Thursday 17 March: The development of a mid-Tudor house: William Paget at Burton-on-Trent, by Nicholas Cooper FSA
William Paget, 1st Lord Paget (15??63), a leading statesman under three monarchs, has not been known as a patron of architecture. However, a sequence of plans made for him at the end of his life, in 155863, provide a rare insight into the design evolution of a house that would have been one of the most advanced buildings of its age, if it had been completed. The sets of accompanying estimates from masons and carpenters throw light on building costs, and shows Pagets own close involvement with these proposals. Not unconnected with this concern is a hitherto unknown sixteenth-century plan of a Scottish abbey.
Wednesday 20 April: Anniversary Meeting
Thursday 5 May: Finds and exhibits meeting: Fellows Roger Bland and Sam Moorhead, authors of the recently published British Museum book on the Frome Hoard, will give a presentation on The largest Roman coin hoard from Britain in a single container and exhibit some of the 52,503 coins, weighing some 160kg, ranging in date from AD 253 to 293. Buried sometime in the reign of the Emperor Carausius (28693), the hoard contains the finest silver coins of Carausius reign ever seen, and the largest group of Carausian coins ever found.
The following were elected Fellows of our Society in recent ballots; short biographies can be found on the Societys website, and Blue Papers, giving fuller information, can be read on the Fellows side of the website.
3 March 2011: Jelena Josephine Bekvalac, Curator of Human Osteology, Museum of London; Rebecca Catherine Redfern, Curator of Human Osteology, Museum of London; Michael Patrick O’Neill, Architectural Historian; David Harold Jenkins, Archdeacon of Sudbury, Suffolk; Michael St John Parker, writer, historian and Hon Archivist to the Worshipful Company of Masons; Julian Hunt, retired manager of the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies; Vivienne Coad, Environment Field Adviser, English Heritage; Charles Patrick Wagner, Historic Environment Adviser, English Heritage; Simon Thomas Green, Architectural Historian, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland; David Melvyn Browne, Head of Publications and Outreach, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.
10 March 2011: James Thomas, Reader in Local and Maritime History, University of Portsmouth; Catherine Elizabeth Karkov, Professor of Art History, University of Leeds; Christopher Anton Powell, Former Director of the University of Wales Institute of Classics and Ancient History, Director of the Classical Press of Wales; Mark Steven Anderson, Founding Director of Atikkam Media Limited and the Marothodi Institute for Archaeology in Africa; Nathalie Cohen, Cathedral Archaeologist for Southwark Cathedral, Team Leader on the Thames Discovery Partnership, and Editor of the Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society; Andrew James Dunwell, Managing Director, CFA Archaeology Ltd; Ezra Zubrow, Professor, Department of Anthropology, State University of New York at Buffalo; Kevan John Fadden, Founder and Chairman of the Ampthill and District Archaeological and Local History Society and Hon Treasurer of the Council for Independent Archaeology; Roy Davids, Retired former Head of Books and Post-Medieval Manuscripts at Sothebys; Lisa Michelle Wastling, Senior Finds Officer, Humber Field Archaeology.
The Society lacks current contact details for Professor Dr Herwig Friesinger FSA (last known address in Vienna) and Mark Fisher FSA (last known address in Oxford). Giselle Pullen would be grateful for any information concerning their current whereabouts.
The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) is embarking on a major recruitment campaign following the announcement that its British Academy finding is to be phased out over the next five years (see the CBA website). Our Fellow Mike Heyworth, Director of the CBA, said that an expanded membership was the key to sustaining our activities in support of the entire discipline, and he urged those who are not already members to show your support for the Council for British Archaeology by joining today (to do so, see the CBA website).
The financial support of the British Academy has been pivotal to the work of the CBA for more than fifty years. The current years grant is £306,000, or 25 per cent of the CBAs annual income. Our Fellow Kate Pretty, President of the CBA, said: we deeply regret the British Academy decision to cut funding to the CBA, particularly as this decision was not forced by reductions in its own grant from Government, but was a strategic choice by the Academy in spite of their praise for the continuing high standard of our work.
For its part, the British Academy says that this decision reflects the strategic objective of the Academy, incorporated in its four-year delivery plan, agreed with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, to concentrate a greater proportion of its funding … on its UK-operated overseas research institutes outside Europe with broadly based disciplinary interests. It is not clear which overseas research institutes outside Europe will benefit from funds diverted from the CBA, but they include the British Institute at Ankara, the British Institute in Eastern Africa and the British School of Archaeology in Iraq.
The British Academy statement goes on to say that there have been careful discussions about the timing and phasing of this reduction, to enable the CBA to take forward its new strategic plan and move to a membership funding model. The Academy has made exceptional one-off restructuring awards over the last two years to help the CBA build development campaigns and a more efficient operating infrastructure, and expects to make a further such contribution during 201112. After that, however, the annual grant will be progressively reduced, until funding ceases altogether in 2015.
The CBA statement says that trustees met to consider the financial position of the charity in January and that a challenging new action plan is now being prepared to ensure that the CBAs most important priorities are taken forward, despite the withdrawal of funding announced by the British Academy. Even so, CBA trustees regret that restructuring and a reduction in the CBAs staffing is now needed and a statement giving further details will be issued in due course.
Heritage activists have scored an early victory in their campaign to change three controversial clauses in the Localism Bill. The effect of clauses 22 to 24 of Schedule 12 of the Bill would be to allow local planning decisions (Neighbourhood Development Orders) to override national policy in such areas as listed building, scheduled monument and conservation area consent.
When the clauses were debated in committee on 1 March 2011, Birmingham Labour MP Jack Dromey introduced an amendment that proposed omitting the offending paragraphs on the grounds that their effect would be to seriously reduce protection for our most important historic buildings and their settings, and for the character of conservation areas, by removing specific protections, which date from 1990 and have been regarded as a mainstay of our heritage.
In response, the Minister for Decentralisation, Greg Clark, MP, acknowledged that as drafted, the Bill gives rise to understandable concerns on the part of the heritage community and confirmed that it is certainly not the Governments intention to weaken the protection for heritage assets. Saying that normal practice is for us to take it away and check with the lawyers whether any tweaks need to be made to it, he promised that we will come back at a later stage with something that reflects the amendments intention.
This follows a weekend of mounting concern amongst heritage advocates at the tone and content of recent speeches given by members of the coalition Cabinet on the planning system in general which Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, called dysfunctional, and the Prime Minster, David Cameron, described as the enemy of enterprise.
Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, made his remarks at a trade and industry dinner at the Mansion House on 2 March 2011 when he said he wanted to reverse the planning application process so that the standard answer is Yes, not No. He pledged to relax planning laws and cut red tape as part of a drive to stimulate the economy and to make it much easier for companies to obtain planning permission for new projects, even if they go against the wishes of local residents. Reporting the contents of Vince Cables speech, the Guardian quoted Whitehall insiders as saying that shaking up the planning regime was one of Cables key priorities: If he could do only one thing, it would be that.
The following weekend, it was the Prime Ministers turn to go on the attack: in widely reported remarks made in his address to the Conservative Partys spring conference, he said that the next budget would take on the enemies of enterprise, and that there would be specific measures to help enterprise, including cutting red tape and regulation and speeding up planning decisions. He condemned bureaucrats in government departments who concoct those ridiculous rules and regulations that make life impossible for small firms … town hall officials who take forever to make those planning decisions that can be make or break for a business, and the investment and jobs that go with it.
Chancellor George Osborne has also hinted that his 23 March Budget speech will include plans for at least ten new enterprise zones, with relaxed planning laws.
In the House of Lords, meanwhile, a debate on the Public Bodies Bill was used by Lord Inglewood as an opportunity to debate the desire by the Church Commissioners to sell the Zurbaran paintings at Auckland Castle. Our Fellow Lord Howarth spoke in the debate, making the point that the heritage assets of the Church Commissioners, including the historic buildings that serve as episcopal palaces, should be seen as national heritage assets, in which society as a whole has an interest, and not as the private property of the Church of England (see Hansard for a full report on this debate.
Also as a result of debate in the House of Lords led by Baroness Andrews, Chair of English Heritage, another controversial measure has been dropped that would have given ministers, rather than Parliament, the power to decide whether or not to retain or abolish quangos. Peers had argued that the Public Bodies Bill would give ministers too much power over the 200 or so public bodies, including English Heritage and the Arts Council, that survived last autumns so-called bonfire of the quangos. The list of bodies that would be made vulnerable to abolition by ministerial order was included in Schedule 7 of the Bill, which the Government has now said will be abandoned.
A newly published National Audit Office (NAO) report criticises the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) for deficiencies in the way that it decided to cut quangos last October. The report, on Financial Management in the DCMS, says that the decisions lacked thorough financial analysis and did not factor the costs of cutting staff, the resultant redundancy costs or the financial penalties for terminating property leases before their terms were up into the decision-making process.
Decisions have been made based on insufficient financial information and analysis, as exemplified by the decisions to merge and close some arms-length bodies, the report said; Undifferentiated top-slicing of budgets can leave organisations exposed and unprepared for the future, and can lead to higher overall costs or the displacement of costs elsewhere. The spending watchdog also said that the DCMS based its decisions on estimates which did not take account of the full costs of closure such as lease cancellation, redundancy and pension costs. The decision was not informed by an estimation of future savings or of what the pay-back period would be. The NAO concedes that financial management at DCMS has improved and it praises the DCMS on managing Olympic finances well so far, but says there is still a long way to go before the taxpayers gets value for money.
Salon 249 reported on concern about the future of the Purchase Grant Fund (PGF) following the abolition of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) and the transfer of the MLAs responsibilities to the Arts Council. Our Fellow Lord Howarth reports that a decision has now been made: the PGF is to continue, but that the amount of money that will be made available will be cut by a third, from £900,000 to £600,000. The PGF is a public fund that assists regional museums, libraries and archives in England and Wales in their purchases of outstanding works by match-funding up to 50 per cent of the money raised locally.
One very important tool for ensuring that buildings of architectural or historical interest are given an extra level of protection, even if they are not deemed to have the outstanding qualities that qualify them for designation as Listed Buildings, is to make sure that they are included in a local list. Local lists dont have statutory force, but their inclusion is deemed to be a material fact when planning decisions are being considered that might have an impact on the building, and the national policies and principles set out in Planning Policy Statement 5 (PPS5) strongly support the creation and adoption of local lists by planning authorities. This is also a way that local communities can impact planning policy, because good practice in compiling local lists is to invite community groups to nominate buildings that they would like to see on the list, and the list itself is put out to public consultation before being adopted as planning policy.
To encourage more community groups and planning authorities to compile local lists or make improvements to an existing list of heritage assets of local significance, English Heritage has published its own consultation document: the draft Good Practice Guide for Local Listing, which pulls together good practice on local lists that currently operate across England. Responses are requested by 13 May 2011.
Readers of A Dons Life, the Times Literary Supplement blog written by our Fellow Mary Beard (which, unlike The Times newspaper, remains freely available online for the time being will know that she wrote recently of her concern that senior curatorial staff are being let go at the Museum of London, where, because of a £1m deficit, three senior curatorial posts (Prehistory, Roman and Medieval) are to be merged into one post covering the entire sweep of Londons history from prehistory to the eighteenth century (for more on this see Fellow John Shepherds BritArch posting.
Our Fellow Norman Hammond recently featured the Societys Romano-British Mosaics corpus in The Times, saluting the achievement of the Herculean task of publishing every known mosaic floor from the villas and town houses of Roman Britain by our Fellows Stephen Cosh and David Neal. Normans article, and the one on which it was based that first appeared in issue 251 of Current Archaeology magazine, said that Roman mosaics were an indication of where the money was, of economic confidence, a palpable sign of investment and optimism, used to decorate opulent homes built with the ancient equivalent of bankers bonuses, commercial profits, or less reputable sources of income.
Mosaics decorated the most important rooms the porticus, which often commanded a magnificent view, the triclinium, which served as an audience chamber and dining room, and the bath suites, and the finest examples were initially found in the trophy homes of London and south-east England in the second and third centuries AD. Later on, the instability occasioned by raids across the Channel shifted the weight of wealth further west, where certain themes seem especially popular: the area around Cirencester has a cluster of mosaics portraying Orpheus, for example, which, it has been argued, could be a fusion of pagan Roman and Christian symbols whereby Orpheus represents the Good Shepherd, or David, the shepherd king. He might, on the other hand be simply an evocation of cultural and literary entertainment, perhaps with references to hunting, feasting and the amphitheatre. Bacchic scenes are more frequent in Britain than elsewhere, and especially in the Cirencester region; depiction of a cantharus can be taken as another conflation of the pagan wine cup and the Christian chalice.
The old idea of schools of mosaicists based on Cirencester, Dorchester, Water Newton near Peterborough and Brough-on-Humber, proposed by our Fellow David Smith almost half a century ago, has become difficult to justify: although there is undoubtedly a degree of regional commonality of style, it is more likely that a particular individual was the common link, rather than a formal workshop, and the whole business of mosaic-making was probably far more fluid and mobile than the concept of schools suggests. Some panels at Trier, the northern Roman imperial capital on the Mosel in Germany, for example, are similar to some on the Woodchester Orpheus mosaic; perhaps British craftsmen worked overseas on occasion.
The latest datable mosaic in Britain is at Hucclecote in Gloucestershire, where the mosaic sealed a Theodosian coin of AD 3924. The mosaics quality was low: it was probably the product of the resident or the local odd-job man. The prosperity that underwrote the florescence of the mosaicists art in western Roman Britain had lasted only a few generations, but society continued: some of the Roman estate boundaries persisted through the medieval period and are essentially the same as those of large landed estates in the Cotswolds today.
The Art Newspaper reports that plans to construct an artificial cave on Fuerteventura is being opposed by archaeologists because of the threat to more than 200 carvings made by the indigenous people of the Canary Islands, dating back to the first century BC. The project to construct an immense artificial cavern was the brainchild of the Spanish Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida (19242002), who saw the ten-storey cave as a monument to tolerance. Paulino Rivero, President of the Canary Islands, and Domingo Berriel, the Environment Minister, are said to be in favour, even though works to excavate the interior of Tindaya mountain will take place just 70m from the site of the ancient rock carvings.
The Canarian conservation group called Ben Magec took archaeologists to Tindaya recently to lobby for their support in opposing the cavern scheme. As a result of the visit, Manuel Ramírez, Professor of History at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, said that the carvings should be designated under Spanish heritage laws. Our Fellow Margarita Díaz-Andreu also expressed her concerns: These carvings are not particularly pretty, but their value resides in their ancient, holy nature, she said, adding: It was by marking the mountain that the indigenous inhabitants endowed Tindaya with meaning. Cultural landscapes such as this have a universal value and should be protected, particularly in areas like the Canary Islands which have already experienced such a high degree of destruction due to the tourist industry.
Unlike the Atlantic islands of Madeira and the Azores, which were uninhabited when the Portuguese claimed them in 1419 and 1431 respectively, Spanish colonists fought a bitter war from 1402 before taking the Canary Islands from the indigenous people, descendants of Neolithic North African Berber migrants. Tindaya mountain was a sacred place for Fuerteventuras pre-Hispanic inhabitants and their so-called podomorphs, or sacred etchings resembling footprints, are among the last surviving reminders of their culture.
A revolution in thinking about the human genome is likely to come about as a result of the paper published last week in the journal Nature, showing that what makes us uniquely human may have more to do with parts of the genome that are active in chimpanzees but inactive in humans. In other words, the differences lie not in what we have gained, in the form of extra DNA, but rather of what we have lost along the path of evolution.
The paper, published by a team at Penn State University, says that it is difficult to see major differences when comparing the human and chimpanzee genome; where the differences lie is in the part of the genome that regulates which genes are active and when. Crucially, chimpanzees have control mechanisms that limit the growth of brain cells which is not active in humans; losing that DNA allowed parts of the human brain to expand in ways that conferred an evolutionary advantage.
Body hair and penile sensitivity are two further examples of the key differences between humans and chimpanzees. The latter development is thought to have paved the way for more intimate and monogamous relationships: highly sensitive penises are apparently more common in animals that face intense competition for mates, and where females are likely to mate with many males in rapid succession. The loss of penile sensitivity may have allowed paved the way for more complex relationships and social structures.
Philip Reno, one of the co-authors of the study, says: There are going to be many different features that make humans unique and I dont think were close to describing all the links between genes that make us different from chimpanzees; we are just getting the initial picture.
Fellow Roland Harris has a challenge for Salon readers: he would be very grateful for help in transcribing and translating an inscription that he recently discovered during archaeological investigations at the White Tower, as part of the current campaign of conservation works to the east, north and west elevations.
The stone with the inscription measures 285mm x 170mm and was found on one of the buttresses to the north-eastern turret, set the right way up, but 8.2m above ground level (which is why it hasnt been noticed before). The stone was re-set during the Portland stone repairs made by William Mills in the 1630s and although it is stranded well above ground level today, it was slightly more accessible when re-set in the 1630s, as it is only c 1.5m above the leads of the abutting roof and near the adjacent battlements of the east annexe to the White Tower (demolished in 187981).
Most of the material used by Mills (other than the new Portland stone quoins themselves) appears to derive from the White Tower itself: that is to say, it has Romanesque axe tooling and the petrology is consistent with the distinctive mix of types found in situ mainly dolomitised chalk, Caen stone, Bembridge limestone and Quarr stone. The inscription, however, is in Bath stone, and this is not one of the primary stone types identified at the White Tower.
Roland adds: The text is not very legible and I fear it will remain undecipherable. That said, I am interested in pinning down the language and the date, if possible. This isnt at all my area of expertise. So far I have had two opinions from Fellows, one equally confident that it is Romanesque (of the late 11th or 12th century) and one that it is of early 17th century date.
Attached are three images showing the inscription at the White Tower. The first is a colour photograph of the inscribed stone; the next is a perspective view of a 3D scan, and the third probably the most useful is a depth map derived from the 3D scan.
Salons editor will pass on any thoughts.
Our Fellow Robert Merrillees writes to say: I am in the process of writing the review of a book on the life of Count Louis François du Mesnil de Maricourt (180665), who was a French Consul de carrière and ended his days in Larnaca, Cyprus, while still en poste. It happens that, in addition to serving in Newcastle, England, from 1855 to 1860 and enjoying less than cordial relations with his British opposite number in Cyprus, Maricourt was married a second time in 1833 to Frédérica Leicester, who was English (or of English descent) and twenty years old at the time. Present at the sumptuous wedding at the Abbaye-aux-Bois in Paris on behalf of Frédérica were said to be Henri Shirley, Jean Wilson and William Henry Bohtlinge (described as le gotha du siècle). Making allowance for the Frenchification of parts of these names and misspellings, can anyone help me identify the bride and her three guests and their titles, if any. My search of the Internet has so far proven fruitless and frustrating and I would like to have confirmation, if at all possible, that they came from aristocratic backgrounds.
Quite a number of Fellows responded to the eyewitness accounts of the Egyptian revolution published in the last issue of Salon, most of them to say that the account given by Zawi Hawass on his personal blog site, stating that there had been very little looting of antiquities in Egypt during and since late January, was at odds with other reports coming out of Egypt. Since then Zawi Hawass has admitted that opportunist thieves have looted a number of major sites and monuments in various parts of the country, and he has said that he is going to resign from his post as Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs in protest at police inaction in protecting Egypts heritage. It seems, sadly, that the current situation is nowhere near as rosy as Salons report suggested.
Equally uncertain at the moment is the scale of the damage to the citys heritage of the Christchurch, New Zealand, earthquake, but reports from the University of Canterbury say that the James Logie Memorial Collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, established in the 1950s in memory of university registrar James Logie, has suffered significant damage, caused by objects being thrown to the ground or crushed by falling wall and roof materials.
The last issue of Salon reported on community opposition to a plan to demolish Bower House, a handsome Georgian farmhouse at the centre of the village of Holme Lacy, and replace it with a modern student block and car park for Hereford College of Technology. Our Fellow Ron Shoesmith, who lives in Herefordshire, reports that demolition plans have been halted temporarily, and a planning decision has been adjourned whilst Herefordshire Council seeks advice from English Heritage. Local people want to save the farmhouse, calling it Holme Lacys most important building. On the basis of the picture that appeared in the last issue of Salon, Fellow Linda Hall says Bower House looks much older to me: that profile of what is basically a hall and two cross-wings surely argues for origins long before the Georgian period. At least now an opportunity exists for the merits of the building to be assessed and any future planning decision taken on the basis of a better understanding of its architectural and historical significance.
The item on the Medieval Memoria Online project in Salon 250 observed that there is no complete photographic coverage (at least not in public collections) of the UKs rich heritage of monuments. Fellow Sally Badham has responded to say that a project to address this has been in existence for the past fourteen years. The Digital Atlas of England Project is photographically recording all of the rural parish churches in England and the project remit includes recording all pre-1900 church monuments.
The photographic archive generated by this project currently has over 320,000 digital images. Until recently the archive was not accessible to the public but, in December last year, work started on making the archive available on-line in searchable form. Some 18,000 images from the 2009 photographic season are currently available. By the end of March all 22,200 images from that year will be on-line and, it is hoped, a further 19,000 catalogued images from a previous system will be added, bringing the total to more than 42,000 images covering over 850 churches. Work will continue on a regular basis to add new material to the site.
As well as monuments, the archive includes stained glass, woodwork, sculpture and the many other features to be found in parish churches. Further information about the project can be found in an article by Cameron B Newham, Towards an inventory of church monuments in England, in the journal of the Church Monuments Society, Vol XXIV (2009). Fellows are being given the opportunity to gain free access to the website until 31 August 2011 by registering with the Promotional Code: salon2011.
Fellow Pamela Jane Smith, the energetic organiser of the immensely popular Personal Histories seminars at Cambridge, tells Salon that the virtual exhibition in honour of Fellow Sir David Attenboroughs seminar in 2009, looking at the early days of archaeology on television, can now be seen on the Personal Histories’ website.
David Neal writes with one small amendment to the piece on doctorates awarded for published works to say that his DLitt was not from De Montfort University, Leicester, as reported; it was awarded by the then Council of National Academic Awards (CNAA) based in London, and he received it from the Dean, the Princess Royal, in an award ceremony shared with London University at the Connaught Rooms on 26 June 1991.
Apropos the question posed by Salon whether loan words from other languages should obey the grammatical rules of the original language or the one that it joins, Fellow Paul Latcham writes to extend the discussion to what he describes as the tyranny of the house style. Indeed, he once wrote to The Oldie magazine to accuse its editor, Richard Ingrams, of double standards in imposing a crippling house style on such contributors as Raymond Briggs, when, Paul recalls, The Oldies esteemed editor had a falling out with the editorial department of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography to which he was intending to contribute. So fed up was he with their unwanted interventions and alterations he withdrew his work altogether, stating that he found their efforts to standardise and make consistent the language, punctuation and usage of that publication altogether too stultifying.
Fellow Gill Hey writes with fond memories of Jean le Patourel, whose death was announced in the last issue of Salon, saying: your report brought back a flood of memories as well as sadness. My first-ever dig was for Jean le Patourel at Otley Bishops Palace when I was a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl. I must have heard about the dig because Jeans daughters were at my school. I was so excited to be able to try my hand at being a real archaeologist, though a bit mystified when, having discovered a stone-covered drain, everyone got very excited. To this day I can recall the feel of my trowel coming down onto stone and the thrill of discovery. Why the drain raised such interest remains a mystery, however! I expect there are quite a lot of people who were able to dig because of Jeans work and I am very grateful to her for providing me with that opportunity.
When Salon 243 announced the death of our Fellow Honor Frost in October 2010, the report mentioned her large collection of Regency furniture, antique glass, Chinese porcelain and contemporary paintings. Sothebys in London has now announced the sale of that collection, to take place on 15 and 16 June 2011, with the expected proceeds of at least £18m, to be used to fund maritime archaeological excavation and research, particularly in Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus.
Honor Frost was herself born in Cyprus. Her Scottish parents died when she was young; the solicitor Wilfrid Evill then became her guardian, and it was from Evill, who had been legal adviser to a number of artists, including Stanley Spencer, that she inherited the collection. Among the works that will be sold in June is a Spencer painting called Workmen in the House (1937), purchased by Evill for £250 after it had been rejected with a rude letter by the man who commissioned it and now worth about £2.5m. Works by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Graham Sutherland, Edward Burra, Patrick Heron and Lucian Freud (his painting Boy on a Sofa, bought for £18 in 1944 and now thought to be worth £600,000) are also among the 300 works and objects that will be sold.
The collection was last seen in public at the 1965 Wilfrid Evill Memorial exhibition at Brighton City Art Gallery. Since then, says James Rawlin of Sothebys: Loans from and access to the collection have seldom been granted. As a result, the collection has taken on an almost mythical status. For example, when the Tate staged a Spencer retrospective in 2001, the gallerys catalogue lamented the omission of a crucial work, the painting Sunflower and Dog Worship (1937), which Frost had declined to loan: this (depicted above) will now be included in the forthcoming sale with an estimated value of £1.5m.
News has reached Salon of the recent death of Svend Helms, who, having completed his PhD on the Urban fortifications of Early Bronze Age Palestine at the London Institute of Archaeology in 1976, went on to carry out pioneering archaeological work at Old Kandahar, in Afghanistan, and later in Jordan; most recently he was on the staff of the University of Sydney, Australia.
Fellow Caroline Wickham-Jones reports that James Kenworthy died on 7 March 2011, having been a well-known figure in Scottish (and especially Mesolithic) archaeology for many years; he spent a period teaching at Leicester University, but in recent years has been a popular lecturer for the Flexible Learning degree in Scottish Archaeology at the University of Aberdeen.
Our Fellow Terry Ball (christened William Thomas, but known since childhood as Terry) died suddenly, of a brain haemorrhage, at his home in Walberswick on 23 February 2011, at the age of seventy-nine. Best known for the hundreds of reconstruction drawings that he produced of historic buildings for the Ministry of Works, and later for English Heritage and Cadw, amongst others, Terry trained as an artist alongside Bridget Riley and Frank Auerbach and discovered archaeology through working for Kathleen Kenyon, drawing finds at Jericho. Terrys funeral takes place at 2pm on 16 March 2011, at St Andrews Church, Walberswick, Suffolk. Immediate family flowers only; donations to the RNLI c/o Fishers Funeral Services, Field Stile Road, Southwold IP18 6LD.
The Society has also learned of the death of Fellow Benjamin J N Edwards, on 24 February 2011. The Lancashire Archaeological Society (LAS), of which Ben was a founder member and former President, has announced the formation of the Ben Edwards LAS Fund in his memory, to give small grants to archaeologists or historians undertaking research into the history or prehistory of north-west England. The scale and range of Ben Edwards own interests is indicated by the bibliography of some ninety-seven papers written over the last fifty years, including contributions to our Societys Antiquaries Journal.
31 March to 2 April 2011: Scotland and Beyond: Early Medieval Carved Stones, at the University of Edinburgh and National Museums of Scotland. This conference has two primary aims: to consider, from a historical perspective, the visual evidence on pre-Romanesque carved stones iconography, motifs, chisel marks, geological information, context, environment/position, inscriptions, etc in order to understand the purpose, function and meaning of this sculpture at the time of its creation, and to further discussions with scholars working on similar material in different cultures and regions (Asturian, Armenian, Anglo-Saxon, Irish, Scandinavian and so on) in order to learn more about their material and approaches while fostering a broader awareness of and interest in Scottish material.
For further information, see the conference website.
17 May 2011: Last Orders? The Art and Architecture of Religious Orders in England c 13501540, a symposium to be held from 10am to 6.15pm (followed by a reception) in the Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN; for programme details and to book a place (£5; payment (cash) upon registration from 9.30am on 17 May 2011), send an email.
In contrast to the arts of the so-called golden age of English religious life during the High Middle Ages, the visual culture of subsequent generations of monks, friars, nuns and canons has traditionally received less attention. However, more recent scholarship has challenged the consensus of a late medieval decline among the monastic and religious orders in England and elsewhere in Europe, revealing an artistic tradition with considerable possibilities for investigation. At this conference, established scholars and research students from the UK and abroad will explore some of these possibilities, including the importance of continuity and innovation, the patronage of superiors and the expression of particular institutional and confessional identities. Many of the papers will also discuss little-known examples or provide new interpretations of late monastic art.
17 September 2011: Domesday Now: new perspectives in Domesday studies, a day conference at the National Archives, Kew. The speakers are: Nancy Bell, A closer look at Domesday: a technical update; Howard Clarke, Condensing and abbreviating the data: Evesham C, Evesham M, and the Breviate; Sally Harvey, A deed without a name; Andrew Lowerre, Geospatial technologies and the geography of Domesday England in the twenty-first century; Lucy Marten, Little Domesday and Bury St Edmunds; John Palmer and Anna Powell-Smith, Domesday meets Web 2.0: the Hull Project data online; David Thomas, Domesday and new technologies; and Ann Williams, Hunting the Snark and finding the Boojum: the tenurial revolution revisited. See the conference website for more details and registration.
23 to 25 September 2011: Fingerprinting the Iron Age, McDonald Institute and Magdalene College, Cambridge. Academics and graduate students are invited to submit abstracts by 1 May 2011 for papers on archaeological approaches to identity in the Iron Age. Preference will be given to papers which deal with issues relating to south‐eastern Europe, although original contributions to the study of identity in other regions of Europe and beyond are also warmly invited to give a comparative perspective. The overall aim of the conference is to bring together researchers from south‐eastern and western Europe and beyond in a first step towards a continent-wide archaeology of the Iron Age, in the belief that it is time for a vision of the Iron Age that transcends national and geographical boundaries. The European Iron Age, widely regarded as a cradle for large group, or even ethnic, identities, has suffered long enough from the segmentation imposed by political barriers. A dialogue between scholars of different backgrounds needs to be established.
29 September 2011: 50th Anniversary of the Oxford Institute of Archaeology. Alumni and friends of the Institute are warmly invited to help the Oxford Institute mark its Golden Jubilee with an Open Day from 2pm to 5pm. There will be brief presentations on fieldwork and research projects being undertaken by current staff and students as well as exhibits relating to the work and history of the Institute. A drinks reception will take place in the gardens of St Cross College in the evening, from 5.30pm to 8pm. Spaces for the reception are limited, please send an email if you would like to attend.
12 and 13 December 2011: Royal Manuscripts, a conference at the British Library, London. Scholars from all disciplines are invited to submit proposals for 20-minute papers of the British Librarys Royal collection, consisting of 2,000 manuscripts presented to the newly founded British Museum in 1757 by King George II, representing the accumulated libraries of the medieval and Renaissance kings and queens of England. Papers are welcomed on the formation of the collection and contextual issues of power, stylistic influence, political motivation and rivalry with Europe, public and private devotion, education and knowledge, and artistic production in a variety of media. Also welcome are papers on conservation and preservation issues, buildings and royal palaces, inventories and medieval libraries, and on specific illuminated manuscripts in the Royal collection, both well and less well known. If you would like to take part, please send a short abstract and a concise CV by 31 May 2011 to Kathleen Doyle, Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts.
The conference proceedings will be published by British Library Publications and a major exhibition featuring 150 royal manuscripts will be mounted at the British Library between 11 November 2011 and 11 March 2012, with a curatorial team headed by our Fellows Scot McKendrick, Head of History and Classical Studies at the British Library, and Professor John Lowden, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London.
Applications to the City of London Archaeological Trust (CoLAT) are invited for small grants to assist archaeological work in the City of London and its environs (roughly out to the M25). CoLAT prefers to support research, education and publication, especially by amateur groups, but most kinds of archaeological work will be considered. The main exceptions are work arising from current developments, where developers should be funding the work, or any work towards an undergraduate or postgraduate degree. The deadline for applications this year is 7 October 2011, and the meeting of CoLAT to consider these applications is in early December. Grants are available for one year only from 1 April 2012, so some careful planning may be required. CoLAT welcomes applications which form part of a joint application to several funding bodies. Application forms and guidelines can be found on the Trusts website and any enquiries should be addressed to the Secretary, our Fellow John Schofield.
With major books on the Bayeux Tapestry having been published in recent years by several of our Fellows, you might have thought there was nothing new to say. Not a bit of it The Bayeux Tapestry: New Approaches (ISBN 978-1842179765; Oxbow Books), edited by Fellows Michael Lewis and Gale Owen-Crocker with Dan Terkla, is simply the first of several books contributing to Bayeux Tapestry studies to be published this year (look out for Gale Owen-Crockers King Harold II and the Bayeux Tapestry later this month and Fellow Trevor Rowleys The Man Behind the Bayeux Tapestry: Odo, William the Conquerors Half-brother next summer).
This book contains nineteen of the twenty-six papers presented to a conference held at the British Museum in July 2008, billed as the largest gathering of Bayeux Tapestry scholars from around the world in modern times. The papers demonstrate what a rich source the Tapestry is for all sorts of studies, from that of Fellow Jane Geddes who is interested in the depiction of doors in the Tapestry and how they can help us identify surviving doors of the Saxo-Norman period, along with their hinges, decorative iron scrolls and carpentry. Fellow Carol Neuman de Vegvar shows us how much can be learned about the drinking vessels of the period from the banquet scenes depicted in the Tapestry.
Then there is the continuing debate on who made the Tapestry, here addressed by George Beech, who argues that the places and events depicted in the Tapestry suggest that it was made at the abbey of St Florent, at Saumur, in the Loire Valley, famed for the tapestries produced there in the workshop founded by Abbot Robert (9851011). Other contributors address questions about Nazi attempts to appropriate the Tapestry as a significant monument of Germanic culture, what can be learned from studying the hidden face, or the underside, of the Tapestry, and what from the many repairs and later embellishments, while our Fellow David Renn asks how long the Tapestry might originally have been.
This latest CBA Research Report (no. 163) reports on what Fellow Gabor Thomas, the author of The Later Anglo-Saxon Settlement at Bishopstone: a downland manor in the making (ISBN 9781902771830; CBA), calls the audacious plan to dig up Bishopstone village green, a large area to the north of the churchyard, executed between 2002 and 2005. Removal of the turf revealed a dense swathe of eighth- to early eleventh-century timber halls and associated service structures (including latrines and a 1.8m deep cellar, surmounted by a timber tower), large numbers of rubbish-filled pits, lots of bioarchaeological material and part of a cemetery containing forty-three inhumations.
This rich resource is analysed by specialists for the evidence it provides about daily life in a later Anglo-Saxon settlement, albeit one that might represent an elite community enjoying the fruits of a resource-rich estate. The report also examines the interplay between the archaeological data and the historical evidence, contained in charters of the period, for Bishopstone was a minster from the later seventh century, under the direct lordship of South Saxon bishops, and its church is still one of the finest examples of pre-Conquest architecture surviving in England. That church, the report argues, along with the halls that are the main subject of the report, comprised a stable church/manor nucleus around which the community finally settled to occupy a permanent site in the landscape, by contrast with the relative mobility of the community in previous millennia, a pattern observed elsewhere that has been dubbed the Middle Saxon Shift and that arguably led to the medieval settlement pattern that underlies the modern English landscape.
To those of us who do not own boats and have not mastered the sailing arts, the whole idea of venturing on to the sea seems dangerous, mysterious and fraught with difficulty; yet boat-building and navigation were undoubtedly mastered by our hominid cousins, as well as by early humans, as testified by the presence of stone tools, possibly the work of Homo heidelbergensis on the island of Crete. Just how far back into prehistory we can trace maritime adventuring was one of the themes of a conference held in Cambridge in September 2007 and now published as The Global Origins and Development of Seafaring (ISBN 9781902937526; McDonald Institute Monographs), edited by Fellows Atholl Anderson, James Barrett and Katherine Boyle. The twenty-four papers tell a fascinating story that is mainly concerned with the fundamental role of the sea as, initially, a barrier to human exploration and migration but, once mastered, a highway for the spread of people, ideas, language, culture, war and trade, not to mention a cornucopia of resources. In its aim of addressing the subject from a global perspective, the book spans many cultures and many periods, right up to relatively recent times. Atholl Andersons introductory chapter sets out the issues and the debatable questions, answers to which are attempted in the remaining papers: where, when and why seafaring skills developed; the relationship between coastal and freshwater voyaging and longer sea journeys; whether the first long-distance voyages were accidental or intentional; the cognitive implications; global population growth and dispersal rates from the late Pleistocene; the history of sea-level change; and many more.
One of the astonishing facts that comes across from Roman Cameo Glass in the British Museum (ISBN: 9780714122670; British Museum Press), by Paul Roberts, William Gudenrath, and Fellows Veronica Tatton-Brown and David Whitehouse, is just how short-lived this craft industry was: it lasted approximately forty years, beginning in about 15 BC with a cessation of the major workshop(s) in about AD 25, at approximately the same time, says the introduction to the book, as the collapse of the great Arretine workshops. The authors argue that Arretine ware, decorated in high relief and made in and around Arezzo from around 40 BC, was the ceramic equivalent to cameo glass and appealed to the same consumers; its demise is the result, it is suggested, of a general change of taste and fashion.
With such a short life, the worlds stock of Roman cameo glass is not large; most of it consists of fragments, and most is held in a small number of collections in Europe and North America. The British Museum has one of the best collections seventy pieces in all, including what is arguable the finest piece of all, the Portland Vase, an exquisite object whose complex ownership history and multiple influences on European culture (on Wedgwood pottery, for a start) deserves an entire book in its own right. As it is, this book does justice to the vase in the context of the wider theme, summing up all we currently know about cameo glass production and cataloguing the examples that survive in the BM.
Fellow Hugh Borrills The Post-Roman Pottery from Excavations in Hertford and Ware 19732004 (ISSN 1752-7406; Supplement to Hertfordshire Archaeology and History Volume 15) is a hard-working book on the Anglo-Saxon and medieval vessel forms and fabrics found during excavations that took place during the redevelopment of Hertfords town centre over a thirty-year period, and of excavations carried out by the Hart Archaeological Unit in the centre of Ware from 1978 to 1985. Such an exercise calls for comparisons, and Hugh finds similarities and differences. The main similarity is his finding that, as recorded elsewhere in England, there is a major shift in ceramic production technology in the mid- to late twelfth century, marking a watershed between unglazed and relatively porous Saxo-Norman wares and harder glazed medieval ceramics. The differences are to do with the origins of the non-local component of the ceramic assemblage: Wares Benedictine monastery, a cell of St Evroul, perhaps accounts for the finer quality imported pottery; there is also an eastward bias in the quantity of Essex and St Neots type wares; Hertford, by contrast, has a lot more locally made wares, from the immediate Hertfordshire hinterland.
Each of the 120 maps that comprise An Historical Atlas of Oxfordshire (ISBN: 9780902509634; Oxfordshire Record Society Vol 67), edited by Fellow Kate Tiller and Giles Darkes, is a distillation of vast amounts of data, in which the contributors (many of them Fellows, including Paul Booth on Roman Oxfordshire, John Blair on Anglo-Saxon Minsters, James Bond on Castles and Moated Sites, Malcolm Airs on The Great Rebuilding, Barrie Trinder on Roads, Canals and Railways, and Trevor Rowley on The Cold War) put everything they know on to a map of the county (or occasionally of important settlements, such as Oxford or Bampton) and then contribute a 1,000-word essay, analysing the resulting patterns and setting them in context.
The result is a rich reference work, though in an ideal world one would like the option to overlay maps on top of each other to make comparisons, for example, between settlements of different periods in relation to natural landscape features something far easier to do using GIS-based digital maps than a printed book. That aside, the choice of topics and the accompanying map commentaries are illuminating. Typical is one of Kate Tillers contributions, mapping shops and shopkeepers from 1516 to 1800 and extracting from this unlikely sounding data a story of the transition from itinerant chapmen, hawkers and peddlars to permanent shopkeepers, and showing how early in modern history the consumer society actually began.
Churches in Early Medieval Ireland: Architecture, Ritual, and Memory by our Fellow Tomás Ó Carragáin (ISBN: 9780300154443; Yale University Press) is, astonishingly, the first book devoted to the churches in Ireland of the period from the arrival of Christianity in the fifth century to the early stages of the Romanesque around 1100. Tomás argues that the striking simplicity of these buildings consisting of a simple rectangle with a single doorway in the west wall results not from ignorance of other European ecclesiastical buildings but from the overriding desire to perpetuate an older architectural tradition, whose building forms are derived largely from Romano-British exemplars, associated with the saints who had Christianised Ireland and founded its great ecclesiastical centres.
Seen in this light, the buildings take on the character of holy relics: stone versions of the timber churches built by the founders, embodying memories of these saints and legitimising the authority of their successors. The book also analyses the most important Irish ecclesiastical complexes, including Armagh, Clonmacnoise and Glendalough. At each of these sites there were ten or more churches, along with other monuments such as round towers and high crosses. Tomás argues that these monumental schemes were intended to recall distant sacred topographies, especially Jerusalem and Rome.
Our Fellow Sally Badham joins the ranks of Fellows who have contributed to the small but mighty Shire Library series with her book on Medieval Church and Churchyard Monuments (ISBN: 9780747808107; Shire Library). The handbook is packed with high-quality colour photographs, many of monuments not previously illustrated, and it examines the purpose and meaning of monuments, their placement within the church, the choice of tomb design and the sad loss of tombs to mutilation and destruction. The book shows what a rich source monuments are of information on costume, armour, heraldry, sculpture and genealogy.
Sally argues that churches contain much of this countrys most interesting medieval sculpture and yet, despite the occasional awe-provoking display in a temporary exhibition of a magnificent effigy of cast copper-alloy or stone, such monuments are often little known in their intended setting. Among the joys of visiting churches is the experience of alighting upon outstanding sculptural treasures monuments that open doors to the past and introduce us to the characters from our history books. Sally also shows that, while most attention is paid to monuments inside churches, medieval churchyard monuments survive in greater numbers than is normally credited.