Salon: Issue 375
15 November 2016
Next issue: 29 November 2016
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.
From the Desk of the General Secretary
Improving the Use of Planning Conditions
This past September, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) held an open consultation on 'Improving the Use of Planning Conditions'
The consultation specifically focused on 'measures in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill to address the inappropriate use of pre-commencement planning conditions, and to prohibit the use of other types of planning conditions which do not meet the tests in the National Planning Policy Framework... To help address the urgent need to tackle the inappropriate use of "pre-commencement" conditions, government is introducing a power in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill to ensure that these conditions can only be used with the agreement of the applicant.'
DCLG claimed, 'The measure will not change the way conditions can be used to maintain existing protections for important matters such as heritage, the natural environment, green spaces, and the mitigation of flooding.'
The Society's Policy Committee submitted a response on 31 October, supporting the general thrust of the consultation’s objectives to reduce the number of unnecessary conditions and to ensure that pre-commencement conditions are only used when they are genuinely necessary. However, the Society also highlighted areas for concerns regarding the impact of specific proposed measures restricting the use of pre-commencement conditions on the historic environment and archaeology (heritage assets with archaeological interest).
Read the Society's full response to the consultation on its website.
We Are Now Publishing Open Access!
We are excited to announce that the Society’s very first monographs to be online as Open Access are now available via OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks). The first two titles selected for this are:
- Glastonbury Abbey: Archaeological Investigations 1904-79 by Roberta Gilchrist FSA & Cheryl Green
- Sherborne Old Castle, Dorset: Archaeological Investigations 1930-90 by Peter White FSA & the late Alan Cook FSA
Early next year we will be putting more monographs online this way as Open Access, with a view to eventually publishing all the Society’s monographs this way. Fellows will be notified through SALON as and when these titles are available online.
Shakespeare and the Character of Kingship
Dramatic Readings by Simon Russell Beale CBE
Simon Russell Beale has kindly offered to help us launch a Development Campaign for our Library. Simon will be performing monologues from Shakespeare’s history plays in the Society’s Meeting Room on Sunday, 29 January 2017
at 18.30 – alongside the Society’s collection of royal medieval and Tudor portraiture, depicting the people who inspired Shakespeare’s plays and whom Simon will bring to life!
We are planning an entertaining evening reception for our guests (the event is limited to an intimate 100 seats), featuring performances by 'one of the finest actors of his generation' that reveal something of the ‘character’ of the Portraits. Funds raised at this event will be crucial in launching our Library Campaign, for which we need to raise £500,000 over the next three years. The evening will also help raise awareness of the Society, its treasures, and the part it plays in the history of Great Britain.
Guarantee your tickets by booking online today
Order a William Morris Fruitcake for Christmas
(Order by 18 November and Kelmscott Manor Will Receive £5.50 from Each Cake)
Award-winning artisan baker Ursula Evans follows Morris’s fruitcake recipe almost to the letter, soaking the vine fruits in brandy, baking slowly in her AGA. 'The luxury glace fruits used in the original William Morris fruitcake mixture are used as a topping now', she says, 'but otherwise, these are the cakes that the Morris family enjoyed for tea in the 1880s.'
Your order will go directly into the future care and development of Kelmscott Manor, Morris's 'heaven on earth'. To enjoy a William Morris fruitcake with family and friends this Christmas, please place your order no later than 18 November via the My Cottage Kitchen website
Pards, Basilisks and Hedgehogs: A Bestiary Digitised
The Aberdeen Bestiary
, a fabulously illustrated Medieval manuscript in the University of Aberdeen's care since 1625, can now be viewed online
in spectacular new high-resolution photographs. These are accompanied by substantial background essays, and a page-by-page commentary with text transcriptions and translations. The descriptions include this extract from a long essay on the lion:
‘If it happens that the lion is pursued by hunters, it picks up their scent and obliterates the traces behind it with its tail. As a result, they cannot track it… when it sleeps, it seems to have its eyes open. Thus our Lord, falling asleep in death, physically, on the cross, was buried, yet his divine nature remained awake… when a lioness gives birth to her cubs, she produces them dead and watches over them for three days, until their father comes on the third day and breathes into their faces and restores them to life… Lions mate face to face; and not only lions, but lynxes, and camels, and elephants, and rhinoceroses, and tigers.’
The picture at top shows a leopard, ‘a spotted wild animal which is very swift. It is produced by the adultery between a lioness and a pard.’
was written and illuminated in England around 1200, and is considered one of the best examples of its type, closely related to The Ashmole Bestiary
in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. It has added interest, says the website’s introduction, from its notes, sketches and other evidence of the way it was designed and executed.
The pages were recorded by Michael Craig with a Phase One medium format digital camera with an IQ180 Digital back, creating RAW files of 70MB. In such high quality images, it is particularly shocking to see where a number of illuminations have been cut out (curiously of commoner creatures such as dogs, sheep and fowl). There is also a long essay on Man (his Nature, his Body Parts and the Age of Man), some of which reads like an early attempt to discern the nature of genetic inheritance.
The project’s Editor and author of the commentary is Jane Geddes FSA
, Professor of History of Art at the University of Aberdeen. The Bestiary
, she told the BBC
, ‘is one of the most lavish ever produced, but it was never fully completed and so the edges of the pages were not finished and tidied up. This means that the tiny notes from those who created it still remain in the margins providing invaluable clues about its creation and provenance. Some were visible to the naked eye but digitisation has revealed many more which had simply looked like imperfections in the parchment.’
She said the high definition images revealed clear evidence the book was produced in a busy scriptorium
. ‘On many of the words’, she said, ‘there are tiny marks which would have provided a guide to the correct pronunciation when the book was being read aloud. This shows the book was designed for an audience, probably of teacher and pupils, and used to provide a Christian moral message through both its Latin words and striking illustrations.’
‘We've also been able to see for the first time that most pages have dirty finger marks in the bottom corner, from turning the folio. But at least one has repeated dirty thumb marks in the centre of the top margin, created by turning the book around for public viewing.’
Other pictures above show a dragon strangling an elephant, and a satyr, a type of ape with similarities to goats and people.
Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill Second Reading
After the Second Reading of the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill [Lords] in the House of Commons on 31 October, Edward Garnier, QC wrote in The Times
(subscription needed) that the Bill ‘has caused concern in the London art market’. Clause 17(1), he says, makes it an offence to deal in unlawfully exported cultural property that a dealer knows or has reason to suspect has been unlawfully exported. ‘So far, so good,’ says Garnier: ‘no one can support dealing in unlawfully exported cultural property when you know it has been unlawfully exported.’ But dealers worry ‘that these three small words – “reason to suspect” – will place an unacceptable and stifling burden on that market and have enormous but unintended consequences.’
‘The position is exacerbated’, adds Garnier, ‘by the government’s refusal to provide a list of what it considers to be occupied territories, so the art market will have to err on the side of caution and refuse to deal in any objects that might have been lawfully exported from territories that may not come within the terms of the convention… legitimate trade will cease – to the detriment of London as the premier world art market; genuine sellers will go to less scrupulous jurisdictions – and the Treasury will miss out on the tax that would have come its way.’
Erring on the side of caution may be exactly what some proponents of the Bill would like dealers to do, happy in the thought that the UK Treasury may be less likely to profit from illegally exported antiquities.
In the Commons
, Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, moved that the Bill be read, saying, ‘We have waited a long time to be able to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention and accede to its two Protocols. The need for this Bill is paramount. In recent months, we have seen the wanton destruction of cultural heritage in the Middle East and north Africa. These tragic events are a reminder of how vital it is that the UK ratifies this convention and makes a strong statement about the importance we place on protecting cultural heritage. We fully endorse the steps taken at the International Criminal Court to prosecute war crimes relating to cultural destruction in Mali.’
Chris Bryant raised the ‘reason to suspect’ question, to which Bradley replied that she was aware of the point, and that it was important ‘that we are clear that the Bill will not hamper the way in which the art market operates.’ Edward Garnier offered his ‘welcome and wholehearted support’ for the Bill, elaborating his concerns over Clause 17(1).
Tim Loughton FSA
, noting that he ‘greatly support[ed] this Bill,’ asked Bradley why she thought there had been only one prosecution since the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003? ‘Should we not have done better by now?’ ‘Law enforcement and others need to understand the legislation,’ Bradley replied.
There was strong support in an informed, two-hour discussion of the Bill. Kevin Brennan introduced what Loughton called ‘an old canard’, by referring to the ‘repatriation of the Parthenon marbles to Greece… campaigns to return the Koh-i-noor diamond to India and the Benin bronze cockerel to Nigeria.’ ‘Our own hands’, said Brennan, ‘are not necessarily entirely historically clean in relation to the removal of cultural property.’
Brendan O'Hara ‘very much welcomed’ the Bill on behalf of the Scottish National Party and the Scottish Government, adding that the Government should take the opportunity to return the Parthenon marbles to Greece ‘where they belong’. Loughton defended the British Museum’s positon, as did Ed Vaizey, former Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries: the British Museum, he said, ‘preserves the Elgin marbles not for any national self-interest, but for the world.’
Vaizey also defended Clause 17. ‘The convention has been in place in Germany for the last 10 years,’ he said, ‘and I know of no cases in which art dealers have unwittingly been brought within its scope. The legislation is clear: there must be some degree of suspicion on the part of any dealer before they could possibly be brought within scope.’
In her closing speech, Tracey Crouch, Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, thanked, among others, Loughton, Peter Stone FSA
and Neil MacGregor FSA
Fellows with ‘relevant expertise and experience or a special interest’ in the Bill can submit their views in writing
to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee. The Committee is expected to meet for the first time on 15 November; it will stop receiving written evidence at the end of the Committee stage, which is scheduled to be 5 pm on 17 November.
‘Royal History is British History’
Following an article in The Times
by Ben Macintyre headed ‘Royal family are even more secretive than MI5’ (28 October, subscription), the paper published a number of letters on the subject
(2 November) and then a Leader
‘Held in the Round Tower at Windsor Castle’ wrote Macintyre, ‘the royal archives consist of more than two million documents covering 250 years of royal history. “The Royal Household is committed to transparency,” declares the royal website, “and to making information available, where appropriate.” The royal household alone defines what is “appropriate”.
‘For decades, academics have chafed against the way the archive is run, which allows only selected scholars access to certain parts of the collection, and suppresses royal history that might reflect badly on the institution of monarchy. There is no publicly accessible catalogue…
‘This restricted access is justified by royalists on the grounds that this is a private archive and that the royals have a right to defend their privacy like any other family… [However] the history of the royals is also the history of Britain, and it belongs to the British people; what the royals regard as their history is truly ours and of overwhelming public interest,’ concludes Macintyre. ‘Royal history is British history.’
In the Letters pages, Oliver Urquhart-Irvine FSA
, Royal Librarian, Royal Collection Trust, noted that ‘public access to the Royal Archives at Windsor has increased enormously over recent years. The Royal Archives is the sovereign’s private archive. However, Her Majesty fully supports the work under way to make its treasures widely accessible via 21st-century technology… last year the Queen launched one of the most significant public access projects undertaken by the Royal Archives: to digitise and make publicly available 350,000 papers relating to the Georgian period, only 15 per cent of which have ever been studied… By 2017, 400,000 papers from the Stuart period will also be available online.’
Other writers described their varied experiences with the archives. Without a catalogue, wrote Karina Urbach from Princeton, ‘Historians… depend on the archivist’s word as to whether papers exist or not. This, frankly, is no different from the situation that exists with Putin’s foreign ministry archives. The Royal Archives needs to commit to the opening of documents at specific intervals after events such as a 30 or 50-year rule, as practised by the UK National Archives.’
In its Leader, headed ‘Paper Crown: The royal household should open up the royal archive,’ the paper said that the records are ‘exempt from transparency rules that affect public bodies, including the Freedom of Information Act and the 30-year rule. Access is granted to select historians on a case-by-case basis, at the discretion of the royal household.’
‘This is not good enough. Admirable efforts are being made to open up some of the archive’s more distantly historical contents, as detailed in a letter to The Times this week by Oliver Urquhart-Irvine, the royal librarian. Yet there exist also numerous documents of more recent historical import, which the royal household can, and does, withhold. As a test case, for example, this newspaper is seeking access to documents relating to prewar contact between the royal family and the Nazi regime. It is profoundly unlikely that such documents could affect any living person, and there is a clear and obvious public interest in their contents being known.
‘Such documents should be released, but not merely at Her Majesty’s pleasure. Without compelling individual reasons otherwise, there should be a systematic presumption that royal documents will be made public. Royal history is British history. We all have a right to know what it is.’
Photo Wikipedia/Antony McCallum.
A Strong Potboiler
Scenes and Apparitions: The Roy Strong Diaries 1988–2003
by Roy Strong FSA
, the second volume of diaries from the former director of the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum, was published on 3 November. Strong lost interest in diary writing, he says in his Preface, after he resigned from the V&A in 1987, and rediscovered the impulse in 1993 when writing became a way of living with the end of a consultancy to the Canary Wharf Development. His new diary would be the story of a man earning his way as a writer of history and garden design, as a broadcaster, and as an inhabitant and co-creator of the Laskett Gardens. ‘The place has spiralled downmarket and it is the end of all standards,’ he writes of the V&A in February 1989. ‘I really resent this piece of Thatcherisation. The money changers are in the temple.’ Here we can read of his continuing and entertaining fight against barbarism from rural Herefordshire.
Lynn Barber, reviewing the book in The Sunday Times
(subscription), says it is inevitably less sensational than his first volume, ‘mainly because he is leading a much quieter life.’ This life nonetheless includes visits to the Queen Mother, Gianni Versace on Lake Como and Elton John’s 50th birthday party at the Hammersmith Palais. ‘A bit of a potboiler,’ concludes Barber, ‘but an amiable one.’
In The Times
(subscription) Richard Morrison concludes that these ‘magnificently readable diaries’ present ‘an unflinchingly honest appraisal of the change and decay its author sees all around him. We knew Strong had a lacerating wit and an elegant pen; here we see the depth of his humanity as he stares into the abyss of mortality.’ The Mail on Sunday
has published extracts from the ‘majestically mischievous diaries’. Such mischief will perhaps be enjoyed most by those Fellows who do not appear in the book.
Euston Arch May Return
Speaking at a meeting of the Independent Transport Commission
on 2 November, John Hayes declared he wanted to ‘challenge an orthodoxy’, and promised that during his time as Minister of State for Transport, he ‘will turn the tide’. His ‘case is bold,’ he continued, ‘controversial, and, to some, provocative.’ Most modern architecture, he concluded, is ‘aesthetically worthless, simply because it is ugly’. The government’s ‘colossal investment in new transport offers a unique opportunity to be the vanguard of a renaissance.’ The Minister wants ‘beauty in transport.’
Spending billions on Crossrail, HS2, Crossrail 2, new roads and bridges and hundreds of new trains, he said, brings a chance for the Government to lead the way ‘to the public realm of the beautiful’. He praised grand 19th century railway stations, approving the new extension to London King’s Cross. He pledged ‘No more demolition of our railway heritage.’ And with a closing flourish, he promised to ‘resurrect’ the Euston Arch.
This massive freestanding Doric portico was the entrance to what was originally the London and Birmingham Railway’s southern terminus. Revealed in 1837, its brutal Classical lines contrasted with the colourful asymmetric wedding cake that was opened a few minutes walk down Euston Road in 1873, fronting the Midland Railway’s station at St Pancras. The hotel, which doubled as a gateway to the platforms, would have been demolished in the 1960s by British Rail, the state railway body, but for protest led by the Victorian Society; it saved one of London’s most fabulous buildings (albeit better seen, as intended, by prospective travellers and visitors than by overnight guests wandering bleak corridors). The Euston Arch, however, despite well organised and high profile lobbying, was taken down in 1961–62.
It survives in bits. The ornate iron side-gates are in the National Railway Museum in York. The stone, dropped into the River Lea in east London, was relocated by Dan Cruickshank in 1994; some of it was retrieved during works for the 2012 London Olympics. Cruickshank has long been hoping to rebuild the arch: Marcus Binney FSA
has been one of his many supporters, describing the structure as ‘the first great monument of the railway age’. The Government had earlier said that rebuilding Euston Station, as part of works for HS2, might include resurrecting the arch. Perhaps now it will happen.
Photo at top shows a computer visualisation of the restored arch, published by the Daily Mail
in 2009 reporting the Euston Arch Trust’s campaign. The colourful stairway is inside the renovated St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel.
• British Rail got a better press from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport the next day, which announced it was listing Platforms Piece, a public sculpture commissioned by the former transport operator in 1986 to inspire commuters at an improved Brixton Station, south London. The three bronze figures, made by Kevin Atherton, joined two other works recommended for listing by Historic England
, to celebrate black British history.
Historic England Angel Awards
On 30 October at the Palace Theatre in London, several Fellows appeared at the 2016 Historic England Angel Awards
, which honour ‘the unsung heroes who work tirelessly to save our heritage’. Andrew Lloyd Webber, Bettany Hughes, Julian Fellowes, Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould were there to present awards, and Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch acknowledged ‘the inspirational people who have worked so hard to preserve our nation's heritage and who encourage others to get involved.’
Operation Nightingale’s excavation at Netheravon Barrows, Spitfire P9503 Crash, Wiltshire, won the Best Community Action Project. The Second World War Spitfire site is one of several archaeological projects managed by Operation Nightingale, which works with service personnel recovering from action with the British Armed Forces. In the photo, the big crater is where the engine hit the ground, and smaller ones to the sides are from guns on the wings; the pilot survived.
In a release, Richard Osgood FSA
Senior Archaeologist, Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Ministry of Defence, said that winning the award was ‘a huge testimony to the men and women of the British Armed Forces that their skill sets outside of the military environment are also of huge benefit to the nation,’ adding that ‘heritage and archaeology can improve people’s lives’. (Click here to see a lecture by Richard on the project.
Historic England’s Pride of Place: England's LGBTQ Heritage, and The Star Carr Research Group, Star Carr Early Mesolithic Site, North Yorkshire (of which Nicky Milner FSA
is a co-director and which lists several Fellows on its specialist team), were short-listed for the Best Research Project. This was won by the Port Sunlight Village Trust and Wirral Borough Council.
Suffolk Mind and the Churches Conservation Trust were shortlisted for the rescue of St Mary at the Quay, Ipswich, Suffolk, in the Best Rescue of a Heritage Site category, won by Julie and Howard Duckworth, Goole, Yorkshire.
Griselda and Alan Garner FSA
were short-listed for Outstanding Contribution to Heritage, won by Carlo Diponio Construction Supervisor at Dudley Zoo, West Midlands.
Duncan Wilson FSA
, Historic England Chief Executive and one of the judges, said, ‘The show was all about recognising the volunteers and groups who do so much to help rescue our heritage for future generations. We are surrounded by historic buildings and places that help tell the story of who we are, but many depend on local volunteers for their very survival. These awards celebrate the vital work of those heritage heroes.’ HE has £100,000 funding from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation to run the Angel Awards for another two years.
A Levels: Don't Forget Anthropology
A Level subjects which the AQA examining body has said it will drop
continue to be defended. Writing on The Conversation
, Dan Hicks FSA
says, ‘I teach three subjects to undergraduates at Oxford University: Archaeology, Art History and Anthropology. And all three – along with Classics and Statistics – face the axe.’ His particular concern is with Anthropology, which, he says, has not drawn the protests that other subjects have. ‘The major cause of the relative silence about the loss of Anthropology A level’, he concludes, ‘is probably that Anthropology remains so poorly understood and communicated. And its intimate historic connections with colonial governance and Victorian concepts of “race” mean that the subject’s role today as one that celebrates cultural diversity can be difficult to communicate.’ ‘Nevertheless,’ he adds, ‘in the context of the refugee crisis, Brexit, and the rise of populist extremism, Britain has never needed anthropology more than it does today.’
During the Second Reading
of the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill on 31 October, Kevin Brennan referred to a possible Ministry of Defence plan to create ‘a squad of monuments men – and, presumably, women as well – whose focus would be to safeguard cultural property during armed conflicts. As I understand it, they would be soldiers with archaeology qualifications and the like. Meanwhile, the Department for Education has been campaigning against so-called soft subjects, leading to exam boards ending archaeology, art history and classical civilisation A-levels.’
‘It does not make a pretty picture overall,’ he concluded, ‘let alone a masterpiece, to have the Ministry of Defence wanting more soldiers with knowledge of art history and archaeology and the Department for Education cutting those same subjects from our classrooms, while the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is ratifying conventions and proclaiming that a national priority.’
Tim Loughton FSA
echoed the point. ‘How does it help to find the archaeologists of the future, who may go into the Army to be part of the new team of monuments men, when we are about to lose the A-level in archaeology?’ ‘Will the Minister,’ he asked, ‘as a result of these deliberations, have a conversation with her colleague the Secretary of State for Education to see what can be done to keep that important subject on the curriculum? I studied archaeology at school to A/O-level… It was an important subject then and it is an important subject today, across so many areas.’
Loughton had earlier asked Government about the future of A Level Archaeology. ‘What steps’, he wanted to know of the Secretary of State for Education on, ‘she is taking to ensure that archaeology continues to be offered as an A-level subject.’
Nick Gibb, Minister for Education, answered on 24 October
‘The AQA exam board has taken the decision no longer to develop specifications for A and AS level archaeology. Whilst we are disappointed with this outcome, AQA is an independent organisation and is therefore free to make its own decisions on which qualifications to offer. In 2015/16, there were 340 entries for A level archaeology, including 332 in state-funded schools and Further Education colleges.
‘We published content for archaeology AS/A level in January 2016. The option for AQA or another exam board to develop a specification in future will remain open.’
Fellows (and Friends)
, Welsh librarian and former Fellow, died in July.
Alfred Smyth FSA
, Medieval historian and biographer of Alfred the Great, died in October.
Giles Waterfield FSA
, novelist and art historian who transformed the Dulwich Picture Gallery, died in November.
Appreciations appear in 'Lives Remembered' below. The section also contains further notices on the late John Casey FSA
and the late Ben Read FSA
The Department of Archaeology, University of York, is celebrating the life of Don Brothwell, who died in September
, with a reception at Kings' Manor, York, on 15 December at 4–7 pm. The Department’s memorial page
has many photos of Brothwell, family and colleagues, with tributes from Terry O'Connor FSA
and Charlotte Roberts FSA
, who describes him as a ‘leading light for so many years in so much in archaeological science. Even though he was such a modest man, his immense intellect constantly shone through.’
Martyn Heighton, founder Secretary and Director of National Historic Ships UK and a former Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust, died on 7 November aged 69. In a tribute on its website, NHS–UK said the body had ‘gone from strength to strength under Martyn’s dynamic leadership with the provision of advice to Government, funding bodies including the Heritage Lottery Fund, and vessel owners as well as the continued maintenance of the National Historic Ships Registers including the National Historic Fleet.’ He studied at St John’s College, Cambridge and the University of Leeds, moving from history teaching to the Oxfordshire Museum Service. He was Trustee and Executive of SS Great Britain
and Director of Leisure for Bristol’s Historic Harbour. He led the Merseyside Maritime Museum development as part of the regeneration of Albert Dock in Liverpool. After Mary Rose he joined the National Trust management board where he led the successful bid to purchase Tyntesfield in Somerset, home to the Gibbs family which owned the SS Great Britain
. The photo shows Heighton sailing on the recently restored Huff of Arklow
The Heritage Lottery Fund has granted the Ashmolean Museum £1,102,500 to help it buy and conserve a Viking hoard found by a metal-detectorist near Watlington, Oxfordshire, in October 2015. The hoard was excavated with the help of the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s David Williams FSA
, and declared Treasure in February this year. Comprising nearly 200 coins, seven jewellery items and 15 silver ingots, the find is not particularly large, but, says the Ashmolean in a release, ‘is hugely significant because it contains so many coins of Alfred the Great … and his less well known contemporary, Ceolwulf II.’ The ‘vanishingly rare’ “Two Emperors” penny (pictured), of which the hoard contains 13 examples, shows the two kings seated side-by-side under a winged Victory or angel. Only two of these coins were known before. During the fundraising appeal, which has until 31 January 2017 to reach its target of £1.35 m, the hoard can be seen in the Ashmolean’s England Gallery (Floor 2) by the Alfred Jewel.
In the Saturday Guardian
on 5 November, Ian Jack wrote about the imminent auction at Christie’s of Sir Edwin Landseer’s The Monarch of the Glen
(1851). The emotive painting of a stag has been hanging in the National Museum of Scotland for over a decade, and is owned by Diageo, a drinks company. The image has been much used in retail branding, not least by another drinks company for its Glenfiddich whisky (seen here in its current shape, said to be ‘more anatomically correct’ – it has the full 12 points of the painting, unlike the mere eight of its precursor, though both might be considered to be anatomically more relevant than a Californian butter that used the scene on its box). ‘Any business with a sense of history would give the picture to a public gallery in Scotland,’ says Jack, ‘the place without which both the business and the picture would be nothing. It would be the decent thing,’ adding, ‘Feeding old masters into the boilers of luxury liners to keep the steam up is an image that comes to mind.’
The National Trust revealed that a long-running geophysical project to survey the grounds of Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire, has discovered over 500 graves under the grass east of the ruins (pictured). Ground-penetrating radar, which can plot slices through the earth at varying depths, shows up to four burials in each grave cut, matching a record of stacked burials separated by stone flags, exposed during 19th century drain digging. ‘The existence of a monks’ cemetery on the site has been known for centuries,' said National Trust archaeologist Mark Newman FSA
in a press release. ‘However, until now we did not know the exact location or scale of the cemetery.’ The grave arrangement, said the Trust, supports the theory that the community believed in literal or corporeal resurrection. The survey is being conducted by the University of Bradford, Geoscan Research, and Mala Geoscience.
Commenting on regional gallery closures, Councillor and former Mayor Richard Worrall says ‘you get what you vote for’. In a letter to the Guardian
, he notes that artist Patrick Brill had described the threat of Walsall’s New Art Gallery closing as ‘a perfect storm of stupidity and a lack of balls.’ ‘Words easily said,’ responds Worrall, ‘but were it simply “a lack of balls” on the part of councillors, I would rapidly don an extra pair, if in so doing I could save the gallery. This is desperation, not stupidity, Mr Brill: perhaps you’d like to give the soundbites a rest and put a shift in instead?’ ‘The harsh reality,’ he continues, ‘which many voted for at the last general election, was the continuation of “austerity”, so that taxpayers’ money (our money!) previously returned to local authorities to provide adequate local services and facilities continues to be massively withheld by the government.’
The BBC reported
that Dewsbury Museum in West Yorkshire, renovated at a cost of £1m in 2010, has been closed by Kirklees Council ‘because of austerity cuts.’ The Red House in Gomersal will close on 21 December.
Peyton Skipwith FSA
has written a book about his friendship with the artist Edward Bawden, whom he met when a junior staff member of the Fine Art Society in 1968. Dear Edward
, says Hand & Eye, records their correspondence over the years they knew each other until Bawden’s death in 1989. The book is currently in production (a provisional front cover is illustrated), and can be pre-ordered online
. David Gentleman has written an introduction. In 2014 the V&A published Edward Bawden’s history of Kew Gardens, which the editors Skipwith and Brian Webb had found in manuscript in Bedford Museum.
Richard Brooks reported in The Sunday Times
on 6 November (subscription) that Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, supported new research into lead books claimed by David and Jennifer Elkington to be 2,000 years old and to have been found in a cave in Jordan. When the discovery was announced in 2011, it was widely judged a fraud: Peter Thonemann, Associate Professor in Ancient History at the University of Oxford, told the BBC that he would ‘stake [his] academic reputation’ on the codices being fakes. Claims and counter-accusations were driven by press briefings, with a conspicuous absence of peer-reviewed evidence (or much of any kind). Williams has been encouraged by an unpublished study at the Ion Beam Centre, University of Surrey, which apparently says the lead was at least 150 years old.
David Bates FSA
has written another biography of William the Conqueror
. His first was published by Hamlyn in 2001, and reprinted several times. This one is from Yale, officially published on 14 October. It comes as great encouragement to fellow thorough writers: Bates wrote of his thoughts as he started the book in Times Higher Education
, in 2001. The result, says the blurb, is a ‘landmark reinterpretation of the life of a pivotal figure in British and European history.’ Bates combines biography and a multidisciplinary approach, using a framework derived from studies of early medieval kingship. Why did so many trust William to invade England in 1066? What were the consequences? Bates argues for a move away from old perceptions and controversies in ‘the scholarly biography for our generation.’ Reviewing the book in The Sunday Times
(subscription), Dan Jones found it ‘dense and at times difficult, the product of decades of archival research,’ but ‘essential for undergraduates and academics.’
Donald Smith, who when Chief Constable of Wiltshire intercepted a travellers’ convoy near Stonehenge in 1985 at what became known as the Battle of the Beanfield, has died at the age of 85. Backed by the National Trust, English Heritage and other landowners, Smith enforced an exclusion zone around the stones designed to stop a long-standing free music festival at the time of the summer solstice. Over 500 arrests were made on the day, but the only conviction was of a police officer, for assault causing actual bodily harm.
The Art Newspaper
reports that Neil MacGregor FSA
, former Director of the British Museum and now Director of Berlin’s future Humboldt Forum, has presented a case for free admission to the museum. Experience in cities including London and Washington, he told a press conference, shows that ‘if you don’t charge entrance, the local population comes more often… Where you have to pay, it is mainly tourists who come.’ Photo shows Culture Minister Monika Grütters with Founding Directors of the Humboldt Forum (left to right), Horst Bredekamp, Neil MacGregor and Hermann Parzinger (Humboldt Forum Kultur GmbH/David von Becker/Art Newspaper
The National Gallery
is looking for two new Trustees to join the Board of the Gallery in 2017. Appointments to the Board are made by the Prime Minister.
Diana Murray FSA r
etired as joint Secretary and Chief Executive, Historic Environment Scotland, in October. She joined the National Monuments Record in 1976 to work with archaeological and aerial archives, after studying Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge, and devoted her career to Scottish cultural heritage. She was then the only woman in a ‘gentleman’s club where jokes were often made in Latin in the tea room.’ ‘I misjudged the dress code slightly’, she added, ‘and thought it would be OK to wear hot-pants to work.’ She rose to become the first and only female Secretary of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), from 2004–2015. Since then she has been organising and researching the archives of the Commission’s Secretaries. She was a non-executive Director of the National Trust for Scotland for many years, and Chair of the Institute for Archaeologists from 1995–96, where she established the Register of Archaeological Organisations. The colour photo shows Murray with former RCAHMS Chairman John Hume.
The Reverend Peter Galloway FSA
, Chaplain of the Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy and Chaplain of the Royal Victorian Order, has written The Royal Victorian Order
(Spink). The Order is The Queen’s personal honour and is conferred at her discretion. This is its first full history since it was founded in 1896, says the blurb, and includes a complete list of members appointed from 1896 to 2016. The Princess Royal has contributed a Foreword. Galloway’s previous books include The Order of the British Empire
(1996), The Order of St Michael and St George
(2000), The Order of the Bath
(2005) and Exalted, Eminent and Imperial: Honours of the British Raj
Digging into a well-explored literary trench, Mark Haddon has written a short story about a Neanderthal incident, commissioned as part of a collaboration between BBC Radio 4 and the Natural History Museum. You can hear Haddon read his story, The Kill
, on iPlayer
until 6 December. Other stories in the series have been written by A L Kennedy, Evie Wyld and Lionel Shriver, whose A Total Neanderthal
, broadcast in 2015, explored our own relationship with our extinct cousins.
Breaking Ground: Art, Archaeology and Mythology,
by Neville Gabie and Jason Wood FSA
, reports the archaeological investigation of Bradford Football Club’s grounds in West Yorkshire. It began in 2013 with the excavation of a goalpost hole, says the blurb, and a trowel exhibited in the National Football Museum. The Park Avenue football ground is ‘a long-forgotten time capsule of Bradford’s social history.’ After this first tentative dig, archaeologist Wood and artist Gabie ‘grabbed the moment before the ground’s legacy was lost forever. Invigorated by the fans’ enthusiasm, with funding from Arts Council England and the National Football Museum, and with the blessing of Bradford Metropolitan Council, they returned in 2015 with an enlarged team of archaeologists and artists, once again to be embraced by the passionate Avenue fans with their contributions and insights.’ The book (with a DVD) celebrates 'the mythology of this once great club.’
In an interview for Radio Times
, David Attenborough FSA
commented on the UK referendum vote to leave the EU
. ‘There's confusion, isn't there, between populism and parliamentary democracy,’ he told Emily Maitlis. ‘I mean, that's why we're in the mess we are with Brexit, is it not?’ ‘Politicians getting up and saying, “We've had enough of experts”’, he added, is ‘catastrophic’.
The Country House and the Great War: Irish and British Experiences
(Four Courts Press), edited by Terence Dooley and Christopher Ridgway FSA
, draws on archives and unpublished images to tell personal stories of owners, servants and tenants, and local communities who lived in the shadows of country houses. An international list of contributors includes Paul Holden FSA
, on Lanhydrock, Cornwall. Ridgway writes about Castle Howard, North Yorkshire, where he is Curator. He and Dooley previously edited The Irish Country House: Its Past, Present and Future
Maamoun Abdulkarim, Syria’s Director-General for Antiquities and Museums, was interviewed by Christina Lamb for The Sunday Times
of 13 November (subscription). More than 300,000 historic items rescued from across the country, says Lamb, are in hidden underground chambers across Damascus, the result of a courageous Syrian operation in which 15 academics, archaeologists and museum guards lost their lives. Contemplating an expected Russian assault on eastern Aleppo, Abdulkarim says, ‘I know eventually the war will finish and I will go with my colleagues to Aleppo and cry. What happened to this city is a disgrace for the whole world. It’s one of the most important historic cities on earth, every tourist loved it. Why is the world just accepting its destruction?’ Helooks forward to the return of tourists. Emergency work is under way at Palmyra. ‘I think much can be rebuilt using a large part of the stones, but everything will be done to respect the identity of Palmyra. We won’t start adding modern stones.’
Nicoletta Momigliano FSA
and Alexandre Farnoux have edited Cretomania: Modern Desires for the Minoan Past
, for Routledge’s British School at Athens Series – Modern Greek and Byzantine Studies. Since its rediscovery in the early 20th century, says the blurb, Minoan Crete has captured the imagination not only of archaeologists but also of a wider public. It has appeared in a variety of modern cultural practices from the innovative dances of Sergei Diaghilev and Ted Shawn, to public and vernacular architecture, psychoanalysis, literature, sculpture, fashion designs, and even neo-pagan movements. Cretomania is the first volume devoted to such modern responses to the Minoan past, and 'the effects of Minoan Crete beyond the narrow boundaries of recondite archaeological research'. Enter code FLR40 at checkout
for a 20% discount (on £76).
Mosaics expert and artist, David Neal FSA
is closely involved with the major restoration of the Great Pavement in front of the High Altar at Westminster Abbey. Inspired by this important work, David and co-conservator Warwick Rodwell FSA
are finalising the manuscript describing the history of this complex and beautiful mosaic, with a view to the text being published by the Society of Antiquaries in time for the 650th anniversary of the laying of the Pavement by Henry III. To accompany the text, David has produced a number of highly detailed and intricate paintings of the mosaic. From now to Sunday, 18 December 2016, the original paintings can be viewed at the Sunbury Embroidery Gallery
Hackney’s Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History raised less than a third of the money needed to buy ‘a 1000 year old Mummified Human Head’. The museum had been criticised for unethical practices
when it launched a crowdfunded appeal for £6,666 to assist its purchase. The appeal has closed having raised £1,997. No one, it seems, wanted their name memorialised in the case – a reward available for a donation of £3,500.
Routledge has published a new edition of the award-winning Rome in the East: The Transformation of an Empire
by Warwick Ball FSA.
Paul Newson, American University of Beirut, Lebanon, writes on the dust jacket: ‘When this book first appeared it proved highly controversial. Postcolonial approaches that foreground the viewpoint of the “other” have reset the academic agenda and in many ways the first edition was a precursor of this approach. This second edition has continued the legacy of the first and is thought-provoking, provocative and challenging. Such works are badly needed as a corrective to the prevailing orthodoxy of the western paradigm in Greco-Roman studies.’ • Separately, Ball would like to advise Salon readers of a new international scholarly journal, of which he is Editor-in-Chief: Afghanistan, the Journal of the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies
, to be published by Edinburgh University Press, is the first scholarly journal devoted to that country since the demise of the British Institute of Afghan Studies in 1982. It is designed to showcase the huge amount of new discoveries and research in Afghanistan. The first of two issues a year is planned for Spring 2018.
St Mary’s Chithurst, Trotton, West Sussex, described as the ‘little church’ in Domesday Book, is always open and very much in use, says Nicholas Hall FSA
, who is a churchwarden, its other-worldliness greatly valued by visitors and worshippers. Its roof needs to be replaced. The Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund
has offered a £67,900 grant towards the cost, leaving a small rural parish to raise £15,000 before the end of this year. Hall says there are no plans to install mains services, so the church will remain without electricity and continue to be candle-lit and unheated, and unlocked.
Jacob Simon FSA
, Research Fellow at the National Portrait Gallery, notes that 2016 is the tenth anniversary of the launch of the Gallery’s online resource, British Artists' Suppliers, 1650–1950
, in partnership with Cathy Proudlove. Three other resources have since been added, British Picture Framemakers, 1600–1950
(2007), British Picture Restorers, 1600–1950
(2009) and British Bronze Sculpture Founders and Plaster Figure Makers, 1800–1980
(2011). These four online resources are selectively updated twice a year, and have doubled in size since launch. Further reviews and additions are planned, including to the features on picture framing; the Gallery’s exhibition, The Art of the Picture Frame
, celebrated its 20th anniversary on 8 November. Karen Hearn FSA
writes to commend these remarkable online resources, and ‘the exceptional amount of research, work and coordination that their originator, Jacob Simon, has put into making so much invaluable information available to a wide audience.’
Livia Visser-Fuchs FSA
has edited Margaret of York: Princess of England, Duchess of Burgundy,
by Harry Schnitker. From the moment in 1468 when Margaret of York, sister of Kings Edward IV and Richard III, married Charles the Bold, says the blurb, she played a central role in Burgundian society and cultural life. A woman in a world of men, she was nonetheless able to establish her authority and influence through her household and affinity, through her patronage of the arts, of religious orders and of humanist learning. The book looks at all these aspects of Margaret’s life, with a particular focus on her affinity, on her religious patronage, and on her library and the contents of her books. Illustrations feature images from the Society’s collection, including portraits of Edward IV, Richard III and Margaret herself.
There will be an informal meeting in the Society's rooms in London on Friday 2 December to celebrate the life of Patrick John Casey FSA
, commencing at 4 pm. Food and drink will be provided. Those Fellows and friends who would like to attend are requested to contact Jeffrey Davies at email@example.com
as soon as possible. Casey, a leading specialist in Roman coins, died in June
Gwynfryn Walters, who was elected a Fellow in May 1983 and resigned in 2013, died on 22 July, aged 92. Born into a Welsh-speaking steelworker’s family in Swansea, writes his friend and colleague Stephen Briggs FSA,
Walters joined the Isle of Wight County Library in 1951 before being appointed Research Assistant in the Department of Printed Books at the National Library of Wales three years later. He was promoted Assistant Keeper in 1957, which he remained until retirement in 1983 (‘though indubitably the most suitable candidate for promotion to be Keeper’). As Senior Library Researcher at SDUC (now UWTSD) Lampeter, he curated and catalogued the Old Library collections during a six-year career extension. His pioneering MSc thesis, Tourist and Guide Book Literature of Wales, 1770–1870
, remains unpublished.
Alfred (Alf) Smyth FSA
died on 16 October aged 74. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in January 1977. Professor Emeritus of Medieval History in the University of Kent and, in the words of The Irish Times
obituary (12 November), a ‘staunch defender of Irish heritage sites,’ he will be remembered by English historians as a controversial biographer of Alfred the Great.
Smyth was born in Tara, Co Meath. He studied history and archaeology at University College Dublin, spent a year at the University of Reykjavik, and finally went to Jesus College, Oxford. He lectured at the University of Birmingham, moving in 1973 to the University of Kent at Canterbury, where he rose to Professor of Medieval History. In 1997 he was appointed Warden of St George’s House, Windsor Castle, where he worked with Prince Philip organising conferences and seminars. He returned to Canterbury in 1999, becoming Director of Research and Dean of Humanities at Canterbury Christ Church, from which he retired in 2007.
He was a prolific writer, including of fiction and poetry. Among his books were Scandinavian York and Dublin
(1975), Scandinavian Kings in the British Isles
(1977), Celtic Leinster
(1982) and Faith, Famine and Fatherland
(1992). When he died he was working on a book about Jane Austen’s links with east Kent, with his wife, Margaret O’Connell.
His King Alfred the Great
(1995) stirred unusually strong feelings among academics. ‘He talks a soft Dublin Irish, sips Stella shandy and writes stories for children in his spare time,’ wrote Simon Targett reviewing the debate for the Times Higher Education
. ‘It is the CV of a conformist, you would have thought. Yet Alfred Smyth has just written one of the most controversial Anglo-Saxon history books ever, rampaging through the hill fort of orthodoxy and leaving behind the rubble of bitter rivalry and broken friendships.’
Simon Keynes FSA,
who says he crossed swords with Smyth in the 1990s (‘but I should like to think that we remained on good terms personally!’), has kindly written this for Salon
. In its time, he says, Smyth’s work on York and Dublin was very influential:
‘Alfred P Smyth, Professor Emeritus of Medieval History in the University of Kent and formerly Master of Keynes College, was inspired initially by those who had guided his work in Oxford and Birmingham. He focussed on the exploits of Scandinavian kings in Ireland and Britain during the second half of the ninth century (notably Ívarr the Boneless, d 873), leading thereafter to his detailed study of the inter-related histories of the Scandinavian kingdoms of Dublin and York, from the late ninth to the middle of the tenth century.
‘Smyth’s investigations of the written sources coincided with important work by archaeologists and numismatists in both of these centres of viking settlement and commercial activity; and it was his combination of evidence drawn from different disciplines which lay behind the three ground-breaking books in this area which he published in the 1970s.
‘A spirited volume on Warlords and Holy Men: Scotland AD 80–1000
followed in 1984. Smyth will be best remembered, however, for his study of King Alfred the Great
(Oxford 1995). In this substantial work, he challenged the faith placed by modern scholarship in the authenticity of Asser’s Life of King Alfred
, thereby rejecting some of the stories told about the king, and clearing the way for a different approach. Few may have followed Smyth in regarding Asser’s Life
as the work of Byrhtferth, monk of Ramsey (c 1000); but none would doubt that understanding of Alfred has been enhanced by his re-opening of wider discussion from first principles.’
Ben Read FSA
, who died in October
, has received obituaries in both the Guardian
(2 November) and The Telegraph
(7 November, subscription). In the former Michael Paraskos writes that Read’s ‘role in rehabilitating the status of Victorian sculpture is difficult to overestimate.’ He was ‘widely liked,’ adds Paraskos, ‘not only for his kindness, but his willingness to share his prodigious knowledge of art.’
prominent obituary again focusses on Read’s work on Victorian sculpture. He ‘steered clear of any temptation to make fun of 19th century mawkishness, tub-thumping nationalism or civic pride,’ says the paper’s writer, ‘and showed that, however lacking in aesthetic value such works may be, Victorian sculptures have great historical importance as indicators of the taste and ambitions of their time.’ They quote a passage by Read on sculptures made in the 1870s for Lichfield Cathedral: ‘The whole programme is as impressive in its way and for its date as the west fronts of Chartres or Wells, and it needs to be asked whether a failure to recognise this is not simply a matter of the attitude of a beholder conditioned by historical prejudice.'
Read’s interests ‘were always catholic, embracing architecture and Old Master paintings, and he followed the work of contemporary artists with great attention. It was [at the University of] Leeds, however, that he was able to develop sculpture studies into a distinctive branch of art history. Students on his Sculpture Studies programme enjoyed his sense of humour and many went on to work at major museums and universities around the world.’
Giles Waterfield FSA
died on 5 November aged 67. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in February 1991. Novelist, art historian and curator, he grew up in Paris and Geneva and studied at Magdalen College, Oxford and the Courtauld Institute of Art. He was the Dulwich Picture Gallery’s first Director
(1979–96), introducing temporary exhibitions and setting the foundations for what has become one of London’s most watched public galleries. The Art Newspaper
quotes Waterfield on his arrival in Dulwich. There was ‘a staff of five,’ he said, ‘two resident custodians (one a carpenter) who hadn’t spoken to each other for three years, and the only activities were those organised by the Friends. Otherwise nothing happened.’
His teaching career began in 1971 at the Merz-Schule, Stuttgart, from where he moved to the Royal Pavilion, Brighton as Education Services Officer. After Dulwich he became an independent curator,
Associate Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute and Director of Royal Collection Studies. He curated Soane and After
(Dulwich 1987), Art Treasures of England
(Royal Academy 1998), In Celebration: The Art of the Country House
(Tate Gallery 1998–99) and Below Stairs
(National Portrait Gallery London/Edinburgh 2003–04), among other exhibitions. In addition to catalogues, his books include The People’s Gallery: Art Museums and Exhibitions in Victorian Britain
(2015), and four well-received novels, The Long Afternoon
(2000), The Hound in the Left-Hand Corner
(a satire on modern museums, 2002), Markham Thorpe
(2013) and The Iron Necklace
He was a consultant to many arts organisations, including the Britten-Pears Foundation, the South Bank Centre and the National Trust, and advisor, trustee and committee chair to bodies from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to the Garden Museum and the Edward James Foundation, and more besides.
Jan Piggott FSA
, formerly Head of English and Keeper of the Archives at Dulwich College, recalls their days together in Dulwich Village:
‘A very youthful Giles Waterfield was appointed in 1979 to wake up and run the Dulwich College Picture Gallery, at that point almost on a death bed from genteel neglect. His charm and enthusiasm overcame stupidity and truly daunting obstacles to make the Gallery universally known and loved. As his own affection for the place and his energetic research developed, Giles set up an extensive series of sparkish exhibitions with brilliant catalogues, teaching us a detailed academic understanding of the building and its collections. He redecorated the Gallery to its original colour (the walls were all pale grey when he arrived) and restored a Regency hang. He sent loan exhibitions overseas – there was no government grant, and the Gallery was often close to bankruptcy. He rattled the more conservative Dulwich villagers by contemporary art exhibitions and by displaying De Chirico statuettes in the Mausoleum.
‘The Gallery became Dulwich Picture Gallery, independent of the College, in 1995. In 1984 he had appointed Gillian Wolfe to run the Education programme: this became a world-famous imaginative and genuine outreach to the young, the elderly, to schools and communities, and her department has now won 29 national and international awards.
‘In the 17 years at Dulwich Giles began to encourage and mentor so many careers in museums and galleries, all over the world; he was drily amused by his grateful followers, but had a sharp insight into their potential.’
Wisdom of Fellows
Adrian James FSA
, the Society’s former Assistant Librarian and now Project Librarian, has a message for Fellows:
‘Perhaps I could ask you through the good offices of Salon
to convey my warmest thanks to the Fellows for their very kind good wishes and leaving present, which I shall use to fund a subscription to the London Library. It has been a pleasure to be of service in the Society’s library for the last 36 years, and I look forward to returning as a Fellow.’
‘I wonder whether you have noticed the reporting of the proposals for Clifford's Tower?’ asks Richard Sharpe FSA
. ‘It does not look like something any conservation organisation would approve, let alone English Heritage.’
The proposal, as described by the BBC
, is for a £2 million visitor centre, ‘criticised for resembling a toilet block’, beside the 13th Century Clifford's Tower in York. Sadly for Sharpe, it is English Heritage who want to build it.
Jeremy Ashbee FSA
, Head Properties Curator at English Heritage, said, ‘An enormous amount of care was taken in preparing the planning application, in consultation with planners, designers and members of the public. We are thrilled to have permission to go ahead with this project.’ The proposed works include new viewing platforms within the tower, with the potential to ‘greatly enhance’ the visitor experience.
Richard Green FSA
draws Fellows’ attention to a petition
, Stop English Heritage Making Clifford's Tower Look Like Disneyland
! He made a formal objection to the Council, he tells Salon, before the planning committee meeting when the proposal was approved.
‘Rachel Maskell, MP for York Central, has taken up the cudgels on behalf of the petitioners,’ writes Green, ‘and attended a protest rally at Clifford's Tower. She has written to the Secretaries of State at the Departments for Culture, Media and Sport, and for Communities and Local Government, and plans to meet Jeremy Ashbee. There is a glimmer of hope: it seems the City of York Council might be able to sell English Heritage a piece of land near the tower on which to build the visitor centre, which would thus not actually encroach on the motte.’
Sue Powell FSA
, Emeritus Professor Medieval Texts and Culture (University of Salford), read my piece on a Fire of London manuscript in the last Salon
: ‘Clumsy phrasing and phonetic spellings, says the Museum of London,’ I wrote, ‘including “Frinch” for “French” and “marchant” for “merchant” among 17 depositions, suggest witnesses had regional accents and poor schooling. The manuscript’s phrasing differs from printed versions in many places and, says the Museum, is probably the only surviving handwritten copy of the Committee’s findings.’
‘Would you be good enough to inform the Museum of London’, says Powell, ‘that there was no fixed spelling system in England at the time when the manuscript was written. Regional accents and poor schooling are unlikely to be relevant here – the pronunciations indicated by “Frinch” and “marchant” were common at the time, and spelling pronunciation was common in all classes of society.’
Forthcoming Ordinary Meetings of 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'). Unless indicated otherwise, tea will be served at 16.15, and the Meeting will commence at 17.00 precisely. Online ballots close at noon at the date of the scheduled ballot. At Ordinary Meetings, ballots open at 16.00 and close at 16.20. The results are read at the beginning of the Meeting.
17 November: 'Chequered Histories: Image, Process and Time in Neolithic Britain and Ireland', by Prof Andrew Meirion Jones, FSA
24 November (15.45): 'Presentation of the Statutory Report and Accounts, 2015-’16', by Treasurer Stephen Johnson, FSA
24 November (17.00): 'The Northern Powerhouse: The 1593/4 Inventory of the 4th Earl of Derby's Chattels at Lathom, Knowsley and New Park', by Dr Stephen Lloyd, FSA
1 December: 'English Alabasters Reconsidered', by Dr Kim Woods, FSA
8 December: 'Miscellany of Papers' (including 'Friend of My Youth: Vernon Lushington and William Morris' by David Taylor, FSA, and 'Vera Evison and the Anglo-Saxon Comb' by Ian Riddler, FSA)
8 December: 'Mulled Wine Reception', including Christmas carols and raffle prizes!
Interested in proposing a lecture? Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please note that lecture programmes are planned between 6 and 12 months in advance.
Forthcoming Public Events
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.
22 November: 'Motherboards and Motherloads: The Evolving Excavation of the Digital Age', by Dr Christine Finn FSA.
31 January: 'From the Dungheap to the Stars: The History of Early Gunpowder', by Kay Smith, FSA.
14 February: 'Revealing Verulamium: Community Heritage, Geophysics and the Archaeology of a Roman Town,' by Dr Kris Lockyear, FSA, and Dr Ellen Shlasko.
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.
Society Dates to Remember
Introductory Tours of Burlington House for Fellows
Join us next week for an introductory tour of our apartments at Burlington House - hear about our great Library resources and ways for you to make the most of your Fellowship. Next date: 24 November
. Tours are free for Fellows, but registration is required
Burlington House Closures
The Society's apartments (including the Library and Fellows' Room) will be closed for the Christmas holidays 24 December to 2 January (inclusive).
Regional Fellows Groups
South West Fellows
2 March 2017: Archaeology at Rendlesham, Suffolk: An East Anglian Royal Settlement of the Time of Sutton Hoo by Prof Christopher Scull, FSA, a joint lecture with the Department of Archaeology of University of Exeter (14.30-15.30 at University of Exeter, Streatham Campus, Laver Building, Lecture Theater 3).
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: http://eepurl.com/MvHUr
Want to join the Welsh Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings, email Bob Child at email@example.com.
26 November: Christmas Luncheon at Library, The Grange Hotel, York. Save the date and email Stephen Greep FSA at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
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: http://eepurl.com/8nvxL
Other Forthcoming Heritage Events
See next articles for 'Call for Papers'.
24 November: Research Agendas and the VCH: Recent Partnerships and Approaches in Oxfordshire (London)
Simon Townley (County Editor, VCH Oxfordshire) and Kate Tiller (VCH Oxfordshire Trust) will give a lecture at Senate House, Malet Street followed by a reception, to mark the publication of VCH Oxfordshire XVIII (Benson, Ewelme and the Chilterns: Ewelme Hundred). The research has run in close parallel with the Oxford University History Faculty and Leverhulme Trust project, Perceptions of Landscape, Settlement and Society in South Oxfordshire, c.500–1650. The event is free and open to all, but advance booking is required.
24–25 November: Richard Hakluyt and the Renaissance Discovery of the World (Oxford)
This year is the 400th anniversary of the death of Richard Hakluyt (1552–1616), which the Hakluyt Society will mark with a programme of events in Oxford, of which the principal is a two-day international conference. The programme includes a keynote lecture by Joyce Chaplin (Harvard University) and a free public lecture, Voyages, Traffiques, Discoveries, by broadcaster and historian Michael Wood FSA. Details online.
26 November: Romantic Antiquarianism: A Conference Celebrating Scott's The Antiquary (London)
A day conference organised by Fiona Robertson and Peter Lindfield at the Georgian Group, 6 Fitzroy Square, celebrates the bicentenary of the publication of Sir Walter Scott's novel, The Antiquary, by looking at the multi-faceted nature of antiquarianism in Georgian Britain. Leading scholars from across the UK will gather to present new and engaging material on the topic, including Rosemary Sweet FSA. See online for details.
26 November: ‘What the Romans built for us’ in Kent (Canterbury)
The importance of Roman villas in the landscape and history of Kent will be the theme of a one-day conference sponsored by the Kent Archaeological Society (KAS) in association with the Department of Classical and Archaeological Studies, University of Kent, to be held at Rutherford College. Speakers include Edward Biddulph FSA and Keith Parfitt FSA. Application form on the KAS News & Events page.
27–28 November: The Destruction Of Books (London)
This year’s 38th Annual Conference on Book Trade History, at Stationers' Hall, Ave Maria Lane, is concerned with the attrition and loss of books and manuscripts. Speakers will explore misfortunes that can befall books, ranging from accidental or wilful destruction of books to the cutting up and re-use of text and pictures. The impact of book-trade practices and changing fashions in collecting, with the recycling of paper and parchment and the rebinding of books, will form another major theme. Speakers include Brian Cummings FSA, John Goldfinch FSA, Christopher de Hamel FSA, Giles Mandelbrote FSA and Nicholas Pickwoad FSA. See online for full details.
6 December: A Colourful History/A Bright Future: Celebrating the Reredos Project at St Cuthbert’s (Wells)
The summer's investigations into two magnificent 15th-century painted reredos frameworks at St Cuthbert’s church, Wells, and the 449 pieces of broken sculpture which once populated them, are now complete. A day of presentations and discussion will share the project's findings and start the conversation about the sculptures' future. Cataloguing undertaken by Jerry Sampson FSA sheds light on the original composition and structure of the two reredoses. What can the iconography tell us about the nature of worship in the 15th century church? How and when were they destroyed? The event will take place in the Lecture Hall at Wells and Mendip Museum. See blog for more about the project, and Eventbrite for tickets.
Simon Thurley FSA is giving a series of free lectures in his capacity as Visiting Professor of the Built Environment at Gresham College, a positon created in 2009 for his continuing lectures on the history of English architecture. They will take place at the Museum of London, and will be accessible to the general public on a first come first served basis, beginning promptly at 6pm. The lectures are:
- 7 December 2016: Tough Choices: Heritage or Housing? (The one built environment issue on which there is political consensus is an urgent need to build more houses. Housebuilding and heritage can be reconciled, but at the moment far too few local authorities know how to do it.)
- 1 February 2017: Perfection or Pastiche? New Buildings in Old Places (The blight of the concrete municipal buildings of the 1960s and 70s in the historic centres of our cathedral cities is all too familiar. Everyone wants to avoid the same mistakes being made again, but can we reconcile old and new in our historic cities?)
- 8 March 2017: The Value of Heritage and the Heritage of Value (There was a time when old places were valued simply for their beauty and interest, but now this is not enough. Are calculations of the financial contribution of our history adding to the value of our heritage or have they fundamentally devalued it?)
- 7 June 2017: Fifty Years of Conservation Areas (Simon Thurley and Desmond Fitzpatrick FSA) (The first Conservation Areas were designated in 1967, today at the golden anniversary there are some 10,000 sites. The presentation will explore the origins, variety and some challenges for the future.)
- 12 December 2017: ‘Business as Usual’: The Great War and the Ceramics Trade (London) (The Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology’s Geoff Egan Memorial Lecture 2016 will be given by David Barker, at the Society of Antiquaries, Piccadilly, at 7pm. The lecture considers the impact of events of 1914–1919 on British manufacturing industries. The pottery industry was not alone in feeling the effects of labour shortages – and the need to fill male roles with women workers – and it suffered from the closure of markets, shortages of raw materials and difficulties in pursuing the all-important export trade. The lecture will be preceded by the SPMA’s AGM at 5.30pm and a wine reception at 6pm. See online for details.)
15 December: In the Footsteps of the Ancestors – Excursions into the Gorham’s Cave Complex World Heritage Site (London)
Clive Finlayson, Director of the Gibraltar Museum and of the Gorham’s Cave Complex, will give the ICOMOS-UK annual Christmas lecture at the Gallery, 70 Cowcross St, to celebrate the inscription of the UK’s latest World Heritage Site. Conventional wisdom tells us that competitively superior modern humans were responsible for the demise of all who they came across in their relentless path towards global colonisation. The story of humanity is much more complex than this, and it is becoming increasingly clear that the evidence does not support this simple model. New technologies, and sites which have survived the attention of Victorian archaeologists and their contemporaries, have the potential to reveal the secrets of the ancestors. Booking online.
12 January 2017: Grave Disturbance in Early Medieval Europe (Stockholm)
An international symposium to be held at the Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University, organised by Alison Klevnäs, who won the Kent Archaeological Society's Hasted Prize in 2011 for her Cambridge PhD on the symposium’s theme. One of the most intriguing chapters in early Medieval archaeology is an outbreak of grave disturbance from Hungary to England, peaking in the seventh century. Thousands of recent burials were reopened and rifled, with grave goods and human remains removed or scattered. This will be the first conference on Merovingian-period grave disturbance since 1977. Substantive new research is being carried out into this phenomenon in England, Germany, France, the Low Countries, and Austria. See online for more information.
21 January 2017: New Insights into 16th- and 17th-Century British Architecture (London)
The programme and booking form for the seventh in this conference series are available. The conference will be held at the Society of Antiquaries, and many of the speakers are Fellows. For more information, please contact Paula Henderson FSA or Claire Gapper FSA.
18 February 2017: The Man who Collected Oxfordshire (Oxford)
A day school at Rewley House, exploring the life and collections of Percy Manning (1870–1917). Manning amassed an enormous wealth of materials covering the whole county, which he gave to Oxford University, where they are held by the Bodleian Libraries and the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums. His collections range from prehistoric to modern times, from Stone-age implements and truncheons to historical records, plans and drawings. Kate Tiller FSA will chair a panel of five speakers. See online for details.
Call for Papers
31 March–2 April 2017: Post-Medieval Archaeology Congress 2017 (Hull)
The Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology is building on the success of its 50th Anniversary Congress in Sheffield with a similar event in Hull as it celebrates being UK City of Culture. The event is open to all researchers at any stage of their career, whether academics, students, commercial or community archaeologists, to report recent research on any aspect of post-medieval/historical archaeology. We encourage contributors to offer 15-minute papers or poster displays which will be grouped by the organisers into themed sessions. Please send offers of papers (title and abstract of up to 150 words) to Harold Mytum FSA by 1 December, at email@example.com. Further information about the conference is available online.
19–21 April 2017: Archaeology: A Global Profession (Newcastle)
The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists’ annual conference and training event will be hosted at the University of Newcastle next year. The three broad themes are professionalism, protection and discovery. Archaeology should be without borders, and professional archaeology must be without borders. We hope the conference will provide an opportunity to report on some of the progress made and to explore both the opportunities and difficulties of professionalising across borders. Deadline for proposals 14 October 2016. See online for further details.
29 April 2017: The Changing Parish Church: from Saxon to Victorian c 600–1900 (Lewes)
Against a background of declining congregations and large numbers of listed churches with uncertain futures, this day conference considers the emergence, use and decoration of the early parish church, how the parish church has changed, and what might lie ahead for rural parish churches. The delegates’ handbook will include illustrations and other information to help ‘read’ a church when you visit. See online for details.
May 17–18 2017: Archaeology and History of Lydia from Early Lydian Period to the Late Antiquity (Izmir, Turkey)
This symposium will take place at the Dokuz Eylul University. Lydia was an ancient region, located in inner western Anatolia, and compared to the coastline of western Asia Minor its archaeology is not well known. We warmly invite contributions by scholars and graduate students from a variety of disciplines of ancient classical studies related to this region. The aim of the symposium is to report on the state of research concerning Lydia between the 8th century BC and 6th century AD. See online for details.
16–17 November 2017: The Black Prince and Canterbury Cathedral (Canterbury)
Proposals are invited for a conference at Canterbury Cathedral, part of a wider project to preserve and research the material culture of the Black Prince held at the Cathedral through The Canterbury Journey project. The conference will explore and appraise current and developing studies of the Black Prince, his life, his influence past and present, and will contextualise him within the cathedral setting. A keynote address will be complemented by a series of presentations and panel discussions and unusual access to the Cathedral’s architecture. The aim is to offer a vibrant and challenging perspective on the field, review ongoing projects and public and scholarly engagement. Original proposals are welcome from professionals, rising and established academic scholars and graduate students. Email Sarah Turner and Heather Newton by 30 January 2017, at firstname.lastname@example.org and Heather.Newton@canterbury-cathedral.org. See online for details.
Royal Armouries is seeking a Director of Collections, £65,650 per annum. Closing date for applications 19 December 2016.
We are seeking someone who can develop and sustain the Royal Armouries as a major national museum and an internationally recognised centre of expertise and excellence in the study and display of arms, armour and artillery. You will increase the understanding of the collection and its significance through research, and its understanding and enjoyment by specialists and the public. The ideal candidate will combine strong management experience and academic distinction in one or more subject areas covered by the Royal Armouries collection.
Apply online or email, with a covering letter and your most recent CV including current salary, setting out why you are interested in the position and why you believe yourself to be a suitable candidate.
The Leverhulme Trust is currently inviting applications for 2017 Emeritus Fellowships. Closing date for applications 2 February 2017 at 4 pm.
The Fellowships enable retired academics from UK institutions to complete a body of research for publication. Up to £22,000 is available for research costs directly related to the project. Fellowships are offered for periods of three to 24 months, and must begin between 1 August 2017 and 1 July 2018. Approximately 35 fellowships are available in 2017. Applicants must have retired by the time of taking up the Fellowship and no longer have a normal contract of employment, but they may hold a part-time position of up to 0.5 FTE. See online for further details.
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.