The Society of Antiquaries of Londons Online Newsletter (Salon) is a fortnightly digest of news from the heritage sector, focusing especially on the Society and its Fellows and the contribution that they make to public life through their many and varied activities. Like the intellectual salons of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe, it aims to amuse and to stimulate debate as well as to inform. A copy of Salons editorial policy can be found on the Societys website and feedback should be addressed to the Editor, Christopher Catling.
Places are still available on the 26 January tour of Burlington House for new (and not so new) Fellows, which includes an overview of the Society and its current activities and an introduction to the library and the Societys pictures and museum collection. To book a place please contact Jola Zdunek, the Societys Executive Assistant.
The full meetings programme for January to July 2012 can be seen on the Societys website.
26 January 2012: The printing house of the Strawberry Hill Press: an account, an iconography and a survival, by Stephen Clarke FSA
Horace Walpoles Strawberry Hill Press is the most celebrated and best documented of the early English private presses. It is unique for its longevity and the significance of a number of its productions, and is also important for its role in the circulation of Walpoles writings, and for the way in which it was presented in the theatre that was Strawberry Hill. A survey of the holdings of the Lewis Walpole Library, together with other material from private and public collections in England and America, has revealed a surprising richness of unpublished images that enable us to see and analyse the interior of the Printing House, and learn about the housing and equipping of Walpoles Press. They also provide a framework for a study of its unfamiliar afterlife following Walpoles death. These reveal the surprising (and previously completely unknown) fact that a large part of the printing house still survives.
2 February 2012: The Roman legionary fortress at Caerleon: recent research and new discoveries, by Peter Guest FSA, Andrew Gardner and Tim Young FSA
Caerleon, the base of Legio Secunda Augusta, one of the four legions that invaded Britain in AD 43, has been the focus of intensive study since the first antiquarian explorations conducted by John Edward Lee and Octavius Morgan (both Fellows of this Society) in the nineteenth century. As a result Caerleon is one of the best-known legionary fortresses of the Roman Empire, and yet, as this paper will demonstrate, it is still capable of revealing much that is new and unexpected. This paper will present a summary of the results of new research carried out since 2006, including extensive geophysical surveys inside and beyond the fortress walls, a major excavation of the legionary store-building in Priory Field, and the discovery of a previously unknown suburb of monumental buildings between the amphitheatre and the River Usk.
Our Fellow Jon Cotton, formerly Curator of Prehistory at the Museum of London, will give a talk called Ballast-heavers and battle axes: the Golden Age of archaeological finds from the Thames, on 17 January 2012 at the Geological Society (tea at 5.30pm, lecture 6pm, reception 7pm; free admission by ticket only, available from the Geological Society Conference Office. The great haul of finds from the Thames includes some of the most iconic objects from British prehistory such as the Battersea shield, the Waterloo Bridge helmet and the Kew tankard. Less well known is the story behind their recovery, which, like any good whodunit, involves fallible heroes, intricate sub-plots and (maybe) a satisfying conclusion.
There are still a few places available for this study day to be held at the Society of Antiquaries. The cost of the day (including lunch and refreshments) is £47.50. For more information, please contact one of the organisers: Fellows Claire Gapper and Paula Henderson.
Amongst the speakers are Lucy Gent on Eloquence, theory, persuasion: the underpinning of late Elizabethan architectural practice, Fellow Richard Simpson on Building design, construction, and texts at Sir Thomas Smiths Hill Hall 15661576, Olivia Horsfall Turner on Illustrating architecture in seventeenth-century England, Lee Prosser on The British staircase as a means of exploring developments in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century architecture, Fellow Rick Turner on Re-inventing castles in Tudor Wales and Fellow John Schofield on Reconstructing St Pauls Cathedral before and during the restoration of Inigo Jones.
The Cathedral and Church Buildings Division of the Church of England has announced two design competitions. In the first, sponsored by the Jerusalem Trust, parishes are invited to submit a proposal for a new piece of art in their building. Those interested in taking part are asked to send an expression of interest and an outline of the intended proposal by 29 February 2012. A contribution of £10,000 to the chosen scheme is on offer. For further information, see the ChurchCare website.
The second competition is designed to inspire high-quality church seating designs (both chairs and benches) that can be retailed to parishes at an affordable price and that will combine comfort and practicality with good new design that is sympathetic to historic interiors.
Janet Gough, Director of the Archbishops Councils Cathedral and Church Buildings Division, said: Some re-ordering schemes are being compromised by the installation of unsuitable chairs which fail to complement historic interiors whilst others fail to meet the objectives of the parish in practical terms. We want to inspire a new generation of designers and furniture makers to engage with this issue.
Entries must be submitted by 30 March 2012, and the results will be announced at an awards ceremony on 14 June at St Johns Church, Hyde Park, accompanied by an exhibition of finalists designs in both the student and the open categories. Our Fellow The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, will chair the judging panel. Further information is available on the ChurchCare website.
Left: The Library at The Grange; photograph by John Miller courtesy of the Landmark Trust
The Pugin Society, chaired by our Fellow Pamela Tudor Craig, plans a series of events during 2012 to mark the bicentenary of Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (181252), hailed by the Society as arguably the greatest British architect, designer and writer of the nineteenth century.
The years events will begin with a Commemorative Mass at noon on 1 March 2012, the day of Pugins birth, in St Augustines Church, Ramsgate, in whose crypt Pugin lies buried. The church, begun by Pugin in 1844 and completed by his eldest son, Edward, will be open to the public on Sundays and Wednesdays from 2pm to 4pm throughout the year. A fundraising campaign supported by the Pugin Society and led by the Friends of St Augustine and the parish priest, Fr Marcus Holden, aims to restore the glorious interior furnishings and stained glass (for more on this see Clive Aslets recent column in the Daily Telegraph). Solemn Vespers will be celebrated at the Pugin-designed St Chads Cathedral, Birmingham, in the afternoon of the same day (1 March)
If you want to get really close to Pugin, you can stay in The Grange, which Pugin built as a family home alongside St Augustines, in Margate. Now gloriously restored by the Landmark Trust as a holiday home, The Grange will also be open for guided tours on certain days during the year. Pugin Society members will convene again on 12 July 2012 in Ramsgate for a series of visits to Pugin-related sites, followed in the late afternoon by a lecture on Pugin by his biographer, our Fellow Rosemary Hill. On 13 and 14 July, the University of Kent, Canterbury, will host a Pugin-inspired conference, New Directions in Gothic Revival Studies Worldwide, at which our Fellow Stephen Bann will give a keynote address on Pugin and the French Connection, further details of which are available on the universitys website.
Fellow Michael Fishers new book, Gothic for Ever: A W N Pugin, Lord Shrewsbury and the rebuilding of Catholic England, is about to be published by Spire Books, and Salon will review this in due course. Meanwhile, a new BBC documentary, called Pugin: Gods Own Architect, will receive its first transmission on BBC4 on 19 January 2012 at 9pm, presented by Richard Taylor (who did the BBC series Churches: How to Read Them), and in which our Fellow Rosemary Hill is a major contributor, and our Fellow Caroline Stanford plays a role as the Landmark Trusts historian.
(For another example of Pugins work, see Eastnor in Events, below.)
The 150th anniversary of the birth of May Morris (18621938) is to be commemorated by a special postage stamp to be issued by the Royal Mail, depicting an example of her embroidery work, called The Orange Tree (see also Historic embroidery workshop in Events below). The Royal Mail first-class stamp will be issued on 23 February 2012 as part of a set of ten stamps designed to represent Britons of Distinction.
Other stamps in the series will commemorate A W N Pugin, represented by an interior view of the Palace of Westminster, whose furnishings he designed, and our Fellow Montague Rhodes James (18621936), the distinguished medievalist and antiquary, Provost of Kings College, Cambridge, and of Eton College, as well as Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum and Cambridge University Vice-Chancellor, but best remembered for his ghost stories.
In November 2010, our Society hosted the 21st anniversary seminar of the Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee (JNAPC), an event that was used to explore the question of how underwater cultural heritage in international waters adjacent to the UK could be better protected. The papers from that seminar have just been published on behalf of the JNAPC by the Nautical Archaeology Society, with a Foreword and Introduction by our Fellow Robert Yorke, JNAPCs Chairman, setting out the issues, stressing the importance of underwater remains and pointing to international agreements intended to prevent that heritage from being squandered for short-term financial gain or personal gratification.
Six of the papers that follow address the experiences of other countries in protecting underwater heritage (among them Portugal, Spain, Ireland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and the US). Together these essays provide a useful overview of the state of national and international law and practice and set the scene for the reports central argument, which is that the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Heritage seems to be working well, and that it is time the UK signed up to a convention that has been ratified by a large number of countries and that fosters international co-operation and responsible management of a global heritage.
The report is thus an important advocacy tool, and it has already had some impact, for the national heritage agencies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the UK National Commission for UNESCO are now working on a second report, described as an evidential Impact review, to identify the implications of ratification by the UK of the Convention, to be published at the end of 2012.
Our Fellow Professor Robert Van de Noort, of the University of Exeter, is advising boat builders at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall on the construction of a sewn-plank boat like those used in Bronze Age Britain before nails were invented. The prehistoric boat will be built using bronze axes and adzes to make planks, while yew-tree fibres will be used to stitch the planks together and moss used as caulking. Visitors will be able to watch the boat being constructed by shipwright Brian Cumby in an open workshop at the museum as part of an exhibition, 2012 BC: Cornwall and the sea in the Bronze Age, at Falmouths National Maritime Museum Cornwall, from 13 April to 30 September 2012. Robert Van de Noort said that because no complete boats had ever been found, this project will seek to understand how they were constructed, how to steer such a long boat, measure how fast it can go, understand how the crew used paddles, as sails were not evident, and how watertight it is.
The Apollo Pavilion (left), known as Pasmores Pavilion after its designer, the artist Victor Pasmore, has been awarded Grade II* status. The pavilion was completed in 1969 to link two sides of a housing estate in the new town of Peterlee, Hants, and it came close to being demolished after vandalism and neglect in the late 1970s and 1980s, before a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund helped pay for the pavilion to be restored to its original state.
Commenting on the listing, John Penrose, Minister for Tourism and Heritage, said: This is a striking example of how abstract art and Brutalist architecture can come together to make a building that is quite unique, and all the more so now that it has been rescued from dereliction in a highly successful project supported by Lottery funding and driven by the commitment of local people.
Previous attempts to have pioneering examples of Brutalist architecture (from béton brut, or raw concrete) listed have not met with success and the World Monument Fund recently placed three Brutalist structures of the 1960s and 1970s on its watch list of endangered monuments in the UK. They include Birmingham Central Library and Preston Bus Station, both of which seem doomed to be demolished as part of ambitious city-centre redevelopment schemes, and Londons Southbank Centre.
Also joining the schedule of listed heritage assets is the Lloyds Building, designed for the London insurance market by Richard Rogers and completed in 1986, now listed after just twenty-five years at Grade I. Our Fellow Roger Bowdler, Designation Director at English Heritage, described the listing as fitting recognition of the sheer splendour of Richard Rogerss heroic design its dramatic scale and visual dazzle, housing a hyper-efficient commercial complex, is universally recognised as one of the key buildings of the modern epoch.
By contrast, Block C is a derelict brick and concrete building, but one that was key to Bletchley Parks Enigma code-breaking activities during Word War II and that has been given a Grade II listing for its historical significance as the birthplace of the modern computer. Built in 1942, Block C housed the Hollerith machines used to sort and analyse digital data at high speed, the forerunner of later computer processing developments. The listing entry describes the site as arguably as significant to the information age as Ironbridge is to the industrial revolution. Block C is to be rehabilitated as part of Bletchley Parks HLF-funded £7.5m renovation project.
From the modern to the most ancient: most Salon readers probably assumed that Star Carr had been scheduled decades ago, when excavations by Sir Grahame Clark in 194951 revealed the exceptional state of preservation of the sites Mesolithic remains, including timber platforms, antler picks, bone tools and head-dresses made from the skulls and antlers of red deer. It was therefore a surprise to learn that the site has only just been added to the heritage assets register as a scheduled monument. Recent excavations at the site have found that the peat is drying out and becoming more acidic; all the bone remains will be destroyed within ten years if this continues, so a team made up of archaeologists from the Universities of York, Manchester, the UCL Institute of Archaeology and Cambridge are carrying out a three-year rescue excavation at the site.
Fellows David Gill and David Peacock were in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 6 January 2012 for the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, at which they were presented with awards for Outstanding Public Service and Scientific Contributions to Archaeology, respectively. Pictures can be seen on the AIA website.
Fellow Gordon Campbell, Professor of Renaissance Studies at the University of Leicester, was also presented with an award this week, when, in the splendidly evocative Chapter Hall of the Museum of the Order of St John in Clerkenwell, he was awarded the History Today Trustees award for his Major Contribution to History. Paul Lay, Editor of History Today, described Gordon as a Renaissance man, author of major books on art, architecture, Biblical studies, classical antiquity, garden history, legal history, historical theology and the Islamic world. Having recently edited OUPs quarter-centenary edition of the King James Version of the Bible and written the Bible: the story of the King James Version 16112011, also for Oxford University Press, he is now writing a book on hermitages and ornamental hermits in Georgian gardens.
Fellow Paul Latcham has been singled out as the recipient of the Udo Ivask Medal and Certificate of Honour, awarded by the International Federation of Ex Libris Societies for outstanding contributions to bookplate scholarship. Paul says the very handsome medal has been awarded in the past to Fellows Brian North Lee (2003), William Butler (2003) and John Blatchly (2007). What links all four recipients is that they all served as sometime editor of the Bookplate Journal and have published widely on the subject. Paul also reminds us that our Library is the guardian of the Hall Crouch collection of bookplates, a fine assemblage with many rarities.
Two of the books shortlisted for this years Apollo Book of the Year Award have Fellowship connections: one is Vauxhall Gardens: A History by Fellows David E Coke and Alan Borg; the other is Victorian Miniatures in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, by Vanessa Remington, edited by our Fellow and Publications Manager Kate Owen. Confusion reigns, however, because Apollos editor announced in the December issue that the Book of the Year Award was given to Nikolaus Pevsner: The Life, which is not one of the four shortlisted books. Apollos maze-like website offers no explanation and emails to Apollos editors seeking clarification have gone unanswered. Perhaps a Salon reader throw light on this rather odd state of affairs.
The biggest prize of all, at least in financial terms, has been won by Fellow Mary Beard who, if the Evening Standard is to be trusted, has signed a book deal worth a rumoured £1 million. The Standard goes on to say that Professor Beard, a don at Newnham College Cambridge, has agreed to produce two books on Rome for Profile Books, the first an intelligent guide to why Roman history still matters, the second on the cult of the emperor. Mary herself comments that the contract involves a complicated deal with an American publisher and that she doesnt therefore know what the contract will be worth.
Salons pocket calculator says that Marys million works out at about £6.66 a word (or £6,666 per thousand words), assuming the two books amount to 150,000 words together. Not bad, you might think, but that is about the same as most leading newspaper columnists earn, and they dont have to slog their way around the world helping to promote the books with signing sessions and lectures, as no doubt Mary will. Anyway, no student aspiring to a place at Newnham to read Classics need ever be lost again for an answer to parental concerns along the lines of why ever do you want to study Classics? You cant make a decent living at that.
The tally of tweeting Fellows continues to grow. Fellow Henry Russell, who runs the historic environment conservation courses at Reading Universitys College of Estate Management, keeps us all informed about planning policy and developments that have an impact on the historic environment, and is very unhappy at the draft National Planning Framework and HS2.
So is Fellow Lloyd Grossman, who says in his tweet on HS2 that it is another assault on the countryside and its no silver bullet for growth. There are better infrastructure projects around. He also says that if you want to stimulate the economy: How about knowledge infrastructure? Put 32 billion into universities and broadband.
Not a Fellow, but worth following as he is External Affairs Director at the National Trust, is Ben Cowell. In addition to his tweets, Ben also publishes a lively blog called The National Trust Daily, rooted in National Trust news, but ranging widely over the whole international preservation field. Ben (does he ever sleep?) is also a founder member of an organisation called Our Democratic Heritage which aims to build momentum over the next few years so that democratic heritage becomes a fully established part of British cultural life by the Magna Cartas 800th anniversary in 2015. More information on the charitys charitys website.
Finally (for this issue), Fellow Ruth Brown proves with her tweets that the world of arms and armour studies is lively and fun: proof, if further evidence is needed, comes from reading Ruths witty compilation of news stories with an arms and armour theme, for which see her regular Basiliscoe Mercury newsletter.
Yet to be tweeted, the National Trust has just announced that details of more than 700,000 objects in its care can be accessed online. One benefit of the catalogue is that it provides details of objects that are in storage, too fragile to display or on loan to other museums, as well as paintings and objects that are on display in National Trust properties. Among the more distinctive items in the collection are the Bible reputed to have been read by Charles I before his execution (Chastleton House) and a postcard of the brave new world represented by Birminghams Bull Ring (Birmingham Back to Backs).
Our Fellow Sarah Staniforth, National Trust Museums and Collections Director, said: This is yet another step forward in bringing our places to life. We are now able to share our collections with everyone online and offer a fantastic resource for learning more about them.
For once Salons inbox was not entirely filled with emails pointing out errors in the last issue, but instead with warm and heartfelt messages saying keep up the good work and wishing Salon a happy tenth birthday. Thank you to everyone who took the trouble to write. Even so, there were some errors apologies to those who were wished a happy New Year 2010 in one email, and long life to those who were wished a happy 2102! The Black Gate in Newcastle is not owned by the Newcastle Antiquaries, despite what Salon said: it is simply leased by them from Newcastle City Council. And in hailing the Perth High Street Fascicules as exceptional value at £40 for four volumes, Salon omitted to say that there was a £12 postage and package charge in addition. Occasionally too Salon erroneously designates people as Fellows who are not (and vice versa): it turns out that John Burton, retiring from the post of Surveyor of the Fabric at Westminster Abbey, is not a Fellow after all, nor is his successor, conservation architect Ptolemy Dean.
In congratulating our Fellow Diarmaid MacCulloch on his newly bestowed knighthood, Salons editor learned that addressing him as Sir Diarmaid is incorrect: he is correctly styled Diarmaid MacCulloch, Knight (or Professor Diarmaid N J MacCulloch, Kt, DD, FBA, FSA to give him his full due), since Church of England clergy are not called Sir unless they are hereditary baronets. It also means that the Queen has to do something special rather than clunking a sword on my shoulder, Diarmaid says (perhaps since Beckets murder, monarchs have promised not to carry or wield arms in the presence of clergy, or is there some simpler explanation?).
Fellow Henry Cleere wishes to add his comments to those of Peter Fowler (Salon 268) regarding the comments made by Fellow Simon Jenkins in his Evening Standard column in which he stigmatised the World Heritage Site process as a tax-free job-creation scheme for a vagrant bourgeoisie.
Henry says that much of the vital work done as part of the World Heritage process is not the responsibility of UNESCO staff, as Simon Jenkins appears to assume, but of independent professionals in the whole range of heritage and from every corner of the world. For twelve years I co-ordinated the activities of ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites) as the advisory body responsible for the evaluation of all cultural properties. During that time I despatched ICOMOS members (many of them Fellows, like Peter Fowler) to several hundred nominated properties across the world.
These were all experienced professionals who were prepared to devote their services and time without fees and at low cost (their expenses at little over half the standard UNESCO per diem rates) in order to ensure that the evaluation process was carried out impartially and to the highest standards. None of them would cruise the world, living it up at some hapless taxpayers expense, handing out bouquets and brickbats. In no sense could their judgements be considered to be without accountability: they were accountable to their fellow professionals and to the community of heritage experts to which they were proud to belong and which expected of them that they would observe the highest possible standards.
As part of its seventy-fifth anniversary anniversary celebrations, the UCL Institute of Archaeology has set up a dedicated web page and news feed, with details of all the anniversary events and activities taking place during 2012. Among these are a number of lectures potentially of interest to Fellows taking place during February and March 2012, starting tonight with Fellow Elizabeth Pye talking about Objects as Narrative: how conservation and restoration can reveal the stories behind ancient objects and help make those stories accessible to others.
Our Fellow Pamela Jane Smith (shown left with Fellow Charles Higham), who runs the Personal Histories project from the MacDonald Institute at Cambridge, reports that last years seminar, dedicated to the history of palaeo-economic interpretation, held on 2 November 2011 and entitled The Bone Rooms Past, was as successful as all such previous events, especially as it brought about a reunion of scholars (Geoff Bailey, Annie Grant, Charles Higham, Tony Legge, Derek Sturdy, Ruth Whitehouse, Graeme Barker, Iain Davidson, Robin Dennell and Andy Garrard) as formal discussants, all of whom studied under the late Eric Higgs, and some of whom had not seen each other for forty years.
Various web pages contain a write-up of the seminar, an album of photographs of the event and an archive of photographs dedicated to the history of Bones and Eric Higgs. Anyone who would like to contribute to the archive should contact Pamela, who should also be contacted if you would like the official transcriptions from the Personal Histories seminar held on 28 April 2011 on the history of primatology with Jane Goodall, Robert Hinde, William McGrew and Richard Wrangham. Finally, two Cambridge University TV interviews associated with that event can be watched online: one with Jane Goodall and the other with Richard Wrangham.
Elizabeth Wallis, Secretary of Littleborough Historical and Archaeological Society, based in Lancashire, has written to Salon to ask for help in tracing a missing flint collection. The material in question consists of thousands of early Mesolithic pieces, carbon dated to 7446 BC, that came from a site called Waystone Edge Hassocks, a South Pennine upland site on the Lancashire/Yorkshire border. They were borrowed by our Late Fellow Roger Jacobi in 1993/4 for a book that he was writing, says Elizabeth, and have not been seen since. Do any of your readers have any knowledge or information as to where they were last seen or where they might be? If you would like more information about the flints or when and how they were loaned out, please contact our Chairman, David Grayson.’
We pay tribute this week to our late Fellow Robert Organ, who died on 11 October at his home in Tarbert, Argyll and Bute, at the age of ninety-four, and to Peter Garlake, who, while not a Fellow, was known to many of us for his work in Africa.
Robert Organ, elected a Fellow on 3 March 1959, was Director of the Conservation Analytical Laboratory (CAL) of the Smithsonian Institution from 1967 to 1983, having begun his career at the College of Technology, Birmingham, UK, in 1950 as a lecturer in physics but joining the British Museum Research Laboratory a year later, followed by a move to the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada, as Curator of Conservation in 1965 and to the Smithsonian in Washington DC, USA, two years later.
A metals conservationist by training, Organ made his mark through his ideas on organising conservation laboratories, workshop spaces and workflows, published as Design for the Scientific Conservation of Antiquities (1968). He also played a fundamental role in the design of training courses for curators, scientists and conservators, working with colleagues at ICCROM (the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) to create the Scientific Principles of Conservation course, first held at ICCROM in 1973. In all, he wrote more than sixty articles and books on a broad range of conservation issues, and he himself worked on such important objects as the Ardagh Chalice (dating from AD 800 and composed of 354 separate parts), the lyre excavated by C L Woolley at the site of Ur and the St Ninians hanging bowl, excavated in Shetland.
In 2005 he received the ICOM-CC (International Council of Museums, Committee for Conservation) medal for his significant contributions to the field of scientific conservation; he will be remembered as one of the outstanding conservation scientists of his generation.
Peter Garlake (19342011), whose obituary appeared in The Times recently, was the archaeologist who was driven out of apartheid-era Rhodesia (as it then was) for refusing to toe the government line that Great Zimbabwe was built by migrants (variously, Phoenicians, early Portuguese explorers, or even the Queen of Sheba). Instead, Peter endorsed the conclusions of the eminent British archaeologist Gertrude Caton-Thompson, whose excavations supported a twelfth- to fifteenth-century date for the ruins and concluded that the countrys most celebrated monument had an indigenous Bantu origin. The price he paid was the loss of his job as inspector of monuments to which he had been appointed in 1964, after studying at the Institute of Archaeology in London, so he spent a period at the University of Ife, in Nigeria, before being appointed a lecturer in the anthropology department of UCL in 1976, where he wrote The Kingdoms of Africa (1978).
After Zimbabwean independence in 1980, he returned to a university post in Harare and to the study of Great Zimbabwe, the Iron Age in Central Africa and the rock and cave art of the Shona people, the latter resulting in what he considered to be his best book, The Hunters Vision. After retirement, he and his wife shuttled between England and Zimbabwe, where he continued to enjoy great esteem for his courage in defying the white authorities.
Our Fellow Howard Williams, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Chester, is seeking papers for volume 169 (for 2012; due for publication in early 2013) of the Archaeological Journal, the peer-reviewed publication of the Royal Archaeological Institute of which he is the Assistant Editor. Each new volume contains articles reporting the results of original archaeological and architectural survey and fieldwork on sites, monuments and landscapes of all periods in the British Isles as well as archaeological syntheses and overviews of new research.
21 January 2012 at the Coal Mining Museum for England, Caphouse, near Wakefield, and 11 February 2012 at Sidcot School, Winscombe, North Somerset: consultation seminars on the Research Framework for the Archaeology of the Extractive Industries in England (Mining and Quarrying). The Research Framework is a two-year project, commissioned by English Heritage and jointly funded by the National Association of Mining History Organisations, that will influence research priorities, provide guidance towards conservation and education strategies, and raise awareness of historic extractive industries as part of the wider heritage agenda. At its core will be a co-ordinated effort to collate the results of previous archaeological research through a comprehensive review of existing archaeological data. People with regional or specialist expertise are particularly encouraged to attend these seminars. For more information, see the website of the National Association of Mining History Organisations.
30 January 2012: Gavin Hamilton (172398): dealer in antiquities and Old Masters, the first of the 2012 series of Wallace Collection Seminars in the History of Collecting will be given by Professor Brendan Cassidy, Head of School of Art History, University of St Andrews, at 5.30pm in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre.
This lecture, taking the career of Scottish artist Gavin Hamilton (172398) as a case study, will look at the business of dealing and collecting in Italy and England in the later eighteenth century. Hamilton was a central figure in the artistic life of eighteenth-century Rome, where he lived more or less permanently for fifty years from 1744. His monumental canvases inspired by Homers Iliad are widely acknowledged as being among the foundational works of neo-classicism. As well as being an innovative painter, he exercised influence on British taste as an art dealer, adviser and agent to the nobility and gentry whom he met in Rome while they were on the Grand Tour. As an excavator of ancient sites he unearthed important Roman sculptures. As a dealer in Old Masters he supplied British collectors with some of the greatest works now in our public galleries and country houses, including Leonardos Madonna of the Rocks (National Gallery, London), Tintorettos Adoration of the Shepherds (Cambridge, Fitzwilliam), Veroneses St Jerome (Dulwich) and countless other paintings scattered in private collections and museums around the world.
Admission is free and booking is not required. More information and details of future seminars can now be found on the Wallace Collection website.
24 and 25 February 2012, Historic embroidery workshop, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. This workshop combines practical training in the core stitches and techniques of raised work embroidery (known today as stump work) along with talks on the history of stump work given by our Fellow Lynn Hulse, with particular reference to raised work pictures in the Ashmolean collection. Fellow Karen Hearn, Curator of Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century British Art at Tate Britain, will give a lecture entitled Wrought with Flowers and Leaves: embroidery depicted in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century British portraits.
To book, see the Ashmolean Museums Education Department website.
This is one of a series of workshops on historic embroidery techniques being run by Fellow Lynn Hulse and Nicola Jarvis, tutor at the Royal School of Needlework, that will take place during 2012. Another will take place on 2022 April 2012 to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of May Morris (18621938), William Morriss daughter and a designer and embroiderer renowned for the designs she created for Morris & Co, as well as for her books and lectures on embroidery technique.
For more information about the 2012 season of courses, email Lynn Hulse or tel: 0207 431 9059.
25 February 2012: Prehistoric Society Seminar: The Long View: place and prehistory in the Thames Valley, Society of Antiquaries. A one-day conference to explore the differing trajectories of settlement, land use and ritual activity in different localities from the Mesolithic onwards, including the contrast between places that were intensively used during virtually every period, and those used more sporadically or less intensively at certain times. The booking form is now available on the Prehistoric Societys website.
10 March 2012: Heavy Metal and Dirty Deeds: buttons, hooks and other dress accessories, to be held jointly by the Medieval Dress and Textile Society and the Finds Research Group, 10am to 5pm, Weston Theatre, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN. This one-day conference is to be held in memory of our late Fellow Geoff Egan, to celebrate his enormous contribution and continuing influence on the study of medieval (and later) dress accessories. Confirmed speakers include Fellow Hazel Forsyth (Museum of London), Frances Pritchard (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester), Eleanor Standley (Ashmolean Museum), Fellow Julian Bowsher (MOLA) and Annemarieke Willemsen (Dutch National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden).
Further details from the Medieval Dress and Textile Societys website.
19 April 2012: Eastnor: the parish, its inhabitants and the castle, a day of multidisciplinary talks, based on recent research and built upon the extensive Eastnor archive, hosted by the Trust for the Victoria County History of Herefordshire, by kind permission of James Hervey-Bathurst. Speakers include Fellow Janet Cooper on Eastnor before the Castle and David Whitehead on Grandeur without Arrogance: the building of Eastnor Castle 181224. The fee is £25 per person and will include tea, coffee and a light lunch. For details and application form, contact David Whitehead.
27 to 29 April 2012, Seals and their Context in the Middle Ages, Aberystwyth. Our Fellow Dr Elizabeth New is co-organiser of this conference, which will explore the functions of seals in medieval Britain and western Europe in the broadest possible context. Themes will include the use of seals in law and administration, the act of sealing and the recording of this act as well as questions relating to how, why and by whom seals were employed. A further important theme will be the manner in which seals relate to other sources: visual, material and documentary. Above all the conference will encourage debate among scholars operating from within different academic traditions. Speakers include Fellows Adrian Ailes, Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, John Cherry, Paul Harvey, Sandy Heslop, Brian Kemp and Nicholas Vincent.
For the provisional programme, booking-form and further information see the Aberystwyth University website.
9 June 2012: The Prehistoric Societys Europa Day Conference 2012, at Reading University. The Prehistoric Societys Europa prize 2012 is awarded to Fellow Professor Richard Bradley, who will present his Europa Lecture, Houses of Commons, Houses of Lords: domestic dwellings and monumental architecture in prehistoric Europe, at the end of a day of papers celebrating his main areas of research interest. Speakers are Fellows Mike Parker Pearson, Colin Haselgrove, Marc Vander Linden and Leo Webley plus Ramón Fábregas, Colin Richards, Joakim Goldhahn and William OBrien. Booking forms are now available on the Prehistoric Societys website.
By contrast with John Julius Norwich, whose massive book, The Popes, tells the story of all 262 popes, from St Peter to the present incumbent, our Fellow Eamon Duffy takes the less is more approach in his slim volume, Ten Popes Who Shook the World (ISBN: 9780300176889; Yale Books), selecting just ten exceptional popes (or nine if one counts St Peter as an apostle, rather than a pope) that he judges to have had a lasting influence on the world. Each one of his chosen men encapsulates some important aspect of the worlds most ancient dynasty, so the chapter on St Peter tells us how the headquarters of the Catholic Church came to be established in Rome, while the life of John Paul II is seen as a microcosm of the traumatic events of the twentieth century.
Not all of Eamon Duffys ten are as great and as good as these two: Pius IX (184678), the longest reigning elected pope in the history of the Church, resisted the Unification of Italy, unleashed a brutal crackdown on dissenters in the Papal States of Italy, presided over the Massacre of Perugia, did everything possible to cling on to the temporal power of the Church and to reinforce the idea of papal infallibility, so that even the mild-mannered future Cardinal Newman denounced him with the words it is not good for a pope to live twenty years; he becomes a god and has no one to contradict him. Eamon is kinder than most in his judgement, presenting him not as a bad man but rather as one who, neither clever nor a pragmatist, had the misfortune to be elected pope at a time of unprecedented political and intellectual turmoil.
On the other hand, the timidity of Pius XII (193958) in refusing to condemn Nazi genocide does earn him Eamons understated but eloquent condemnation: in the face of one of the most terrible crimes in human history, impartial diplomacy and agonised calculation do not seem an adequate response from Christs vicar on earth.
In Downside Abbey: an architectural history (ISBN: 9781858945422; Merrell Publishers) the editor, our Fellow Dom Aidan Bellenger, Abbot of Downside, has pulled together a team of top architectural historians from the Fellowship to help him do justice to the contributions made to this remarkable church and monastic complex by a star cast of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century architects.
Aidan himself writes about Sir Ninian Compers exquisite Lady Chapel, Roderick ODonnell about the earliest parts of the church, the richly decorated transepts of Pugin and Hansom, Michael Hall Thomas Garners majestic choir, Gavin Stamp Giles Gilbert Scotts soaring nave and Alan Powers Francis Pollens more recent contributions, including the abbey church at Worth Abbey, Downsides daughter monastery. Beautiful new light-filled photographs by Paul Barker reveal the scale of this Gothic Revival church, built as a symbol of the renaissance of Roman Catholicism in England to rival the medieval cathedrals of England that were lost to the Catholic Church through the Reformation.
Though at the other end of the scale in terms of in size, the English Medieval Shrines (ISBN: 9781843836827; Boydell Press) that are the subject of a new book by Fellow John Crook are occasionally a match for Downside Abbey in terms of ornamental enrichment. Illustrated largely by Johns own excellent photographs, this is the first complete book on the subject for 100 years (since Charles J Walls 1905 book on the Shrines of British Saints), and it takes a comprehensive look at the archaeology, history and architectural forms of those specialised monuments that flourished in England from the Anglo-Saxon period to the 1540s, when the Reformation brought an abrupt and often destructive end to saintly cults and the worship of holy relics.
In that time, shrines evolved from the simple stone chambers containing saintly bones set in crypts at Winchester, Hexham, Repton, Brixworth, Wing and Canterbury to the elaborate structures raised high like the fourteenth-century shrine of St Alban, with niches along the sides at which pilgrims could pray. Much ingenuity was exercised in the design of shrines in their heyday: one chapter in Johns book is concerned with the foramina shrine, or one with port-holes in the superstructure that enabled pilgrims to insert their heads and kiss the tomb, the archetype for which seems to be the eleventh-century addition to the Tomb of Christ in the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where such an arrangement might have been a pragmatic measure to stop pilgrims hacking off bits of stone as relics.
This reminds us that saintly cults were exploited by many a medieval confidence trickster, persuading gullible victims to part with their wealth in expectation of a miracle, and John does not duck the fact that shrine offerings were also a very important source of income for the Church, so that they became essential to the economies of most churches and monastic establishments. It was this, and the implied idolatry, that spelled their fate and Johns final chapter discusses the wholesale destruction of shrines at the Reformation and how a few managed to escape. Like a schoolmaster writing an end-of-term report on the actions of Henry VIIIs commissioners in wiping out 1,200 years of religious history, he says that the glee … evident from the reports they left behind … does them no credit.
Barlings Abbey, we are told, is a place one needs persistence to find … down a long leafy lane in Lincolnshire that leads to a raised causeway and an island formerly set within a wet peaty embayment between the Barlings Eau and the River Witham, a remote and special location but with a view to Lincoln Cathedral on the horizon. Quite apart from its poetical qualities, the reason for quoting this description is that this book, Custodians of Continuity: the Premonstratensian abbey at Barlings and the landscape of ritual (Lincolnshire Archaeology and Heritage Reports Series 11), by Fellows Paul Everson and David Stocker, is as much about the 200 square kilometres of the abbeys home estate as it is about the monastic buildings, the normal focus of such studies.
Thus although this study does succeed in re-creating the abbey church and chapter house of its mid-fourteenth-century heyday when Barlings enjoyed the royal patronage of Edward III and Queen Philippa and generous funding from Alice de Lacy, countess of Lincoln and the abbeys patron, we also learn much about the way that the Barlings community of canons used their land holdings, and the mills, manors, granges, planted settlements and churches that they managed.
An underlying theme of the study, given in the title, is to understand what makes this landscape monastic rather than secular; are there subtle ways in which a contemporary traveller would have known that he or she was entering a ritual landscape as well as an economic one? The authors argue that this is indeed the case and that monastic landscape management was every bit as purposeful and meaningful as the management of landscapes by secular landlords seeking to use their land to confirm their status. A second theme is the continuity of the land block that Barlings Abbey managed for four centuries, a landscape that pre-dated the canons (perhaps, the authors suggest, going back to the late Roman era), and that outlived them, and what each age made of the landscape that they inherited. This is a rich, complex and wide-ranging book that stakes a claim for being a new kind of study and that seeks to inspire others to carry out similar analyses of landscapes at a level between the parish and the regional or county scale.
The way that landscapes are designed to enhance the owners status is also one of the themes of Tutbury: a castle firmly built. Archaeological and Historical Investigations at Tutbury Castle, Staffordshire (ISBN: 9781407308555; BAR British Series 546), by Fellows Malcolm Hislop and Gareth Williams and Mark Kincey. A wealth of visual and documentary evidence survives for the castle, almost in inverse proportion to the physical remains, which consist of earthworks, curtain wall and the fragmentary shell of a keep, a far cry today from the brave building with its multiple chimneys and cylindrical towers shown in a perspective view dating from c 1562, shortly before the castle was modified to serve as a lodging for Mary Queen of Scots, held there in 1569 and 1570 and again in 1585. Marys long letter of complaint about the cold, damp and unhealthy accommodation, the smells of the latrines and the difficulty of keeping the rooms clean, tells us much about the realities of life in a medieval castle. She also complains about the state to which former gardens have deteriorated at the castle so that they are fitter to keep pigs in than to bear the name of garden.
How different then from the brave early days of the castles history as revealed in a chapter by Mark Kincey who uses topographical and geophysical survey and aerial photography to investigate various ditches and banks surviving in odd corners of modern Tutbury to the south of the castle, incongruously set amidst modern housing estates, showing that what are known locally as the Park Pale earthworks are probably a mix of Iron Age features and the defences of a Saxon burh incorporated into post-Conquest defences, constructed in the late eleventh century at the same time as the castle to create a new settlement. The park thus turns out to be a town boundary, whose course can be related to the surviving street plan, and alternative locations are found for the deer park to the west of the castle: how gratifying for the authors it must then have been to discover that old maps show a building called Park Gate exactly where they deduced the park should be.
From particular studies of medieval monastic and seigneurial landscapes, we turn to what the editors, our Fellows Neil Christie and Paul Stamper, believe is the first overview of the research on medieval rural settlement since Beresford and Hursts Deserted Medieval Villages (1971). Most of the contributors to Medieval Rural Settlement: Britain and Ireland AD 800 to 1600 (ISBN: 9781905119424; Windgather Press) are Fellows, and they are evangelical in their desire to turn us all into settlement researchers. In addition to a most thorough bibliography, and a number of feature boxes on sites we can visit to understand the key themes all the better, the book also ends with an appendix in which Fellow Carenza Lewis provides a practical guide to desk- and field-based research, using techniques that she has pioneered with the Medieval Settlement Research Group (MSRG), whose sixtieth anniversary volume this is.
The job of Part 1 of the book is to explore the way that ideas about medieval settlement have evolved not just since the MSRG was formed in 1952 but, in a paper by Fellows Christopher Dyer and Paul Everson, since Victorian historians first began to turn from their obsession with constitutional history, abbeys and manors to consider the history of peasants, fields and villages in the 1880s. Under the influence of German scholarship, those early historians sought an ethnic origin to the pattern of settlement and field systems they detected in Britain, describing some as Saxon, some as Celtic and some as relict Roman.
Such accounts of the landscape sought to impose a big idea that would account for everything coherence was all, along with the Romantic notion that ethnic habits are deep-rooted and long lasting. Today, to judge from the papers in Part 2 of the book, consisting of case studies, there is a much greater acceptance of change and diversity. This makes the subject more atomised (the book contains nuanced theoretical studies that seek to recover the ways in which people perceived the landscape in the past, recognising dynamism, interrelationships, multiple meanings and time depth) but also more integrated (there are other interdisciplinary studies that seek to learn from methodologies and evidence derived from geography, geology and soil science, biochemistry, history, archaeology, linguistics and place-name studies, landscape characterisation, ceramic and metallurgical studies, vernacular architecture, and so on).
The result is a fascinating account of the different ways in which we interpret landscapes today, a snapshot of the state of the discipline, as appropriately varied and different as are the settlements and landscapes of Orkney, Kells, the Fens, the Midlands, the northern uplands and the southern downs studied in the book.
Our Fellow Geoffrey Stell is the author of a new book that he thinks might well be the first modern study of Britains defences to focus exclusively on World War I. We tend to think of Flanders and the misery of trench warfare in this context, but the first volume of Orkney at War: defending Scapa Flow (ISBN: 9781902957487; The Orcadian) uses previously unseen photographs, maps and other unpublished material to show how a remote group of islands off the north coast of Scotland became the principal maritime centre of a world in conflict and one of the most strongly fortified and most heavily controlled areas in the country at the time, because of the vital strategic importance of Scapa Flow as a naval anchorage and safe haven for the Royal Navy. A second volume, continuing the story through World War II, is scheduled to be published in November 2012.
Geoffrey was also a contributor to Scotlands Castle Culture (ISBN: 9781906566333; Birlinn), which looks not only at the earliest castles, but also the nineteenth-century baronial castle craze, pointing up the irony of the castles resurgence as a building type during the years when Scotland was one of the most ferociously modernising countries in the world: the Victorian age.
In A Cumbrian Artist Rediscovered: John Smith (17491831) (ISBN: 9781905256433; Wordsworth Trust), our Fellow Cecilia Powell makes the claim that John Smith was an accomplished and imaginative artist, a worthy heir to Sandby and a precursor of Turner. Known as John Warwick Smith, thanks to the patronage he received from the second Earl of Warwick (whose name also attached itself to the Warwick Vase), he is chiefly remembered for his numerous fine Italian and Alpine watercolours. However, Cecilia wants us to take a fresh look at Smiths neglected but glorious depictions of the Lake District, the subject of this book and the accompanying exhibition at the Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere (on until 15 April 2012).
Cecilia explains that Smiths early endeavours were influenced by the patronage of the Gilpin family of Scaleby Castle, near Carlisle: he thus came to be closely if uneasily associated with the preparatory work for William Gilpins influential publication on Picturesque Beauty (1770). In the late 1780s, however, a critical period in the artistic discovery of the Lake District, Smith received a major commission from a wealthy young couple, John Christian and Isabella Curwen, the owners of Workington Hall and Belle Isle on Lake Windermere (first cousins who had scandalised society by their elopement in 1782 when Isabella, an heiress still in her teens, was a Ward in Chancery). The result was a series of about a hundred magnificent watercolours, a detailed virtual tour of Cumbria, which has hitherto been rarely seen, discussed or reproduced.
Cecilia says that Smiths drawings include ravishing depictions of both Workington Hall and Belle Isle in their heyday, poignant examples of Britains lost country houses. Belle Isle, the first classically inspired circular house in Britain, built in the 1770s, was destroyed by fire after being sold by the Curwens descendants in the 1990s (and subsequently rebuilt). Workington Hall, parts of which date back to the fourteenth century, was given to the town of Workington for use as a town hall and municipal offices in the 1940s; its neglect, vandalisation and partial demolition by the authorities (left for the populace to dismantle in the words of the new edition of Pevsners Cumbria) has been nothing short of a scandal.
Fellow David Jenkins, Senior Curator at Swanseas Amgueddfa Genedlaethol y Glannau National Waterfront Museum, has written a biography of the noted philanthropist Sir William Reardon Smith who became Cardiff’s foremost shipowner, and successively Treasurer and President of what is now the National Museum of Wales (NMW), where the Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre is named in his honour (he counted Mortimer Wheeler, Director of NMW 19246, amongst his friends, and Wheeler refers to him most warmly in his autobiography, Still Digging).
From Ship’s Cook to Baronet: Sir William Reardon Smith’s life in shipping 18561935 (ISBN: 9780708324233; University of Wales Press) is both a rags to riches story of a man who, born in poverty in Appledore, Devon, ended up a baronet, but also a study of tramp shipping and maritime business at the zenith of the Welsh coal trade and subsequently during the Great Depression.
Between 1200 and 1413, 285 individuals held sees in England and Wales. Many of them made wills, appointed executors who administered their estates, prepared inventories and rendered accounts of their administrations. Our Fellow Chris Woolgar, Professor of History and Archival Studies at the University of Southampton and Head of Special Collections in the University Library, has edited all the unpublished probate material forty-four collections of documents from the period when bishops first started to make wills again on a regular basis after the Norman Conquest through to the archiepiscopate of Henry Chichele. Testamentary Records of the English and Welsh Episcopate 12001413: wills, executors accounts and inventories, and the probate process (ISBN: 9780907239741; Canterbury and York Society 102) thus provides a comprehensive overview of the surviving records, accompanied by a full glossary and an analysis of their form and function, to show how the process of will-making developed, who was involved and the extent of episcopal property, in both land and goods.
The author says that wills are a unique barometer of individual interest and piety, from those carefully planned and executed, sometimes on an annual basis, to others concluded in extremis. These deeply personal documents allow comparisons across the late medieval episcopate. They demonstrate common patterns in terms of material culture, styles of living and customary practices, the recognition of colleagues, friends and servants, as well as the power of devotion, intellectual interests and relationships between bishop and chapter. At the same time, the documentation illuminates devices that were employed to keep ecclesiastical property out of the hands of the Crown, and the ways in which bishops aspired to manage the business of church, diocese and family from beyond the grave.
Drury McPherson Partnership; Senior Associate
The Drury McPherson Partnership is looking for a senior associate (with partner potential) to join a flourishing small heritage practice, which has grown out of the consultancy founded by our Fellow Paul Drury in 1997. Applicants will need to have a wide knowledge of the historic environment and extensive experience of working in the sector, including giving evidence as expert witness at public inquiry, preparing conservation management plans and statements for major historic sites, undertaking conservation area appraisals and drafting policy and guidance documents. An interest in developing the business side of the practice and helping to direct its wide-ranging workload is also essential.