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Salon: Issue 421
11 February 2019

Next issue: 26 February

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 EditorSalon doesn't review books, but the Editor is pleased to receive details and cover images of new titles written by Fellows. Scholarly publications are reviewed in The Antiquaries Journal.

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Inside this issue

From the Desk of the General Secretary

An Earthly Paradise: William Morris & The Thames

The Society of Antiquaries was delighted to hear about the new exhibition An Earthly Paradise: William Morris & The Thames at the River & Rowing Museum, even more so when we heard that the assistant curator of the exhibition was a former intern at Kelmscott Manor. 


''When Sophie contacted me last year regarding the exhibition I was truly delighted to learn she had succeeded in her determination to work in a curatorial role within the heritage sector. Sophie was our very first intern and her choice of William Morris as the focus for the Henley show seemed fittingly, somehow, to bring full circle the process started in 2014.
In preparing for the reinterpretation of Kelmscott Manor for our KMPPF project, I have returned again and again to the findings and contributions of our various interns and it is enormously gratifying to know that our partnership with Oxford University has proved so  mutually beneficial. We look forward to welcoming two more interns to the Manor this summer.''

Kathy Haslam, Heritage Manager(Visitor Experience & Collection), Kelmscott Manor

''Back in 2014 I interned at Kelmscott Manor through the Oxford University Internship Scheme and Thames Valley Country House Partnership. I revelled in spending my days variously tucked away in the archives, welcoming visitors to the idyllic property, or just reading beside Morris’ ‘baby Thames’ on my lunches. 2019 finds me back on the banks of the Thames, but further downstream at the River & Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames, where I have curated our major new exhibition, An Earthly Paradise: William Morris & The Thames (1st February -14th July 2019). This return to Morris via the river that was so significant to him has been an absolute pleasure and has been greatly informed by my time at Kelmscott. Just as the Thames was a thread through Morris’ life, he has in turn brought me back to Kelmscott, who have loaned star objects to the exhibition.''

Sophie Ridley, Assistant Curator at the River & Rowing Museum

An Earthly Paradise: William Morris & The Thames

River & Rowing Museum: 1st February 2019 - 14th July 2019 

The influence of the River Thames and its tributaries flowed through Morris’ life and work. They provided the setting for his leisure time spent angling and boating, inspiration for his designs and writing, and ideal conditions for the manufacture of his textiles. From 1879 the river even connected his two homes: Kelmscott House on the banks of the Thames in London and Kelmscott Manor, upstream in rural Oxfordshire.  

This exhibition is the first to explore the Thames through Morris’ eyes and visitors can experience this story through Morris’ designs, textiles, literature and never-before-seen personal effects. This includes two of the Society’s own objects: a Kelmscott Press edition of ‘News from Nowhere’, signed by Morris to his daughter, May, and skeins of wool hand-dyed by Morris.


Back to the beginning of the report

Mary's Hand & Exhibition of related material


Mary's Hand Friday 15 February

As part of our exciting event on February 15 which celebrates Queen Mary I, we have an exhibition of material from our collection. This exhibition will be on display until Friday 23rd and showcases some fascinating objects including Mary I's 'Book of Fees & Offices' (MS 125). This is a rare chance to see items from the collection that relate to this often misunderstood monarch. This exhibition will compliment our Mary's Hand event and highlights part of our Tudor collection. 

Our Mary's Hand event is a unique opportunity to see the impact of one of the Society's artefacts in popular culture and art. The Queen Mary portrait by Hans Eworth (1553) which hangs in our meeting room inspired the dress that will be worn in the performance. You can see behind the scenes footage of how this dress was created by Andie Scott & Sophie Meyer on McCaldin Arts Twitter page.

The evening includes a talk by Dr John Cooper FSA on Mary I as England's first female ruler, focusing on her priorities, her power, and why she has had such a bad press. Clare McCaldin will perform excerpts from McCaldin Arts critical acclaimed opera Mary's Hand. The evening will finish with a wine and canapés reception. 

Tickets are available online for this special evening of entertainment. Tickets (£30) includes a drinks reception. 


Eclipsed by her younger half-sister, Elizabeth, Mary Tudor lies ‘in the shadow hand of Time’ – confused with Mary Queen of Scots, vilified as ‘Bloody Mary’ or forgotten. Hailed at her funeral as ‘a King’s daughter’ (first child of Henry VIII) and ‘King also’ (first Queen of England to rule in her own right) the hand that Fortune dealt her was a tricky one. She lies beneath Elizabeth in Westminster Abbey, awaiting resurrection in the afterlife and in the popular imagination.

It’s a little-known fact that Mary loved games of chance. At the beginning of Mary’s Hand Mary invites the audience to help tell her story in a game of cards. The cards (Court Cards – Royals only!) represent the key players in her life. For the show to begin the audience must choose a card. The choice of that and subsequent cards determines the order in which she will sing her story and reflect upon influences and events: her father Henry VIII, her mother Catherine of Aragon, her Catholic faith, as well as the perceived causes of her troubles; her half-brother Edward, half-sister Elizabeth, the ever-stronger Protestant faith, and her desperate desire for a child.

Above all, Mary was driven by the wish to be a good monarch and her deep conviction that she needed to restore England to the Church of Rome. Her marriage to the Catholic Philip II of Spain promised to resolve many of these issues at a stroke, but Mary played her cards badly and paid a high public and personal price.

With words by Di Sherlock and music by Martin Bussey, Mary’s Hand is performed by solo mezzo-soprano Clare McCaldin and is scored for cello, trumpet and oboe/cor anglais.

Mary’s dress is a replica of the dress worn in her portrait by Hans Eworth, in the collection of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

Victorian Figurehead Listed 

This is Arethusa, in Greek mythology a nymph who was changed into a spring as she fled the unwanted attentions of Alpheus, and came to the surface on Ortygia in Sicily. Alpheus continued the pursuit as a river, however, and their waters mingle as they surface. If the figure looks rather well dressed for a spring nymph, it is because she was carved as a figurehead for HMS Arethusa, commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1849. Her slight déshabillé is a nod to a 19th-century belief that a naked woman could calm storms at sea.
Historic England has listed Arethusa, who becomes one of only five such figureheads in England not incorporated into listed buildings. She was carved wearing early Victorian dress by James Hellyer and Sons of London and Portsmouth, and saw battle in the Crimean War in 1854 at the head of the 50-gun Fourth Rate sailing frigate. HMS Arethusa was decommissioned in 1874, moored in Kent and loaned by the Admiralty to a charity as a training ship and boarding school for destitute boys, who were prepared for service in the Royal Navy or Merchant Navy. She was broken up in 1933, when the figurehead was retained by the charity which is now known as Shaftesbury Young People, and displayed at their premises near Rochester.
Duncan Wilson FSA Chief Executive of Historic England, said in a statement that ‘The survival of former bow figureheads as statues helps demonstrate the rich and colourful history of our maritime past.’
I asked Mark Dunkley FSA, a maritime archaeologist with Historic England, how the art of ships’ figureheads was seen 170 years ago. The Hellyer family were well known and their work admired, he told me; they exhibited at the 1851 Exhibition. Arethusa is on the cusp of a Victorian shift from representing heroic myths to more accessible and human stories. In a blog, Dunkley says that the straight hulls of ocean-going steamers had no place for a figurehead, and the tradition largely came to an end in the late 19th century.

• The Cutty Sark claims to have the world’s largest collection of Merchant Navy figureheads, gathered together as a colourful crowd under the ship’s bow. For half of the collection, says Royal Museum Greenwich, ‘the names, namesakes and stories’ were lost when the vessels were wrecked or broken up. Identified figures include Boadicea, Elizabeth Fry and Garibaldi, and (photos below by Jerry Young) Hiawatha and Sir Lancelot.


Would you Buy this Skull?

Much public interest has been generated by Hansons Auctioneers of Etwall, Derbyshire, who are selling finds recovered from an Anglo-Saxon cemetery. As well as ‘hundreds of objects’ – mostly jewellery and weapon parts – the items include at least one human skull and skeleton. The cemetery was excavated near Irby, Lincolnshire in the 1960s and 70s. There will be a viewing on Monday February 18, and private bids for the collection are invited by 1 June. The guide price is £50,000-£80,000.
The late Gordon Taylor, a history teacher, began an excavation in 1962 after he found human bone and Anglo-Saxon pottery in a ploughed field on Welbeck Hill (right). At the start he opened eight graves, from each of which he retained the mandible and cranium, reburying the other skeletal remains at a depth where they would not be disturbed by further ploughing. He kept everything else, which included seven iron knives, a lynch pin, nine brooches, a silver disc, buckles, beads, rings and more, and an additional burial in the form of cremated remains in a pottery urn.
Anglo-Saxon cemeteries are not rare, and many have been excavated, two within three miles of Taylor’s. Such a large collection of objects from so few graves is unusual, however, as was the quality of preservation: in photos some brooches look almost new, and cloth fragments survived (‘stated by the Institute of Fabric Research to be mainly well woven cotton’). Later finds included knotted braid, twill and leather, and in one grave a deposit of bracken fronds and bark.
Naturally archaeologists took a strong interest in the dig, but Taylor continued to work independently. It is recorded that up to July 1976 he had recovered 72 inhumations and five cremation burials. He may have found more: Hansons quote his widow, Mrs Muriel Taylor (who is selling the collection), as saying that his excavation lasted 17 years, suggesting he stopped in 1979.
Taylor seems to have welcomed archaeological interest, but he never analysed or published his finds. The ‘250-strong collection of rare and mysterious antiquities’ comes with ‘records and research’ (apparently including excavation photos and a copy of Teach Yourself Archaeology (1953) by the Reverend Canon Graham Brade-Birks FSA), which may help archaeologists understand the site if the collection is acquired by a museum and not subsequently dispersed by a dealer. For now it remains known patchily and only to a handful of specialists.
There has been much discussion on social media about how a sale like this could come about. People ask if it’s legal, especially with respect to human remains? ‘The antiquities were found before treasure trove rules came into being,’ say Hansons, ‘hence he was able to keep it.’ The first part of that is not strictly correct, but the sale is permissible.
A key element of Treasure Trove law, current when Taylor excavated the cemetery, was whether or not objects had been buried with intent to recover them. If not, they were not Treasure, so, for example, the owner of the land on which gold and silver were found in 1939 at the great Sutton Hoo ship burial was allowed to do what she wished with the pieces (she gave them to the nation).
Treasure Trove law was replaced by the Treasure Act 1996 (now under review). Under this a variety of items are classed as Treasure in England and Wales, depending on their age, the amount of precious metal present, or associations between different objects. At Welbeck Hill an impressive gilt-bronze great square-headed brooch and a gilded continuous spiral saucer brooch would not, other things being equal, be classed as Treasure; two silver bracteates and silver serpent finger-rings, if solid silver, would be, as would any other goods placed in the same graves. However, the Act does not have retrospective effect. The law cannot touch the collection, although for archaeologists it is the totality that gives it its ultimate value.
The human remains can be sold too, though this isn’t as simple as it sounds either, as Linzi Harvey of the Natural History Museum explained in a long series of tweets (@HarveyArchaeo).
There is, she says, ‘no concept of ownership of human remains in law. They really belong to no-one, whatever a bill of sale might say. The phrase they used to use for the status of corpses in common law was pleasingly, “the only lawful possessor of the dead body is the earth”.’
They can be owned if they’ve been worked into something else, like Damien Hirst's skull in For the Love of God, and if they are less than a century old they can fall under the Human Tissue Act 2004 (you need a licence to hold onto them). But regardless of legal title, they can participate in financial transactions.
‘In terms of archaeological human remains,’ concludes Harvey, ‘the removal of them from the ground or a crypt can be illegal, and be prosecuted, but storing or selling the resultant remains – which cannot be legitimately owned – is generally not. This seems somewhat unbelievable,’ she continues, ‘which makes it important in the absence of an appropriate law to adopt a strong ethical stance.’
‘All human remains deserve to be treated with dignity and respect whatever their provenance,’ she says. ‘The British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology has produced a Statement on the Sale of Human Remains, and is clear that “the sale [or trade] of human remains is unethical” and cannot be condoned. This ethical stance should be adopted by auction houses & shops which continue to sell or display human remains. Since "legality" is difficult to immediately ascertain, complaining to these organisations and removing your custom is imperative to force an ethical policy.’
‘Finally,’ Harvey concludes, ‘it's important to recognise that when there is a market for human remains, people will do terrible things to profit from it. This is the real cost of such sales, even ones with an air of legitimacy – more looting & grave-robbing in ever more unscrupulous ways.’
Legal and a private right? Yes. Should things change? Comments welcome.
Object photos Hansons Auctioneers. Site photo Chris/Geograph.

Sir John Fenn FSA, Man of Letters


Matthew Champion FSA sends this piece about a successful publishing venture and a discovery of some 18th-century Fellow’s manuscripts. ‘I found it all rather fascinating,’ he says, and we can only agree:
‘The HLF-funded Paston Footprints project at the University of East Anglia has recently acquired volumes one to ten of Archaeologia (1770–89), the first journal of the Society of Antiquaries. These bound volumes came to the attention of the project as they had originally been the property of Sir John Fenn FSA (1739–94), but were found to contain numerous items that might be of interest to current Fellows of the Society.
‘John Fenn, of East Dereham in Norfolk, came to public notice as the individual who first transcribed and published the now famous Paston Letters, written between members of the Norfolk Paston family in the 15th century. Fenn had collected together the correspondence after they had been scattered across the country following the disbursement of the estate of the William Paston, 2nd Earl of Yarmouth, at Oxnead Hall in the 1740s. With no background in palaeography, Fenn taught himself to read and transcribe the documents, spending years collating the results, and relating them to the wider events of the Wars of the Roses.
‘However, even with the first batch of letters ready for publication, Fenn wasn't convinced anyone would want to actually read them. They dealt with the minutiae of medieval family life that related to a relatively quiet backwater of England. They mentioned little about the great events of the day, and concerned themselves more with petty family squabbles, and the everyday financial matters of a family under pressure. He approached the Society of Antiquaries with a view to publishing the first volume, but his fears were largely confirmed. The committee was not convinced there would be a strong market for such a volume, and declined the offer to publish it. It was only after the constant encouragement of his friend, Horace Walpole FSA, that Fenn ventured to published the first volume of letters in 1787, dedicating it to King George III. Much to his own surprise, and undoubtedly that of the committee, it was an overnight sensation. The first print run sold out in a matter of weeks, with Fellows writing to their friends in London desperate to secure a copy, but usually to no avail.
‘The success of the first book of Paston letters led to further volumes, with the fifth and final volume being published posthumously. As recognition for his achievement Fenn was knighted in 1787. During his life John Fenn wrote only one published work that was not directly related to the Paston letters; busying himself instead with creating one of the earliest written histories of the Society of Antiquaries. His Three Chronological Tables, showing the growth of the Society of Antiquaries from 1572 to 1784 was based upon notes and research that he had laid out on the end papers of these ten volumes, where his meticulously handwritten tables cover numerous pages, and the work was privately printed by the Society in 1784.

‘Of particular interest to Fellows are the large number of documents that Fenn enclosed within the volumes that relate directly to the Society’s early activities. These include his own fellowship nomination latter, signed by six worthies of the day, including the astronomer John Smith FSA of Caius College, Cambridge, and the noted antiquarian William Richardson FSA. Fenn also included letters relating to the Society's annual subscription, requests to attend council meetings, and early examples of blank pro-forma letters produced for use by the Secretary and President of the Society.
‘Fenn was apparently known to be in the habit of storing loose documents inside books in his library, as a form of filing system. After his death in 1794 there was some consternation when the original medieval Paston letters relating to volume five of the series could not be located. They were eventually found by a family member, concealed inside a volume on an entirely unrelated subject, that had ended up being stored in Fenn's attic. These ten volumes of Archaeologia proved no exception. Tucked into the books were numerous handwritten notes on the articles, letters from fellow antiquarians, and even sketches of local antiquities of interest. Sadly no new Paston letters were found lodged inside the books.’


Moving Cultural Heritage into a Museum is a ‘Creative Act’

On 26 January Ta Nea, a Greek newspaper, published an interview with Hartwig Fischer FSA by Yannis Andritsopoulos, in which he asked about the Parthenon marbles in the British Museum. It was not the first time Andritsopoulos has quizzed people in Britain this way. In June last year he talked to Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party with hopes to form the next government, who informed the journalist that ‘the Parthenon Sculptures belong to Greece. They were made in Greece and have been there for many centuries until Lord Elgin took them.’
As he travelled to the British Museum to meet Fischer, writes Andritsopoulos, he recalled an earlier meeting between Melina Mercouri, then Greek Minister of Culture, and Sir David Wilson FSA, former Director of the museum. ‘I want my marbles back!’ says Mercouri. Wilson looks at her, says Andritsopoulos, ‘and answers her with matchless British phlegm: “You want your marbles, others want theirs”.’
Fischer’s answers to Andritsopoulos’s questions about the sculptures were mostly those given by a succession of museum spokespeople over the years, but one remark caused a flurry of interest. The British Museum, he said, ‘posed different questions because the objects are placed in a new context,’ offering ‘opportunities for different interactions’. These opportunities were to be valued. ‘You could, of course, be saddened by the fact that the original environment has disappeared… However, this move is also a creative act. Of course, this also applies to the Acropolis Museum. The sculptures there are outside their original frame… they have again moved away from [the Acropolis] and have been transformed through this act.’
Proponents of returning the marbles to Greece were not impressed. George Vardas, Secretary of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, went to Twitter (@VardasGeorge) to ask, ‘What was so creative in the destruction of the temple and looting and pillage of a nation’s keys to its ancient history?’ The British Museum’s ‘imperial condescension … knows no bounds… Astonishing historical revisionism and arrogance.’
Jonathan Jones, an arts writer for the Guardian, came to Fischer’s defence (29 January), armed with a translation of the key passage provided by the museum: ‘When you move cultural heritage into a museum, you move it out of context. Yet that displacement is also a creative act, and each encounter with it is potentially a creative act.’
‘This may seem provocative,’ says Jones, but ‘Emotion is easy and thinking is hard.’
‘... if you don’t see [Fischer’s] case,' he continues, 'you are ultimately saying there shouldn’t be any world museums and every work of art should stay in its original location, as it only has meaning in its original context. If you follow this through to its logical conclusion, there should be no international sharing of images and ideas. Every altar piece in the National Gallery would have to go back to the church it was made for. That’s a terrifying plan to intellectually shrink our species in a myriad of mental Brexits… Creative? Actually, yes. The generosity and scope of a museum on the British Museum’s scale expands our horizons.’
Asked by Andritsopoulos how he felt as a non-British Director of the British Museum, Fischer replied, ‘I feel, not as a German, but as a man, an excellent honour to be the Director of this institution. And I am responsible for its future, along with all my colleagues, commissioners and sponsors. I did not take up this role as a German or as the son of someone born to a Frenchman or someone married to someone who was Italian and now French, and Peruvian in the meantime. I took it as a European citizen of the world, and rejoiced for it.’
Andritsopoulos: ‘Do you think Brexit will affect the operation of the Museum?’
Fischer: ‘Yes. I think, depending on what kind of Brexit will be, if it happens, it will have serious implications.’
Andritsopoulos: ‘Do you fear a Brexit without a deal?
Fischer: ‘A Brexit without agreement would have even greater impact.’

My photos show original sculptures brought indoors for safety into the Acropolis Museum, Athens, arranged with white copies of pieces in the British Museum.

First Prehistoric Chariot Burial Found in Wales

Is it ‘The UK’s Greatest Detecting Discovery Ever?’ That is how Treasure Hunting magazine headlined its story last December about the partial excavation of a chariot buried in the Late Iron Age around AD 25–75. In February 2018 Mike Smith had found enamelled copper-alloy fittings while metal-detecting on farmland in Pembrokeshire. The discovery was reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales (PAS Cymru) and immediately identified as a potential Treasure find. Further fragments were found later in the year when archaeologists staged a more formal exploratory dig at the site, revealing the upper parts of two wheel rims. On 31 January the finds were declared Treasure. Further work is planned at the site.
Adam Gwilt FSA, Principal Curator of Prehistoric Archaeology, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, and Gwilym Hughes FSA, Head of Cadw, commented in statements on the finds’ significance. This is only the second occasion on which an Iron Age chariot burial has been found in the UK outside Yorkshire, where they are a distinctive local feature. The first was found by archaeologists excavating ahead of new development at Newbridge, near Edinburgh Airport, in 2001.

On 1 February the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport announced a public consultation on a review of the Treasure Act 1996. Heritage Minister Michael Ellis said that proposals would allow more artefacts to be acquired by local and national museums and put on public display. The consultation closes on 30 April 2019.

Fellows (and Friends)

Arnold Wilson FSA, curator, died in March 2018.
Virginia Glenn FSA, medievalist, died in December 2018.
Pamela Willetts FSA, librarian, died in January.
Thomas Davies FSA, medical historian, died in January. 
Bernard Middleton FSA, bookbinder, died in January.
Appreciations appear in Fellows Remembered below.


Lamia al-Gailani, who was not a Fellow, has died in Jordan, where she was attending a training workshop for curators protecting and promoting the cultural heritage of Iraq and Syria. She was aged 80. Based in London, where she studied Mesopotamian cylinder seals for her PhD at UCL, after degrees at Cambridge and Edinburgh, she spent much time in Baghdad since 2003 dealing with the effects of the destructive looting of the National Museum of Iraq. ‘In the early 20th century,’ writes the Economist (7 February), ‘Western archaeologists more or less took what they wanted. That plunder had been stopped by one intrepid Englishwoman, Gertrude Bell FSA, who was her heroine for all kinds of reasons. Of course, she was a colonialist; but she was still devoted to the country, founded the National Museum and set rules for the export of antiquities, a fearless woman in a man’s world.’ Al-Gailani had been a curator at the National Museum from 1960, before returning to the UK in 1970.
Ten new Fellows were elected on 7 February:
Jennie Bradbury (endangered archaeology and cultural heritage in the Middle East and North Africa).
Jane Eade (European religious history and visual culture).
Alice Forward (post-Conquest and Early Modern period archaeology, especially in Wales).
Naoise Mac Sweeney (ancient Greece and Anatolia).
Ingrid Mainland (archaeozoology).
Anne Preston-Jones (archaeology and historic landscape of Cornwall).
Andrew Rudd (Romantic period literature and culture).
Dale Townshend (architecture, antiquarianism and Gothic literature in the long 18th-century).
Katherine Walker (Neolithic stone industries).
Katy Whitaker (archaeology, archives and public engagement).
For details see Ballot Results. Further details can be seen in the Ballot Archive (Fellows only).

Norman Hammond FSA writes to clear up something that might have been puzzling some Fellows, regarding columns by himself and Huon Mallalieu FSA, and paid-for obituaries, in the Times: ‘Readers of Salon who are also readers of the Times will have noticed the recent absence from the Saturday Register section, following the obituaries, of the alternate-week articles by Huon Mallalieu on antiques, and myself on archaeology. This results from a redesign of the Register, with fewer pages (military history, pet obituaries, and quite a lot of religion have gone as well), and the introduction of paid-for obituaries as Readers’ Lives. Huon is still writing his weekly antiques column for Country Life, and we both continue to contribute to the Times. The paper’s coverage of archaeology on the News pages remains strong, especially in its scientific aspects, under Tom Whipple and Rhys Blakely and in reports from overseas correspondents.’

The Fortification of the Firth of Forth 1880–1977, by Gordon J Barclay FSA and Ron Morris, will be published by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland early in March. A lavishly-illustrated hardback, it tells the story of the development of the Forth Fortress from 1880. Increasingly complex defences were built between the Isle of May and the Forth Rail Bridge to detect, block and sink enemy warships and submarines. The defences reached their zenith in 1916–17 as preparations were made for the Grand Fleet to move from its northern anchorage at Scapa Flow. The estuary was re-armed in 1939, and the coast defences were wound up in 1956 before being finally abandoned in 1977. Many of the surviving features remain visible in and around the Firth of Forth today.

I noted Robin Derricourt FSA’s Unearthing Childhood: Young Lives in Prehistory last summer. In January it won the Archeology & Ancient History subject category in the 2019 PROSE award from the Association of American Publishers. Londinium: A Biography. Roman London from Its Origins to the Fifth Century, by Richard Hingley FSA, won the Classics category. In last year's Salons I somehow missed this book,  which draws together a huge amount of published information into a readable narrative of urban history; a table of excavation site codes runs to nine pages, footnotes fill nearly 80 and bibliography and index are appropriately exhaustive. As well as such documentation, Hingley identifies themes (his key two being the definition and inhabitation of spaces) and presents new perspectives to stimulate debate.

Amara Thornton FSA has put together a website featuring an excavation diary which could serve as a model for similar records, of which there are many, often containing important information that is otherwise unavailable. The diary, says Thornton, was written primarily by team members George Horsfield FSA (1880–1956), Chief Inspector for the Department of Antiquities in British Mandate Transjordan, and Agnes Conway (1885–1950), an archaeologist, historian and writer; they married in 1932. It is from the first intensive excavations at Petra, an important archaeological site and tourist attraction in Jordan, written in March, April and May 1929, and as well as a transcription the website includes photos, essays and indices. The photo on right shows Agnes Conway Horsfield (UCL Institute of Archaeology).

In Two Huguenot Brothers: Letters of Andrew and James Coltée Ducarel, 1732-1773, essays by Randolph Vigne on the Huguenots in 18th-century France and by Robin Myers FSA on the life and times of the brothers precede a fully annotated transcript of letters from James in France to his brother Andrew in London. They provide a hitherto unknown resource for students of the French Enlightenment, giving a picture of the last years of the ancien regime with its growing anticlericalism and increasing violence. James’s lively, gossipy style, his accounts of hazardous travels through France as he attempts to recover the family patrimony and hunts for books and drawings, and his visits to abbeys and cathedrals for his brother are vivid and engaging. The book is illustrated by colour portraits and miniatures from oil paintings in the possession of the family, a map of old Normandy and facsimile pages of seven of the letters. It will be published in March in a limited edition of 250 copies. For details contact Alice Ford-Smith at

In its 25-year history the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded over £7.1 billion to more than 40,000 projects run by not-for-profit organisations. About a quarter of UK National Lottery ticket income goes into a grant fund, which awards a variety of ‘good causes’. Last year 40% of this Lottery Fund went to arts and heritage. The HLF has celebrated its 25th anniversary with some rebranding: it is now to be known as the NLHF, or National Lottery Heritage Fund. Ros Kerslake, CEO, tells Loyd Grossman FSA in a video that the change is to highlight the role of Lottery players, who surveys show are not all aware of what happens to their money. So not just a response to a fall in tickets sales, asks Grossman? ‘Absolutely,’ says Kerslake. The Heritage Fund website details other changes.
William Gibson FSA has edited The History of Lambeth Degrees: Sources and Studies. The book examines the history of degrees awarded by the Archbishops of Canterbury from 1539 to the present day. ‘Lambeth degrees’ have a history rich in controversy, and the book brings together an important series of primary source material and articles. These include the complete text of Bishop Francis Gastrell’s legal claim in 1717 that Lambeth degrees were not the equivalent to university degrees; a complete list of Lambeth degree recipients 1539–1995; and an examination of Charles Franklyn’s claim that the degrees are really ‘state’ or royal degrees.

Joanna Brück FSA has written Personifying Prehistory: Relational Ontologies in Bronze Age Britain and Ireland, which draws on new and unpublished finds from the many developer-funded excavations carried out over the past 20 years. It is, says the blurb, the first book on its subject area to apply contemporary archaeological theory to this rich dataset. Brück explores the impact of the post-Enlightenment 'othering' of the non-human on our understanding of Bronze Age society, sensing that the familiar conceptual boundary between the active human subject and the passive world of objects was not thus drawn in the Bronze Age; the self was constructed in relational rather than individualistic terms, and aspects of the non-human world such as pots, houses, and mountains were considered animate entities with their own spirit or soul.

Fellows Remembered

Arnold Wilson FSA died in March 2018 aged 86. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in March 1979. What follows is based largely on a tribute, written by Sidney Blackmore in 2017, to Wilson as a long-standing Friend of Holburne Museum, Bath, where he had been Chairman of the Trustees.
Arnold Wilson grew up in London; his father, Robert Arthur Wilson, was an artist of strikingly vibrant abstract paintings, and his brother Arthur Wilson and his nephew Richard Wilson are also artists. He studied in Cambridge and at the Courtauld Institute, working first at the Museum of London Print Room, then Aylesbury Museum, and later as Keeper at the William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow.
He moved to Bristol City Art Gallery as Curator of Paintings, where he rose to Director in 1968. When he retired in 1987, the gallery raised funds to buy Corot’s Fontainebleau, en Forêt in recognition of his service.
He wrote A Dictionary of British Marine Painters (1967) and A Dictionary of British Military Painters (1972), and co-authored with Nicholas Thomas an exhibition catalogue, Ceramics in Bristol: Bristol Fine Wares 1670-1970 (1979). He contributed articles to Apollo, The Burlington Magazine, Connoisseur and Country Life. He was also a Fellow of the Museums Association.

Virginia Glenn FSA died on 28 December 2018 aged 77. She was elected a Fellow of the Society in April 2006. Marian Campbell FSA has kindly written this tribute, illustrated with a photo from a family album and thought to have been taken in the 1960s.
Virginia Glenn died in Edinburgh after a brief illness, just short of her 78th birthday. A medievalist and specialist in the decorative arts, especially goldsmiths’ work and seals, she spent most of her career as a museum curator. Never afraid of challenging authority, Virginia brought sparkle and verve to her professional and private lives. She was gregarious, quick-witted and wonderfully hospitable, a giver and lover of parties.
‘Her PhD, entitled The Emergence of the Gothic Style in 13th Century Parisian Goldsmiths' Work, was awarded by the Courtauld in 1991. Her publications included articles on seals, especially Scottish ones, Welsh ceramics (Perlau'r Parlur = Pride of the Parlour: A Selection of Victorian Welsh Pottery, 1984) and importantly, Romanesque & Gothic: Decorative Metalwork and Ivory Carvings in the Museum of Scotland (2003).
‘She was Honorary Secretary of the British Archaeological Association (1980–82), and became a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 1995.
‘Virginia Glenn was born on 16 January 1941 in Armagh into an artistic family. Her father collected clocks and antiques, one aunt was a fashion designer, an uncle was a cartoonist and illustrator, and her mother and uncles were involved in amateur dramatics. She went to schools in Armagh and Belfast, and studied art at the Belfast College of Art and in Edinburgh. Here she met Brian Pow, and they married in 1966, although they separated and divorced a few years later. Her first job was as assistant in the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh.
‘Going from Edinburgh to London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, Virginia worked on tapestries as an assistant conservator. Realising that she really wanted to be a curator, for which a degree was desirable, from 1969–72 she studied for her BA in Art History at the Courtauld Institute, and in her last term there got a curatorial job in the Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery. Here she helped organise and catalogue the important exhibition of Birmingham silver: Birmingham Gold and Silver 1773–1973: An Exhibition Celebrating the Bicentenary of the Assay Office (28 July–16 September 1973). From Birmingham she went on to the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, where she helped catalogue the major Burges exhibition, The Strange Genius of William Burges, "Art-architect" (1827–1881): A Catalogue to a Centenary Exhibition (ed J Mordaunt Crook FSA, 1981).
‘Finally, to her great pleasure, she returned in 1985 to the National Museums of Scotland, in Edinburgh, a city she loved. A range of activities in the museum included refurbishing the European ceramics and glass galleries, and arranging new European decorative arts galleries, for which she commissioned a huge and ornate silver vase from Malcolm Appleby, goldsmith and gunsmith. Professional advice given included to the Heritage Memorial Fund, over the fitting-out of the Clyde paddle-steamer Waverley. Taking early retirement in 1996 from a Museum she regarded as having become tiresomely bureaucratic, Virginia enjoyed research and its attendant trips all over Europe, and the company of her friends.
‘Her generous bequest of her estate to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland will hugely benefit all those who share her interests, now and in the future.’
• Intrigued by the photo, I sought help on Twitter for identification of the aircraft. The Department of Anthropology, University of Victoria, Canada, (@UVicAnthro) thinks it’s an ERCO Ercoupe, which has a twin vertical tail and a very similar plexiglass arrangement and angle. The closest among those pictured on Wikipedia seems to be the Forney/Fornaire Aircoupe, of which apparently only 138 were made in the late 1950s (photo above by Ad Meskens).


Pamela Willetts FSA died on 25 January aged 89. She was elected a Fellow of the Society in January 1990.
Pamela Willetts will be best known to most Fellows as author of the Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Society of Antiquaries of London (2000). As Heather Rowland, Head of Library and Collections, puts it, ‘we constantly refer to the manuscripts catalogue and just refer to it simply as “Willetts”, as in “Have you checked in Willetts?”.’ This was the first printed catalogue of the Society's manuscript collections to be published since 1816, and details Fellows’ interests since the Society’s foundation in 1717. ‘Inevitably,’ she wrote, ‘in a collection built up over three centuries and moved from Chancery Lane to Somerset House in 1780 and to Burlington House in 1874, there have been some losses,’ and she listed some ‘more recent acquisitions [which] cannot at present be traced’.
As a manuscript specialist at the British Museum and later Deputy Keeper in the Department of Manuscripts, British Library, however, her work focused especially on musical records. Her publications of acquisitions include The Henry Lawes Manuscript (1969), Handlist of Music Manuscripts Acquired 1908–67 (1970), ‘An autograph manuscript of Percy Grainger’ (British Museum Quarterly 1962) and ‘The Ayrton Papers: music in London, 1786–1858’ (1980) and ‘The Elgar sketch-books’ (1985), the last two in the British Library Journal. For exhibitions in the British Museum she prepared Beethoven and England: An Account of Sources in the British Museum (1970) and Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1872–1958: A Centenary Exhibition (1972). She also wrote ‘Patrick Cary and his Italian poems,’ for the British Library Journal (1976).
The funeral will be at Great Glen Crematorium near Leicester on 19 February. Her son, Andrew Gordon, is considering arranging a London event in April, if anyone is interested please let Salon know and I will pass it on.


Thomas Davies FSA died on 26 January aged 87. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in January 2005.
‘He was very proud,’ says his wife Rosina Davies, ‘to have been elected a Fellow of the Society. He continued his research into local history and the history of medicine until the very end of his life, and published many articles and books relating to these subjects. His book on the history of medicine in Swansea (his life-time research) is to be published in May this year and will be called To Stand by the Sick Bed.’
Tom Davies MD FRCPsych DPM was a consultant psychiatrist with a strong interest in 19th-century Welsh medical history. He grew up in Blaendulais, Neath and worked in Swansea. After retiring he was appointed Honorary Research Fellow in the History of Medicine at the University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff. He wrote about the history of medicine, local history and literature, in both Welsh and English.
He was also a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Bernard Middleton FSA died on 28 January aged 94. He was a Lifetime Fellow of the Society, having been elected in January 1967.
Bernard Middleton was a noted bookbinder and book restorer, who on at least one occasion received the ultimate tribute of being named as adding value to an early Shakespeare folio. When George Bayntun advertised a complete text of The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus in 2015, the book (1685) was described as ‘bound by Bernard Middleton in April 2001 (signed and dated in pencil on the rear endleaf) … a very good copy, enhanced by the old style binding by the great Bernard Middleton.’ The volume was priced at £1500.
He was commissioned by Mel Kavin to write You Can Judge a Book by its Cover: A Brief Survey of Materials, which eventually expanded to 33 miniature books created by different binders, one of them Middleton himself (below), published in 1994. An illustrated catalogue followed in 1998, with a special edition of six copies signed by all the binders and the production team. One is currently available for $8500.
Bernard Middleton was born in London and studied at the Central School of Arts and Crafts (1938–40, now Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design). His father had also been a student there, and in an interview for the British Library’s Crafts Lives he said the school was regarded 'as the sort of Oxbridge of the craft world.’
He was apprenticed at the British Museum Bindery in the 1940s, when there were some 80 staff. ‘It was a hard life,’ he told the BL, ‘with an initial salary of £1 a week and only a seven minute tea break each day … it had been five minutes and then two more minutes were negotiated, and then the deputy foreman would bang with a stick on his press to indicate that we should stand up and get on with our work again.’
During these years he attended the London College of Printing part time and served in the Royal Navy. He became a Craftsman-Demonstrator at the Royal College of Art (1949–51) and then manager of Zaehnsdorf Ltd, a London bookbinder. He became self employed in 1953.
He was a founding member of Designer Bookbinders and served as its President from 1973 to 1975. His bindings have been exhibited extensively and he conducted book restoration workshops in Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the USA and Venezuela as well as in the UK. His publications include A History of English Craft Bookbinding Technique (1963) and The Restoration of Leather Bindings (1972).
‘My designs are intended to please the eye,’ he wrote in Recollections (1995), ‘not engage the intellect, principally by the employment of textures, strongly defined shapes and contrasts, and by the play of light on gold, preferably in combination and in a manner which complements the book.’
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1951 and received an MBE in 1986.
Photo British Library/Bernard Middleton. Robert Weaver FSA writes that he is deputed to conduct the funeral ceremony, which will be at Mortlake Crematorium on 19 February.

The Wisdom of Fellows 

Geoffrey Dannell FSA has an important archive relating to Roman pottery studies, and wonders if any Fellows might be interested in taking it on. When I asked how much material there was, Dannell said he would get a tape measure out, and came back with this:
30m of A4 shelving
14 x 2 drawer file cabinets
4 X 4 drawer file cabinets
30 record cabinets (20 x12.75mm)
1 metal cabinet (5 shelves x 900mm)
He writes:
Brenda Dickinson FSA (my wife) and I have to start contemplating retirement having put in well over 100 years between us in the study of Terra Sigillata. When Brenda left the university at Leeds following the death of Brian Hartley FSA and the closure of the department, the library came down to our home in Northamptonshire to be added to my own. It comprises a large archive of original material (including files left to us by Grace Simpson FSA) and the best specialist collection of books and tracts on Terra Sigillata in Britain.
‘While we are happy for all of the general archaeological books to either go to friends, students or be sold, it would be a huge loss to scholarship if the Sigillata library were to be broken up, and for the original material to find its way into landfill. Ideally, we would like the collection to stay in the UK – after all, British scholars have probably contributed more to the study of this specialism than any others, but preserving the integrity of the archive is the first consideration.
‘If there are any takers, we would be delighted for them to visit our home and see what they are in for, and to make some plans for handling the situation. We would of course be gifting the material.’


‘I was sorry to read in Salon 420 of the death of Pam Hopkins,’ writes Andrew Pike FSA, ‘wife of our former librarian John Hopkins FSA. As John's youthful assistant in the 1960s I got to know Pam well and was frequently invited to dinner at their house in Herne Hill, followed by an evening at The Players' Theatre, under the arches of Charing Cross station. Pam was always very welcoming and friendly and was a great support to John and was often to be seen at the Society's Thursday lectures. Even after John's death Pam and I kept in touch and I continued to receive Christmas cards from her, usually containing her family news, right up to 2017.’


Philip Lankester FSA writes about the regiment in which the late Roger Mercer FSA may (or may not) have been an officer:
‘I am enjoying reading the latest Salon. I hesitate to mention what I think I a very minor slip but I am doing so just in case you are bombarded with comments from the military buffs.
‘You report “Vincent Megaw FSA recalls ‘Roger’s transition from Harrow County Grammar School via the Royal Scots Guards’,” but, as far as I know, no such regiment has ever existed. I suspect Vincent Megaw meant either the Scots Guards (one of the five regiments of Foot Guards) or the Royal Scots (which was amalgamated with several other Scottish infantry regiments in 2006 to form the Royal Regiment of Scotland). Vincent might possibly also have meant the Royal Scots Greys (2nd Dragoons), which regiment was amalgamated with the 3rd Carabiniers (Prince of Wales Dragoon Guards) in 1971 to form the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

‘And, to avoid further error, I should mention that it is important not to confuse Dragoons with Dragoon Guards, though I will not try your patience further now by explaining how the different titles came into being! With all best wishes and thanks for your continuing work on Salon.’
Peter Cormack FSA has the answer: Roger Mercer ‘was an officer in the Royal Scots (traditionally the most senior line regiment in the British Army), not in the “Royal Scots Guards” [sic].’
He continues:
‘And I hope you won’t mind a mild complaint about the seemingly unremitting pro-EU tone of recent Salon articles, which do seem rather unbalanced. No doubt there is a large body of support among the Fellowship for remaining in the EU, but I can’t believe that there aren’t also a good many Fellows whose knowledge of history makes them deeply sceptical of the organisation. As a lifelong socialist who voted against our membership in the 1970s referendum, I remain totally unconvinced of the EU’s value as anything but a malign force for global capitalism with a minimal component of democratic participation.
‘Notwithstanding the above comments, I’m an avid reader of Salon and very much appreciate the work that goes into it.’

Iain Gordon Brown FSA was looking forward to a feature in the last Salon on a newly recorded stone circle in Aberdeenshire, first announced as prehistoric in age and then revealed to have been built in 1996. ‘But’, he writes from Edinburgh, ‘I saw nothing. It has been much enjoyed here!’ Fair point, and responding gives me the opportunity to say something about how Salon is compiled.
The circle, 40km west of Aberdeen, was reported to Aberdeenshire Council by a local farmer. As I wrote in the new British Archaeology magazine, Neil Ackerman, then Historic Environment Record Assistant at the Council’s Archaeology Service, visited the site with colleagues from Historic Environment Scotland. They found a typical ‘recumbent stone circle’, defined by the presence in the ring of a large flat stone between two uprights on the south-south-west side (interpreted as intended to frame the passage of the midsummer full moon). Up to 100 are known, the great majority in Aberdeenshire, and dated examples were in use around 2500–1500BC.
The discovery was excitedly reported to the media, only for the archaeologists to be rung up by the man who had made it. The land had since twice changed hands, and memory of its construction had been lost – a local in her 80s had actually recalled seeing it in the 1930s! Ackerman immediately found himself at the centre of renewed and significantly greater international media interest, which he handled with grace and humour.
Now, I did have this as a possible story to write up for Salon, along with many others that also did not appear. In selecting, my first priority is to look for the involvement of Fellows; when it comes to new books, I note only those created by or about Fellows. None to my knowledge was directly concerned with the stone circle. However, I also consider the wider interest of a story, which this did arguably have, but in this case the news had received so much publicity that I judged most of those who might be interested had probably already read about it or seen it on TV. I compile the ‘Other Forthcoming Heritage Events’ listing (into which goes anything deemed of interest to Fellows) and Vacancies. The other listings and the opening section ‘From the Desk of the General Secretary’ are put together by Danielle Wilson Higgins, the Society’s Communications Manager.

For everything I report, I have collected notes on a dozen more items that I don't. Space and time (mine as well as readers’ – typically I contribute around 8 or 9,000 words to each issue, though in wilder moments that has been known to rise above 15,000) make selection essential; I aim to be interesting, not comprehensive. But I always like to hear what Fellows feel about how I choose and what might be better covered. Please let me know.


In the last Salon I wrote about recent research at a Neanderthal site in Iraq, and identified five Fellows in a group photo. At least one other got away, as Mary Berg FSA writes:
‘Back row far left is Paul Bennett FSA. the only one with a tie! (We rarely see him with a tie in Canterbury.)’
As I cropped the photo, I spotted Rob Foley FSA at top right. Any more?

Nominations for Council 


‘Nominations are sought for three new ordinary Members of Council to be elected at the Anniversary Meeting in April. The office of Director is also open for election as Prof Christopher Scull FSA comes to the end of his three-year term. Prof Scull has agreed to serve for a second term if nominated and elected.
It is Council’s duty, as Trustees, to seek to ensure that the trustee body has the range of skills and capabilities to govern the Society. We have identified the skills that we need on Council as business and change management; exhibition and interpretation, management of the Society’s historic collections; and fund raising and would encourage all Fellows to help us identify individuals who can contribute in these areas.
To nominate a candidate for election to Council or for Director, please complete the nomination form  and return it to the Society's Governance Officer, Dr Rebecca Tomlin ( by 1st March 2019.’


Digitisation Project


As part of its strong commitment to supporting research, the Society is continuing with its drive to digitise its extensive backlist of research reports and other monographs, and making these available as Open Access via OAPEN and ADS. Included among these are reports on iconic excavations and special conferences held at the Society.
You can now access six of the Society’s monographs via OAPEN and ADS. You can also access, via OAPEN, 11 new titles, including the very first five monographs published by the Society over 100 years ago. More titles are in preparation, but the Society needs your help to complete this important project.
Do you have any duplicate copies of the Society’s Research Reports or Occasional Publications? Are you planning to move in the near future and wish to downsize your library? Are you having trouble finding the space to store all your old Research Reports? Please consider donating your books to the Society’s digitisation project and help to make key research more available as Open Access.
Titles of particular interest for the next stage of digitisation include the following volumes from the Society’s Research Reports series:VI: First report on the excavation of the Roman Fort at Richborough, Kent – J P Bushe-Fox (1926)
  • VII: Second report on the excavation of the Roman Fort at Richborough, Kent – J P Bushe-Fox (1928)
  • XIII: The tombs and Moon temple of Hureidha (Hadhramaut) – Gertrude Caton Thompson (1944)
  • XIV: Camulodunum: first report on the excavation at Colchester, 1930–1939 – C F C Hawkes & M R Hull (1947)
  • XXIII: Fifth report on the excavations of the Roman fort at Richborough, Kent – B W Cunliffe 
The Society needs copies in good condition, i.e. with pages clean and intact, though some yellowing would be acceptable. The books are stripped of their covers and their pages individually fed into a scanning machine to produce searchable PDFs so they would not be returnable.
If you have some books that might be of interest and would be happy to support the Society and this project by donating them, in the first instance please contact the Publications Manager Lavinia Porter (, with details of what books you have. The Society will be happy to reimburse postage and packing.



Library Electronic Services 

The Society’s Library has a free 6-week trial of Oxford Art Online, the gateway to Oxford University Press art reference works, including the Grove Dictionary of Art and the Benezit Dictionary of Artists. Fellows can access Oxford Art Online by registering for Open Athens, our electronic services platform, and start using this and other of our resources. Read here about Electronic Services for Fellows and how to register.


Library Closure 

Wednesday 6 March

The Society’s Library will be closed until 2.30, and will only be open from 2.30 – 5.00 because of staff training.

Forthcoming Events for Fellows

You can catch up on meetings you've missed by visiting our YouTube Channel.

Ordinary Meetings of Fellows

Interested in proposing a lecture? Please download the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Danielle Wilson Higgins, Communications Manager (

Introductory Tours for Fellows

If you've never visited Burlington House or had an introduction to the Library and Collections, please join an introductory tour. You'll meet the Society's staff, learn about your Fellowship benefits, and discover more from the collections at Burlington House. 

Forthcoming Public Events

Conferences and Seminars

Public Lectures

Public Lectures are held from 13.00 to 14.00 on Tuesdays, with advance booking advised to be sure of a place.

Regional Fellows Groups


South West Fellows

Further information on talks at Exeter can be found here.
Want to join the South West Regional Fellows Group? Events are not currently being organised, but you can sign-up to hear about future activities, here.

Welsh Fellows

  • 11-13 October 2019: Weekend visit to the Pembrokeshire area. Programme to be arranged.
Want to join the Welsh Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to attend any current events, please email Bob Child at If you wish to be added to the mailing list, sign-up here.

York Fellows

Want to join the York Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings in York, sign-up here.

Other Heritage Events

13 February: Handmade in Hammersmith: Embroidery workshop with Sally Roberson (Hammersmith)
An embroidery workshop in the Coach House at Kelmscott House, Hammersmith (formerly the home of William Morris FSA). Learn to embroider in the art needlework style pioneered by Morris and his family. Expert tutor Sally Roberson will show you examples of embroidery from the William Morris Society’s collections and introduce you to a variety of needlework stitches, and you will choose and begin to work a design inspired by an original May Morris embroidery. At the end of the session there will be guidance on mounting and framing your work. Details online.
18 February: Plaster Casts, Restoration, and the Interpretation of Classical Sculpture (London)
A talk by Emma Payne, King's College London, in a monthly series given by curators, academics, and PhD researchers in the Virginia Woolf Building, King's College. A new PhD-led research group, Exploring the Institutionalisation of Archaeology, is examining the historical and contemporary intersections between archaeology, museums, and collections, hoping to bring to light hidden histories which shaped the discipline of archaeology. Details online.
20 February: Oxford Botanic Garden: Past, Present and Future (London)
Oxford Botanic Garden, founded in 1621, is the oldest botanic garden in the UK. This talk will reflect upon the Garden’s history, its current status and challenges, and ambitious plans for the future as the Garden approaches its 400th anniversary. The talk by Simon Hiscock, Director of the Oxford Botanic Garden & Arboretum, is part of the Gardens Trust’s Winter Lecture Season 2018–19. Tickets can be bought for each lecture, or a discounted season ticket is available. Details online, and contact Sally Jeffery FSA, or 0208 994 6969.

21 February: Introduction to Japanese Bookbinding (London)  
Learn the traditional Japanese art of bookbinding and create your first book as part of the workshop at The Linnean Society. Details online.

25 February: ‘Rich treasures of ivory carvings’: Francis Douce’s Network, Medieval Ivories and the Doucean Museum (London)
Naomi Speakman, Curator of Late Medieval Europe, The British Museum, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
26 February: Oxford (London)
The Georgian Group is holding a series of lectures exploring aspects of the Georgian architecture of a number of towns and cities in the context of their social and economic history. This lecture by Geoffrey Tyack FSA will focus on Oxford. Details online.

27 February: Archaeological Survey using Airborne Lidar (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course informs historic environment professionals of the potential and practical use of lidar data and lidar-derived imagery for research and heritage management. The course is designed for a professional audience, particularly those who are currently involved in research, fieldwork and the planning process and who are aware of lidar, but have little or no practical experience with its use. Course Director: Simon Crutchley, Remote Sensing Development Mgr, Historic Places Investigation South and West, Historic England. Tutor: Peter Crow, Project Manager, Historic Environment, Forest Research. Details online.

27–28 February: Braving the Dragons: Art and the Archaeological Imagination (Aberystwyth)
This conference will explore the uncharted territory where art and archaeology meet. Leading practitioners will meet at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre to explore ways in which artists are inspired by archaeological methods and discoveries, and ways in which archaeology is, in many respects, an artistic endeavour. Carmen Mills, artist in residence with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, believes this is the first time that archaeologists and artists have met to engage in what she hopes will be a fruitful exchange of ideas that will help to define new fields of academic study and artistic practice. Speakers include Colin Renfrew FSA, Jennifer Wallace, Michael Shanks, Kate Whiteford, Julia Sorrell and John Harvey. Details online.
March (date TBC): Museums and Decolonisation (London)
A talk by Alice Procter, Independent Tour Guide, in a monthly series given by curators, academics, and PhD researchers in the Virginia Woolf Building, King's College. A new PhD-led research group, Exploring the Institutionalisation of Archaeology, is examining the historical and contemporary intersections between archaeology, museums, and collections, hoping to bring to light hidden histories which shaped the discipline of archaeology. Details online.
6 March: Law and the Historic Environment (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course provides an introduction for all who need to gain a broad understanding of the main legislative, regulatory and policy regimes for the historic environment, the ways in which those regimes are being applied at present, and the implications in practice for those working in the area. The course will cover the law of England and Wales only, but not Health and Safety law. Course Directors: Nigel Hewitson, Consultant at Gowling WLG, and Roger M Thomas, barrister and archaeologist. Nigel Hewitson was Legal Director of English Heritage from 2001-2006. Details online.

6 March: Nicholas Hawksmoor’s Designs for the Gardens of Castle Howard (London)
Among documents formerly at Wilton House are four sketches for streams and rockwork attributed to Nicholas Hawksmoor, recently identified as projects for the garden in Wray Wood, Castle Howard. This naturalistic woodland garden was much admired by early visitors for its innovative features, including a cave, an artificial stream with cascades and rockwork, and much classical sculpture inspired by Ovid. Little now survives, but using these drawings and other records, a picture of the garden can be constructed, and Hawksmoor’s role in the design can be better appreciated. The talk by Sally Jeffery FSA, Architectural and Garden Historian, is part of the Gardens Trust’s Winter Lecture Season 2018–19. Tickets can be bought for each lecture, or a discounted season ticket is available. Details online, and contact Sally Jeffery, or 0208 994 6969.

9 March: The Regional Chair (London)
The 2019 Regional Furniture Society Research in Progress meeting will be held at the Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, and will focus on the regionality of chair making, with five papers spanning the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Speakers will examine a variety of idiosyncratic forms, the materials used, the makers and their customers. The papers will draw on a variety of research methods including fieldwork, archival sources and scientific analysis. Details online.
12 March: Nottingham (London)
The Georgian Group is holding a series of lectures exploring aspects of the Georgian architecture of a number of towns and cities in the context of their social and economic history. This lecture by Pete Smith FSA will focus on Nottingham. Details online.

16 March: Landscapes of the Dead: Exploring Bronze Age Barrowscapes (London)
The first of three linked dayschools in the Prehistoric Society’s highly successful Seeing the Bigger Picture series will be held at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House. Speakers include Andrew Jones FSA and Stuart Needham FSA. Details online.

18 March: Celebrating Lady Wallace: Women Philanthropists of the Gilded Age (London)
A study day in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Julie Amélie Charlotte Castelnau was born into humble circumstances in Paris in 1819, and bequeathed the Wallace Collection to the British nation in 1897. Her bicentenary is the perfect opportunity to discover more about what motivated her bequest and those of other philanthropic women of the period who gifted art to the public. Join Charissa Bremer-David (Curator, Sculpture & Decorative Arts, J. Paul Getty Museum), Kate Hill (Principal Lecturer, School of History & Heritage, University of Lincoln), and our curators Suzanne Higgott FSA, Yuriko Jackall and Lelia Packer, to explore this fascinating theme. Our Research Librarian Helen Jones will discuss the pioneering women who visited the collection and signed the visitors’ book when Lady Wallace lived here at Hertford House. Details online.
18–20 March: Short Course in Radiocarbon Dating and Bayesian Chronological Analysis (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course is aimed at researchers using radiocarbon and other techniques, including Quaternary geologists, palaeobiologists, archaeologists and marine geoscientists. The first two days will cover key aspects of radiocarbon dating including sample selection, laboratory processes and Bayesian analyses of radiocarbon dates. The third day of the course will expand on this to look at the construction of Bayesian chronologies more generally, including those that rely primarily on other dating techniques. In this third day there will be a focus on using chronologies for environmental records. Course Director: Professor Christopher Ramsey, Author of OxCal, with members of the NERC Radiocarbon Facility based at both Oxford and East Kilbride. Details online.

19 March: Bury St Edmunds (London)
The Georgian Group is holding a series of lectures exploring aspects of the Georgian architecture of a number of towns and cities in the context of their social and economic history. This lecture by Caroline Knight FSA will focus on Bury St Edmunds. Details online.

23 March: William Somner, 1606-1669 (Canterbury)
A one-day colloquium at Christ Church University, including papers by Jackie Eales and Kenneth Fincham, will celebrate the life and work of this remarkable Canterbury scholar, and will be preceded by a display of his books and manuscripts in Canterbury Cathedral Archives. Details online. A two-part full life of Somner by David Wright FSA will be appearing in Archaeologia Cantiana in 2019 and 2020. For information and other enquiries please contact Wright at or visit

25 March: The Case of Leo Nardus (1868-1955): Reconstructing the Remarkable Career of a Major yet Forgotten Dealer in Old Masters (London)
Esmée Quodbach, Assistant Director and Editor-in-Chief, Center for the History of Collecting, the Frick Collection, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
27 March: John Brookes: His Landscape Legacy (London)
John Brookes is most often associated with the ‘room outside’, the subject of his seminal book of 1969 inspired by his early work in small London gardens. This talk will demonstrate how over the subsequent 50 years he remained at the forefront of design by creating distinctive gardens and landscapes increasingly based on ecological principles and designing in harmony with nature and the local vernacular – without losing sight of his belief that a garden is a place for use by people. The talk by Barbara Simms, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, is part of the Gardens Trust’s Winter Lecture Season 2018–19. Details online, and contact Sally Jeffery FSA, or 0208 994 6969.
April (date TBC): Scripting Spadework: Publishing Archaeology in the Late 19th and early 20th Centuries (London)
A talk by Amara Thornton FSA, Honorary Research Associate, UCL, the last in a monthly series given by curators, academics, and PhD researchers in the Virginia Woolf Building, King's College. A new PhD-led research group, Exploring the Institutionalisation of Archaeology, is examining the historical and contemporary intersections between archaeology, museums, and collections, hoping to bring to light hidden histories which shaped the discipline of archaeology. Details online.

1-2 April: Antiquarian 'Science' in the Scholarly Society (Society of Antiquaries)
This is workshop II of the AHRC International Networking Grant: Collective Wisdom: Collecting in the Early Modern Academy. What was the relationship between archaeological fieldwork or antiquarianism and learned travel or the Grand Tour? What does collecting on tour say about the manner and scale of personal and institutional contacts between London and the 'scientific' world of the Continent? What tools of natural philosophy were utilised to understand buildings and artefacts? What were the implications of the collecting of ethnographic objects for political dominance and Empire?  This workshop is dedicated to discussing these questions. A link to registration and a draft programme may be found here:

2 April: Exeter (London)
The Georgian Group is holding a series of lectures exploring aspects of the Georgian architecture of a number of towns and cities in the context of their social and economic history. This lecture by Rosemary Yallop will focus on Exeter. Details online.

3 April: Starting in Post-Excavation (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course will introduce participants to what post-excavation is and why we do it, and to the process that takes us from the site record to a completed report. The focus of the course will be on report types that are common in professional practice and generated by development-led fieldwork (including evaluations, watching briefs and small scale excavations with limited results). It will be ideal for archaeologists in, or moving into, supervisory roles that involve the preparation of reports. Course Directors: Alistair Douglas, Assistant Project Manager, Pre-Construct Archaeology, and Jon Hart, Senior Publications Officer, Cotswold Archaeology. Details online.

6 April: Exploring the Archaeology of Yorkshire Landscapes (Hull)
A Yorkshire Archaeological & Historical Society conference at the University of Hull, inspired by Tony Pacitto (1931–2003), archaeologist, air photographer, excavator, geophysicist and metal detectorist. The conference will be opened by Ian Stead FSA, and papers from Matthew Oakey, James Lyall, Peter Halkon FSA, Paula Ware, Marcus Jecock FSA and Tony Hunt will focus on landscapes within the East Riding of Yorkshire and parts of North Yorkshire, reviewing techniques for revealing archaeological sites from prehistory through to the medieval period, new insights into Iron Age chariot burials and the later prehistoric settlement of the Yorkshire Wolds. Details online.

9 April: Bristol (London)
The Georgian Group is holding a series of lectures exploring aspects of the Georgian architecture of a number of towns and cities in the context of their social and economic history. This lecture by Andrew Foyle will focus on Bristol. Details online.

10 April: Studying Orchards in Eastern England (London)
Orchards have formed an important part of our culture for centuries, but investigations of their history are hampered by persistent myths concerning the age of particular examples, and about the antiquity of the fruit varieties they contain. These issues are being addressed by a research project based at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. This talk will discuss the history of different kinds of orchard – farmhouse, institutional, commercial, and as elements in designed landscapes. It will also explore a range of related issues, including the age and origins of ‘traditional’ fruit varieties. The talk by Tom Williamson, University of East Anglia, is part of the Gardens Trust’s Winter Lecture Season 2018–19. Details online, and contact Sally Jeffery FSA, or 0208 994 6969.

14–26 April: UK Archaeological Sciences Conference 2019 (Manchester)
The UKAS 2019 conference will take place in the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB). Themes include site interpretation, cultural heritage resource management, trace element analysis and material sourcing, origins and spread of agriculture, health and disease, isotopes and subsistence strategies, imaging techniques, portable techniques and environmental archaeology and geoscience. Details online.

16 April: Derby (London)
The Georgian Group is holding a series of lectures exploring aspects of the Georgian architecture of a number of towns and cities in the context of their social and economic history. This lecture by Max Craven FSA will focus on Derby. Details online.

16 April: Project Management in Archaeology: an Introduction (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course is designed for those who are new to the role of project management and will draw on the extensive experience of the tutors in development-led archaeology. While some familiarity with development-led archaeology will be beneficial, the course will be relevant to those taking on project management roles generally within the historic environment sector. Health and Safety management not covered. Course Director: Nick Shepherd, independent heritage consultant and CEO of FAME. Speakers: Ben Ford, Senior Project Manager, Oxford Archaeology; Anne Dodd, Strategy Delivery Officer and former Head of Post-Excavation, Oxford Archaeology. Details online.

29 April: The Formation of Renaissance Taste in Early Victorian Britain: The Second Duke and Duchess of Sutherland as Collectors of Florentine Copies (London)
Giuseppe Rizzo, PhD candidate at the Rupert-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Germany, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
2 May: Stratigraphic Analysis in Archaeology (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. The course is designed for those who are familiar with the processes of excavation and stratigraphic recording, and are looking to develop their skills in the post-excavation stages of analysis, dating, interpretation and description. The course will comprise a combination of presentations to explain theory and approaches, and practical sessions providing opportunities for participants to work with real data. Course Director: Victoria Ridgeway, editor and manager of Pre-Construct Archaeology’s monograph series. Tutor: Rebecca Haslam, Senior Archaeologist, Pre-Construct Archaeology. Details online.

8–9 May: The Setting of Heritage Assets and Places (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. In the context of official guidance and wide-ranging experience of practical casework, this course explains why the setting of historic places matters, and the principles and practical skills of sound assessment and decision-making. Course Director: George Lambrick, with Stephen Carter (Headland Archaeology), Ian Houlston (LDA Design), Richard Morrice (Historic England), Julian Munby (Oxford Archaeology), Michael Pirie (Green College), Ken Smith (formerly Peak District National Park), Karin Taylor (National Trust) and David Woolley QC (formerly Landmark Chambers). Details online.

9-10 May: Collections in Circulation: Mobile Museum Conference (London)
This conference will bring together scholars from the UK and overseas with a shared interest in the mobility of museum collections, past and present. Their papers will address various aspects of the history of the circulation of objects and their re-mobilisation in the context of object exchange, educational projects and community engagement. This conference is organised by the Mobile Museum project, an AHRC-funded collaboration between Royal Holloway, University of London and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Details online.

18 May: The Medieval Port of London (London)
A conference organised by the Docklands History Group to be held at the Museum of London, where people with a long involvement in the history and archaeology of the River Thames and the City of London will present papers on a varied range of subjects relating to the Medieval Port of London. Speakers include Nathalie Cohen FSA, Gustav Milne FSA, Edward Sargent FSA and John Schofield FSA. Details online.

20 May: Gotha’s Chinese Cabinet: Duke August’s Collection of East Asian Objects (London)
Emily Teo, PhD candidate at University of Kent and Free University of Berlin, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.

24 June: Delivering Public Benefit through Archaeology (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course looks at how we can plan projects to deliver public benefit consistently, how to communicate that benefit effectively, and how to evaluate the impact of our work. It is designed for all those responsible for commissioning, specifying and/or delivering programmes of work in our sector that aim to deliver public benefit. Course Director: Kate Geary, Head of Professional Development and Practice, CifA. Tutors: Taryn Nixon, independent archaeologist and heritage adviser, formerly Chief Executive of MOLA (1997-2017); Rob Lennox, CIfA, whose PhD research looked at heritage and politics in the public value era. Details online.

1 July: A Woman of Taste: Mrs R A Workman’s Collection of Modern French Painting (London)
Frances Fowle, Professor of Nineteenth-Century Art, University of Edinburgh and Senior Curator of French Art, National Gallery of Scotland, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
3–4 July: Understanding and Conserving Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. An increasing number of historic gardens and landscapes are opening their doors to the paying public. Owners and managers, reliant on tourist income, are seeking to widen their visitor base. Such development can sometimes be at odds with the conservation needs of historic sites, and this course will provide the tools for balancing the needs of developing tourist attractions with conservation and care. For trustees, volunteers and staff responsible for managing or working in a historic garden or designed landscape. Course Director: John Watkins, Head of Gardens and Landscape at the English Heritage Trust. Speakers to include: Brian Dix, Linden Groves, Emily Parker, Robin Copeland, David Lambert. Details online.

29 July: ‘The Great Joss and his Playthings’: George IV as a Print Collector (London)
Kate Heard, Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust, speaks in a series of Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
18 September: Post-Excavation Assessment in Practice (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course will introduce recent guidance to PX, and review the essential components of assessment and updated project design. In the afternoon we will review examples from current practice and consider how far they meet their purpose and justify funding decisions. The course is designed for those in supervisory, junior management or specialist roles who will be compiling and contributing to PX assessments, and those in consultancy and curatorial roles who commission and evaluate them. Course Director: Leo Webley, Head of Post-Excavation, Oxford Archaeology South. Tutors: Edward Biddulph, Senior Project Manager and Roman pottery specialist, Oxford Archaeology South; Sarah Wyles, Senior Environmental Officer, Cotswold Archaeology. Details online.

25–27 September: Heritage Values and the Assessment of Significance (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. Significance assessment is a key part of management and of development within the historic environment. This course will introduce the process, show you what is involved in preparing assessments of significance, teach you how to read and judge such assessments, and explore the ways in which they can be used. Open to all, but of particular interest to heritage asset managers and advisers, planners, historic environment professionals and architects, surveyors and others who do not specialise in heritage but may need to understand assessments and their value in guiding change. Course Director: Stephen Bond, Director of Heritage Places and joint author of Managing Built Heritage. Course Co-Director: Henry Russell, Course Director of the programme in Conservation of the Historic Environment, Reading University. Details online.

30 September: ‘The Aura of Popularity’: The Rise and Fall of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo in the Nineteenth-Century British Art Market (London)
Isabelle Kent, Enriqueta Harris Frankfort Curatorial Assistant, The Wallace Collection, speaks in a series of Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.

10 October: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessments (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course informs participants about the role of desk-based assessments in managing the cultural heritage resource and provides a practical guide to their production. It will also include guidance on the use of desk-based assessments to fulfil the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The course will be of interest to all those who are currently (or hope to be) involved in the commissioning or production of desk-based assessments. It is targeted towards new entrants to the profession and those who would like to develop skills in this area. Course Directors: Jill Hind (formerly Senior Project Mgr Oxford Archaeology) and Melanie Pomeroy-Kellinger, County Archaeologist for Wiltshire. Details online.

28 October: Architectural Salvage from Cairo to London: The Pivotal Role of the Paris Exhibitions of 1867 and 1878 (London)
Moya Carey, Curator of Islamic Collections, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, and Mercedes Volait, Research Professor at CNRS, based at InVisu, INHA, Paris, speak in a series of Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.

31 October: Archaeological Writing for Publication (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course will introduce the standard types of published reports currently produced by archaeologists, and how the scope and content of a report is planned. The course will then focus on two key components, the stratigraphic narrative and the discussion, and the most effective and successful ways of approaching the planning, writing and illustration of these. This will include a critical review of a number of examples, to identify common mistakes and how to avoid them. We will also look at the special requirements that apply to writing in a professional and academic context. The course will involve some preparatory reading before the training day. Course Director: Elizabeth Popescu, Post-Excavation and Publications Manager, Oxford Archaeology East. Details online.

25 November: A ‘Fauve de la Curiosité’: The Hybrid Career of Edouard Jonas (1883-1961), Dealer and Curator (London)
Barbara Lasic, Lecturer in History of Art and Coordinator of Postgraduate Programmes, University of Buckingham, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.

27–29 November: Public Inquiry Workshop (Oxford)
A short course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course is a practical workshop carefully designed to improve the performance of anyone who might be called upon to participate in a Public Inquiry concerned with the historic environment. It will present the terms of procedure, the roles of the participants and the general feel of a Public Inquiry. A mock Public Inquiry will be mounted using a genuine case study. Training for potential witnesses will be given in how to prepare evidence for a Public Inquiry, how to produce proofs of evidence, and to experience them being given and tested under realistic conditions. You will be allocated a role to play in the Inquiry and asked to prepare a proof of evidence to fit this role. Active participation limited to 14 participants. There will also be a limited number of places available for observers. Course Directors: Roger M Thomas, Barrister and Archaeologist; George Lambrick, Independent Archaeology and Heritage Consultant. Planning Inspector: Richard Tamplin. Advocates: David Woolley QC and Allan Ledden, Solicitor. Details online.


The Emery Walker Trust seeks a Chair to replace Michael Hall FSA, who steps down at the end of 2019. It is anticipated that interviews will take place in April or May, with the successful candidate joining the Trustee Board in June.

The Trust owns and opens to the public Emery Walker’s House at 7 Hammersmith Terrace, London, which contains some of the UK’s most authentic and best-preserved Arts & Crafts interiors. The role of Chair principally involves strategic leadership of a small historic-house museum, chairing Trustee meetings, and acting with others as the Trust’s public face, in particular for fund-raising initiatives. The post is unpaid (expenses are reimbursed), and involves up to three days work a month in addition to attendance at meetings.
Candidates should submit a letter by email to (who can provide further details) explaining why they are qualified for the post and attaching a CV and the names of two referees. For further information about the Emery Walker Trust see online.

Propose a Lecture or Seminar

Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Danielle Wilson Higgins (, 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 Danielle Wilson Higgins (, if you are interested in helping us organise such an event.


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