Salon: Issue 399
23 January 2018
Next issue: 6 February 2018
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.
Fellows may occasionally find they do not receive email notification of a new Salon. There are suggestions for solving this here, but failing all else there is an online archive where new editions go live at the same time as the mailing. Every Salon lists the publication date of the next edition at the top.
From the Desk of the General Secretary
Unlocking our collections: Derrotero (Atlas)
The Society of Antiquaries has, over more than 300 years, accumulated astonishing collections. At Burlington House and Kelmscott Manor, the Society cares for a vast array of material, ranging from Old Master paintings to archaeological objects, from prints and drawings to one of the finest antiquarian research libraries anywhere.
In Autumn 2017, Peter Barber, FSA
, former Head of Maps at the British Library, helped us explore a unique 17th-century Spanish atlas from our Library Collection – with a possible connection to the pirate captain Henry Morgan. He was assisted by a member of our Library team, Magda Kowalczuk
The Derrotero can be found in a new display, recently installed in the Library.
Watch the video >
Fellows, we need your help!
If you have a favourite object in the Society's Library or Museum collections and would be willing to write a short feature for our website, please contact the Communications Manager (email@example.com).
Volume 97 of the Antiquaries Journal
The latest volume (97) of the Antiquaries Journal published in 2017 and is available online free to all Fellows. You can access the latest papers now in FirstView via the Fellows’ Area of the Society’s website.
Print copies have been dispatched. If you are a Fellow based in the UK and you have not received your copy by Wednesday 14 February, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for a replacement copy. Fellows overseas will, of course, not expect their copy to arrive quite so quickly.
Volume 97 contains papers by:
- Niall Sharples, FSA, and Oliver Davis on causewayed enclosures in Wales, and why this feature may be more prevalent further west of the Severn than previously thought
- Cameron Moffett on the archaeological evidence for post-Roman mead production at Tintagel Castle
- Phil Harding, FSA, and John Lord on the implications of the discovery of massive flint cores at West Kennett (where nodules of this type are absent) with others from East Anglia, linking them with the movement of flint across Britain, and discussing the role of these ‘mega-cores’ with current thinking on the function of stone in Neolithic Britain
- Stuart Needham, FSA, James Kenny, Garrard Cole, Janet Montgomery, Mary Davis, FSA, and Peter Marshall on Racton Man, the 4,000-year-old skeleton found in West Sussex in 1989, revealing not only key findings about the individual’s life, manner of death and burial, but how codified elite-level combat could help to explain the apparent incongruity between the limited efficacy of early dagger forms and their evident weapon-status
- Kirsty Millican, Helen Goodchild and Dorothy Graves McEwan considering the prehistoric monument complex at Lochbrow, in Dumfries & Galloway, in context with its landscape
- Roland B Harris, FSA, on the exciting discovery of a designed Gothic window tracery, scored by a medieval hand art Wymondham Abbey, Norfolk
- James Stevens Curl, FSA, on variations on a sculptural theme by Sir Francis Leggatt
- Lesley Milner, FSA, on the treasure house at Lincoln Cathedral
- Matthew Payne, FSA, on a funerary roll that reveals the interior of Westminster Abbey in colour as it would have looked before the Dissolution
- Matthew Payne, FSA, and Warwick Rodwell, FSA, on re-evaluating the date of the construction of the shrine of Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey
Gifts to the library (2016)
The Society is very grateful to the donors of the following books, given to the Library in 2016. These books are (or will shortly be), available in the Library, with full records on the online catalogue. Please accept our apologies for the delay in acknowledging these much-appreciated donations.
From the author, Jerome Bertram, FSA,
- From Adrian Ailes, FSA, Genealogica & Heraldica: Identitat in Genealogie und Heraldik (2012)
- From Pippa Bradley, FSA, A medieval manor house rediscovered: excavations at Longforth Farm, Wellington, Somerset by Simon Flaherty, Phil Andrews and Matt Leivers (2016)
- From David Sherlock, FSA, From wool to cloth: the triumph of the Suffolk clothier (2016)
- From the author, David Breeze, FSA, Bearsden: The story of a Roman fort (2016)
- From the author, Cristina Dondi, FSA, Printed books of hours from fifteenth-century Italy (2016)
- Travels in Scandinavia (2016)
- Travels in North-East Germany (2016)
- Travels in South-East Germany (2016)
- Travels in South-East Europe (2017)
Updates to the Fellows Handbook
There have been several updates to the Fellows Handbook, including the library's book loans policy, which can be found in Section 7.
The revised edition (December 2017) is available in the Fellows' Area of the website, and supersedes previous print editions.
Supporting Kelmscott Manor
The Society is extremely grateful to those Fellows who have already made donations and pledges since we launched the Kelmscott Manor campaign in May 2017. We have recently published a video inviting members of the public to further explore Kelmscott Manor and make a donation. Please do take a look, and find out more about the Kelmscott campaign.
Discover more >
Bienvenue au Bayeux Tapestry
This first Salon of 2018, long as it is (if this is your first visit here, come back in two weeks, Salon is never this long) can only open with the Bayeux Tapestry (photo above from Wikipedia). The last time the UK talked as much about this perpetually astonishing artefact that is historical narrative, subversive art, propaganda, testament to early medieval craft workshops, a miracle of survival, and oh so much more, was in 1966, on the 900th anniversary of the events it celebrates. I was 12. I still have the Post Office’s commemorative stamps.
We learnt on 17 January (thanks to the Times and a press release from Bayeux Museum), just ahead of a visit here by French President Macron, that for the first time France has agreed to loan the 70m-long work for exhibition in Britain. The embroidery itself is now over 900 years old, and its movement will be a major conservation challenge – as will its display, which should affect who is likely to be given that privilege (see below).
We know of only two previous departures from Bayeux, both with political intent. Napoleon Bonaparte exhibited the Tapestry in Paris in 1803 (ahead of a planned invasion of England), and it was found by Allied troops in 1944 in a cellar in the Louvre; it had previously been moved to a variety of locations during the early stages of a major research project (the Nazis argued it was a monument to Medieval Germanic hegemony, on the basis that the Normans were not French, but Viking).
When Macron and Prime Minister Theresa May met the press, it was impossible to see this promised third journey as one without political weight. The loan, says Bayeux Museum – ‘Si un prêt venait à être effectué’ – would be part of a conservation and study project ahead of the embroidery’s redisplay in a new Museum of Tapestry in Bayeux in 2024 – a few months, adds the museum, before the 80th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.
The Tapestry is a sort of Stonehenge the wrong side of the Channel: the moment it enters public dialogue, everyone seems to have an opinion about it. There can be no doubt that if it does come here, it will draw a very large number of viewers, and not just from the UK. Several Fellows have already committed some of their opinions to print. After a quick search, I found eight books about the Tapestry written or edited by Fellows, the oldest being The Bayeux Tapestry Elucidated by John Collingwood Bruce FSA (1856). The others are:
The Bayeux Tapestry by David M Wilson FSA (2004)
The Bayeux Tapestry: The Life Story of a Masterpiece by Carola Hicks FSA (2006)
The Real World of the Bayeux Tapestry by Michael Lewis FSA (2008)
The Bayeux Tapestry: New Approaches edited by Michael Lewis FSA, Gale Owen-Crocker FSA and Dan Terkla (2011)
The Man Behind the Bayeux Tapestry (2013) by Trevor Rowley FSA
An Archaeological Study of the Bayeux Tapestry: The Landscapes, Buildings and Places by Trevor Rowley FSA (2016)
Making Sense of the Bayeux Tapestry: Readings and Reworkings by Anna Henderson and Gale Owen-Crocker FSA (2016).
Michael Lewis is Head of Portable Antiquities & Treasure at the British Museum. As well as knowing a lot about the Tapestry, he had a hand in setting up the proposed loan. As a member of the Bayeux Tapestry Scientific Committee, he tells me, he has been lobbying for the Tapestry ‘to come home’:
‘Bayeux Museum’, says Lewis, ‘is redeveloping its displays for the embroidery which provides an opportunity for the Bayeux Tapestry to be exhibited at the British Museum in 2022, before the planned re-opening of Bayeux Museum in 2023. Behind the scenes Tim Loughton FSA, in his capacity of Chair of the British Museum All-Party Parliamentary Group, has been prodding the Government to make a formal request [the first since 1953]. The deal was clinched by British and French officials and formally announced by President Macron at the Anglo-French summit on 18 January.’ The British Museum, adds Lewis, who is naturally delighted at the prospect of the loan, ‘would be keen to work with its partners across the UK in celebrating this masterpiece of medieval art’.
Hartwig Fischer FSA, Director of the British Museum, acknowledged that this ‘would be a major loan, probably the most significant ever from France to the UK. It is a gesture of extraordinary generosity and proof of the deep ties that link our countries. We would be honoured and delighted’, he added, ‘to display it at the British Museum’, where ‘it would be seen by the widest UK and international audience in the context of a museum of world cultures.’
Theresa May was reticent about exactly where the Tapestry might be exhibited, saying only, in answer to questions in Parliament, ‘I am sure we will be looking very carefully to ensure that the maximum number of people can take the benefit of seeing’ it.
Edward Impey FSA, Director-general & Master, Royal Armouries, Leeds, was one of the first to raise a hand. ‘The obvious place’ for the exhibition, he wrote to the Times (18 January), ‘is the Tower of London, founded by William the Conqueror in 1066 to control the city … Specifically, it should be displayed in the White Tower.’
‘I’m surprised it’s going to the British Museum and not the V&A,’ Sir Roy Strong FSA told the Times, ‘which is the place that specialises in English textiles and embroidery.’ 'It will not be coming to the V&A,’ responded the museum. ‘Roy is entitled to his opinion and he’s an incredibly knowledgeable person’ (Times 18 January).
Huon Mallalieu FSA, author of 1066 and Rather More: A Walk Through History, thought it should be seen in Westminster Hall (Times 18 January), though an obvious difficulty with that, among the common problems of adequate and secure public access, atmospheric conditions, lighting and so on, is the constant need to vacate the hall at short notice. Other published suggestions include Waltham Abbey (as the alleged burial place of King Harold), the Great Hall of Winchester Castle (as quid pro quo ‘we could perhaps lend King Arthur’s Round Table,’ said Roy Perry, Leader, Hampshire County Council), the Royal Academy and Battle Abbey in East Sussex, managed by English Heritage. ‘It’s going to be one of those once in a lifetime exhibitions, and will have significance for sites across the UK and France with connections to those dramatic events of 1066 that altered the course of history and continue to affect us today,’ said Michael Carter FSA, an English Heritage historian.
And what might we loan France, if not Arthur's table?
The Rosetta Stone was one proposal, but most seemed to take a rather limited view of the Tapestry’s meaning and significance: Nelson’s Column, perhaps, or Napoleon’s death mask, French banners captured at Waterloo or Marengo, the remains of Napoleon’s horse (no doubt with all its hooves). None of these touches the scale, value and iconic status of the Tapestry. The show that puts Rodin with the Parthenon, opening later this year at the British Museum (see below), hints at one possibility, with a grand celebration of the glorious roots of European culture that the BM and the Louvre together are uniquely placed to pull off. But we have a few years yet to think about it all.
New Year Reflections
Marking the end of 2017 with a blog, Mike Nevell FSA (above, left and centre) remembered how 30 years ago in December 1987 he started his first full-time archaeological post, as a supervisor for the Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit. ‘I’d had archaeological work before,’ he writes, ‘as a paid digger and supervisor on a number of excavations whilst I was a post-graduate. However, this marked the moment that I entered the profession. Since then I have been fortunate enough to be in continual employment … as a professional archaeologist.’ What is the secret to his longevity? ‘Partly stubbornness (I’d long ago decided to stick to a base in North West England) and partly luck … But above all, having an understanding spouse with a secure job who earned a lot more than me in those crucial early years.’
David Attenborough FSA spoke openly about retirement for the first time after a career in broadcasting which began full-time with work for the BBC in 1952. ‘If I can’t walk up and down steps any more, that will stop me,’ he told the Radio Times. ‘If I think I’m not producing commentary with any freshness or which is apposite or to the point, I hope I would be able to recognise it before someone else told me.’ ‘I do dread not working,’ he added, ‘although there are things I can do without running up steps six times – books to be written, things I’ve never got round to. But at the moment it seems to be all right.’ Attenborough is the first of six interviewees in a series of films presented by Brian Cox, the Royal Society Professor for Public Engagement in Science, produced by the Royal Society and the BBC and launched on 11 January. Attenborough has earlier said that ‘If I had a torch I would hand it to Brian Cox.’
Mary Beard FSA concluded another year in the public eye with an interview in the Sunday Times (31 December). Promoting her book, Women & Power: A Manifesto, she recalls attending an event with Theresa May, the Prime Minister. ‘I don’t agree remotely with her politics,’ says Beard, ‘but I felt so sorry for her. There was a time when May appeared quite interesting. It looked like she was using the sense that she wasn’t in that clubbable part of the Tories to her advantage — she’d shut people up when they started to mansplain to her about defence, she wore those leopardskin shoes to show she wouldn’t conform to a male template. But now I think she looks much more like part of that classic, ancient repeating pattern of women being set up to fail.” Noting that 2018 marks the centenary of British women over 30 gaining the vote, she says, ‘I used to think equality was a matter of social reform … But now I’m less optimistic; I think the cultural structures that legitimise excluding women go much deeper and we’re nowhere near subverting them.’
In Parliament, in his political sketch in the Times (11 January) Patrick Kidd reported that Tim Loughton FSA (top right) grew a grey beard over Christmas. It ‘rather suits him’, says Kidd. ‘Lord Lisvane’s whiskers may soon have a rival. The former children’s minister told me later that his wife is urging him to shave. This would be a shame. For the sake of Mr Loughton’s future career in fishfinger commercials, this drastic Tory cut must be strongly resisted.’ Worthing Town held a poll on Facebook. Early indications were that he should keep the beard: 51% said it should stay (‘bit like Brexit in reverse’, tweeted Loughton). But the final result went against it, with 51% for shaving it off and 49% for keeping it. The thing about beards, though, is that a decision is taken every morning. Salon welcomes feedback.
And finally, Vera Evison FSA greets 2018 by celebrating her 100th birthday – on the day this Salon goes out. The Evidence of Material Culture: Studies in Honour of Professor Vera Evison was published in 2016, edited by Ian Riddler FSA, Jean Soulat and Lynne Keys FSA, and UCL marked her long career as lecturer in Anglo-Saxon archaeology at Birkbeck College, London, last year. Happy Birthday!
The New Year Honours list for 2018 recognised several people who have made public contributions to our heritage and culture.
Tim Tatton-Brown FSA received an OBE for services to heritage. He has been consultant archaeologist to Westminster Abbey, Westminster School, Lambeth Palace and St George's Chapel, Windsor, and the cathedrals of Canterbury, Rochester, Chichester and Salisbury. The photo above shows him on top of the 1950s fly-Tower at Westminster School (taken by Elizabeth Wells, the school archivist).
Other recipients included:
Ben Thomson, lately Chairman, Board of Trustees, National Galleries of Scotland, for services to arts and culture in Scotland.
Edward Harley, former President of the Historic Houses Association, for services to heritage.
Deborah Lamb, Deputy Director, Historic England, for services to heritage.
Darell Buttery, past Chairman and President of York Civic Trust, for services to heritage in York.
Teddy Colligan, Custodian of the Ulster Memorial Tower, for services to the museums sector.
Susan Kruse, Co-founder of Archaeology for Communities of the Highlands,
for services to community archaeology in the Highlands of Scotland.
Ian Harrabin, Chairman of the Historic Coventry Trust, for services to heritage and regeneration in Coventry.
Rachel Duncan, Mrs Morgan, for services to UK Antarctic heritage and conservation.
Atul Patel, National Heritage Memorial Fund Trustee, for services to heritage and the community in the East Midlands.
Alan Regin, Steward of the Rolls of Honour for the Central Council of Church Bellringers, for services to campanology and its heritage.
Derek Weaver, Curator, Marine Engineering Museum, HMS Sultan, for voluntary service to naval heritage.
Michael Credland, for services to First World War heritage and remembrance.
Roy Tricker, Reader and Lay Canon of St Edmundsbury Cathedral, for services to heritage in Suffolk.
• Among those calling for a revision to the honours practice was Peter Saunders FSA. ‘The award of honours each new year is a noble tradition,’ he wrote to the Times (1 January), ‘but the system is surely overdue an overhaul? … The system is complicated, with archaic, hierarchical nomenclature that unintentionally reinforces class division. Is it not time to introduce a single badge of British honour, perhaps with clasps for further achievements, understandable by all and more fitting to our age of equality?’
The Dither and Dawdle Project
In December, writing in Parliament's The House magazine and echoing years of specialist advice given to Parliament, David Leakey, then Black Rod in the House of Lords, said Westminster Palace could burn down, ‘just like it did in 1834 when there was a decade of delay and procrastination about how or when to refurbish the building … There could be loss of life. The state of the fabric of this building is a red risk – the highest risk you can have in your risk register in terms of the likelihood of something happening, and of the impact of the consequences.’ Politicians, he added, ‘have got to find the courage to take a decision, the right decision, and stand by it, and justify it, and that will take some courage.’
Lead responsibility for that decision lies with Andrea Leadsom MP, Leader of the House of Commons. She recently told the House that it ‘needs to decide whether we can afford to justify the undoubted work that needs to take place to restore this Palace – a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has over a million visitors a year – at a time when there are great fiscal constraints. It is a generally open decision that the House needs to make.’ But the choices she has given Parliament (they will be debated on 31 January) seem to allow only for two ways to again postpone the ultimate decision.
Richard Morrison (Times, 15 December) suggested that when the politicians do move out for a necessary six-year refurbishment, it may become apparent that they should not return. They could then ‘hand the entire Palace of Westminster over to the private sector’. It worked for Somerset House and the Royal Naval College in Greenwich, he says, imagining ‘Wonderful riverside restaurants, a hotel, museums and art galleries, high-class retail outlets, educational facilities, performance spaces’ and more.
‘The Houses of Parliament are the symbol of parliamentary democracy throughout the world,’ responded Duncan Wilson FSA, Chief Executive, Historic England, in a letter to the Times (19 December). ‘Retaining this use, together with allowing the public in more comprehensively and looking after them properly, must surely be the primary objective. It can’t be achieved by selling them.’
Morrison cites Somerset House and the Royal Naval College as examples, says Wilson. ‘I was lucky enough to lead both of these projects in their formative years, and neither was achieved by handing these fine public places over to the private sector. The “conservation deficit”, which puts off buyers with even the deepest pockets when it comes to historic buildings, was met from the public purse and the national lottery.’ (My photo.)
Time for Tea
Clare Durham, Associate Director at Woolley and Wallis Salisbury Salerooms, thinks she has found a teapot made by John Bartlam (above). Bartlam was a Staffordshire potter, but what makes the pot special, if Durham is right, is that it was produced not in England, but in South Carolina. Bartlam emigrated in the 1760s, and set up a pottery there in Cain Hoy. He was working for an American market, but for reasons not understood and at unknown times, a handful of pieces apparently made by him in South Carolina crossed the Atlantic to Britain. After four teabowls and two saucers, the teapot is the seventh to be recognised.
Bartlam’s enterprise in Cain Hoy was established by excavation in the early 1990s, when archaeologist Stanley South found kiln waste and three fragmentary porcelain teabowls (right). As Rob Hunter FSA explained in Antiques (Jan/Feb 2011), scientific study of the ceramic material suggested local manufacture. The prints applied to the bowls had not been seen before, but a bowl in an English collection was found with an identical design (below), apparently from the same copperplates; X-ray fluorescence suggested a link with the Cain Hoy fragments. It was, says Hunter of the new find, ‘the earliest intact example of American-made porcelain’.
Durham tells me the teapot has no provenance beyond being sold by an auction house in the Midlands last November. ‘I really wish we knew more!’ she says. ‘However, it is interesting to note that the other six known examples also appear to have come out of the Midlands area back in 2002. Bartlam's family were very much based around the Staffordshire-Warwickshire area, and so it is possible that either he shipped back a tea service, or brought some wares back with him when he visited in 1769, and that they have largely stayed in the locality.’
I asked David Barker FSA, former Senior Archaeologist for Stoke-on-Trent City Council and a consultant in historical ceramics, what he thought of the teapot. He told me he thinks he was ‘the first person to suggest to Stan South that some of his sherds were, in fact, porcelain and not cream- or pearlware. At the time I was surprised that this should be so, as Bartlam seemed to be a bit of a loser as a manufacturer. His earthenwares were poor imitations of contemporary Staffordshire wares, but what I saw in Williamsburg left me in no doubt that there was more to Bartlam than met the eye.‘ As for the English pieces, for Barker ‘only scientific analysis would confirm such attributions’.
‘I don't have a problem with a tea service being sent back to England in the 1760s,’ Hunter tells me. ‘I agree that physical testing of the bodies and glazes are in order.’ There is scope for more research in the US, too. In 2011 Hunter wrote, ‘A much-needed task is the archaeological examination of his works in Charleston, where [Bartlam] relocated from Cain Hoy in 1770. Although the Charleston factory was short-lived, closing in 1773, its excavation could contribute enormously to the history of American ceramics.’
The illustrated teabowl, shown with sherds from Cain Hoy (Hunter 2011) was sold by Christie’s New York in 2013, for $146,500. The teapot will be auctioned on 20 February.
Brenda Swinbank, Archaeologist
Brenda Swinbank FSA, now in her late 80s and living in London, emerges from a new biography (Recollections of a Female Archaeologist, by Suzanne Heywood) as one of perhaps several people of her times whose full potential to the field of archaeology was never realised because of the lack of job opportunities. In 1952 she published a short article describing her excavation through a section of the Vallum, an earthwork that runs beside Hadrian’s Wall. She begins with a theory about its purpose, proposed by Eric Birley FSA, a leading scholar of the wall. She surmises that the theory can be tested with a carefully targeted excavation. She conducts the dig, considers the new evidence, and concludes with a strident assertion: ‘The most convincing evidence for a substantial road along the south berm has thus been destroyed.’
Such clarity of thought and expression, and use of excavation as an explicitly heuristic tool (famously seen in the excavation at Star Carr in Yorkshire by Grahame Clark FSA, conducted at the same time), remains rare. It shines out from her doctoral thesis, The Vallum Reconsidered (embodying ‘the results of three years’ active research per lineam valli, from 1949 to 1952’), which can now be downloaded from Durham University. The project began, she says, with her BA dissertation, and took off when she was awarded a Research Studentship on the day of the Centenary Pilgrimage on Hadrian’s Wall. Research ‘necessitated a considerable amount of excavation, which experience proves to be at once arduous and slow yet exciting and exasperating.’ A further contemporary comparison might be made with another great archaeologist of the times, Isobel Smith FSA, who completed her PhD on Neolithic pottery in 1956, and who, like Swinbank, never published it.
Swinbank was elected a Fellow of the Society in May 1958, nearly 60 years ago, but her hopes of a career in research and university lecturing never came to pass. In this short book, written by her daughter-in-law (Swinbank married Peter Heywood, a fellow school teacher, in 1959), we see a woman whose full life was nonetheless frustrated by her inability to focus more on archaeology – it seems she would have made as good a university teacher as a researcher. She excavated in Wales, contributed substantially to the publication of excavations at York Minster, and was able finally to publish some of her Vallum excavations (with David Breeze FSA) in 2008. The potential of her work, however, detailed in her PhD, has yet to be appreciated beyond a circle of Hadrian’s Wall scholars.
The book’s style is more family history than academic biography, which gives us occasional unusual insights. We learn that Birley was ‘known for leaning over and pulling items out of the soil if they looked interesting’. In 1958 the Western Mail (15 April) reported on her excavation at a Roman fort in south Wales about to be destroyed by development. The paper captioned a photo with a reference to ‘her chief assistant, Mr Richard Wainwright, a Cardiff Schoolmaster’. Could this in fact have been Geoff Wainwright FSA, muses Heywood, eight years Swinbank’s junior, and the same Mr Wainwright who on meeting her family left ‘the definite impression … [of] a romantic attachment’? If the paper’s photo is clear enough, a Fellow with access to Western Mail archives might be able to solve this one.
Whose free speech?
On 30 November a Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at the University of Oxford, Nigel Biggar, published an article in the Times about Britain’s imperial legacy. He argued that an unwarranted ‘post-imperial guilt’ was causing Britain to turn in on itself and shun it’s global responsibilities. ‘If … we recognise that the history of the British Empire was morally mixed,’ he wrote, ‘then pride can temper shame’ and we ‘won’t simply abandon the world to its own devices’.
The Times published more articles and several letters on the topic, including one from Philip Davies FSA, who wrote that ‘Historians should lead the way in developing a more objective narrative based on fact and critique rather than ideological prejudice and posturing.’ Many of the letter writers would appear to agree with Breitbart, which on 16 December published an article opening, ‘Oxford Professor Nigel Biggar is the latest target of an attack from the identity politics-driven left, being set upon by campaign groups for failing to adhere to the notion of post-colonial guilt.’ The Daily Mail launched personal attacks on a group of Oxford University staff and students, calling them ‘loud mouthed, Tory-loathing, anti-Israel academics’. On 26 December Jo Johnson, Universities Minister, said that from April the Office for Students (a new body) will be able to fine universities that fail to uphold free speech.
What was going on?
Biggar had been moved to write by the action of a journal, Third World Quarterly, which a month before had changed its mind about publishing an article by Bruce Gilley, an Associate Professor of Political Science at Portland State University, Oregon.
In ‘The case for colonialism’, Gilley argued – and Biggar seemed to agree with him – that ‘Western colonialism was … both objectively beneficial and subjectively legitimate in most of the places where it was found’. By contrast, ‘anti-colonial ideology imposed grave harms on subject peoples and continues to thwart sustained development and a fruitful encounter with modernity’. The way forward, he concluded, is for the West to embark on a new wave of colonisations. Taylor & Francis, the journal publisher, withdrew the article, which had been accepted after peer review, due to ‘serious and credible threats of personal violence’ to the editor.
The McDonald Centre, Oxford, which is hosting Biggar’s Ethics and Empire project, helpfully listed media responses to the debate which followed the Times article. One of these is an undated blog from Common Ground (‘Oxford students from different backgrounds and different disciplines who have come together to push for change’). Another is an open letter from 58 Oxford academics. These two pieces spread the argument beyond the Times and onto social media.
Common Ground’s anonymous blog is in the style of a political pamphlet, written with opinionated horror. The academics’ 830-word letter is more measured, but neither asks for Biggar’s views to be censored or silenced, or for his course to be blocked.
The letter is clear about its intentions. First, say its authors, led by James McDougall (Associate Professor of Modern History), Hussein Omar (Junior Research Fellow), Erin O'Halloran (DPhil candidate) and Peter Hill (Junior Research Fellow), they have no desire to suppress debate. ‘Professor Biggar has every right to hold and to express whatever views he chooses or finds compelling, and to conduct whatever research he chooses in the way he feels appropriate.’
The writers teach their students ‘to think seriously and critically about [histories of empire and colonialism] and their contemporary legacies’, and they ‘believe that historical scholarship should inform public debate and contemporary politics’.
Engaging in such discourse, they say that Biggar’s ‘call for British “pride to temper shame” in the assessment of empire is … intended to fortify support for overseas military interventions today’. ‘Such prescriptions’, they say, depend on ‘very bad history’ and are ‘breathtakingly politically naïve’.
While concerned about Biggar’s historical thinking, the academics are motivated more by what they perceive as its threat to the university's reputation. Biggar’s work risks ‘being misconstrued as representative of Oxford scholarship’, which, they claim, it is not. Worse still, it bolsters a public impression that ‘a complacent, even celebratory, attitude towards [the university’s] imperial past’ ‘underpins’ unequal access among modern students.
In sum, they believe in open debate and free speech, and they think that what Biggar is saying needs to be challenged publicly, because it tarnishes the reputation of a university which should be seen to be accessible to all and a place of informed scholarly argument.
The letter inspired the Daily Mail (23 December) to publish an article headlined, ‘Revealed: How Oxford University is “home to loud mouthed, Tory-loathing, anti-Israel academics who believe only they should have freedom of expression” … Inquiries suggest a nakedly political agenda has motivated this attack’.
The quotation in the headline is not sourced, nor does it appear in the article. However, the writer, Guy Adams, notes, among many similar claims, that ‘Thirteen [of the 58 letter writers] are anti-Brexit campaigners, while another five have campaigned against Israel. I found no evidence that any of the 58 has ever expressed support for the Conservatives.’
Commenting in the Guardian (27 December), Simon Jenkins FSA said that ‘Johnson is right to deplore the “nasty party” within Britain’s university community. He is right to wish that teachers and governors would discipline students where appropriate. But he is also in a position of power. He means to enforce his views by deploying his battery of agencies, monitors and controls over teaching and research that have rendered universities mere outliers of Whitehall. That they should be fined for their students’ behaviour, however bad, makes academic independence meaningless.’
Early in January Toby Young, a journalist who thrives on combative writing, was appointed to the board of the new Office for Students. A week later he had resigned, after complaints about his long history of misogynistic comments, offensive remarks about the disabled, a joke about starving children and a proposal for “progressive eugenics”. Appointed to join a body that was set up partly to stop students ‘no-platforming’ public speakers, Young had earlier no-platformed himself, having deleted hundreds of his own tweets.
Philip Davies is Chairman of the Commonwealth Heritage Forum. ‘I have worked for 40 years’, he wrote to the Times, ‘in partnership with organisations in many former colonial countries seeking to conserve our shared built heritage, and a much more balanced view usually prevails, based on a genuine interest in our shared history. The most common reaction is to criticise the lack of practical support from the UK. That is why the Commonwealth Heritage Forum has been newly convened: to help those across the Commonwealth and beyond in their efforts to conserve and adapt an important part of our shared culture.’
The photo shows a statue of George Orwell, unveiled at BBC Broadcasting House last November. ‘The striking larger-than-life size statue’, wrote Maev Kennedy FSA in the Guardian (7 November) was created by Martin Jennings, showing Orwell leaning forward to accost each arrival as if about to step off his plinth.’
Fellows may recognise Michael Turner FSA (left) and Andrew-Wallace Hadrill FSA (right) in the strip above, and between them, busy at work, Massimo Osanna, the Director General of the Archaeological Park at Pompeii. They were among Lego Classicists scholars recently featured on the Getty Instagram account. This is, writes Lynette Jensen from Broadway, NSW, an Australian initiative by her archivist, Liam Jensen, which uses Lego to highlight ancient world culture and history, and the people who study it.
Liam Jensen has previously introduced us to John Bennet FSA (left) and Timothy Potts FSA (right) in Lego form. There must be other Lego Fellows. Let us know.
Fellows (and Friends)
Antonio Sagona FSA
, Near-Eastern archaeologist, died in June 2017.
Andrew Watson FSA
, scholar of Medieval manuscripts, died in September 2017.
Peter Spufford FSA
, historian of Medieval economics, died in November 2017.
Jill Lever FSA
, architectural librarian, died in November 2017.
David Williams FSA
, archaeologist, died in December 2017.
Mark Whittow FSA
, Medieval historian and archaeologist, died in December 2017.
Gavin Stamp FSA
, architectural campaigner and historian, died In December 2017.
David Webb FSA
, librarian and historian, died in December.
Appreciations appear in Fellows Remembered below. The section also contains further notices on the late Roger Lockyer FSA
and the late Pamela Tudor-Craig FSA.
Ceri Lewis FSA
died on 29 April 2016 aged 89. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in January 1968. Emeritus Professor of Welsh at Cardiff University, he was the author of Iolo Morganwg
(1975), and was also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
There will be a memorial service for Pamela Tudor-Craig on 24 March at 2pm at St Anne's Church, Lewes, followed by tea. Would anyone who would like to attend please contact Lil Tudor-Craig, at email@example.com or 07813 068054.
John Catt, known to several Fellows as a leading Quaternary soil scientist, died on 7 December aged 78. He worked at the Rothamsted Experimental Station 1963–99 and was, as Matt Pope FSA
tweeted, ‘A very kind, generous and patient scientist who did much to support the interpretation of the UK Palaeolithic record.’
On 4 December Cristina Dondi FSA
(centre, with her team) was conferred the honour of ‘Cavaliere’ of the Order of ‘Stella d’Italia’ (OSI) by His Excellency The Ambassador of Italy Pasquale Terracciano, on behalf of the President of Italy, during a ceremony at the Ambassador’s residence in London. The award recognises her work on the European printing revolution and in support of European and American libraries. In her acceptance speech, Dondi referred to a show which they are organising at the Correr Museum later this year. ‘With the Venice exhibition’, she said, ‘we want to foster a global change of mentality at a critical time in European history. We will show, evidence in hand, that a core constituent of being European, worth cherishing and teaching as an integral part of our heritage together with democratic values, lies in wide-spread literacy, the pursuit of knowledge, the value attached to our shared cultural heritage.’ Dondi is Oakeshott Senior Research Fellow in the Humanities, Lincoln College, University of Oxford.
We have until 28 January to see The Business of Prints
at the British Museum, curated by Antony Griffiths FSA
. Drawing on the museum’s collection, the exhibition (in Room 90) looks at how prints were created, developed, bought and sold between 1400 and 1850. The variety of printed material, says the press release, from banknotes, maps and music to portraits and playing cards, has often been overlooked by exhibitions, that instead focus on art and famous subjects. Here a fuller history of prints is examined, through how they were made, used and collected, and how they became such a significant part of European society, trade and commerce. There are sections on production, lettering, use, quality and collecting, with cheap satirical prints and masterpieces by Rembrandt, Dürer and Goya. Griffiths, who is the former Keeper of Prints and Drawings, has also written a book, The Print Before Photography: An Introduction to European Printmaking 1550–1820
Rachel Morley will soon be the new Director of the Friends of Friendless Churches, following the retirement of Matthew Saunders FSA
. In a release, Saunders said, ‘I am mightily comforted to be handing on this remarkable and important task to someone as well qualified as Rachel. After 40 years with the Ancient Monuments Society and The Friends it is with a huge sense of relief that I pass on the baton, as I have done already to the trusty hands of Lucie Carayon at the AMS. I wish the Trustees and Rachel all the very best for the years ahead.’
In Coin Hoards and Hoarding in Roman Britain AD 43−c.498
, Roger Bland FSA
considers Roman coin hoards through the eyes of a lifetime’s study. The first comprehensive survey for 80 years, says the blurb, the book derives from a British Museum and University of Leicester partnership, to study Roman coin hoards in context. Chapters feature the study of Roman hoards, an overview of hoarding in Britain from prehistoric times to the 20th century, and a series of period reports from the Iron Age/Roman transition to AD 69, to late Roman precious-metal hoards. There is a full checklist of all Iron Age and Roman coin hoards (over 3,400). Bland retired from the British Museum in 2015, where he was Curator of Roman coins before becoming Keeper of the Department of Britain, Europe and Prehistory, and Head of the Portable Antiquities Scheme.
Her Majesty The Queen has appointed Tim Knox FSA,
Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, to succeed Jonathan Marsden FSA
as Director of the Royal Collection Trust. Knox will be responsible for the care of the Royal Collection and its presentation to the public, and for the management of the public opening of The Queen’s official residences. He will take up the directorship in March. ‘What excites me most’, says Knox in a release
, ‘is that the Royal Collection is a living collection with an extraordinary sense of historical continuity, still used and displayed in royal residences all over Britain.' Marsden joined the Royal Household in 1996 as Deputy Surveyor of The Queen's Works of Art. He became Director and Surveyor of The Queen's Works of Art in 2010, and recently led the master-planning exercise at Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse that concluded in the launch of Future Programme.
is a long-running BBC Radio 3 strand of 15-minute programmes that range from literary criticism, nature and travelogues to people talking about music and stuff. Early in January, under the heading Cornerstones
, five writers reflected on how a particular rock shapes people and place. In Episode 1 (Flint
) Alan Garner FSA
ruminated on a Mesolithic flint blade scrabbled up by his chickens, a Bronze Age cremation burial and a handaxe found under his house, and, across the hedge, the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank. ‘My blood walked out of Africa 90,000 years ago. We came by flint. Flint makes and kills ... Flint brings fire. With flint we bear the cold.’ Artist and archaeologist Rose Ferraby talked about Gypsum and Alabaster
in Episode 4: the plaster that filled the voids at Pompeii and revealed human figures, and Exeter Cathedral, which as it rose in the city, ‘became a re-arranged stratigraphy of local geology, and sealing it all the plaster of paris, minute fragments of those gypsum threads, spread white from the limestone floor to the arching heights of the celling’. The series image is Ferraby’s.
Iain Ferris FSA
has written Cave Canem: Animals and Roman Society
. He examines written and archaeological sources, particularly sculptures, coins, mosaics, wall paintings and decorated everyday items, to shed light on animals in Roman culture. He discusses the slaughter of huge numbers of animals for entertainment in the arena, their association with gods, their place in mythology and symbolism, and their use in religious practice. In many ways, says the blurb, Roman attitudes to animals were similar to our own; they kept animals as household pets, they farmed animals for meat and they hunted and fished. However, animals also played a far more significant role in Roman culture and religion – and in the Roman imagination.
‘Were they objects owned by the dead,’ asked Julia Farley FSA
, as she and poet Michael Rosen looked at a collection of prehistoric grave goods in the British Museum. Or were they ‘bribes for favourable intercession in the future?’ Or put in the graves to stop the dead returning? Duncan Garrow (University of Reading), Melanie Giles FSA
(University of Manchester) and Neil Wilkin (BM) are leading an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project which focusses on material culture in graves and other mortuary contexts in Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age Britain. Maev Kennedy FSA reported
in the Guardian
(9 January) that Rosen has been invited to write three poems inspired by some of the artefacts. The archaeologists seemed pleased with the visit, tweeting: ‘Judging by the highly incisive and imaginative comments and ideas [Rosen] had when presented by the grave goods, these will be thoroughly relevant poems for today and provide new ways of thinking about and engaging with the oft-taboo subject of death.’
The Victorian Society is hoping to stop the planned removal of pews designed by George Gilbert Scott FSA
from Bath Abbey. His major restoration of the abbey in 1859–74, says the Society
, ‘was intended to “complete” the church as it would have been if the Reformation had not stopped its construction. The nave pews … are unique to the abbey and are excellent examples of Scott’s work, each one modelled on those in other 16th-century Somerset churches.’ Last October the Chancellor of the Diocese of Bath and Wells granted permission for the abbey to remove the pews as part of a major Footprint project. Photo Bathnewseum
The National Museum of the Royal Navy is celebrating record visitor numbers of 850,000 last year at its ‘managed destination’ of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, where it owns and manages HMS Victory, HMS Warrior 1860, the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth, Gosport’s Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Explosion Museum of the Naval Firepower, and HMS M.33 (the only remaining veteran of the 1915 Gallipoli Campaign). A new Royal Marines Museum and Centre for Discovery will open in the Dockyard in 2020. Dominic Tweddle FSA
, Director General of The National Museum of the Royal Navy, said the £17 million investment will transform naval heritage.
Nick Hodgson FSA
, Archaeological Projects Manager at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, has written two innovative publications about an old subject. The larger, says the blurb, takes full account of the most recent archaeological evidence and is the first book-length study of Hadrian's Wall since the 1980s. Hadrian’s Wall: Archaeology and History at the Limit of Rome’s Empire
has two main distinctions. It challenges the view that the Wall was built to control and tax peaceful movement, arguing that archaeological evidence suggests its primary purpose was defence against external raids. Secondly, it gives equal billing to indigenous Iron Age people, and proposes a model for how the Wall changed their way of life forever. Hodgson has also written Hadrian’s Wall on Tyneside,
a brief introduction to the Wall in the urban areas of Tyneside. The book explains how recent research and excavation (much of it carried out by the WallQuest community archaeology project, managed by the author) has given us a dramatic new view of the Wall (including, in 2014, the bath house of the fort at Wallsend), and offers a guide to remains and finds with many illustrations and reconstruction images.
Members of Parliament discussed social media when the Commons Home Affairs Committee met executives from Google, Twitter and Facebook. ‘One of the most tense exchanges,’ reported the Evening Standard
(19 December) ‘came when committee member Tim Loughton FSA
denounced Twitter for allowing a succession of “kill a Tory” messages on its site. … “It’s about not providing a platform [said the Conservative MP] – whatever the ills of society you want to blame it on – for placing stuff that incites people to kill, harm, maim, incite violence against people, because of their political beliefs in this case. … [Y]ou can do something about it. You are profiting from the fact that people use your platforms and … you’re allowing them to do it and doing very little, proactively to prevent them.”
Jason M Kelly FSA,
Director of the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute, Indianapolis, is lead editor of Rivers of the Anthropocene
, available online
with open access. Using water as a framework for understanding the Anthropocene, essays address the challenge in studying the intersection of nature and human society, with contributions from toxicology, archaeology, philosophy and other disciplines. Of particular interest to Fellows, writes Kelly, will be ‘An Anthropocene landscape: drainage transformed in the English Fenland,’ by Jan Zalasiewicz, Mark Williams, and Dinah Smith, and ‘The Great Tyne Flood of 1771: community responses to an environmental crisis in the Early Anthropocene,’ by Helen Berry. There is also an essay on ‘the river as hyperobject’ by Matthew Edgeworth FSA
. Kelly is also co-editing An Anthropocene Primer
with Fiona McDonald, ‘an entry point into some of the big concepts and debates that dominate discussions about the Anthropocene’. It is available for open peer review
until 1 February.
The Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, has made a video of its programme for 2018
, which includes exhibitions of works by David Milne, Edward Bawden and Jusepe de Ribera (1591-1652). ‘You will see amazing exhibitions that take you around the world’, says Jennifer Scott FSA
, Sackler Director. By the end of the first exhibition, says Scott, Milne, a Canadian artist who died in 1953, ‘will surely become a household name’. In Classic Canadian style, Milne returned from working in New York to ‘explore the wilderness around him … and captured the stark brutality of nature and transformed it into the most elegant of paintings.’
At the British Museum Ian Jenkins FSA
, Senior Curator, Greece and Rome, is curating Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece
(26 April–29 July). ‘For the first time,’ writes Jenkins in a museum blog
, ‘the British Museum is bringing together the works of Auguste Rodin with those of his self-assigned spiritual and artistic mentor, the ancient Greek sculptor Pheidias.’ Rodin, who never went to Athens, spent time with the museum’s Parthenon marbles. ‘ Sometimes’, says Jenkins, ‘we can see Rodin’s admiration for Pheidias at work in compositions that have not always been acknowledged. … In Walking Man
, we can see how Rodin radically lopped off the head of his own sculpture in order to make it more like the Parthenon sculptures.’ The exhibition will feature original plaster, bronze and marble works by Rodin loaned by the Musée Rodin, Paris, some of the Parthenon sculptures, and objects from the artist’s own collection of antiquities.
Historic England has updated its advice on heritage settings, writes Richard Morrice FSA
. The Setting of Heritage Assets: Historic Environment Good Practice Advice in Planning note 3
(2nd ed), was published in December last year, replacing the first (2015) edition, itself followed Seeing the History in the View
(2011). ‘The main thrust of the revision’, says Morrice, ‘is to clarify the relationship between setting and views, particularly to make clear that the heritage interest in views is a matter of the contribution of views to the significance of heritage assets, and in allowing that significance to be appreciated.’ The advice is available online
Dalya Alberge reported (Observer
, 24 December) on a proposed project to create the first corpus of British Medieval panel painting, led by Lucy Wrapson and Paul Binski FSA
. ‘There are some stunners out there,’ says Tobit Curteis FSA
. ‘You walk into these little isolated churches and there is this absolutely remarkable painting sitting there... We have this fantastically important collection of artefacts and the wider public doesn’t know they are out there.’
A Passion for Records
, by Chris Kitching FSA
, is about Walter Rye (1843–1929). A London solicitor, Rye had three passions: physical exercise, record-searching, and a devotion to his ancestral county of Norfolk. Having set national athletics records and achieved fame as the founder of Thames Hare and Hounds, a club, he remained influential in sporting circles for over three decades. He was also a competitive cyclist and archer, a keen tricyclist, and an enthusiastic sailor on Norfolk’s rivers and Broads. In later life he liked to describe himself as a ‘topographer’. Many of his 80 books are in print today. He retired to Norwich, having established credentials as doyen of Norfolk’s antiquaries, a keen preserver of historic buildings, and a champion of public rights of access to the Broads. He was the last person to hold the title Mayor of Norwich.
A commercial exhibition of works by Modigliani in Genoa last summer was stacked with forgeries, many of which were taken by police. Anna Somers Cocks FSA
talked to Stig Abel on Radio 4 Front Row
(15 January) about recognising fakes. A lot of curating today is about books and theory, she says. Not everyone has the first-hand experience of real works needed to fully appreciate individual artists’ styles and quirks.
Paul Lane FSA
has been appointed as the inaugural Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Professor of the Deep History and Archaeology of Africa at Cambridge University. He will move from Uppsala University, where he is Professor of Global Archaeology, and was earlier Director of the British Institute in Eastern Africa. Cyprian Broodbank FSA
, Head of the Department of Archaeology in Cambridge, said in a release
that with ambitious research and teaching initiatives, Lane ‘will advance and expand our understanding of humanity’s deep to more recent history across Africa, shaping a dynamic future built upon the continent’s unique history, cultural heritage and achievements.’
Theresa May, the Prime Minister, shuffled her Cabinet early in January. There was little to interest the media, but there was change at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Karen Bradley, the department’s former Secretary, is now Secretary for Northern Ireland. John Glen has gone from being a Minister for Culture to the Treasury and City. The political appointments at DCMS are now:
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: Matt Hancock.
Minister of State: Margot James.
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State: Tracey Crouch, Michael Ellis and Lord Ashton of Hyde.
The Shadow Secretary of State for DCMS is Tom Watson, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.
Architect, Patron and Craftsman in Tudor and Early Stuart England
is the proceedings of a conference held in Rewley House, Oxford in 2016 in honour of Malcolm Airs FSA,
who taught there from 1975 to 2006. Edited by P S Barnwell FSA
and Paula Henderson FSA
, the book includes an appreciation of Airs by William Whyte FSA, Nicholas Cooper FSA
on the historiography of the Tudor and Jacobean house, examination of Wollaton Hall by Pete Smith FSA
and of planning at Doddington Hall and Ham House by David Adshead FSA
; discussion of elite houses in London by Paula Henderson FSA
, of garden cloisters and terraces by Sally Jeffery FSA
, and of the Schools Quadrangle at Oxford by Geoffrey Tyack FSA
; and thematic papers by Maurice Howard FSA
on painted panelling and furnishing, Claire Gapper FSA
on patrons, plasterers and architects, and Kathryn Davies FSA
on vernacular wall-paintings. The volume concludes with a discussion by Mark Girouard FSA
of his forthcoming biographical dictionary of architects of the period.
Fishing: How the Sea Fed Civilisation
is the latest book from Brian Fagan FSA
. He argues that fishing was an indispensable and often overlooked element in the growth of civilization. It gave enough sustainable food to allow cities, nations, and empires to grow, says the blurb, but while agriculture encouraged stability, fishing demanded movement. ‘It seems astonishing’, says the Economist
(14 December), ‘that a pursuit so fundamental to human society has lacked a comprehensive historian for so long. Brian Fagan’s is the first general survey of its kind, and it is packed with intriguing details (like the Chinese training cormorants to catch fish for them) as well as with persuasive generalisation. … Fagan succeeds in providing an admirable primer for the enthusiast and a welcome tool for the historian – as well as a salutary reminder of the lessons of inaction.’
Archaeologists working with industry do not seem to be very happy, despite taking on more staff. Historic England, the Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers (FAME), and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) have published the Archaeological Market Survey 2017.
In the financial year 2016-17, says the study, commercial archaeology employed more people, profit levels stayed the same and financial turnover fell. Productivity levels were low and falling, and confidence had also fallen. Commercial archaeologists continue to have limited confidence in planning policy frameworks, and do not think local planning authorities have enough professional advice. In a separate report
, CIfA has published new minimum salary guidelines for April 2018. As indication of what it describes as ‘historic levels of low pay, comparative to skill levels, which are pervasive in the archaeological sector’, its highest recommended minimum salary grade is £28,000.
Timothy Bruce Mitford FSA
has published East of Asia Minor: Rome's Hidden Frontier
, two volumes of maps, illustrations and text documenting the north-eastern frontier of the Roman Empire, ‘one of the great gaps in modern knowledge of the ancient world [which] has long eluded research’. In his Times
column (20 January), Norman Hammond FSA
says Mitford’s Royal Navy service, ‘including a stint attached to Turkish naval headquarters in Ankara, eased his path with permits, but he was often trailed by secret police and in Erzincan he was “arrested, with my redoubtable jandarma sergeant, as an Armenian spy”. Mitford developed a strategy of living in villages and taking local guides. He often travelled on foot, but once made a raft from “six rows of seven goat skins bound with poplar branches”.’
Antonio (Tony) Sagona FSA
died on 29 June 2017 aged 61. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in January 2004. He distinguished himself both in the field, as an outstanding field archaeologist in Turkey, and in developing the study of archaeology at the University of Melbourne. What follows is taken from an obituary by Andrew Jamieson in the Sydney Morning Herald
(12 October 2017), and his page at the University of Melbourne
. Jamieson has also published an obituary in Australian Archaeology
83 (2017), 185-187.
Born in Tripoli, Libya, Sagona moved with his parents to Australia in 1960. He took his BA at Melbourne and then his PhD, published as The Caucasian Region in the Early Bronze Age
(1984). He was appointed lecturer at Melbourne in the same year, and promoted to senior lecturer in 1989. In 1995 he became associate professor and reader, and in 2006, a full professor. Shortly before his death he was granted the title of Emeritus Professor.
‘Tony's importance in promoting and developing the study of archaeology at the University of Melbourne cannot be overstated,’ writes Jamieson. ‘By 1989 he had established the archaeology major that continues to attract multitudes of students to this day.’
In Turkey, he co-directed major projects at Sos Hoyuk (1994–2003) and Buyuktepe Hoyuk (1988–93). He recently completed a large-scale investigation of the Anzac battlefield at Gallipoli with the Joint Historical and Archaeological Survey (JHAS), including five years of field survey (2010–14). His Georgian-Australian Investigations in Archaeology (GAIA) project started in 2008, with excavations at Samtavro (2008–10), Tchkantiskedi (2011) and Chobareti (2012–16).
‘He managed to combine … continuous involvement in hands-on archaeological fieldwork with a detailed exploration of the larger conceptual questions his data raised,’ says Jamieson, ‘concerning ethnicity and group identity, borders and frontiers, the construction of social and religious landscapes and the relationship between nomadism and sedentary lifestyles.’
Among his other books were The Heritage of Eastern Turkey: From the Earliest Settlements to Islam
(2006), Ancient Turkey
(2009, with Paul Zimansky), Anzac Battlefield: A Gallipoli Landscape of War and Memory
(2016, co-edited) and The Archaeology of the Caucasus: From Earliest Settlements to the Iron Age
(2018). He was editor of Ancient Near Eastern Studies.
He became a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2013 ‘for significant service to tertiary education in the field of archaeology’.
Andrew Watson FSA
died on 15 September 2017 aged 92. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in January 1967, just over 50 years ago at his death. James Willoughby FSA,
who also wrote an obituary for the Times
(14 December) which the paper headed, ‘Eminent if accidental scholar of Medieval manuscripts who during the war played a portable organ on a beach in Benghazi,’ has kindly contributed this summary of Watson’s career highlights:
‘Andrew Watson decided on a career in librarianship after graduation from Oxford in 1950. He took the one-year professional course at University College London, which proved so successful that in 1954 he was called back to a lectureship to teach the archives and historical librarianship courses. He remained at UCL for the rest of his career, being made university Reader in Manuscript Studies in 1970 and Director of the School of Library, Archive, and Information Studies in 1983. In September 1990 he retired as Professor of Manuscript Studies.
‘As well as the research work mentioned in the published obituary, his name attaches particularly to the British catalogues of Dated and Datable Manuscripts
, a project of the Comité international de paléographie latine. His two volumes for this European series cover manuscripts in the British Library (1979) and Oxford (1984). After the publication of the first of these he was elected a member of the Comité and was awarded a DLit. by the University of London. He was also elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, which he served as Honorary Secretary and then Honorary Librarian. He was awarded the Bibliographical Society's Gold Medal in 2001.’
Watson spent most of his military service in north Africa, says the Times
obituary, chiefly Benghazi, where he was a sergeant in the Royal Signals. ‘His unofficial duties as the garrison’s choirmaster and organist, playing sometimes on a portable organ on the beach for open-air services, were commended for having brought “a more devotional atmosphere” to the garrison’s rituals.’
After graduation from Oxford in 1950 he went to UCL to teach archives and historical librarianship, and he remained there until retirement (‘his instruction delivered with a natural gentility that could yet signal disapproval with a twitch of the moustache’).
‘We have lost a scholar whose erudition was both remarkable and characteristically understated,’ blogged David Rundle FSA
, ‘for he exemplified a concept now hardly remembered: of Scottish birth, he was quintessentially an English gentleman.
‘Andrew was professor at University College, London, but he was also the torch-bearer for a grand Oxford tradition of scholarship in manuscript studies … As we touch a codex we might feel an immediacy of contact with its creators and earliest readers but, Watson reminded us, we have also to understand how it has come to be available to us in the library where it now resides. Put most basically, he taught me that the first question to ask when working with a manuscript is: why is it here?’
‘Well said,’ commented Vincent Gillespie FSA
. ‘He was indeed a scholar and a gentleman. As then Secretary of CBMLC [Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues] he asked me to do the Syon registrum (‘you would, would you not, like to edit…’), which probably shaped my life and career more than any other scholarly decision.’
Peter Spufford FSA
died on 19 November 2017 aged 83. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in January 1990. Tim Harper wrote this announcement
for the Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, where he was Professor Emeritus of European History:
‘Peter came to Cambridge and to Queens’ College in 1979 from the University of Keele. During his years in the Faculty, he developed pioneering research on merchants, finance and exchange in Late Medieval Europe, upon which he drew for his enthusiastic supervision teaching and popular undergraduate papers on Medieval and Early Renaissance Florence and other themes. This culminated in a major study, Power and Profit: The Merchant in Medieval Europe
(2002), since translated into a number of European languages. After his retirement in 2001, he continued to write and to publish. He was honoured [in 2017] by the Royal Numismatic Society in the publication of a collection of essays to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of his ground-breaking Money and its Use in Medieval Europe
(1988). This is a reflection of the breadth of his impact as a scholar and teacher, and a colleague who will be greatly missed.’
Francis Spufford, his son, added that there will be a memorial service in Queens' College in due course.
Peter Spufford held positions in the Faculty of History at Cambridge: University Lecturer (1979–90), Reader in Economic History (1990–2000) and Professor of European History (2000–01). He retired in 2001. He was President of the Cambridge University Heraldic and Genealogical Society 1959–60, when heraldry and genealogy came together. He was also a Fellow of the British Academy, of the Society of Genealogists (where he was a Vice President) and of the Royal Numismatic Society. He was awarded the Royal Numismatic Society Medal in 2005.
Jill Lever FSA
died on 22 November 2017 aged 82. She was elected a Fellow of the Society in March 1989. Remembering her life on Last Word
(BBC Radio 4, 31 December), her daughter Emma Lever described her mother’s strong sense of right and wrong. In the 1980s Lever, then Deputy Curator of the Drawings Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), applied to be Curator. She was turned down, and, with the backing of her union, took the RIBA to court for sex discrimination. She won. John Harris FSA
had become the first Curator of Drawings in 1960, and Lever (studying for an Open University degree) had shared a curatorial post with Margaret Richardson FSA
. In 1984 Richardson became Curator of the Sir John Soane’s Museum. Three year later Harris resigned, and Lever was put in charge of what Tim Knox FSA
, in Last Word
, called the finest collection of architectural drawings in the world.
In his obituary in the Guardian
(26 December), Alan Powers FSA
writes that ‘Lever’s innovative methods of description, high standards and persistence’ made the process of cataloguing drawings ‘a heroic activity’. ‘Through the series of printed catalogues that she wrote or edited,’ he adds, ‘the entire drawings collection of the RIBA at the time was brought to wide attention, changing the way that architecture was studied and interpreted in Britain and internationally.’
She 'always dressed', writes Powers, 'with eye-catching, understated elegance and had her hair cut short at Molton Brown.’ Her daughter recalls her as a working mother and a ‘very stylish woman’ in short skirt and psychedelic tights, who would be stopped in the street for questions about her clothes.
She was born in Brighton, East Sussex, where as a public library assitant she met Jeremy Lever, an architecture student whom she married in 1957. She was librarian to several architectural practices before joining the RIBA. At the RIBA, says Powers, ‘she oversaw a lively exhibition programme that mixed historical and contemporary subjects’. After retirement in 1995 she worked at the Soane Museum, where she catalogued the drawings of the elder and younger George Dance (published 2003), and Sir John Soane (forthcoming). She was an interviewer for the National Life Stories Architects’ Lives oral history scheme at the British Library.
from the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain (SAHGB) notes that ‘Her rigorously empirical approach to the study of drawings, with its careful separation of purpose, aspect, technique, etc., remains the gold standard for students of architectural drawing and design history.’ She was an Honorary Fellow of the RIBA, and was awarded the SAHGB’s Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion in 1985 for the RIBA catalogues.
David Williams FSA
died on 9 December aged 68. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in April 1998. Sally Worrell FSA
has kindly written this tribute, with help from his second cousin Marged Haycock, colleagues at the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) and Surrey archaeologists:
‘David Wynn Williams died suddenly from a pulmonary and iliac embolism. His father, Dr Arthur Meirion Williams, was Consultant Anaesthetist at Redhill County Hospital and East Surrey hospitals, and his mother, Myfanwy Haycock, was an artist, poet and journalist trained in Cardiff, to whose memory David was devoted. Following her lead, he attended the Reigate School of Art, Design and Media. His artistic speciality was graphic design, and for many years he also undertook freelance work as a draughtsman, working on projects including plans and illustrations for museum guides and (in 1997–98) illustrations of Native American and South American artefacts and painted hides for the Museum of Mankind. He also undertook research in his own right, with his great skill to be seen in Late Saxon Stirrup-Strap Mounts: A Classification and Catalogue
(1997), a pioneering corpus as it also included metal-detected finds.
‘David was a member of the Surrey Archaeological Society from boyhood. David Bird FSA
, former Surrey County Archaeologist, notes that he served several times on the Society’s Council and was often consulted on finds made on excavations in the county. He was especially active around Reigate, where he lived, and undertook several published rescue excavations in the town centre, both as an amateur and a professional. Occasionally being obliged for site facilities, he once used an abandoned hearse as a site office!
‘Important work elsewhere in Surrey in which David was involved included the last of the recent excavations at Wanborough, the Roman-period rural temple complex (published in Surrey Archaeological Collections
in 2007) and the excavation of a multi-period ritual site at Betchworth, near Dorking; the latter, which David dug in 1995 and 1996, fortunately reached publication shortly before his death. He acted for many years as adviser on illustrations for the Surrey Archaeological Collections
, helping to maintain its high standards. He was also involved with the Finds Research Group, the Roman Finds Group, the Graphics Archaeological Group and Holmesdale Natural History Club.
‘David thought he had landed the perfect job as the PAS Finds Liaison Officer (FLO) for Surrey from 2003, and then for East Berkshire as well, recording thousands of objects. As David Bird writes, “This was a role for which he was very well suited, having a wide-ranging knowledge of artefacts of all types, grounded in great ability as an archaeological draughtsman and long experience in fieldwork. He had begun FLO-type work before the establishment of the PAS, working on a voluntary basis in Surrey and building links with responsible detectorists. Typically he established a series of reports for the Surrey Archaeological Collections
that made the information thus gained more widely available.”
‘PAS staff testify to his dedication, zest for work and expertise, as well as his sometimes quirky humour and kindness (he was especially enthused about the Eggheads
challenge on BBC2, when he and four PAS colleagues took part in 2015). He was particularly pleased to publish 50 Finds from Surrey
(2016). Memorably dismissive when he did not consider an object worth recording, he could also express exasperation when others did not meet his own standards of economy in description. He was very generous in giving time to illustrate objects, and was ever-willing to assist in documenting the sometimes overwhelming number of finds at metal-detector rallies or excavating the findspots of key objects, such as the Viking Watlington Treasure, where he and Emma Corke carried out a small excavation to understand the hoard’s context.
‘Beyond the PAS David relished outdoor life, and was enthusiastic about the need to preserve countryside habitats for the future. His enduring passion was wildlife, in particular birds. He often spent time off on long-distance walks, following the paths along the English and Welsh coasts of which he had walked a huge proportion. He will be much missed by his many friends and colleagues.’
Mark Whittow FSA
died in a road accident on 23 December 2017 aged 60. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in June 2009. A few weeks before his death Oriel College, Oxford, where he had been a Research Fellow and a Lecturer, had announced his election as Provost from October 2018. What follows is taken from obituaries in the Guardian
(1 January, by Lawrence Goldman and Henrietta Leyser) and the Telegraph
Mark Whittow, says the Telegraph
, ‘was a historian of the Byzantine empire… and an inspiring tutor with an infectious enthusiasm for the past. Ever curious, and generous with his knowledge across an unusually broad range of eras and subjects, he was an unfailing source of vitality and stimulating conversation.’ He ’did much to encourage the teaching of his subject in universities from an increasingly global perspective,’ says the Guardian
. ‘His book The Making of Orthodox Byzantium 600–1025
(1996) examined the early history of the Byzantine empire… It demonstrated to both students and general readers that Medieval history might extend not only beyond the Seine, Rhine and Danube, but even beyond the Bosphorus into what is now Turkey and the Black Sea.’ ‘His strength’, adds the Telegraph
, ‘was an ability to see patterns and connections, often informed by his parallel experiences as an archaeologist in the Levant and Turkey.’
Born in Cambridge, Whittow took a first-class degree in modern history at Trinity College, Oxford. He stayed on for a doctorate on Byzantine history and archaeology, going on expeditions so he could use archaeology and social anthropology in his research and teaching. He became a Junior Research Fellow at Oriel in 1984, and after lecturing posts at Reading University and King’s College London, he was elected to a Teaching Fellowship at St Peter’s College, Oxford (1998–2009).
He left St Peter’s for a lectureship in Byzantine studies at Corpus Christi College, from where he built the subject into a major undergraduate component and developed a notable master’s course. ‘Had he not been so dedicated a teacher,’ says the Telegraph
, ‘Whittow would undoubtedly have written more and so been better appreciated for the originality of his intellect.’
‘He drove around the city in a battered, rusting, double-sized land cruiser’, says the Guardian
, ‘that looked as if it had just emerged from the desert, and hosted memorable student parties, to him a key component of a broad liberal education. He was hard-working but always relentlessly cheerful.’ ‘On a dig’, says the Telegraph
, ‘his unvarying attire would be shorts, a natty pair of New & Lingwood socks and walking shoes made by Ducker's in Oxford.’
Gavin Stamp FSA
died on 30 December 2017 aged 69. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in April 1998. He was an outspoken, creative and industrious writer, campaigner, historian and champion of officially unloved architecture, and his death was met with many tributes. Obituaries have been published in the Telegraph
(1 January), the Herald
(5 January, Phil Davison), the Guardian
(7 January, Ian Jack), the Architects’ Journal
(8 January, Alan Powers FSA
), the Times
(10 January), the Scotsman
(10 January, Alison Shaw) and the RIBA Journal
(17 January, Catherine Croft). Among numerous other tributes have been substantial pieces in the Apollo Magazine
(4 January, Thomas Marks), the Architects’ Journal
(2 January, Richard Waite and Will Hurst) and from the Paul Mellon Centre
(8 January, Martin Postle FSA
). He was, headlined the Times
, a ‘Pioneer of “young fogeyism” renowned as an architectural historian who defended Victorian buildings and fought for the red telephone box.’
(4 January) repeated an article Stamp had written in 2017 ‘about his attempt to defeat cancer through fasting, or at least alleviate its agonies’. ‘I am superbly looked after by my consultant, the doctors and the nurses at Guy’s Hospital’, he wrote, ‘and have my treatment in the new Cancer Centre there. This is a sympathetic building which, to my surprise, was designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners; that is, by the firm of Milord Rogers of Riverside about whom I have long been very rude. But it is a building that works, and has, I think, made both staff and patients happier – as good architecture should.’
Being very rude about bad architecture, bad conservation decisions, insensitive developers and general incompetence was one of Stamp’s trademarks. He was a historian, says the Herald
, ‘who specialised in architecture and its preservation, a photographer, a Private Eye
columnist (nom-de-plume Piloti), a Tory-turned socialist, a passionate pro-European and a charming TV presenter. He became the leading spokesperson for British architecture. Although a Londoner, he became much loved, respected and influential in Glasgow after being invited, in 1990, to become Professor of Architectural History at the Mackintosh School of Architecture (nicknamed The Mac) of the Glasgow School of Art.’
Stamp gained a PhD in 1978 at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, with a study of George Gilbert Scott junior (1839–97). Back in the capital he worked for the Architectural Press (publisher of the Architects' Journal
and the Architectural Review
). He helped John Harris FSA
catalogue the RIBA’s drawings collection, and befriended John Betjeman, who passed on the Private Eye
column he had founded and which Stamp wrote from 1978 until late last year. He also wrote for the Spectator
. He returned to London from Glasgow in 2003, working as a writer and lecturer, and presenting television programmes. In 2014 he married Rosemary Hill FSA
Among his books were The Changing Metropolis: Earliest Photographs of London 1839–1879
(1984), Telephone Boxes
(1989), The Memorial to the Missing of the Somme
(2006), Britain’s Lost Cities
(2007), and Gothic in the Age of Steam: An Illustrated Biography of George Gilbert Scott
David Webb FSA
died on 30 December 2017 aged 78. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in November 1992. He had a particular interest in east London and the 19th-century photographic industry, on which he had compiled over 9,000 biographical entries on companies and people.
He was Librarian at the Bishopsgate Institute, whose London Collection includes material on the social, economic and architectural development of inner London, with particular strengths in 19th-century social history, the City and Spitalfields, and the early labour, free-thought and co-operative movements.
He was Vice President of the East of London Family History Society, and Chairman of the Bishopsgate Branch; Honorary Librarian of the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society; and on the Council of the London Topographical Society. He once appeared with David Suchet, a London-born actor, on BBC TV’s Who do you Think you are?
His books include Eastern Fringe of the City: Photographic Tour of the Bishopsgate Area in 1912
(1974), Bishopsgate Foundation Centenary History
(1991) and Victorian Artists in Photographs: The World of GF Watts
(2007, with Mark Bills).
The Wisdom of Fellows
Alan Coates FSA writes from the Bodleian Library, where they'd like to learn more about historian and writer E. T. Long FSA (1891–1977). Fellows who can help are asked to contact Coates, who is Assistant Librarian, Rare Books and Editor of The Bodleian Library Record (firstname.lastname@example.org):
‘The Bodleian’s Department of Special Collections is compiling a handlist of E. T. Long’s material relating to English parish churches (including guidebooks, articles, photographs and manuscript notebooks). Edward Tudor Long was a local historian, who was born in Sherborne in Dorset and died in Eynsham in Oxfordshire. He was elected FSA in March 1939, and his obituary notice appeared in the Antiquaries Journal 58 (1978), p. 491. Long wrote on church interiors, particularly in Oxfordshire and Dorset, and acted as editor of volumes of Arthur Mee’s county histories. At some point the guides and notebooks relating to the counties of Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset were separated from the rest of his archive, and are now in the Devon Archives & Local Studies Service in Exeter. The Bodleian (which also houses Long’s collection of postcards of churches) is keen to find out more about him and his work.’
Guidebook £7 on Abebooks.
I wrote last year that one of the former owners of Salvator Mundi, a painting by Leonardo da Vinci sold in November for $450 million, was Sir Francis Cook FSA (1817–1901). Megan Aldrich FSA tells me that Cook currently features at an exhibition at his Portuguese residence, Monserrate Palace in Sintra (formerly the home of William Beckford), with period photography of Cook's interiors by the firm of John Gregory Crace in London. Cook acquired the Sintra estate of Monserrate in 1856, renovated the small palace, and filled its rooms with precious works of art, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, ceramics and Asian porcelains, textiles, jewellery, and among others. ‘There is a handsome accompanying publication,’ adds Aldrich, ‘making an excellent excuse for a trip to Sintra.’ Monserrate Revisited – The Cook Collection in Portugal closes on 31 May. Details online.
In the last Salon, under the headline Museum Charges: Free to Look, Pay to Print, I reported the misgivings of Fellows and others about the way researchers are being billed to reproduce historic images. Complaints continue to come in, though noone has tried to defend the status quo. Here is a strongly felt comment from Gordon Barclay FSA, who sees scholars paying for doing the charging institutions' work:
‘I was interested in the discussion in the last Salon,’ Barclay writes, ‘on the reproduction of images in national collections, because I am currently obtaining permissions for my forthcoming book, with Ron Morris, “The Most Powerful Fortress in the British Empire”: The Fortification of the Firth of Forth, 1880–1977.
‘In my experience, copyright is not the problem, it is the concept of “Tradeable Information” and the application of the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations (2015) (RPSI). The Information Commissioner’s Office guidance on the Regulations can be read online.
‘It is stated that “RPSI is intended to encourage re-use of public sector information”; its effect is to do the opposite. Archives, museums and libraries are explicitly encouraged to apply a proportion of their overheads to the cost, rather than charge the “marginal cost” of making information available.
‘The Image Library Manager of The National Archives at Kew writes:
“A waiver of copyright is applied to the data within public records, so that the content can be reproduced by transcription. However, this waiver does not apply to the direct reproduction of images of the documents themselves. These fall within the scope of Tradeable Information, for which formal licensing and payment of fees applies.
“Though you may be taking photographs of the document images yourself (with the permission of The National Archives), the content of those photographs remains the property of TNA, and therefore any commercial exploitation of them is chargeable, whether the image is in copyright or not.” (my emphasis)
‘If I objected I was told I could contact TNA’s legal department or raise a complaint.
‘In this case, “commercial exploitation” apparently includes a book with a print run of 300, to be published by a learned society, for which the authors have received no remuneration, and which can only be published with grant-aid from charitable and other bodies. So, even though copyright is waived, the information content of the images is still charged for, and at a pretty steep rate!
‘Further complications arise when parts of an organisation are put at half an arm’s length, so that the material they hold falls outwith the “core business” of the organisation. This allows them to avoid the 2015 Regulations completely and to charge what the market will bear.
‘To be clear, these often outrageous charges are being made for the reproduction of documents created by civilian and military servants of the Crown, more than 70 years ago, where the cost of production has long since been absorbed, by institutions whose work of curating the documents is paid for by the taxpayer. It is only through publication by scholars that these often mute collections are given context and meaning, and charging high fees to researchers, to make up for inadequate core funding, seems to go against the public education duty that all these bodies have. As a taxpayer I am already funding these institutions: why do I have to pay again to explain their collections? The National Archives, to be fair, permits reproduction without charge in free-to-reader digital outlets, but the idea that scholarly book publication is a “commercial” business is laughable.’
The picture above on the left is from a Christmas card sent by Mark Hassall FSA, proudly displaying his new book, Roman Britain: the Frontier Province, with 20 articles spanning 40 years of work. The launch, writes John Chandler FSA, was attended by many of Hassall’s former colleagues and friends. The photo on the right shows the author making his speech, with Valeria Coke (Lady Coke) and Brian Dix also in shot. ‘It is perhaps worth pointing out,’ adds Chandler, ‘if I don’t appear immodest, that the book by a longstanding FSA was published by a much more recent FSA! Not sure how often that happens.’
Jörn Schuster FSA writes:
‘In your interesting Salon piece on the Revenue Office in Bolzano, you mention that the English translation of “Kein Mensch hat bei Kant das Recht zu gehorchen”, attributed to Hannah Arendt in conversation on the radio in 1964, is a misquotation. However, what she said really translates as something like ”Nobody, sensu Kant [or: in Kant’s writing] has the right to obey.” I’d say that’s slightly/quite different to “Nobody has the right to obey Kant.”
Heinrich Härke FSA makes the same point. ‘Could there be a mis-translation of a misquotation in Salon 398?’ he asks. Given the translation in question was from German to English, I confess that might have been be the least of it. Härke puts the issue into its full interesting context:
‘In the piece about the frieze on the Revenue Office in Bolzano, Hannah Arendt is quoted as having said in 1964: “Kein Mensch hat bei Kant das Recht zu gehorchen”. This is then translated in Salon as “Nobody has the right to obey Kant”. I am afraid that this seems to be based on a misunderstanding of the German bei Kant which should, when referring to authors, authorities and publications, be translated as “in Kant” or “according to Kant”. Seems to me the artists got it right in their projection which Salon quotes as “Nobody has the right to obey” – just add “according to Kant”.
‘Salon also missed the colonial context of the original Mussolini frieze, which makes the original Italian inscription CREDERE OBBEDIRE COMBATTERE (believe, obey, fight) even more poignant. Bolzano is, of course, the capital of Südtirol (South Tyrol), and known to German speakers (and historians) as Bozen. Formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Südtirol was given for geo-strategic reasons (control of the Brenner Pass) to Italy after World War One and then subjected to an oppressive Italianization policy. Hitler (born in Austria, one might add) finally conceded it to his chum Mussolini on the eve of World War Two, advising the German-speaking majority to emigrate. Later, plans were drawn up to relocate the Germans from South Tyrol to occupied Crimea – a plan for which German archaeologists of the SS-Ahnenerbe and the Amt Rosenberg were commissioned to provide historical and archaeological back-up with research on the Crimean Goths of the Migration Period.
‘The Mussolini frieze, exhorting the mainly German-speaking locals in Italian to “obey”, is dated in Salon to 1939–42, and thereby exactly to the interval between the Hitler-Mussolini agreement about South Tyrol, and German plans for a resettlement of the Südtiroler in the Crimea. I would imagine that the artists were well aware of this when planning their installation pointedly in the three languages of South Tyrol.’
Thanks to both.
Christopher Wilson FSA promptly identified a mystery building drawn by Hieronymus Grimm, submitted to the last Salon by Nat Alcock FSA, as the early 14th-century nave of the Franciscan church ('Greyfriars') in Reading, Berkshire. ‘A bequest for building works here was made in 1311,’ writes Wilson. ‘Despite being an extraordinary survival – the only aisled Franciscan nave remaining in England, I think – only the upper part of the west front drawn by Grimm is now visible behind a huge and grotesque extension built in the early 1970s.’
Still unidentified watercolours can be found in that last Salon. In addition, I wonder whether any Fellow can throw light on this small, intriguing painting currently propped up in my study, anything about which I can do no more than guess?
Forthcoming Events for Fellows
You can catch up on meetings you've missed by watching our lecture recordings (visit the events page and filter the results list by choosing 'past events').
Ordinary Meetings of Fellows
1 February: 'William Galloway and the Viking Boat-Burial at Kiloran Bay', lecture by Professor James Graham-Campbell FSA.
8 February: 'Charles Forster Hayward FSA and the Bookcases Commissioned by John Jones (V&A),' lecture by Max Donnelly FSA.
15 February: 'Our Cell at Spalding: The Spalding Gentlemen's Society and the Society of Antiquaries, 1710-1755', lecture by Dr Dustin M. Frazier Wood
22 February: 'The Times of Their Lives: Histories for the European Neolithic', lecture by Alex Bayliss FSA and Alasdair Whittle FSA.
Interested in proposing a lecture? Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Amelia Carruthers, the Society's Communications Manager (email@example.com). Please note that lecture programmes are planned between 6 and 12 months in advance.
Introductory Tours for Fellows
Not just for newly-elected 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 professional staff, learn about your Fellowship benefits, and discover more from the collections at Burlington House. Coffee is served at 10.45; tours begin at 11.00.
1 February: Tours are free, but booking is required.
19 April: Tours are free, but booking is required.
28 June: Tours are free, but booking is required.
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.
27 February: 'The Domestication of the Dromedary Camel', by Peter Magee FSA
6 March: 'Editing Aubrey: The Antiquary and the Material Text' by Dr Kate Bennett FSA
17 April: 'Where Keats and Shelley Lie: The Protestant Cemetery at Rome' by Dr Nicholas Stanley-Price FSA
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.
Regional Fellows Groups
South West Fellows
8 March: 'Feeding Anglo-Saxon England,' (an Out of London Ordinary Meeting of Fellows, held in Exeter). Find out more online.
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
22 March: 'The Legionary Fortress at Caerleon,' (an Out of London Ordinary Meeting of Fellows, held in Cardiff). Find out more online.
Want to join the Welsh Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings, email Bob Child at firstname.lastname@example.org.
20 February: Join us at Bar Convent (Nunnery Lane, York YO23 1AA) to hear from David Jennings FSA, the Chief Executive of York Archaeological Trust, on the challenges and opportunities of the Jorvik Viking Centre re-development project. Refreshments at 18.00, lecture at 18.30. Contact Ailsa Mainman FSA for reservations or questions.
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
25 January: The Castle (London)
John Goodall FSA, editor of Country Life, will give a lecture on architectural heritage as part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, at Europe House, 32 Smith Square. 6 pm for 6.30, refreshments provided. Free entry. RSVP: email@example.com.
29 January: Sir Ernest Cassel's Collection of Silver: 'this Jew of taste' (London)
Tessa Murdoch FSA and Matthew Winterbottom FSA will talk in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre about Ernest Cassel (1852-1921), a leading financier and personal adviser to Edward VII. He came to Liverpool from Cologne aged 17. By the age of 32, one of the most successful businessmen in the City of London, he married an English woman and converted from Judaism to Catholicism. His collection was anglophile, featuring portraits by Van Dyck, Reynolds, Romney, Alma Tadema and Burne Jones and spectacular early English silver. His collecting is shown against his international philanthropy, founding and financing leading hospitals. Details online.
1 February: Houses of Power (London)
Simon Thurley FSA, Gresham Professor of Built Environment, will give a lecture on architectural heritage as part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, at Europe House, 32 Smith Square. 6 pm for 6.30, refreshments provided. Free entry. RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2–4 February: Places of Worship in Britain and Ireland 1990–2020 (Oxford)
This is the last in an annual series of chronologically arranged weekends at Rewley House on Places of Worship in Britain and Ireland. Starting in the 1990s, when members of many of the more recently arrived faiths and Christian denominations began to build permanent, purpose-designed, places of worship, contributors will discuss the proliferation of buildings, discussing their distinctive features, and the ways in which they are used for worship. An overall picture will emerge of how religious diversity is reflected in physical reality and in the contemporary landscape. Speakers include Sharman Kadish FSA and the Director of Studies is Paul Barnwell FSA. Details online.
6 February: Henry VIII and Luther: A Reappraisal (London)
David Starkey FSA, author of books on Henry VIII and the Tudor court and well known as a regular contributor to radio and television, will talk at the Lambeth Palace Library in association with the University of London seminar on the Religious History of Britain 1500–1800. Details online, or email email@example.com.
8 February: The Classical Villa (London)
Richard Hewlings, Georgian Group, will give a lecture on architectural heritage as part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, at Europe House, 32 Smith Square. 6 pm for 6.30, refreshments provided. Free entry. RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org.
15 February: Pugin’s House - A Home for all Europe? (London)
Tim Brittain-Catlin, University of Kent, will give a lecture on architectural heritage as part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, at Europe House, 32 Smith Square. 6 pm for 6.30, refreshments provided. Free entry. RSVP: email@example.com.
17 February: Norman Oxford (Oxford)
Before the development of the University, Oxford was one of the most important urban centres in England. This day school will examine recent work on the city from 1050 to 1200 and review the impact of the Norman Conquest on its architecture, topography and economy. Details online.
19 February: The Forests of Essex (London)
This day conference at Gilwell Park, held in memory of Oliver Rackham FSA, will explore the cultural and natural heritage of the forests of Essex, and issues of the understanding, management and future of trees, woods and forests in the county. The conference will include a keynote session by Tom Williamson and contributions from Charles Watkins FSA. Details online.
7 March: St James’s and the Birth of the West End (London)
Simon Thurley FSA, Visiting Gresham Professor of the Built Environment at Gresham College, talks about London at the Museum of London. In the first of two lectures with the theme Buildings in the West End of London: Palace, Park and Square, he looks into the ingredients that went into making a court quarter there and the way it formed a blueprint for the new West End of London. Details online.
8 March: Law and the Historic Environment (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This 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. Details online.
17 March: Interpreting Medieval Monuments: Iconography and Meaning (London)
A Church Monuments Society conference in Senate House. The speakers will include Sally Badham FSA, Brian Gittos FSA, Moira Gittos FSA, Nicola Jennings FSA and Sophie Oosterwijk FSA. See online for details.
19–21 March: Radiocarbon Dating and Bayesian Chronological Analysis (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This is aimed at researchers using radiocarbon and other techniques, including Quaternary geologists, palaeobiologists, archaeologists and marine geoscientists. The first two days will cover radiocarbon dating including sample selection, laboratory processes and Bayesian analyses. The third day will look at the construction of Bayesian chronologies more generally, including those that rely on other techniques, with a focus on environmental records. Course Director Christopher Ramsey FSA. Details online.
27 March: Charles I: King and Collector (London)
Reuniting an illustrious royal art collection, the exhibition Charles I: King and Collector marks the Royal Academy of Arts 250th anniversary. In celebration of this landmark event, Martin Randall Travel, a specialist in cultural tours, is holding an exclusive Charles I study day with lectures at the Society of Antiquaries. Hear from Per Rumberg, Curator at the Royal Academy, Desmond Shawe-Taylor, Surveyor of The Queen’s Pictures, and historian Leanda de Lisle, author of the forthcoming book White King: Charles I – Traitor, Murderer, Martyr. The talks are followed by a two-course lunch at a nearby restaurant and an afternoon visit of the exhibition. Details online.
11 April: Starting in Post-Excavation (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This will introduce participants to post-excavation and the process that takes us from site record to completed report. The focus will be on report types common in professional practice and generated by development-led fieldwork. It will be ideal for archaeologists in, or moving into, supervisory roles that involve report preparation. Details online.
16–18 April: Condition Surveys of Historic Buildings (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This aims to give participants an understanding of traditional construction and its defects, and to provide the skills to carry out balanced and informed surveys of historic buildings. Course Director Henry Russell FSA, Reading University. Details online.
18 April: The Birth of Modern Theatreland: Covent Garden and the Two Theatres Royal (London)
Simon Thurley FSA, Visiting Gresham Professor of the Built Environment at Gresham College, talks about London at the Museum of London. In the second of two lectures with the theme Buildings in the West End of London: Palace, Park and Square, he looks at the significance and impact of theatres on the development of London. Details online.
19 April: Advanced Condition Surveys of Historic Buildings (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This builds on the knowledge and skills developed by an earlier course (16–19 April) and offers advanced additional guidance on a number of specialised topics such as non-destructive investigations, energy efficiency, mechanical and electrical services and wall paintings. Course Director Henry Russell FSA. Details online.
19 April: An Evening with Lambeth Palace Library Conservators (London)
An opportunity to view the Lambeth Palace Library conservation studio and discuss techniques and treatments with the Library’s conservation staff. Please note that the studio is reached by a Medieval spiral staircase. Numbers will be limited, please book in advance with firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 020 7898 1400.
28 April: The Lived Experience of Women in Roman Cumbria and Beyond (Maryport)
A day conference at the Senhouse Roman Museum, inspired by the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, will present and discuss the lives of women at the north-western edge of the Roman Empire. Speakers include Maureen Carroll FSA, Ursula Rothe, Alex Croom FSA, Elizabeth M Greene, Tatiana Ivleva and David Breeze FSA. The conference will be chaired by Maureen Fordham. Details online.
28 April: The Lived Experience of Women in Roman Cumbria and Beyond (Maryport)
A day conference at the Senhouse Roman Museum, inspired by the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, will discuss the lives of women at the edge of the Roman Empire. Speakers include Maureen Carroll FSA, Ursula Rothe, Alex Croom FSA and David Breeze FSA. The conference will be chaired by Maureen Fordham. Details from the museum on 01900 816168 or at email@example.com.
28 April: Ancient to Modern: The Changing Landscape of Sussex (Lewes)
A day conference offering a broad overview of the changing relationship between the Sussex landscape and the people who lived there, from the earliest arrivals. The emphasis will be on how new ideas resulted in significant changes in the use of the Sussex landscape. Speakers, specialists in their periods, include Sue Berry FSA, John Manley FSA, David Martin FSA and Matt Pope FSA. Details online.
4 May: Stratigraphic Analysis in Archaeology (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This is for those familiar with excavation and stratigraphic recording, looking to develop post-excavation skills in analysis, dating, interpretation and description. Details online.
8 May: ‘Mysteries’ Demystified: The Making and Meaning of the Lambeth Articles (1595) (London)
Nicholas Tyacke FSA, whose books include Altars Restored: The Changing Face of English Religious Worship 1547–c 1700, will talk at the Lambeth Palace Library in association with the University of London seminar on the Religious History of Britain 1500–1800. Details online, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
9–10 May: The Setting of Heritage Assets and Places (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. In the context of official guidance and wide-ranging experience of practical casework, this explains why the setting of historic places matters, and the principles and practical skills of sound assessment and decision-making. Course Director George Lambrick FSA, with Stephen Carter, Ian Houlston, Richard Morrice FSA, Julian Munby FSA, Michael Pirie, Ken Smith FSA, Karin Taylor and David Woolley QC. Details online.
17 May: Project Management in Archaeology: an Introduction (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This is designed for those new to project management and will draw on the extensive experience of the tutors in development-led archaeology. Details online.
5 June: New Perspectives on Seventeenth-Century Libraries (London)
This event at Lambeth Palace Library will showcase some recent research on library formation, public and private, in the 17th century. Three short talks, among them Jacqueline Glomski FSA on ‘Religion and Libraries in the Seventeenth Century’, will deal with patterns of book selection and acquisition as revealed by individual practice and in 17th-century theoretical writing on bibliography. The presentations will discuss the potential for research and the application of digital methods. In association with the University of London research seminar on the History of Libraries. Details online, or email email@example.com.
8 June: Delivering Public Benefit through Archaeology (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This looks at planning projects to deliver public benefit, how to communicate that benefit, and how to evaluate the impact. It is designed for those responsible for commissioning, specifying and/or delivering programmes of work that aim to deliver public benefit. Details online.
6 July: Churches: History, Significance and Use (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This provides a firm foundation of the history of church architecture and furnishings, and provides skills to draft statements of significance, aimed particularly at those actively involved in management of church buildings. Details online.
15 September: Deerhurst, Pershore and Westminster Abbey (Deerhurst)
The 2018 Annual Deerhurst Lecture will take place at 7.30 pm in St Mary's Church, Deerhurst and will be given by Richard Mortimer FSA (former archivist to Westminster Abbey). Details online.
19–20 September: Photographing Historic Buildings (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This is aimed at those who are not professional photographers but wish to photograph historic buildings for the record using a digital camera. By the end students will be expected to know how to choose viewpoint and lighting conditions, correctly set up cameras to capture suitable images and how to post-produce images in software ready for the archive. Details online.
26–28 September: Heritage Values and the Assessment of Significance (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This will introduce the process of significance, show what is involved in preparing significance assessments, teach you how to read and judge such assessments, and explore ways in which they can be used. Details online.
4 October: Post-Excavation Assessment in Practice (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This will introduce recent guidance, 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. Details online.
24 October: Artefacts and Ecofacts in and out of the Field (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This will provide expert guidance on how key artefacts and ecofacts can contribute to interpretation of archaeological sites, and good practice in sampling and collection. The course is designed for supervisors, project officers and junior managers with responsibility for running excavations, and those new to specialist artefact and ecofact roles. Details online.
30 October: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessments (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This 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). Details online.
15 November: Archaeological Writing for Publication (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This will introduce standard published reports produced by archaeologists, and how a report is planned. It will then focus on stratigraphic narrative and discussion, with a critical review of examples, to identify common mistakes and how to avoid them. We will also look at the special requirements of writing in a professional and academic context. Details online.
28–30 November: Public Inquiry Workshop (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This is a practical workshop designed to improve the performance of anyone who might be called to participate in a Public Inquiry concerned with the historic environment. A mock Public Inquiry will be mounted using a genuine case study, with training for potential witnesses. Details online.
6 December: Commissioning Archaeology (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This is designed for non-archaeologists who need to work with archaeology within the design and construction process, including architects, surveyors, engineers and other design professionals, planners, and project managers and developers. Details online.
Call for Papers
June 2018: Ceramics in Circulation (Brussels)
The Medieval Pottery Research Group will hold its next annual conference at the University of Brussels. The examination of patterns of pottery distribution forms a major part of ceramic studies. For Medieval and post-Medieval periods, pottery distribution has informed discussion of trade and production, the transmission of cultural influences and technical knowledge, and patterns of discard. This conference aims to explore the dynamics behind the movement of pottery. How and why do pots end up where they are found? And what does that tell us about the societies in which they were circulating? The committee invites 20-minute papers addressing any aspect of the circulation of ceramics in north-west Europe and beyond, in Medieval and post-Medieval times. Please submit an abstract of no more than 150 words to Lorraine Mepham FSA, MPRG Meetings Secretary, by 1 February 2018: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Propose a Lecture or Seminar
Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Amelia Carruthers (email@example.com), 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 Amelia Carruthers (firstname.lastname@example.org), if you are interested in helping us organise such an event.