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Salon: Issue 387
6 June 2017

Next issue: 20 June 2017 

The Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter (Salon) is a fortnightly digest of heritage news. It focuses on the activities of the Society and the contributions that the Society's Fellows make to public life. A copy of Salon’s editorial policy can be found on the Society’s website.

Please send news, comment and feedback for publication to the Editor, Mike Pitts, at Salon Editor

Salon does not review books, but the Editor is pleased to receive details and front cover images of new titles written by Fellows. Scholarly publications are reviewed in The Antiquaries Journal: for details see Publications.
Lamp flame

Inside this issue

From the Desk of the General Secretary


Martin, Campaign Group ChairmanSupporting William Morris's 'Heaven on Earth'

Having secured a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to safeguard Kelmscott Manor for future generations, we recently announced our need to raise £1.5 million to complete this vital project.

We are delighted to say that the response from Fellows has been magnificent! We are very grateful to everyone who has given so generously – and donations are still coming in. Every contribution brings us closer to achieving our goal of £1.5 million while making the case for supporting Kelmscott even more compelling. As a result, we are now in the process of applying to trusts and foundations to complete funding.

If you would like to contribute to helping William Morris’ Kelmscott, you can make a one-time gift of any amount, or  set up a recurring monthly gift via direct debit for as little as £10 per month – donating £10 per month for 50 months would amount to a generous donation of £500! We cannot overstate the value of such contributions to the success of the project.

We are immensely grateful for any gift you feel able to make.You can read more about our campaign and ways to help by visiting our website.

If you would like to discuss the project in more detail, please get in touch with our Head of Development, Dominic Wallis, on 020 7479 7092 or

Image: Martin Levy, FSA and Chairman of the Kelmscott Manor Campaign Group.

Antiquaries Journal Call for Papers

Papers are sought for the Antiquaries Journal, especially on industrial archaeology, urban architecture from the Tudor period onward, and the influence of antiquarianism on public heritage policy, ethics and practice. Papers should take an overview of a particular period, issue or set of problems, be based on primary research, and be no more than 10,000 words.

Please email your papers to our Publications Manager,Lavinia Porter, at

More information about submitting a proposal for the Journal can be found on our website.

Steppe Warriors

In the winter of 1978/79, the British Museum hosted a loan exhibition from the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, called Frozen Tombs: The Culture and Art of the Ancient Tribes of Siberia. With a catalogue by Boris Piotrovsky a small black and white booklet by Tom Blagg FSA, the show brought some iconic artefacts to London, previously known to most here only through drawings and grainy photos.
Four decades later, Siberian nomads are coming to the BM again. With a great new exhibition space and a transformed museum culture, Scythians: Warriors of Ancient Siberia will cause a public sensation. Wonderful things exceptionally preserved in rich graves from the east will bring echoes not just of the recent Celts: Art and Identity, but especially of the museums’ blockbuster experience ten years ago, The First Emperor: China’s Terracotta Army. As Brexit approaches, we can expect new spins on nomadism and migration. We will revisit Herodotus. And we look to the British Museum for a compelling presentation.
The exhibition will feature over 200 objects from burial mounds in the high Altai mountains of Southern Siberia. Some of the graves were large and full of precious things. Permafrost has preserved fabrics, wood and other organic remains – not least human skin and hair. The conditions are also good for the survival of bone and metal, giving us exceptional insights into what would otherwise have been almost invisible cultures dating back over two millennia.
Once again, the major loan is in collaboration with the Hermitage. Other loans come from the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Ashmolean Museum and the Royal Collection. Artefacts include multi-coloured textiles, fur-lined garments and accessories, unique horse headgear and human remains with beautiful and highly sophisticated tattoos.
In a press release, Hartwig Fischer FSA, Director of the British Museum, said he looked forward to bringing ‘the extraordinary history of the Scythians to life.’ ‘We are grateful to BP’, he added, ‘for their ongoing support without which enlightening exhibitions such as these would simply not be possible.’
St John Simpson, Assistant Keeper of the Middle East Department and curator of the show, has blogged about some of the exhibits. By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean: The Birth of Eurasia by Barry Cunliffe FSA, offers a comprehensive introduction to the Scythians’ wider world.
Illustration at top shows (left to right) top of a man’s headgear crest, Pazyryk (325–275 BC); gold plaque, Kul’ Oba (350–300 BC); horse headgear of felt, leather and wood, Pazyryk (325–275 BC). The landscape photo below shows burial mounds in southern Siberia (V Terebenin).
Scythians: Warriors of Ancient Siberia will be in the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery, 14 September–14 January 2018.

Lower down, Heinrich Härke writes about Scythians in Ukraine. 


Up for Election

The UK will have a new government when the next Salon is published. Two Fellows are standing for re-election: John Howell FSA (Conservative), defending a 25,000 majority in Henley (‘I am unashamedly an internationalist’), and Tim Loughton FSA (Conservative) defending a 15,000 majority in East Worthing and Shoreham (calling himself a ‘Brexit veteran’).
Jim Gunter is not a Fellow, but deserves a shout. He is an archaeologist, and is standing against Claire Perry (Conservative, defending a 28,000 majority in Devizes). Gunter is President of the Wessex Regionalist Party. This was formed by the 7th Marquess of Bath, and seeks a witan (Wessex parliament) of around 200 members. Its goals include making politics enjoyable, and it opposes Brexit, noting that the Marquess (Alexander Thynn) stood as a Wessex Regionalist and European Federalist in the UK’s first European election in 1979.
Photos show (left to right), Gunter holding the flag with King Alfred in Pewsey, Wiltshire; Loughton on a student gap visit to Tulum, a Mayan site in Mexico, in the early 80s; and Howell at a debate in 2013 on the future of heritage.

The Royal Collection to be Celebrated in 2018

The Royal Collection Trust, the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) and the BBC are collaborating on a project which will recreate a taste of Charles I’s exceptional art collection, sold off by Oliver Cromwell’s republican government. Some 1,500 paintings and 500 sculptures were scattered across Europe. Many returned under Charles II’s rule, but some of the greatest remained abroad. Jonathan Marsden FSA, Director of the Royal Collection, said the idea had felt like an “impossible dream”. It is reported to have come about after a discussion between Christopher Le Brun, President of the RA, and Desmond Shawe-Taylor, the Queen’s Surveyor of Pictures, when they were hillwalking in 2012.
The RA will launch its 250th anniversary in January 2018 with Charles I: King and Collector. Most exhibits will come from the Royal Collection, with further works lent by the Louvre and the Mobilier National in Paris, the Prado in Madrid and the National Gallery in London. Around 150 items will include masterpieces by Titian, Van Dyck, Rubens, Holbein, Mantegna and others, last seen together in the 1650s.
Meanwhile the Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, will feature the Restoration court. Charles II: Art & Power will bring together over 220 paintings, miniatures, drawings, prints, books, furniture, sculpture, ceramics, tapestries and silver from the Royal Collection. The BBC will make two linked TV broadcasts, a four-part BBC Four series, presented by Andrew Graham-Dixon, and a BBC Two documentary presented by Brenda Emmanus. Further BBC programming in a Royal Collection Season will be announced. Michael Hall FSA is writing A Royal Collection, the Collection’s first official history; he started work as Editor of The Burlington Magazine in May.
Charles II: Art & Power will be at The Queen's Gallery, 8 December–13 May 2018. Charles I: King and Collector will be at the RA, 27 January 2018–15 April.

Brexit Stalks Archaeology

In June last year I asked Fellows for their immediate reactions to the UK Referendum, at which a proposal to leave the European Union was approved with a narrow majority. It was clear that many Fellows had wanted Britain to remain in the Union. A common concern was the future of EU research funding and joint international projects, but much of the comment was more emotive. ‘It's a very bad dream,’ wrote Dame Averil Cameron FSA, ‘UK turning its back on culture, history, internationalism and world politics. It will be very damaging to research, academic connections, funding, diversity of student body, European colleagues in our universities and our own intellectual opportunities and well being.’
Nearly a year later, what Brexit actually means seems as much a mystery as it did when the country voted. But what has become clear is that the potential impacts on the archaeological profession and the historic landscape are particularly severe. Having experienced decades of employment growth, extraordinary research achievements and supportive conservation legislation, the grand archaeological monument now faces the possibility of ruination.
On 24 May a report commissioned by the UK’s four national academies – the British Academy, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society – revealed the extent of EU research funding among different UK disciplines. Using the latest (2014/15) figures from the Higher Education Statistics Authority (HESA), Technopolis found that all academic disciplines received some funding from EU government bodies. Little surprise there. Ranked by the proportion of total research funding from these sources, however, a striking pattern emerged.
Overall, about 12% of all government research grants and contracts obtained by UK higher education institutions came from the EU (the UK gives 47%). The money is not evenly distributed. The EU contributed more than a fifth of their total research income to 15 of the 40 disciplines identified by HESA. Art and design came in at number 14 (21% EU-funded). Anthropology and development studies are at eight (23%). Classics is at two (33%). And at the top of the list is archaeology, a science-heavy discipline receiving 38% of its research funds from the EU. My simplified renderings of two diagrams in the report (above and below) show the stark reality for archaeology in particular. If it is to continue as a world-leading university discipline as presently set up, it needs to confirm substantial new funding from the British government within months.
Writing for the British Academy, Simon Keay FSA, Professor of Archaeology and Associate Dean, Research at the University of Southampton, said, ‘EU Framework Programme research funding and particularly fundamental research grants from the European Research Council have had an exceptionally positive influence for UK-based archaeologists, as well as the humanities and social sciences more broadly. They have enabled major new scientific advances to be made, the creation of vital new international research collaborations that would not have been otherwise possible, and opened up other possible areas of funding.’
Technopolis considered archaeology in a case study. This shows that not only does it have the highest proportion of research income from EU government bodies, but that there has been a massive growth in such funding since 2006/07, when the EU contributed just 4% of the total. This has occurred against a background of shrinking funding from UK central government, and local, health and hospital authorities; industry funding fell from 30% to 17% in the same period. Archaeology, faced with diminishing UK funds, responded by finding alternative EU money, and beating all other countries in the EU in its success to obtain it. And as academics will tell you, the outward-looking culture that has come with the cash has also invigorated the profession. British archaeology is truly global, taking part in and often leading international research projects, and attracting some of the brightest students and researchers from around the world.
In the last edition of British Archaeology, Matthew Collins (Professor of Archaeology at York University and Niels Bohr Professor at the University of Copenhagen) pre-empted the academies’ reports with graphs showing the stunning success of UK archaeology in winning European Research Council awards – nearly half the UK receipts have gone to archaeology (left and below). The loss of EU Marie Curie grants, Graeme Barker FSA, former Disney Professor of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge, told me, ‘will be a huge impoverishment for the research environment in British archaeology.’
Buzzfeed News picked up on the implications of the academies’ report for archaeology. ‘If you're researching the Bronze Age or the Viking age, you need access to data across several European countries,’ Julian D Richards FSA, Director of the Archaeology Data Service at York University, told Kelly Oakes. ‘So we inevitably got involved with projects about data sharing across Europe, and the UK has had a lead in digital preservation. If we are no longer part of European projects, we're in danger of losing that lead role and losing our influence. Even if [the UK government] replaces all the funding that's lost we still need mechanisms for collaborative projects.’
Rachel Pope FSA, Director of Fieldwork at the Department of Archaeology, University of Liverpool, said that ‘to lose that degree of EU funding is catastrophic for disciplines like ours. Particularly with the issues today, like migration, ethnicity, identity, archaeology has the ability to talk about in deep time perspective, and all we're seeing currently is cuts to our ability to do that. The money and the loss of knowledge is one thing, but also it's the loss of a progressive research culture in Britain, which means we're going to start lagging behind.’

The picture outside universities is hardly less worrying. Countryside Stewardship Schemes that subsidise farmers so they can grow pasture in sensitive areas, rely heavily on EU funding. Such a project has enabled the downs around Stonehenge to be converted to permanent grassland, protecting what remains of the ground archaeology in the World Heritage Site. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has promised to support the Stonehenge scheme, but the future of similar schemes elsewhere is less clear. Over 60% of the Norfolk Archaeological Trust’s income, for example, comes from EU farming grants, allowing it to protect remains of the Roman town of Caistor. Caroline Davison, Director of the trust, told me she has no idea how lost funding will be replaced after Brexit.
The possibility that non-UK EU citizens might have to leave is causing particular concern In the commercial field of development-led excavations. Quinton Carroll, an archaeologist at Cambridgeshire County Council, told me archaeologists are already suffering from a shortage of skilled staff. Anecdotally – there are no statistics – one in five site staff across the country may come from the EU outside the UK. Sadie Watson FSA, a senior archaeologist working in London for MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology), told me that Brexit is ‘a disaster’. The vast majority of her friends are European, she said: ‘We’re all economic migrants’ (she is from Dorset).
University archaeology departments will fight back. One promising initiative is a new University Archaeology Day, launching on 22 June at UCL Archaeology. An early-stage website explains that the event ‘is designed for prospective students, teachers and parents to learn about the many degree programmes on offer across the UK, to discover the huge range of career opportunities that an archaeology degree can lead to, and to hear about some of the latest archaeological research.’

Twenty-five archaeology departments, and organisations that promote the subject and employ archaeology graduates, will be represented by displays. There will be a talks and activities programme covering application tips, careers advice, and archaeological topics. ‘Archaeology is a very broad subject’, says the blurb, ‘that combines arts, humanities and sciences and is great for developing a mixture of academic and practical skills.’
The best part of the website is a compilation of university videos, with archaeologists (many of them Fellows, as are many of the speakers on the day) talking about their research and teaching. Interesting in themselves, the collection also offers fruitful material for students of design and presentation. More than ever, perhaps, archaeologists need to hone their skills of communication and negotiation.  

A Lot of Antiquities

This rather scruffy stone head is said to be a Roman marble portrait of the Emperor Trajan c AD 98–117. You’d need to like it quite a lot to pay £8,000–£12,000 for it, which is what Chiswick Auctions estimate it will sell for on June 14. All they can say (apart from describing its looks) is that it comes from an English private collection, and has been owned by the family ‘for about 50 years’. Where was it found? Is it really Roman? Was it acquired before or after the 1970 UNESCO Convention on Cultural Property?
There are many apparently old and beautiful things in this sale. The flint handaxe (est £60–80) is from Burnham Beeches, Buckinghamshire (‘property of a UK private collection, London, acquired on the UK art market in the 1970s and 1980s’). The decorated pot (left, £400–600) is from the ‘Hacilar Region, Middle Chalcolithic Period, circa 5000 BC … Provenance: Elsa Bloch-Diener collection, Bern, acquired in the 1970s’. The Moche-looking stirrup-spout bottle (right, £400–600) was ‘Acquired from a house sale in Nottinghamshire.’

Caveat emptor, as the emperor might have said. Details (but not many) online.

Toasting Scythians in Ukraine

The ancient Scythians, of course, are better known in the countries where their remains have been excavated (see above). By chance Heinrich Härke has just attended a conference in Ukraine dedicated to Scythian studies. He finds that contemporary politics inform ideas more than archaeological theory. Here is his report:

‘Another week, another country, another conference. This one is the annual meeting of “Scythologists” (as they call themselves) in the small Ukrainian town of Chyhyryn (formerly Chigirin), some 220 km (140 miles) downstream from Kiev. The conference is held this year in honour of the 110th birthday anniversary of Oleksej I Terenozhkin, founder of the modern school of Scythian studies, who returned to his native Ukraine in 1948 from Central Asia – which is where my current research interests come in. There is another reason for my attendance: nostalgia. I was here in central Ukraine some 37 years ago, in the dark days of Brezhnev, working as a student on the re-excavation of the Scythian “royal barrow” of Chertomlyk, the first-ever Soviet archaeological project in cooperation with a western country (West Germany, as it was then).
‘The conference provided the usual mix of papers, discussions (entirely theory-free, like the papers), coffee-break conversations and excursions, with an emphasis on Terenozhkin’s life, on Scythians (obviously) – and on liquid entertainment in Ukrainian style. I was informed that a Ukrainian coffee break is one where a bottle (preferably of local moonshine, called samogon) is put on the table. I did not see that local turn during morning breaks, but the afternoon excursions were certainly Ukrainian enough. This contributed considerably to the friendly atmosphere, but everyone here knew one another, anyway, and the few foreigners (half a dozen among the 40 or so attendees) were quickly integrated. After my invited slovo (formal toast) on the first evening, an honour I shared with the other foreigners present, three local archaeologists came up to me to remind me that we had been on the Chertomlyk expedition together all those years ago.
‘It is worth stressing the friendly atmosphere because one of the Russian archaeologists attending had been asked in disbelief in her Moscow institute if she really wanted to go to the “fascists” (that’s Ukrainians, in Kremlin terminology). That this can happen nowadays in the Russian Academy of Sciences, where one would expect a better use of critical faculties, highlights the pernicious power of Putin’s propaganda. Our Ukrainian colleagues are responding by referring to themselves ironically as “Ukrfascists” – without reminding their visitors from across the border how many Russian archaeologists are now earning silly money by collaborating in state-funded rescue archaeology on the building site of the bridge across the Kerch isthmus which will provide a strategic road link between mainland Russia and the annexed Crimean peninsula. History, not their Ukrainian colleagues, will judge them, but even intelligent non-nationalist Ukrainians feel “offended” (as one of the local archaeologists put it).
‘On this trip to the Ukraine, we did not see a fascist country, neither in the capital nor in the province. We saw a capital trying hard to be European, people who were open and welcoming, and none of the heavy police presence and political paranoia which are pervasive in Russia today. But let’s not talk politics, let’s talk material culture and symbolism. The biggest hoarding in Kiev, on the Majdan Square, shows a breaking chain and proclaims (in English and Ukrainian) “Our religion is freedom” – the biggest hoardings in Moscow show military images and symbols, and shout “Pobeda! 70 let” (Victory! 70 years – they have not been taken down since 2015). Enough said. But Russian propaganda and military pressure against Ukraine are having a remarkable, and possibly unforeseen, effect: there is a noticeable search on for a self-conscious Ukrainian identity, and archaeology, history and language are, not surprisingly, drawn into this.
‘In the early years of Ukrainian independence, it was the Scythians who were instrumentalised for the nation-building exercise, exemplified by a series of spectacular exhibitions of gold artefacts in western museums, from Germany (Schleswig 1991, Berlin 2007, Bonn 2013), Italy (Trento 2007) and the Netherlands (Amsterdam 2014), to the USA (Baltimore and San Antonio 1999). Rich Scythian “royal barrows” are predominantly Ukrainian in distribution, making them an obvious choice for a newly independent country in search of its roots. But they are also in the “neutral” past, without ethnic or cultural continuity to present-day Ukrainians (who are essentially Slavs, not Iranian-speaking Indo-Europeans like the Scythians). That is probably the reason why we are seeing now a shift towards an emphasis on Cossack heritage.
‘In the conflict with Russia since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Cossacks are meant to symbolise resistance against Russian hegemony, although their most famous hetman (leader), Bohdan Khmelnytsky (1648–57), fought against Polish overlordship and allied himself with Russia (which is why there are Imperial Russian and Soviet-period monuments of him across Ukraine). But his “Cossack state” of the Zaparozhe Host in the mid-17th century is useful evidence against current Kremlin claims that the Ukraine has never been an independent state, and therefore should not be one now.
‘Chyhyryn, place of our conference, was the centre of their “state”, and a substantial part of the town has been turned into an open-air museum. Not far from Chyhyryn, excavations have been carried out at Subotiv, the private estate of Khmelnytsky’s family, uncovering stone foundations of 17th-century buildings, and here, too, the entire estate with original 17th-century stone church and reconstructed wooden buildings has been turned into an open-air museum. The periods in between Scythians and Cossacks are not of much help in the search for Ukrainian identity, and the Ancient Rus, in particular, has become a bit of an embarrassment because it is also claimed for Russian heritage. My notebook from 1980 reminds me that in the Soviet period, a tenth-century sword and ring-pin in the Lavra Gold Chamber museum in Kiev were on display in a case labelled “Ancient Rus state”. Today they are labelled “Viking artefacts”.
‘But the instrumentalisation of the past does not bring in money for Ukrainian museums and archaeology. This is a poor country, and while roads are atrocious and infrastructure crumbles, archaeologists are badly paid or made redundant. Museums are without sufficient funds to stop rot, decay and corrosion, as was obvious in any open-air museum we visited. One can only wish this country and its people a stable and prosperous future, but the present of their past is anything but prosperous, and we must fear for the survival of many artefacts, buildings and monuments in Ukraine unless there is some outside assistance. This should be an obvious task for UNESCO, but high-profile projects on Silk Road heritage probably make for better publicity.'
Härke’s photos show a 17th-century church on Subotiv estate, with tomb of Zaparozhe Cossack hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky (above), and a view of the Subotiv open-air museum (top).

Fellows (and Friends)

Cecil Clough FSA died on 20 May aged 87. Elected a Fellow of the Society in May 1980, he was Reader in Medieval History at the University of Liverpool until his retirement 20 years ago. 
Frank Herrmann FSA, writer, publisher and auctioneer, died in April.
Roy Davids FSA, auctioneer and collector, died in April.
Abbott Lowell Cummings FSA, architectural historian, died in May.
Appreciations appear in Fellows Remembered below. The section also contains a further notice on the late Roger Highfield FSA.


Andrew Fitzpatrick FSA writes with news that John Collis FSA was made a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres on 25 May. ‘The ceremony took place at Bibracte (Mt Beuvray),’ he says, ‘during the annual conference of the Iron Age study group for France ('l'AFEAF). The citation, read by Marc Talon, the regional Director of Archaeology for Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, noted John's many achievements and in particular his contribution to the development of Iron Age studies in France. Wearing a trademark jumper (thoughtfully brought along by his family!) John received the medal next to the plaque that records the inscription of Bibracte as a Grand Site France by President Mitterand, and facing the monument that records Jacques-Gabriel Bulliot's pioneering excavations at the site in the 19th century.’

Bloomsbury is holding a launch event for Travels with an Archaeologist: Finding a Sense of Place, by Richard Hodges FSA, on 12 June from 6pm at Bloomsbury Publishing, 50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP.

The Art Newspaper has reported the last press conference given at the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Tom Campbell FSA, who steps down as the Met’s Director this month. In his speech at its annual spring press breakfast, writes Victoria Stapley-Brown, Campbell emphasised the museum’s ‘key achievements and developments during his eight-year mandate – while adroitly alluding to the museum’s recent struggles.’ ‘The Met is, of course, in a period of transition,’ said Campbell, adding, ‘I want to make it clear to everyone in the room that I’m proud of what we accomplished.’ The Met’s photo shows Campbell (right) with US Vice President Joe Biden.
‘There’s a sense of people often coming into the museum to get away from digital activities,’ Tristram Hunt, Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, said in a talk at the Hay Festival of Literature & Arts. The Times reported on May 31 that he said museums were wondering if resources given to digitising collections for free online viewing might be better spent. Peter Saunders FSA responded with a letter to the paper. ‘Tristram Hunt is right to question museum expenditure on “cool digital stuff”,’ he writes. Visitors’ ‘sense of wonder and ability to absorb knowledge is often spoilt by those concentrating on digital gadgetry, or by the technology that comes between them and the objects.’ However, says Saunders, Hunt ‘must … accept that online catalogues, comparable with an index to a book, are essential to inform the public of what museums hold and to permit virtual access by those unable to visit in person.’ On a different topic, Hunt said, ‘We are deeply proud of our European heritage but we also understand, in the context of Brexit, that we have to make sure that we speak across the nation.’ Hunt is to speak at the Creative Industries Federation’s International Conference on 12 July. It has moved its London venue to the Barbican's Milton Court Concert Hall, to accommodate ‘an overwhelming demand for tickets’.
Paul Cartledge FSA joined Colm Toibin and Bettany Hughes with Catherine Fletcher at the Hay Festival, to talk about Women's Voices in the Classical World. The discussion was broadcast by Radio 3's Free Thinking. Earlier in May at the British Academy, Rana Mitter led a Free Thinking discussion about writing history, at which Christopher de Hamel FSA (author of Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts) and Matthew Strickland FSA (Henry the Young King 1155–1183) joined a panel shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize; as reported, de Hamel won. De Hamel talked to Matthew Sweet in a Free Thinking broadcast last September, when he revealed his deep enthusiasm for manuscripts (‘I’ve never actually licked one, but I actually would rather like to’), and confessed to an off-guarded remark to his publisher which came back to haunt him.

On 2 June the Victoria and Albert Museum revealed first details of its new Photography Centre, designed by David Kohn Architects. Opening in autumn 2018, the centre will more than double the V&A’s photography displays. Part of the space (formerly Gallery 100) will be known as the Bern and Ronny Schwartz Gallery, recognising the centre’s first major ‘supporter’, the Bern Schwartz Family Foundation. A successful American businessman, Bern made a name for himself as a portrait photographer in his 60s. The press release notes that a 1978 portrait of Sir Roy Strong FSA, Director of the V&A 1973–1987, ‘has recently entered the Museum as a gift to the American Friends of the V&A through the generosity of The Bern Schwartz Family Foundation.’ The photo will join the collection when the current loan agreement ends in May 2020.
The Neolithic of Britain and Ireland, by Vicki Cummings FSA, provides a synthesis of this dynamic period of prehistory from the end of the Mesolithic through to the early Beaker period. Drawing on new excavations and the application of new scientific approaches to data, the book offers a clear introduction with an emphasis on wider research questions. It begins by considering the millennium before the Neolithic starts, and goes on to consider what life was like for people at the time, alongside the monumental record and how people treated the dead, proceeding through the early Neolithic, middle Neolithic, late Neolithic and early Beaker periods.

On 1 June Hilary Carty was named as the new Director of the Clore Leadership Programme, to start in September 2017 after Sue Hoyle steps down. ‘Hilary Carty is a widely admired figure in the arts and a powerful exemplar in the field of cultural leadership,’ said Sandy Nairne FSA, Chair of the Programme, in a press release. ‘She has demonstrated an approach to supporting others in the arts which is both generous and dynamic.’
Nick Merriman FSA, Director of Manchester Museum, took part in the Great Manchester Run, a charity event on 28 May which opened with a minute’s silence in honour of the victims of a bomb attack in the city six days before. His tweet celebrates a personal best for a half marathon. In another tweet, Merriman drew attention to an advert for the Director of the Whitworth and Manchester City Galleries. The post has been vacated by his wife, Maria Balshaw, who started as Director of Tate on 1 June.
‘Almost no one has heard of Hans Sloane,’ opens John Carey’s Sunday Times review (4 June) of Collecting the World: The Life and Curiosity of Hans Sloane, by James Delbourgo, ‘although Sloane Square and other London landmarks are named after him.’ That is changing. Sloane’s Treasures is a research project run by Kim Sloan FSA and JD Hill FSA at the British Museum, Arnold Hunt FSA at the British Library and Julie Harvey at the Natural History Museum. Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753) moved in a world of aristocracy and power, and accumulated one of the largest collections of 'natural and artificial rarities' ever formed, leading to the creation of the British Museum. Sloane’s Treasures is considering ‘a dialogue between culture and science’, image making and understanding nature, ecology and the environment, social issues (slavery, commerce, medicine, first encounters), and the differences between a private and public collection. Kim Sloan is also the principal investigator of another BM project (with UCL), which received Leverhulme Trust funding last October, called Enlightenment Architectures: Sir Hans Sloane's Catalogues of his Collections. One of the more recent biographical studies is Sir Hans Sloane: Collector, Scientist, Antiquary (1994), edited by Arthur MacGregor FSA.
Antti Matikkala FSA, Principal Investigator at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, has published Kunnian ruletti – korkeimmat ulkomaalaisille 1941–1944 annetut suomalaiset kunniamerkit (The Roulette of Honour: The Highest Finnish Orders to Foreigners 1941–1944). The focus of the monograph is political and military history. It also discusses material aspects of the insignia of orders of merit, such as two Finnish Grand Cross stars that belonged to Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring and ended up as war-booty, now in the RAF Museum, Hendon. There is one Englishman, says Matikkala, among the 317 decorated persons under study. The illustrated book is in Finnish, but it includes an English summary.
The Norfolk Churches Trust has written to the Secretary of State at the Department for Culture Media and Sport; Sir Peter Luff, Chairman, National Heritage Memorial Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF); Sir Tim Laurence, Chairman English Heritage; and all nine Norfolk and Norwich MPs. The trust is concerned that the HLF has confirmed that its dedicated grant programme for major repairs to listed places of worship, the Grants for Places of Worship programme, is to close later this year. Churches will have to compete for alternative funding with other organisations. ‘Cancelling the scheme', says the trust, ‘is a retrograde step. It is the only grant scheme using public money which is designed especially for, and dedicated to, major repairs to listed places of worship. It is hard to overstate the importance that the programme and its predecessors have had in supporting historic religious buildings.’
Houses of Power: The Places that Shaped the Tudor World, by Simon Thurley FSA, is about the houses that Tudor kings and queens built, extended and refurbished. It is, says the author, the result of 30 years' research among excavations, financial accounts and plans and drawings, leading to a study of private life, politics, diplomacy and court. It is a catalogue (the Amazon page lists all the houses, perhaps in response to a peeved reviewer who noted the absence of such a list), but also, says Thurley, and ‘more importantly, it sets out to show that, as Tudor royal life changed, so did the buildings that they inhabited. So … you can, by deduction, tell the story of the Tudor monarchy from the inside.’ Thurley’s efforts have been well received by critics. Writing in Country Life, Sir Roy Strong FSA called it ‘a landmark book’. It’s ‘A triumph’ (Literary Review), ‘Fresh, learned, readable and full of life (Mail on Sunday), and ‘Immensely informative’ (Daily Telegraph).

‘It’s a tough time for heritage,’ says John Darlington FSA, opening an article earlier this year in the Art Newspaper about the Anglican Christ Church Cathedral in Zanzibar. The cathedral, he writes, is ‘an extraordinary architectural melange of European Gothic, Arabic and Swahili styles’ – and built on ‘the site of the last and biggest permanent slave market in East Africa.’ Despite its importance at the heart of Stone Town, a World Heritage Site, the cathedral was in a poor state. It was placed on the World Monuments Watch list in 2014. Now it is being restored. ‘Hearteningly,’ says Darlington, the project ‘is also about tolerance and co-operation. The vast majority of those who worked on the project were Muslim, from the trainee masons to the tour guides, from local government officials to the curators of the new exhibition centre. At a time when heritage has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, it is good to have an example of care for the past that unites, rather than divides.’ Photo Wikipedia.

Fellows Remembered

Frank Herrmann FSA died on 23 April aged 89. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in January 1975. Writing in the Antiques Trade Gazette (May 15), Rupert Powell says Herrmann ‘loved to entertain friends and colleagues at the Travellers’ Club, at Double Crown Club dinners and, if you brought an object to show others and on which you could elucidate, at the Society of Antiquaries.’ After a distinguished career in publishing, Herrmann joined Sotheby’s to reorganise their book department. ‘With an outsider’s eye’, says Powell, ‘and with Teutonic efficiency … Frank introduced “Fast Sales” to clear the backlog of consignments – he reduced the waiting time from consignment to sale date from some 14 months to four weeks.’ He was ‘scrupulously fair, honest and ran his auction house with the utmost integrity. He made work both fun and fascinating.’
Robin Harcourt Williams FSA says he came to know Herrmann through their common membership of the Essay Club. He has written this tribute:
‘Frank Herrmann died shortly before his 90th birthday. The funeral took place on 9 May in his parish church at Woodham Walter, the Essex village where he had lived with his wife Patricia in a moated Elizabethan house for nearly 60 years. In his autobiography, Low Profile: A Life in the World of Books (2002), he chronicled a remarkably varied and successful career as author, publisher and auctioneer.
‘He started work in the production department of Faber & Faber in January 1947. In 1956 he moved to Methuen’s, becoming Production Manager and, soon afterwards, a director of the firm. In later years he was a director of Nelson’s and several other publishing and bookselling companies, still finding time to compile The English as Collectors (1960), a pioneering sourcebook on the history of collecting. This led to a connection with Sotheby’s, whose history he published in 1980 (Sotheby’s: Portrait of an Auction House). He reorganised their book department and was appointed a Director and Head of Overseas Operations outside the UK and the USA.
‘Apart from his books and many articles on collecting, Frank was the author of The Giant Alexander (1964) and three sequels, which first began as bedtime stories for his children. In 1983, in conjunction with two other ex-Directors of Sotheby’s, he set up Bloomsbury Book Auctions, which was a commercial success, very quickly establishing a good name and attracting prestigious collections.
‘He was an active supporter and benefactor of the Plume Library, not far from his home. This charity, founded under the will of Dr Thomas Plume dated 1704, still occupies its historic premises in the town of Maldon. Frank was the founding Chairman of the Friends of the Plume Library, formed in 1988 to raise money for the conservation and purchase of 17th-century books. Owing to poor supervision in the 19th and early 20th centuries, over 700 titles were missing from the original bequest. Frank was able to take advantage of his exceptional position in the rare book world to replace a substantial number of them when they happened to come on the market.
‘He was also well placed to indulge his interest in collecting Regency porcelain. He amassed an astonishing number of dinner, dessert and tea and coffee services. To house them he built an award-winning china store in the garden at Woodham Walter.
‘He was the older brother of art historian Luke Herrmann FSA, a collector of studio pottery who died in 2016. On account of their paternal grandfather being half-Jewish, the family had moved to Great Britain from Berlin in 1937. Their extensive property in Germany was seized by the Nazis but the Schloss Pretzfeld in Franconia was returned to them in 1948. Frank took over responsibility for managing the castle in 1966. Later he enjoyed the challenge of restoring a 300-acre estate of forest and farmland at Wulkow, not far east of Berlin, which was restored to the family in wrecked condition after the collapse of communism.
‘Frank is survived by his widow Patricia, whom he met when they both worked at Faber & Faber, and by their four children.’
• During his publishing career, Herrmann was responsible for bringing Dick Bruna’s Miffy books to the UK. He became good friends with EH Shepard, illustrator of A S Milne’s books. He gave his Giant Alexander books archive to Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children's Books in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. Oak Knoll has put a chapter from Herrmann’s autobiography online, in which he describes his experiences at publisher Ward Lock, where he arrived as a shareholder and joint managing director in 1971. Incidents include a promotion event in the Cotswolds for a new edition of Mrs Beeton’s Cookbook, organised by Clement Freud.

The gastronome and politician fully booked two hotels for the guests, and ‘laid on the most fabulous feast à la Mrs Beeton in a third … I remember there were two sorts of salad dressing, one consisted of almost neat, chilled gin. Clement Freud entertained us with the speech of the century.’ The next morning, ‘after a memorable, substantial breakfast, straight out of Mrs Beeton,’ one of the guests left by helicopter. The resultant press coverage ‘consisted of one short tribute to Isabella in a remote journal.’


Sheep in Fog
, of which this is the top of the autograph manuscript, is an essay by Ted Hughes about Sylvia Plath's poem, The Evolution of Sheep in Fog. It is addressed to Roy Davids FSA, and with Davids’ comments on assorted notes and photocopies, at times the collection of papers almost takes the form of a conversation. In a version published in 1994, Hughes wrote, ‘Written for Roy Davids, of Sotheby's Manuscripts Department, to be given as an illustrated lecture to the Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere, on 25 February 1988.’ Bonhams sold the bundle in 2013, for £10,000.
Roy Davids died on 30 April aged 74. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in March 2011. The Hughes manuscripts were just one item in an extraordinary sale across two days in 2013. The lots were a roll-call of poetic talent – Bronte, Dickinson, Hardy, Housman, Kipling, Lowell, Yeats, and on and on. Yet this was the third Bonhams sale from Davids’ collection. The first, in 2005, featured portraits of writers, artists, musicians and others. The second (2011) more manuscripts, from Joseph Addison to William III, Prince of Orange, via Blake, Churchill and Gandhi.
John Wilson FSA delivered a eulogy at the funeral on 22 May, and has sent this extract:
‘Roy Davids was an historian, a distinguished collector in several fields, and consecutively one of Sotheby's most influential auctioneers and a dealer in autographs and manuscripts.
‘He was born in 1942 and educated in Sussex and at Queen Mary College, University of London, where he came under the influence of the great Tudor historian Professor S. T. Bindoff. He joined Sotheby's book department in 1970 and was immediately set to cataloguing the vast residue of the collection of the Victorian eccentric, Sir Thomas Phillipps, an experience which stood him in good stead for the rest of his professional life.
‘He became head of the Manuscripts Department in 1975, head of Books and Manuscripts in 1981, and later head of Marketing. Davids' influence on the manner of cataloguing and marketing books and manuscripts was profound, and influenced not only his own firm but ultimately the whole trade. Descriptions became more scholarly, and catalogues were well illustrated; inaccuracies and speculations were not tolerated.
‘His legacy to Sotheby's lived on in his own later life as a dealer and collector. He formed fine collections not only of letters and documents, particularly poetical manuscripts, but also of Victorian Gothic furniture, Chinese ceramics, medals and medallions and works of art in bronze. In all these various fields he displayed his remarkable gift of spotting the finest, rarest and historically most significant examples.
‘After suffering a stroke following heart surgery, all of his collections were dispersed in a series of sales at Bonhams Auctions. He died at Chilton House nursing home in Oxfordshire.’
• Davids wrote about cataloguing manuscripts – and how to read others’ catalogues – for the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association. His instructions are detailed, strict and refreshing, calling for open and honest descriptions and caution from the buyer. ‘Beware/avoid the word “interesting”’, he writes. ‘It usually means that the cataloguer thinks or hopes that the item has merit, but that he does not know, or has not troubled to find out, in what ways.’ ‘At their best,’ he concludes, descriptions ‘strive to inform without instruction, to entice without exaggeration, to describe faults accurately without being damning, and to praise where praise is possible.’  
Abbott Lowell Cummings FSA died on 28 May aged 94. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in May 1982.

Daniel Miles FSA, of the Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory, writes that Cummings ‘is to New England early architectural studies what Cecil Hewett was to the English scene. It was he who instigated the first serious dendrochronological study of key New England houses in 1975 – it was so far ahead of its time that the process failed to work. I was fortunate enough to work with him and his protégé Anne Grady on the second dendrochronological study of eastern Massachusetts buildings in 2001, and three subsequent projects, all of which provided positive results and a number of reference chronologies. This work resulted in him revising his chronological theories in the development of First Period New England timber buildings. Abbott was a wonderful gentleman who it was a privilege to know.’
Richard M Candee, Professor Emeritus at the American and New England Studies and Preservation Studies Program, Boston University, has written an obituary from which the following is extracted:
Abbott Lowell Cummings was the leading authority of 17th and early 18th century (“First Period”) architecture in the American north-east, and author of The Framed Houses of Massachusetts (1979). An outstanding teacher at Boston University, Yale University and U Mass Amherst mentoring dozens of young scholars, he asked me many years ago to memorise his life and scholarship when the time came.
‘He was born in St Albans, Vermont, the son of a socialist minister. The budding art historian was educated at Oberlin College (BA 1945, MA 1946) and Ohio State (PhD 1950), then one of the few universities offering American architectural history. From 1948–51 he taught at Antioch College. He was then Assistant Curator for the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in 1955 becoming Assistant Director of SPNEA (now Historic New England), and editor of its journal Old-Time New England. From 1984–92 he was Charles F Montgomery Professor of American Decorative Arts at Yale University.
‘Abbott’s Master’s thesis, Documentary Histories of Seventeenth Century Houses in Massachusetts Bay, noted that stylistic changes could confuse historians hoping to date buildings. Over the next 34 years he continued his research about what really happened to these (mostly) surviving houses and their changes in structure or style.
‘What most folks never knew, was that Abbott thought he had his master opus nearly completed in the late 1960s. He and I spent several summer vacations trotting around England during the late 1960s and early 1970s looking at areas where “his carpenters” had come from, seeking out his famous “prototypes” – houses sharing similarity of form or construction to the earliest Mass. Bay homes. We spent several summers in the hands of Freddie Charles and his family, one year looking at examples with Ron Brunskill FSA, and another attending a meeting of the Vernacular Architecture Forum (of which he was the founding president) and tour with all the early Vernacular Architecture Group members.
‘There, too, he met Cecil Hewett, who revolutionised the dating of English framed building from the evolution of timber joints. In what I considered a clear act of intellectual honesty, Abbott threw out his old manuscript and – getting a grant to bring the whole Hewett family over to Massachusetts for a summer – revisited all the major houses so Hewett could draw their framing details and educate Abbott about this new theoretical system that linked the New World to the Old.
‘He was a Life Member of the Ancient Monuments Society. The Vernacular Architecture Forum’s highest prize for scholarship remains their Abbott Lowell Cummings Award.’

Sir Hugh Cortazzi (British ambassador to Japan 1980–84), wrote to the Times (29 May) with a memory of Roger Highfield FSA, who died in April. Highfield, he says, was tutor/supervisor to the Crown Prince of Japan when he was at Merton College, Oxford (1983–85). In his memoir The Thames and I (translation 2006), ‘the prince made warm references to Dr Highfield, whose influence on him had been “incalculable”. His “first intellectual excitement” came from the historical walks that he did with Dr Highfield. “With his white hair and thick spectacles, and the sly grin he used to give you as you passed him in the street or when he told a joke, there was something special about him which made you think of a wizard riding on a broomstick.”’

Memorials to Fellows

These splendid pictures show a photo in the Wellcome collection, where no details are given (left), and an oil painting at the Royal Society, by Arthur Stockdale Cope and dated 1900. When I brighten the painting on my screen, it’s possible to see that even the chair could be the same in both portraits, and they must surely have been made near the same time. They show Sir John Evans FSA (1823–1908), a distinguished archaeologist and former President of this Society.

In an earlier Salon Norman Hammond FSA wrote of a monument to Evans in the church of St Lawrence, Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire. Outside the church where they were married is a tomb for Evans and his first wife, Harriet Ann Dickinson; the tomb also holds the remains of his second wife and his son, Sir Arthur Evans FSA.
Inside, high up and difficult to read, is a solid memorial to Sir John. Hammond writes again with another photo, by Andrew Skelton, in which the dense lettering is clear but its message less so. A Photoshopped version of just the inscription, writes Hammond, shows it to be ‘biographically detailed and also in a strange lettering style which reminds me of the “Old Irish” used to imply Hibernian traditionalism.’ He wonders if anyone can decipher it?
The job is made harder by the stone’s veining. It would be done best with the full-size colour image file, allowing a potential reader to make adjustments according to the varying tone and light of particular details. I can supply the file to anyone who would like to take it on.
Sir John’s funeral, as reported by the Hemel Hempstead Gazette, was an impressive occasion. The cortege, led by two mounted police, passed the train station so travellers from London could join, and proceeded through the people-lined streets of Abbots Langley. By the time St Lawrence’s was reached there were 70 or 80 carriages and 40 motor cars – and the church was already almost full.
This account is reported by Arthur MacGregor FSA in a substantial book which he also edited, Sir John Evans 1823–1908: Antiquity, Commerce and Natural Science in the Age of Darwin (2008). It was one of the outcomes of the Sir John Evans Centenary Project at the Ashmolean Museum. Other contributors include Susanne Bangert FSA, Nick Barton FSA, Brendan O’Connor FSA, Janet Owen FSA and Lord Stewartby FSA.

The Wisdom of Fellows

Ann Benson FSA would like draw Fellows’ attention to the Institute for the Study of Welsh Estates (ISWE), formed at Bangor University in 2013.
‘The Institute,’ she writes, ‘has been established as an innovative interdisciplinary research centre. Its mission is to support research based on the vast archival and cultural heritage collections generated by landed families and estates so as to provide new insights into the history, culture and landscapes of Wales. Associate membership is offered in two forms (for individuals and for organisations) as a means of enhancing ISWE’s academic reach and collaborative capacity, both within Bangor University and, importantly, through engagement with a network of external partners in other research organizations and in the cultural heritage, archives, historic house and rural affairs sectors.’
The Institute has a clear website, with news of a fully funded three-year PhD Studentship. The closing date for applications is 26 June.

I wrote about Evening Primroses in the last Salon, a newly published collection of poetry by the late Nancy Sandars FSA. As well as in such books, Sandars slipped poetry into her archaeological texts, writes Brendan O'Connor FSA. ‘Latin poetry appears in her writings on prehistory,’ he says. ‘The Epilogue to Bronze Age Cultures in France (1957, page 351) begins with a poem written around AD 900 by Eugenius Vulgarius, O tristia secla priora.’

Forthcoming Events for Fellows

You can catch up on meetings you've missed by watching our lecture recordings (visit the events page and filter the results list by choosing 'past events'). Our programme of Ordinary Meetings will resume in October.

20 July: Private View of Blood Royal
Fellows are invited to join us on Thursday, 20 July, for a private view of the Society's summer exhibition Blood Royal: Picturing the Tudor Monarchy, which will open to the public on 25 July. Details (and booking information) is available at on the website.
28 July: Fellows' Day at Kelmscott Manor
Details for Fellows' Day are available on the website, and you can now book your ticket(s) online. Fellows (and family!) are invited to join us at Kelmscott Manor for a special opportunity to hear about our future plans, explore the Manor and its collections, and enjoy family-friendly activities.

Interested in proposing a lecture? Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Manager ( Please note that lecture programmes are planned between 6 and 12 months in advance.

Forthcoming Public Events

Public Lectures

Public Lectures are held from 13.00 to 14.00 on Tuesdays. These lectures are very popular, so advance booking is advised to be sure of a place. Details of forthcoming lectures can be found on the 'Events' page of the Society's website.

6 June: 'The Library of Saint Thomas Becket' by Fellow Christopher de Hamel

4 July:
'Shakespeare and the Character of Kingship,' with Simon Russell Beale CBE, Prof Maurice Howard OBE VPSA and Jez Smith (film screening). Preview this captivating performance by one of the greatest Shakespeare actors of our day. DVDs are also available for purchase (so you can take home your own copy!).

Click here for more information on our public lectures. We also run public tours of our building and collections (£10 per person) preceding the lectures above.


The Society has two temporary exhibitions running this summer, one at Kelmscott Manor (Oxfordshire) and the other at its Burlington House headquarters in London.

10 June - 28 October: 'Miss Lobb – From Cornwall to Kelmscott: A Life Revealed', a free exhibition (admission is included in entry ticket for the Manor) in partnership with the National Library of Wales and supported by Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.Visit the Manor every Wednesday and Saturday through the end of October.

24 July - 25 August (Mon - Fri, 10.00 - 17.00): 'Blood Royal: Picturing the Tudor Monarchy', a free exhibition at Burlington House exploring the Tudor Dynasty. The exhibition has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Society Dates to Remember

Introductory Tours for Fellows

Join us for an introductory tour of Burlington House to learn more about the Society and its resources. Whether you're a new Fellow or just haven't been to Burlington House, this is a great opportunity to learn more about your Society, your Fellowship benefits, and ways to become more involved. Tours are free for Fellows, but booking is required: 29 June.

Burlington House Closures

The Library will be closed for annual conservation, cleaning and maintenance from Monday, 31 July, to Friday, 1 September (inclusive). The building will be open for the Blood Royal exhibition (24 July - 25 August), but visits to the Library will be by appointment only during this time.

Regional Fellows Groups


South West Fellows

Want to join the South West Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings, you can subscribe online at:

Welsh Fellows

9 June 2017: Join us for lunch at the SWALEC Stadium, Cardiff, followed by a talk by Fellow David Jenkins (Principal Curator, Transport at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea) on his lates book, I Hope to Have a Good Passage (the Business Letter Book of Captain Daniel Jenkins, 1902-1911). Contact Bob Child FSA ( for information.

Want to join the Welsh Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings, email Bob Child at

York Fellows

Want to join the York Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings in York, you can subscribe online at:

Other Forthcoming Heritage Events

6 June: Liturgical Books and the Medieval Library (London)
It has long been conventional in the history of books and book collections of the Middle Ages to draw a distinction between liturgical books and library books. In practice, however, the distinction was less clear-cut. Tessa Webber FSA will examine the evidence to question how far the conventional bi-partite categorisation of books as 'liturgical' and 'library' reflects the way in which books were conceived during the Middle Ages. at Lambeth Palace Library. At Lambeth Palace Library. Contact
7 June: Maternity in the Age of Shakespeare (London)
As part of UCL’s Festival of Culture, Helen Hackett and Karen Hearn FSA present arresting British portraits from the 16th and early 17th centuries which depict their female subjects as visibly pregnant, alongside literary depictions of pregnancy by Shakespeare and others, as well as medical writings on pregnancy and motherhood from the period. Surprising differences will be revealed between the understanding of maternity in Shakespeare’s time and our own. Details online.
7 June: Fifty Years of Conservation Areas (London)
In the last of a series of free lectures as Visiting Professor of the Built Environment at Gresham College, Simon Thurley FSA joins Desmond Fitzpatrick FSA at the Museum of London to talk about Conservation Areas. They were designated in 1967, and today at the golden anniversary there are some 10,000 sites. The presentation will explore their origins, variety and challenges for the future. Details online.

June 8: ‘There is the playhouse now; there you must sit’: Shakespeare and Us (London)
Grace Ioppolo FSA, Professor of Shakespearean and Early Modern Drama at the University of Reading, will give the Wanamaker Fellowship Lecture at Shakespeare’s Globe. What exactly was the relationship between Shakespeare and his original theatrical and literary audiences? How did he envision his relationship with future generations of audiences? The lecture will consider Shakespeare’s relationship with us through the use of playhouses, actors and texts from his own time to ours. It will be illustrated by a Globe actor. Details online.
June–July: Courses and Workshops in the Historic Environment (Oxford)
Oxford University Department for Continuing Education has a programme of courses at Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills for the historic environment, grounded in everyday working experience. These short practical courses are open to all, from historic environment professionals to members of the public with a keen interest in archaeology and historic buildings. The programme is endorsed by CIfA, the IHBC, the Archaeology Training Forum and FAME, and has been developed in conjunction with leading heritage practices. Courses are linked to the National Occupational Standards for Archaeology, and for Town Planning, Conservation and Building Control, and are widely accepted for continuous professional development. Details of National Occupational Standards. Full details can be found online.
7 June: Photographing Historic Buildings
20–21 June: Understanding Place: Historic Area Assessment
26 June: Archaeological Writing for Publication
5–7 July: Heritage Values and the Assessment of Significance.
June: Heritage Practice Training Programme (Leicester)
In partnership with Historic England the University of Leicester has developed a programme to deliver practical, technical and specialist skills for heritage professionals. Forthcoming courses include:
15 June: An Introduction to Roman Pottery.
22 June: Lidar – An Introduction.
Details online.
9–10 June: Thomas Frederick Tout: Refashioning History in the 20th Century (London)
Caroline Barron FSA and Joel Rosenthal and have organised a conference on T.F. Tout, to be held at the Wolfson Conference Suite, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House. Tout had a remarkable impact on the teaching and writing of history in England in the early 20th century. He shifted the focus of Medieval history writing away from chronicles towards administrative documents, and he built up a remarkable School of History at Manchester to rival those of Oxford and Cambridge. His career and influence are now ripe for reassessment. Speakers include Mark Ormrod FSA, Seymour Phillips FSA and Henry Summerson FSA. Details online.
14 June: A Profusion of Barrows (Petersfield)
As part of the People of the Heath project, hosted by Petersfield Museum, archaeologists and volunteers have been conducting extensive fieldwork to help place the Heath prehistoric barrow cemetery in its regional context. The result is that we now know of over 500 barrow sites across the Rother Valley, the likes of which is almost unparalleled in the UK. Lead archaeologist Stuart Needham FSA will discuss the methodology used by the team in making these discoveries, including the use of Lidar. The seminar will be held at Petersfield Town Hall in the Rose Room. Details online.
17–18 June: Norwich and the Medieval Parish Church c 900–2017: The Making of a Fine City (Norwich)
A conference hosted by the Medieval Parish Churches of Norwich Research Project (undertaken at the University of East Anglia and funded by The Leverhulme Trust). All 58 churches, existing, ruined or lost, are included in the project, which seeks insight into how the medieval city developed. The conference (supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art and Purcell) will present the churches in their immediate local context and in the broader framework of urban churches in Britain and northern Europe. Subjects will include documentary history, the architectural fabric of the buildings and their place in Norwich topography, the development of architecture and furnishings, the representation of the churches and their post-Reformation history. Speakers will include local and international scholars, as well as the UEA research team, Brian Ayers FSA, Clare Haynes, T A Heslop FSA, and Helen Lunnon FSA. Details online.

23 June: Innovation in Commercial Archaeology (York)
Members and non-member are invited to the annual FAME Forum (Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers), with this year’s focus on how new ways of working, new techniques and new technology are transforming how we investigate the past. Faced with demands from clients and policymakers for greater effectiveness, and with the prospect of a significant capacity gap due to major infrastructure projects, developing and investing in new techniques and technologies is more important than ever. The aim of the day is to update us all on current thinking around innovation and to generate ideas as to what individual firms and the sector need to do to support innovation. Details online.
23–24 June: The Bronze Age as Pre-modern Globalisation (Southampton)  
The 2017 Prehistoric Society Europa Conference celebrates the achievements of Professor Helle Vandkilde, University of Aarhus, in the field of European prehistory. Speakers include Kristian Kristiansen FSA, Marie Louise Stig Sørensen FSA, Ben Roberts FSA and Jo Sofaer FSA. Details online.
23–25 June: The Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland: Results, Implications and Wider Contexts (Oxford)
This weekend conference will provide an opportunity to explore some of the results of the AHRC-funded Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland project and to set these into wider contexts. Papers will be presented by members of the Atlas team as well as by colleagues working on related themes within and beyond Britain and Ireland. Members of the Hillfort Study Group, and of the Project Steering Committee have been invited to chair sessions and lead discussion. All are welcome to attend and a particular invitation is extended to those who contributed to the Citizen Science initiative associated with this project. Speakers include Eileen Wilkes FSA, Ian Ralston FSA, Mark Bowden FSA, Rachel Pope FSA, Kate Waddington FSA and Gary Lock FSA. See online for details.
24 June: Micro and Other Mosaics (London)
Mosaics remain a much-loved means of expression for artists worldwide. This International conference, in the Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre at the V&A, will explore this versatile art form through the centuries, from antiquity to the present day. Mosaics hold a specific relevance within the V&A since its first Director Henry Cole promoted the art form as a signature British artisanal technique. Tessa Murdoch FSA will chair a session, and speakers will include Will Wootton FSA and Heike Zech FSA. Details online.
24 June: Memorials in the Marches (Ludlow)
St Laurence's Church houses a fine set of memorials to people associated with the Council of Wales and the Marches over the period 1550–1650. The Ludlow Palmers, who raise money for the Conservation Trust for St Laurence, an independent charity devoted to conserving the church’s fabric and treasures, are hosting a conference in the church, on the church monuments, in association with the Church Monuments Society. Fellows can obtain a 15% discount. See online for details.
28 June: Sculptural Display: Ancient and Modern (London)
A conference presented by the Hellenic Society and the Roman Society in the Beveridge Hall, Senate House. Speakers include Olga Palagia FSA, Thorsten Opper FSA and Bruce Boucher FSA, and Lesley Fitton FSA will chair one of the sessions. Details online.
30 June: Building on Philanthropy: The Modern Victorians (London)
The Heritage of London Trust’s Annual Conservation Conference will be held at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, looking at the role of philanthropy in driving change, inspiration and lessons from the past, and realistic expectations for the future. The theme for the morning session is Victorian philanthropy and its impact, and for the afternoon, evolving models to meet today’s challenges. Speakers include Roger Bowdler FSA, Director of Listing, Historic England and Nicola Stacey FSA, Director, Heritage of London Trust. Details online.

6 July: A National Church Tells its Story: The English Church Pageant of 1909 (London)
Arthur Burns (King’s College, London) gives a talk after the Annual General Meeting of the Church of England Record Society. At Lambeth Palace Library. All are welcome, contact

9–12 July: Winchester, An Early Medieval Royal City (Winchester)
An international conference at the University of Winchester features keynote speakers Eric Fernie FSA, Barbara Yorke FSA, Martin Biddle FSA and Sharon Rowley. Topics under discussion include the intellectual life of the city, court and politics, saints and miracle stories, bishops of the city and the people of Winchester. As part of the conference, Fernie will give a public lecture at the Guildhall on the Norman Cathedral of Winchester. The conference is part of Winchester, The Royal City project, which aims to celebrate and promote the ancient city as a centre of key significance to the development of England and English culture. Details online.
17–20 July: Church and City in the Middle Ages: In Honour of Clive Burgess (Harlaxton)
The 2017 Harlaxton Medieval Symposium, convened by David Harry and Christian Steer FSA, will be in honour of Clive Burgess FSA, whose work on the Church as community and institution has shaped perceptions of late Medieval religious culture. The meeting will explore the urban presence of the late Medieval Church; the relationship between lay devotion and urban regulars; clerical provision and the administration of urban parishes; distinctive patterns of worship in large towns and cities; and the material culture and music of urban spaces of worship. Speakers include Julian Luxford FSA, Elizabeth New FSA, Sandy Heslop FSA, Robert Swanson FSA, Jon Cannon FSA, John Goodall FSA, David Lepine FSA, Vincent Gillespie FSA, Julia Boffey FSA and Caroline Barron FSA. Details online.

17–20 July: Understanding Historic Buildings (Oxford)
A number of Fellows will be teaching at this Historic England training course at St Anne’s College, notably Adam Menuge FSA and Allan T Adams FSA. The aim is to communicate investigation and measured survey skills to the next generation. Details online.
25 August: The Contribution of Contract Archaeology to Industrial Archaeology (Northamptonshire)
A seminar organised by David Ingham FSA and Marilyn Palmer FSA as a prelude to the annual conference of the Association for Industrial Archaeology at Moulton College, Northampton. Developer-funded projects in cities have greatly added to knowledge of the recent industrial past. Seven speakers include Norman Redhead FSA (Heritage Management Director (Archaeology), Greater Manchester Archaeological Advisory Service) and Michael Nevell FSA (Head of Archaeology, University of Salford). Details online.
25 September: Canaletto & the Art of Venice (London)
In a spectacular show at the Queen’s Gallery (19 May–12 November), Canaletto’s work is exhibited alongside the Royal Collection’s other Venetian paintings from the 18th century by Sebastiano and Marco Ricci, Francesco Zuccarelli and Giovanni Battista Piazzetta. Lucy Whitaker FSA, Senior Curator of Paintings at the Royal Collection, and Rosie Razzall, Curator of Prints of Drawings, give the first Venice in Peril Fund Autumn Lectures at the Society of Antiquaries. Details online.
7 Oct: Ledgerstones: A Workshop (York)
Discover how to record valuable archives in our churches in a workshop in St Martin-cum-Gregory run by the Ledgerstone Survey of England and Wales. Speakers include Julian Litten FSA, Chair of the LSEW, and the day features a tour of the church and demonstrations of recording and uploading data onto the web. Email Jane Hedley for details at
21 October: From the Cotswolds to the Chilterns: The Historic Landscapes of Oxfordshire (Oxford)
A joint conference hosted by the Society for Landscape Studies and the Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society at St Anne’s College, Oxford. Speakers include Helena Hamerow FSA, David Clark FSA and Trevor Rowley FSA. For details email Brian Rich:
21 October: The Long Sunset: the Country House c 1840–1940 (Lewes)
Sue Berry FSA introduces this conference on the theme of how the country house and its setting changed in design and function between 1840 and 1939, comparing the grand houses of the Victorian and Edwardian periods, with their formal gardens and large staff, with the more intimate houses and gardens of the Arts and Crafts movement and subsequent developments. Speakers include Michael Hall FSA and Marilyn Palmer FSA. Visits related to the conference are planned throughout 2017. See online for details.

28 October: Ledgerstones in Brecon Cathedral (Brecon)
An informal Church Monuments Society Study Day exploring the outstanding collections of ledgerstones in Brecon Cathedral and the monuments of Christ College, with introductory lectures on the rich heritage of commemorative verse in Welsh. See online for details.
17 March 2018: Interpreting Medieval Monuments: Iconography and Meaning (London)
A Church Monuments Society conference in Senate House. The speakers will include Sally Badham FSA, Brian Gittos FSA, Moira Gittos FSA, Nicola Jennings FSA and Sophie Oosterwijk FSA. See online for details.

Call for Papers

19 November 2017: Boxes of Old Rocks: New Research from Old Assemblages (Oxford)
From neatly labelled snap top bags and archive boxes accessed in climate controlled museum stores, to the dusty contents of biscuit tins and bread bags found in private lofts and garages, old lithic assemblages come in all shapes and sizes. They can provide a wealth of information about both prehistoric societies and those who have studied them in more recent times. The Lithics Studies Society invite abstracts of 250 words for 20-minute presentations at the Continuing Education Lecture Theatre, University of Oxford, on research related to any aspect of studying old lithic assemblages from museum collections and other sources. Abstracts should be sent to by 16 July.
18–19 December 2017: Citizen Cathedrals in the Middle Ages: Image, institutions, networks (Girona)
With the aim of bringing together young researchers and exchanging ideas and hypotheses regarding new trends in medieval art history, TEMPLA is organizing a scientific training session in Girona (Spain). This winter school will discuss the concept and expression of the ‘citizen cathedral’ as it has developed in European bishoprics from medieval to modern times. The school is aimed at junior pre- and post-doctoral researchers in the field of art history, history and liturgical studies. Expenses of all researchers whose papers have been accepted will be covered. Proposals before 30 July, and requests for further details to,

Propose a Lecture or Seminar

Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Manager, if you are interested in giving a lecture at one of the Society's Ordinary Meetings (Thursday evenings at 17.00) or as part of our Public Lecture series (occasional Tuesday afternoons at 13.00). We welcome papers based on new research or themes related to the Society's field of interest: the study of the material past. You can view our current lecture programme in the Events section of our website.

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


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