A remarkable man of many talents, he was a friend of the actor/manager David Garrick, an enthusiastic collector of coins and an accomplished musician and artist. He helped illustrate the second edition of Hutchins’s A History of Dorset, working with Richard Gough and Dr Richard Pulteney. He knew John Hunter and was interested in all aspects of natural history. As well as being a Fellow of the Antiquaries, Linnaean and Royal Societies, he regularly attended lectures at the Royal Institution. A fine portrait of Rackett as a young boy was painted by George Romney in 1768, and purchased recently by the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society.

News of Fellows

At a ceremony in London held on 28 October 2014 our Fellow Professor Ian Richard Netton, of the University of Exeter Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, received the 2014 Annual British Society for Middle Eastern Studies Award for Services to Middle Eastern Studies ‘in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Middle Eastern Studies in the United Kingdom over many years’.

Fellow Richard Reece was honoured at the British Academy on 25 November 2014 when he was presented with the 2014 Derek Allen Prize. The prize citation said that the prize recognised Richard’s ‘profound impact in the field of numismatics, specifically on the study of Roman coinage from archaeological sites, transforming the way this material is studied’. Richard was also awarded the Royal Numismatic Society medal in 2009 for his service to numismatic science. Romano-British coin reports now habitually refer to ‘Reece periods’ when analysing the pattern of coin loss from any particular site. These periods (twenty-one originally, but Fellow Sam Moorhead has subsequently introduced two further subdivisions) are based on an analysis of typical coin loss for the period and these in turn reflect the pattern of coin supply, the intrinsic value of the coins, their size and the type of site (military, civilian, religious, urban, rural and so on). Prior to Richard’s research, the absolute number of coin finds from a site at any period was frequently taken as a measure of the site’s prosperity and degree of Romanisation, but Reece periods provide typical coin loss patterns against which to judge how normal or exceptional the coin loss pattern really is.

The Derek Allen Prize is awarded annually in recognition of outstanding work by a scholar in musicology, numismatics and Celtic studies, in rotation. The award was founded in 1976 by Mrs Winifred Allen and her sons to provide an award in one of three academic fields in which Derek Fortrose Allen (1910—75), the British Academy’s former Secretary and Treasurer, had a particular interest.

Other recent recipients of medals awarded by the British Academy include our Fellow David Luscombe, awarded the British Academy medal for ‘a publication of particularly outstanding significance for its discipline’ — in this case The Letter Collection of Peter Abelard and Heloise (Oxford University Press, 2013) — and Fellow Joan Oates, who was awarded the 2014 Grahame Clark Medal for distinguished contributions to the study of prehistoric archaeology; in this case ‘her fundamental contributions to our understanding of ancient Near Eastern Civilisation’.

Lives remembered

Our Fellow Christopher Brooke has informed the Society of the death of his wife, our Fellow Rosalind Brooke, on 17 November 2014 after a long illness. The funeral will be held at 1.45pm today (1 December 2014) in the Chapel of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.

The Society has been informed of the recent deaths of Fellows Colin Burgess (on 18 November 2014, at the age of seventy-six; see below), Anna Morpurgo Davies (on 27 September 2014, at the age of seventy-seven; see below) and Jocelyn Morris (at the age of ninety-seven).

Lives remembered: Colin Brian Burgess, FSA

Salon’s editor is very grateful to Brendan O’Connor for this tribute to his late friend, our Fellow Colin Burgess.

‘A Londoner, Colin studied in Cardiff where his undergraduate dissertation on Bronze Age metalwork from the Thames formed the basis for the corpus of bronze swords in Britain he published in 1988 with the late Ian Colquhoun. Colin then spent most of his career in Newcastle where he developed both his regional interests in the north east of England, mainly with non-professional archaeologists, and his wider international interests with other Bronze Age specialists.

‘The former derived from his work in the extra-mural department of Newcastle University, where he inspired many people to take up archaeology and in 1973 formed the Northumberland Archaeological Group. The latter was encapsulated by his establishment of the Bronze Age Studies Group, which met first at Alnwick in 1976 but soon became international and looks forward to its fiftieth anniversary.

‘Disillusioned with various aspects of British archaeology from the 1980s (expressed most trenchantly in an introductory note to the 2001 reissue of his textbook The Age of Stonehenge), Colin then chose to work in the Mediterranean (he had a particular affection for Sardinia, represented by a seemingly endless supply of slides of its sites) and on taking early retirement he moved to la France profonde, where he lived until he returned to the north east for medical treatment.

‘However, turns in the wheel of academic fashion, buttressed by the need to identify Bronze Age metalwork recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme, mean that Colin’s kind of archaeology is becoming more acceptable again in the twenty-first century. An article in the latest volume of the Antiquaries Journal (‘“Both sides now”: the Carp’s-Tongue Complex revisited’, by Dirk Brandherm, FSA, and Magdalena Moskal-del Hoyo), dedicated to him on his seventy-fifth birthday, reflects his principal contribution, the study of Bronze Age metalwork in Britain and the adjacent areas of Atlantic Europe. His own last publication, which appeared in the Archaeological Journal for 2012 (so that his bibliography covers fifty years), revisited aspects of Late Bronze Age chronology which might have been considered settled, especially since Colin himself had introduced in the 1960s the scheme we continue to use now.’

Lives remembered: Anna Morpurgo Davies, FSA

Our Fellow Professor Anna Morpurgo Davies died on 27 September 2014, at the age of seventy-seven. An obituary on the Somerville College, Oxford, website records that ‘Anna was born on 21 June 1937 in Milan as the youngest of four children. The family was Jewish by background; her father Augusto lost his post as a result of Mussolini’s racial laws in 1938 and died in 1939, having contracted pneumonia when attempting to secure safe passage to Argentina for the family. She moved to Rome with her mother Maria; they survived the final year of the war in hiding and with false papers. Courage, fierce intelligence and a strong sense of family were to be enduring characteristics.

‘Her academic career was glittering: following a doctorate on Linear B at the University of Rome and a period as Junior Fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Harvard, she was appointed as lecturer in Classical Philology at Oxford in 1964, at the age of twenty-seven and became a Fellow of St Hilda’s College in 1966. She had married the ancient historian John K Davies in 1962 (marriage dissolved 1978). In 1971, she was appointed to the Chair of Comparative Philology, joining the very small group of female professors, and became a Fellow of Somerville College. As a result of her successful fundraising, the chair was named the Diebold Chair in 2003 and thus secured for the future. Her publications spanned a wide area of comparative grammar; she was a world expert in ancient Anatolian languages, such as Hittite, and one of the decipherers of Hieroglyphic Luwian. From 1992 until she retired in 2004 she served as a delegate of Oxford University Press.

‘Her distinction as a scholar was recognised internationally by a series of honours: as well as election as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1974, she was elected to the British Academy in 1985 and in 2001 she became an honorary Dame Commander of the British Empire, though as an Italian national, she could only use the post-nominals DBE. She was exceptional not just as a scholar: generations of graduate students, research fellows and young colleagues owe so much to the fact that Anna took them under her wing, offering wise advice and wry comment on the mysteries of the university system, Englishness, gardening, cats and life in general. Her generosity was boundless; her vivacity and her ability to enjoy lit up every conversation, and she faced illness with characteristic courage.’

Lives remembered: Derek Roe, FSA, 1937—2014

The Times has published an obituary for our late Fellow Derek Roe, who died on 24 September 2014 at the age of seventy-seven, describing him as ‘a former archaeology correspondent for The Times who disliked excavating — he claimed that digging ruined his golf swing — but who made important contributions to the study of early prehistory in both Britain and Africa’.

‘He was also the first formal archaeology correspondent of The Times. He got the job by asking for it: while still a student at Cambridge, Roe had the gumption to approach Sir William Haley, then editor of The Times, and was rewarded for his boldness by being appointed. His pithy pieces on everything from early humans to the excavations of early Winchester appeared under the byline “Our Archaeological Correspondent”.

‘Roe later helped the renowned and redoubtable archaeologist Mary Leakey with her autobiography, Disclosing the Past. His own wry account, The Year of the Ghost: an Olduvai Diary (2002), disclosed the perils and pitfalls of working with her. He also worked with Leakey in publishing the findings of the Olduvai Gorge excavations carried out four decades earlier. Roe and Leakey’s study was published by Cambridge University Press in 2009 and reprinted this year.

‘Derek Roe was a notable Palaeolithic prehistorian, specialising in the earliest humans and their artefacts. His PhD was a landmark study on the metrical and statistical analysis of Acheulian handaxe industries in Britain. The study showed that the teardrop-shaped flint tools probably had multiple functions — a sort of caveman’s Swiss army knife made by Ice Age inhabitants such as Boxgrove Man. The work formed the basis of a 1968 Council for British Archaeology monograph that remains an invaluable reference. Roe won a lectureship at Oxford in 1965, before he had completed his PhD dissertation: he remained there until 2003 as Professor of Palaeolithic Archaeology. He set up the Donald Baden-Powell Centre at Oxford, which, since 1975, has produced a stream of scholars and research publications in the Palaeolithic field.

‘He wrote the popular Prehistory: an introduction (1970), published on both sides of the Atlantic and successful enough to be in paperback within a year. He also authored acclaimed books on the lower, middle and upper Palaeolithic periods in Britain up to the end of the Ice Age some 10,000 years ago. Roe could not bear to be apart from his professional obsession for long and even his cooking endeavours had a Palaeolithic taste. He baked cakes adorned with exquisite replicas of handaxes and other flint tools made from icing sugar: students were invited to partake of implements appropriate to their theses after a successful defence of their work.’


Back to the report in Salon 329 on the grave of V Gordon Childe; for the record, it was Huw Barton who, in 2000, called for a more fitting memorial, not Fellow Paul Bahn; and for the avoidance of all doubt, the errors in the report were introduced by Salon’s editor, and not, of course, by Paul.

Fellow Martin Biddle is pleased to report that the appeal in the last issue of Salon for locating the lost Winchester head of Jupiter had an almost instantaneous response. Fellow Ralph Jackson, Senior Curator, Romano-British Collections, Department of Britain, Europe and Prehistory at the British Museum, recognised the description as matching a small bronze head purchased by the museum in 1897 from Rollin and Feuardent, ‘Dealers of Coins, Medals, Gems, Antiquities &c of Great Russell Street’, and hence a near neighbour of the museum. Ralph says that the head ‘went round the world from 2003 to 2010 as part of the museum’s “Treasures of the World’s Cultures” exhibition. At present I am exploring the possibility of re-mounting it after which it will go back on display in our Roman Britain Gallery (Gallery 49) in the “Imperial Image” case.’

Fellow Martin Henig adds: ‘I still think it is Jupiter: the identification as Hadrian no doubt arose because of superficial similarities between the well-known statue head of Hadrian from the Thames and the Winchester head. I am very much looking forward to examining it. At 75mm, the Winchester bronze is smaller than we had assumed, but it is clearly a very fine piece. It is clear that the head was restored as a nude bust in the nineteenth century, presumably before its purchase by the British Museum. I wonder what happened to the other items from the Winchester site, including what appears from drawings to be a figurine depicting Omphale.’

The Winchester bronze: Hadrian, or perhaps Jupiter, or perhaps both.


Until 4 April 2015: an exhibition of works by Alan Sorrell (1904―74) at the Beecroft Gallery Art Gallery, Victoria Avenue, Southend on Sea, Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, in collaboration with Liss Fine Art. To mark the opening of the exhibition, Liss Fine Art is offering fifty-two newly released works from the artist’s estate for sale.

3 December 2014: ‘Heritage, Conflict and the Dynamics of Memory’, by Professor Rob van der Laarse, the ICOMOS-UK Annual Christmas Lecture and Reception, 6.30pm at The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ. Advance booking essential.

In the past ten years, interest in the heritage of European regional and ethnic conflicts has grown explosively in relation to collective memory, but also in political debates, heritage tourism, the museum sector and city branding. The so-called Crimean Treasures collection of Scythian gold, now stateless after the separation of Crimea, is claimed by Ukraine as well as by Moscow and five Crimean museums. Professor Van der Laarse will discuss how the Balkans and Ukraine demonstrate the transnationalisation of ‘memory events’ in present-day Europe based on his research into cultural power, narratives of representation and the shadow of the Enlightenment.

6 December 2014: The winter symposium of ASPRoM (the Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics) will be held from 2pm to 5.30pm at King’s College London, in Lecture Theatre K2.31. The speakers are: Pat Witts, on ‘Animal instincts: patterns in the nature and distribution of Romano-British mosaics’ and ‘Malibu, mosaics, museums and more’; Fellow Steve Cosh, on ‘Re-discovering the mosaics at Chedworth Roman villa’; and Tomasina Munden on ‘Re-backing the Carthage Hare and Hound mosaic’. Booking details can be found on the ASPRoM website.

13 December 2014: ‘Stonehenge and the great monuments of Neolithic Britain’, a study day at the University of Southampton, led by our Fellow Josh Pollard. Further details are on the Southampton University website. In the popular imagination Stonehenge is often seen as a unique and isolated monument. This study day will place the creation of Stonehenge within its proper context: exploring how our knowledge of the monument and its surrounding landscape has been transformed through archaeological research over the last decade; and examining the wider phenomenon of great monument building in other regions of the British Isles (such as Orkney and East Yorkshire) during the late fourth and third millennia BC.

16 and 23 January 2015: The Manhattan String Quartet  has generously invited Fellows, staff and guests of the Society of Antiquaries to attend their concerts at 7.30pm, in Westminster Cathedral Hall, where they will perform Haydn’ s ‘String Quartet in G minor’, Op 74, No 3 (1793) (‘The Horseman’), Alban Berg’s ‘Lyric Suite’ (1926) and Edward Elgar’s ‘String Quartet in E minor’, Op 83 (1918). Admission is free, but you need print out a ticket from a PDF file that can be obtained by emailing Salon’s editor.

20 January 2015: ‘Sir Edward Elgar's early years in Worcestershire’, a free lecture by Michael Messenger, OBE, at 2.30pm at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House. Michael Messenger, whose short biography of Edward Elgar was first published in 2005, is a director and Vice-President of the Elgar Foundation, which is responsible for the Elgar Birthplace Museum. He is the author of a number of published titles, including Elgar’s Legacy: a centennial history of the Malvern Concert Club, which was founded by Elgar in 1903, of which Michael is a Vice-President and its Honorary Archivist. Michael will talk about this and some of the many other musical organisations with which Elgar was involved between c 1870 and 1904, when he moved to Hereford.

24 and 25 August 2014: ‘“Flowers from field and garden”’: May Morris’s botanical studies’. Fellow Lynn Hulse and Nicola Jarvis, artist and teacher of historic stitching techniques, will be running another of their very popular embroidery workshops at Kelmscott Manor, on this occasion working in wool on a linen ground to create a cushion cover in the style of May Morris in a pattern inspired by the cover she designed for her father's bedroom at Kelmscott. These courses are well worth attending for a real insight into the crafts practised and revived by various members of the Morris family. For further information on this and other workshops, see the Ornamental Embroidery website.

Call for papers: ‘Fashion’, the 84th Anglo-American Conference of Historians, 2—3 July 2015

In collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Institute for Historical Research is taking Fashion as the theme for its annual Anglo-American conference in summer 2015. Proposals for panels on the themes of dress, imitation and emulation, taste and style, body-art, the fashion-industry and its media, fashionability and trend-setting, catwalks, fairs and exhibitions, innovation in interior design, architecture and public space, fashion education and technology will be accepted down to the middle of December. Individual paper proposals will also be accepted. Panels should comprise three papers and a chair, and proposals must include the name and affiliation of the speakers, the title of the panel and the titles of the individual papers. Please send proposals by 15 December; decisions will be made known once the programme committee has met early in January 2015. Further details will be posted in due course on the conference website.

Medieval Dress and Textiles in Britain

Fellow Gale Owen-Crocker is one of three editors of this volume of sources for the study of medieval textiles and clothing, half of which consist of transcriptions of wills and inventories, account books, sumptuary laws and petitions, the other half being extracts from moral and satirical literary works condemning contemporary fashions, or from epic and romance.

A common theme in medieval satirical works is the endless desire for novelty that leads to the male fashion for the cutting and slashing of clothes to reveal not only the underclothes, but also the genitals; something that is echoed in sumptuary laws such as the Act of April 1463 specifying that men’s clothes must be long enough to be decent and sufficient in length to cover the buttocks and ‘pryve membres’. Women are condemned for excessively tall hair or head-dresses; those who wear their hair shaped into two horns are dismissed as the ‘senseless beasts’ that they resemble.

Sumptuary laws are also concerned with people who dress above their rank: an act of October 1363 forbids anyone below the estate of knight from wearing cloth of gold or silver or silk or any sort of embroidered clothing. Yeomen and men of lower rank are expressly forbidden from wearing padded doublets by an act of April 1463, thus preventing them from imitating the pigeon-breasted body shape adopted by the fashionable men of the day. By contrast, petitions tell a different story, of dependants in distress because their lord has not provided an adequate amount of clothing. Many petitions are put forward by guilds asking the monarch to uphold their monopoly on specific types of cloth and complaining about competition from cheap immigrant workers.

All these documents give us an insight into garments, fashions, accessories, the textile trades, production methods, the costs and the value of different kinds of textile, and dress as a metaphor for status, wealth, gender and ethnicity in the Middle Ages; they also serve to show us how little has changed.

Medieval Dress and Textiles in Britain: a multilingual sourcebook, edited by Louise Sylvester, Mark Chambers and Gale Owen-Crocker; ISBN 9781843839323; Boydell Press, 2014

Medieval People

Fellow Michael Prestwich has written a highly illustrated biographical dictionary of most of the well-known names in medieval history — Charlemagne, Joan of Arc, Thomas Becket — and quite a few that deserve to be better known. Matilda of Tuscany, for example, who, despite her sex, was one of the most successful military commanders of her day (1046—1115), and who used her skill in warfare to maintain a strong and independent buffer state between Rome and Empire, demanding and achieving reform of the papacy in return for her defence of pope and Church; Taccola (Mariano di Jacopo, 1382—1453), a Siennese official credited with as many inventions as Leonardo da Vinci, including siege machines, weapons and military equipment, dams, bridges and caissons, mills, pumps, water wheels, blast-furnace bellows, cranes and gearing systems — without his inventions for lifting heavy loads, the dome of Florence cathedral could not have been built; and Robert of Wetherby (d 1225), described in the arrest warrant issued by the sheriff of Yorkshire in July 1225 as ‘outlaw and evildoer’ and who gave his name in court as ‘Robert Hod’ — hence possibly the real life Robin Hood.

Like the British Museum book that started the fashion for bite-sized object stories that add up to a history of the world, this volume works by lively and well-chosen contextualisation of the lives of sixty-nine individuals who made a major contribution to the story of the Middle Ages in Europe between AD 800 and 1492.

Medieval People: vivid lives in distant landscapes, by Michael Prestwich; ISBN: 9780500252031; Thames & Hudson, 2014

The Great Archaeologists

This book adopts a similar approach — 1,000-word essays on the lives of seventy-five individuals who have made their mark on the history of archaeology either through their discoveries or their methodological approach or their deciphering of ancient languages and writing systems. Given the subject matter, it is not surprising to find many Fellows amongst those profiled, and many Fellows amongst the long list of contributors. Before you go rushing, dear reader, to see if your name is included among the illustrious, be aware that the editor, Brian Fagan, has sensibly decided not to include living archaeologists, though he does include quite a number who departed this world within the last twenty years, including our late Fellow Philip Barker (1920—2001), profiled along with our late President Sir Mortimer Wheeler as two ‘maestros of archaeological excavation’, pioneers of the box system and open-area excavation respectively.

This profile illustrates the book’s ‘warts and all’ approach to biography, for the author of this profile (Fellow Martin Carver) is no hagiographer; he accuses Wheeler of being a dedicated self-publicist, increasingly dogmatic in later life and unpleasant to fellow archaeologists (reviling the aged Ian Richmond in Antiquity, for example, for producing section drawings in which ‘pictorial smudgery was substituted for hard-headed analysis’), whilst conceding that Wheeler was an excellent champion for the profession and ‘redefined the archaeologists in the public mind’. Such Stracheyesque insights mean this book is no dull textbook, but is a lively, honest and well-illustrated account of our calling.

The Great Archaeologists, edited by Brian Fagan; ISBN 9780500551818; Thames & Hudson, 2014

Cities that Shaped the Ancient World

This third Thames & Hudson book is made in the same mould: profiles of forty ancient cities written by the people who have directed excavations there (eg, our Fellows Barry Kemp, writing about Armana, or Henry Hurst, on Carthage) or who have studied the remains. There are many omissions, but perhaps that depends on your definition of a city: this is a selection, rather than a comprehensive account of urbanisation through time and for that reason it does not read as connectedly as the other two books. Still, the authors are faced with a tough brief: how would you sum up Rome in not much more than 1,000 words? In his brave attempt Fellow Nigel Pollard chooses Augustus as a figurehead, describing the city he inherited and the city he passed on to his successors after much innovation, improvement and reform.

Cities that Shaped the Ancient World, edited by John Julius Norwich; ISBN 9780500252048; Thames & Hudson, 2014

Wakefield Court Roll 1436—1437

Fellow Kate Taylor writes to say: ‘for almost thirty years, Constance Fraser, who died in 2013, served as the General Editor for the Yorkshire Archaeological Society’s series of Wakefield Manor Court Rolls. During her tenure, eleven volumes were published, five of them edited by Dr Fraser herself. Now Volume 17 has been published as a memorial to her exceptional work in this and other record publication projects in the northern counties of Northumberland, Durham and Yorkshire. It covers the record of the Wakefield Manor Courts from October 1436 to September 1437, which have been calendared by Dr Fraser. The book includes a biography of Dr Fraser, an account of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society’s work from 1901 in publishing forty-six of the rolls, and an introduction to the 1436—7 roll by the present General Editor, Dr Brian Barber.

‘Constance Fraser’s doctorate was awarded in 1951 for her study of Antony Beck, bishop of Durham from 1283 to 1311 which was published by Oxford University Press in 1957. In the same year she joined the Extra-Mural Department at King’s College, Newcastle. She had already joined the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1952 and served as its president from 1990 to 1992. As a record scholar and historian, she was indefatigable. When the Yorkshire Archaeological Society formed a Court Rolls Section in 1974, to resume work on the Wakefield Manor Court Rolls after a break of thirty years, Dr Fraser was one of its founder members.

‘Wakefield Court Roll 1436—1437 follows chronologically from Volume 15, the rolls from October 1433 to September 1436, which were edited and calendared by Dr Fraser. The present volume includes the proceedings of twenty-three sessions of the courts, the majority of them dealing with the transfer of copyhold property, cases of debt or offences against the manorial lord (then Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York) in terms of poaching or of exploiting his woodlands for pasturing or taking holly, for fodder, or bark, presumably for tanning. Six of the sessions were of courts leet, or “tourns”, where minor offences against the criminal law were heard as well as breaches of communal rights such as failing to scour water-courses, blocking the highways or possessing uncontrollable dogs; not unusually, several women were named as common scolds and mischief makers. The records reflect a continuing process of enclosure, or taking property from the lord’s “waste” as well as the care taken in checking the authenticity of tenancies in disputed claims. Perhaps the only unusual report occurs when jurors waiting for a “tourn” at the Moot Hall near Wakefield Parish Church were offended by the smell of muck from pigs kept in an ark in the Hallgarth.’

Wakefield Court Roll 1436—1437 is available from Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Claremont, 23 Clarendon Road, Leeds LS2 9NZ, at £22.25, including UK postage and packing.

A Chasm in Time: Scottish war art and artists in the twentieth century

Our Fellow Dr Patricia Andrew writes to say that her new book is the first study of modern Scottish war art and artists, and a fascinating visual record of Scotland’s experience of conflict, both on the home front and in theatres of war. It features more than 220 works of art, many of which have never before been reproduced in book form.

Patricia looks at the context in which artists undertook their work, how it was received, and the influence the experience had on their careers. And although the focus is naturally on the First and Second World Wars, her account begins as the century opens with the ongoing war in South Africa, and ends with recent conflicts still continuing today. Though Scottish in its theme, it includes the work of artists from England and across the world who recorded Scotland and the Scots at war both at home and abroad; the Scottish experience of war thus has an universal interest.

Themes discussed include developments in photography, poster design and camouflage. In addition to the work of artists in the thick of war, the book also discusses those who were conscientious objectors, or peacetime meditators on the theme of war, and the concluding chapter examines how Scotland has commemorated and remembered the sacrifices made during a century of conflict.

Patricia has been working on the subject, one way or another, over many years. An art historian by academic training, her career in museums and galleries included the management of regimental museums as well as art galleries, and her subsequent work at the Scottish Museums Council made her even more aware of the unappreciated richness of many collections, and the gaps in the art-historical record. She has lectured widely on various aspects of art, and the lack of any account of Scottish war art was one of which she was all too aware.

A Chasm in Time: Scottish war art and artists in the twentieth century, by Patricia Andrew; ISBN 9781780271903; Birlinn, 2014

Isaac Johnson of Woodbridge

This self-published booklet by Fellow John Blatchly in association with the Suffolk Record Office (copies from the author at 11 Burlington Road, Ipswich IP1 2HS, at £15 plus £2.50 p&p) tells the story of Isaac Johnson, surveyor and artist, and is richly illustrated with examples of the prodigious volume of work that he produced in a lifetime (1753―1835) that spanned the reigns of five Georgian kings. He spent almost the entirety of that life in Woodbridge, from which base he surveyed and mapped estates in almost every parish in Suffolk, and a few in north Essex, including those of John Nichols, publisher of the Gentleman’s Magazine, and of our Fellows Sir John Cullum, Richard Gough and Craven Ord.

This is not great artistic work, but it is a hugely valuable resource for antiquaries in recording secular buildings now gone or much altered, the interiors of churches, their furnishing and monuments prior to Victorian restoration, mills, bridges, lighthouses, ruins, rural scenes and the odd family portrait. In presenting this material, John Blatchly has set Johnson’s drawings alongside the buildings as they are now, and his commentary tells us about the subsequent fate of these buildings. He also shows us some of the veteran trees that fascinated Johnson and that he sketched and painted as subjects in their own right, and as ornaments in the park landscapes that he recorded for their owners. Woodbridge and Suffolk historians are very lucky to have such a rich resource to draw upon, and John Blatchly has done a fine job in bringing this body of work to our attention.

Dictionary of British Arms: a medieval ordinary

This book, edited by Fellow Thomas Woodcock and Sarah Flower, is the fourth in a series of volumes designed to enable those with a working knowledge of heraldry to identify medieval British coats of arms. The project is the result of a bequest to the Society of Antiquaries in 1926 for the production of a new edition of Papworth’s Ordinary, which has remained, since its publication in 1874, the principal tool for the identification of British coats of arms. An Ordinary, in this context, is a collection of arms arranged alphabetically according to their designs, as opposed to an armory, which is arranged alphabetically by surname.

This is the final volume of the four-volume Ordinary that the Society began publishing in 1992, which together cover the period up to the beginning of the heraldic visitations of 1530. Its publication means that historians, antiquaries, archaeologists, genealogists, heraldists, antique dealers and collectors now have a comprehensive resource for identifying arms on tombs, monuments, seals, textiles, metalwork, glass and other medieval artefacts with a far greater degree of accuracy than has hitherto been possible. Even those without a knowledge of the subject will be able, by means of the index, to discover the blazons of arms recorded under particular surnames in the Middle Ages.

Further information, including details of a special offer for the four-volume set and for this volume, will be included in the Fellows’ January mailing.

Dictionary of British Arms: a medieval ordinary. Volume 4, edited by Thomas Woodcock and Sarah Flower; ISBN 9780854312979; Boydell & Brewer, 2014


Heritage Lottery Fund: Deputy Director of Operations
Salary scale: £67,339 to £74,149; closing date 8 December 2014

The role is wide ranging and covers leadership, management and support for regional and country teams (with up to a total of six Grade C reports); case advice and supervision for grant awards; regional advocacy and communications tasks, including acting as media spokesperson on occasion; strategic advice and support for up to six regional committees and Trustees; and leading and supporting departmental and cross-departmental working groups. For further information, see the HLF website.

National Museums Scotland: Director of Collections
Closing date: 12 December 2014

See the NMS website for further details.

Propose a lecture or seminar

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.

Fellows are also encouraged to propose topics or themes for conferences or seminars that bring scholars and professionals from a variety of disciplines together to explain, discuss and debate our material culture. Please email Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer, if you are interested in helping us organise such an event.


Follow the Society of Antiquaries on Twitter for news and event updates: @SocAntiquaries

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