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.
This issue of Salon has been brought forward from the scheduled publication date of 21 May to give as much notice as possible that the lecture by Charles McKean that was due to take place on 24 May has regrettably had to be cancelled . Instead our President Maurice Howard has once again stepped up to the mark and will be giving a paper on the new exhibition that he has curated (about which see more below) on Sir Basil Spence and the buildings of the University of Sussex campus. Having put this issue together in more than the usual haste, Salons editor has not had time to include every contribution, but they will appear shortly, as will the many recently published books by Fellows that are waiting for a mention.
17 May 2012: The archaeology of English royal burial: a neglected subject?, by Tim Tatton-Brown
After a brief illustrated review of the archaeology of royal burial in England over the last 1,000 or so years, Tim Tatton-Brown will look in more detail at some of the royal burials in Westminster Abbey and St Georges Chapel, Windsor, and try to suggest how burial practice evolved in the later Middle Ages and Tudor period, using the limited evidence available.
24 May 2012: Conserving the 1960s: Basil Spence at the University of Sussex, by Maurice Howard PSA
This talk will take the current exhibition on Basil Spence at the University of Sussex (see picture to the left and exhibition information below) as a springboard for the discussion of issues around the care and conservation of twentieth-century buildings.
31 May 2012: A Miscellany of Papers
The Societys 201112 programme of lectures will conclude with two short papers, both connected with the Societys collections. Jennifer Young will talk about her creative writing project, The Story of Thursdays: narratives of antiquity, based on her reading of the minute books of the Societys Ordinary Meetings. Pamela Fishers title will be William Burtons notebook and its place in Leicestershire history. The antiquary William Burton (15751645) was the author of The Description of Leicestershire, first published in 1622. The Society owns an important panel portrait of Burton, which is currently undergoing conservation. The May Miscellany will give Fellows an opportunity to see the newly conserved painting re-hung in the Meeting Room on its return to Burlington House.
At the ballot held on 3 May 2012, the following were elected as Fellows of our Society:
Henrietta McBurney, Keeper of Paintings, Prints and Drawings, Eton College; James Michael Rainshaw Rothwell, National Trust Curator (national adviser on silver); Maggie Goodall, Senior Cathedrals Officer and Deputy Secretary, Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England; Sioned Mair Davies, Chair of the School of Welsh, Cardiff University; Virginia Jansen, Professor Emerita of History of Art and Visual Culture, University of California, Santa Cruz; Jessica Harrison-Hall, Curator of Chinese Ceramics, Vietnamese Art and the Percival David Collection, Department of Asia, British Museum; Jonathan Raymond Hunn, Archaeologist (specialist in the landscape study of Hertfordshire); Clive James Easter, Teacher (leading authority on English baroque funerary monuments, particularly in Devon and Cornwall).
At the ballot held on 10 May 2012, the following were elected as Fellows of our Society:
Nicholas Robert Noel Tyacke, Honorary Professor of History, University College London (leading historian of the religious and intellectual history of early modern England); Iain Michael Ferris, independent archaeological consultant (whose research and publications focus on Graeco-Roman art and Romano-British archaeology and artefacts); Mark Staniforth, Archaeologist (holds positions at Monash and Flinders Universities and in UNESCO and ICOMOS); Patricia Selina Birley, Museum curator and conservator (responsible for Vindolanda Museum and Roman Army Museum); Susanna Charlotte Elizabeth Thomas, Egyptologist and Honorary Research Fellow, University of Liverpool; Susan Barson, Senior Investigator, Heritage Protection, English Heritage; Stephen Jonathan Price, retired Director of Museums and Art Galleries, Bristol; Julian McLellan Hill, Archaeologist (director of major excavations in London, including No. 1 Poultry); Pamela Constance Combes, private scholar (specialising in the archaeology and history of Sussex).
As part of the celebrations for the fiftieth anniversary of Sussex University, our President, Maurice Howard, has curated an exhibition on Sir Basil Spence at the University of Sussex (on until 14 June 2012, Mondays to Saturdays (excluding Bank Holidays), 10.30am to 5.30pm, in Arts A108: for further details, see the Sussex University website. The exhibition reminds us that Sir Basil Spence (190776), one of the most eminent Modern architects of the twentieth century, went straight from designing the majestic new Coventry Cathedral (which also celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year) to the task of designing a new campus for the first of the post-war wave of new universities.
To celebrate Spences achievement at Sussex, Professor Howard (assisted by the UKs leading Spence scholar, Dr Louise Campbell, of the University of Warwick, and by art history graduates Sally Johnson and Mike Davy, has brought together the universitys own collection of original drawings (some by Spence), models and photographs to explore the different stages of the development, public and press reaction to the scheme, the early use of the buildings (with artefacts that evoke the early years of dining and ceremonial at the university), the landscaping of the environs and the place of the buildings in Spences distinguished career. Spence himself give his views in archive film, while the building chosen for the exhibition looks out on to the core buildings of Spences campus, some of which (including Falmer House shown to the left) were among the first 1960s buildings in the country to be listed.
Professor Howard says: I have been involved in many exhibitions for national museums and learned societies, but the chance to work on this show about the historic legacy of buildings at my own university has been an extraordinary experience. Working with a team of professional designers has meant that the exhibition looks very beautiful, the objects present a strong sense of artistic merit and yet it is clear they served as the practical means of planning the universitys listed buildings.
To bring all this together has meant consultation with the countrys leading scholars of Basil Spence, his family and business associates, but also people who knew the university in its early days. I hope that the exhibition will elicit more memories and information since I see this very much as the starting-point of the next stage of valuing the universitys buildings and planning their future.
The exhibition is partnered by a lecture on Spence, Sussex and the Sixties, at 6.30pm on 23 May 2012, to be given by Dr Louise Campbell and introduced by the architect Anthony Blee (son-in-law and practice partner of Sir Basil Spence). Maurice himself will be giving Meet the Curator talks on 14 May (1pm), 29 May (1pm) and 7 June (1pm and 4pm), and says he will do his best to meet and greet any Fellow who visits the exhibition at other times.
At the Society’s weekly meeting on 10 May 2012, Fellows Dr Alex Bayliss of English Heritage and Professor Alasdair Whittle of Cardiff Universitys School of History, Archaeology and Religion announced that they had secured a grant of 2.5m from the European Research Council to continue with their ground-breaking work in combining Neolithic carbon dates and Bayesian statistical analysis to create precise dates for key events in the Neolithic. Already their study the subject of Thursday’s meeting has shown that causewayed enclosures were the result of a 75-year surge of monument building, and were not, as previously thought, built and used over a 5,000-year time span.
Now they are turning their attention to Neolithic sites in Serbia, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, Spain and Malta in an attempt to provide what Sir Mortimer Wheeler demanded in the 1930s when he said that prehistorians should not be content with nebulous chronology but should demand hard figures ‘I mean Bradshaw’, he said (referring to George Bradshaws famous nineteenth-century railway timetables). The Times of Their Lives project will use Bayesian modelling to refine carbon dates from deeply stratified settlement mounds, from flat settlements, cemeteries, megalithic monuments and ditched enclosures. The dated pollen diagrams of England will also be modelled.
Professor Whittle said: ‘The Neolithic period in Europe, as elsewhere globally, is of enduring interest because it presents one of the great transformations in human history – from small-scale, probably often mobile and egalitarian hunter-gatherer communities to complex, variously hierarchical societies materially based on sedentary existence and a farming economy. The Times of Their Lives project will tell us a lot more how this way of life had developed over time.’
Explaining their research approach, Dr Alex Bayliss said: ‘Based on the eighteenth-century theorem of Thomas Bayes, the Bayesian methodology were using combines radiocarbon dates with prior archaeological knowledge of dated samples to produce formally modelled date estimates of the events and phenomena in any given sequence. The rigorous application of this model will enable the calculation of quantified date estimates, which are both much more precise and more reliable than those obtained by simply looking at radiocarbon results.’
The Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee (JNAPC), whose Chairman is our Fellow Robert Yorke, has raised a number of questions about the legality of the Governments decision to allow the US company Odyssey Marine to excavate the wreck of HMS Victory.
For reasons unknown, this 100-gun first-rate warship the flagship of the British Navy commanded by Admiral Sir John Balchin and the predecessor to Nelsons Victory (1765) sank with the loss of more than 1,000 lives in a violent storm in the English Channel in October 1744.
Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc located the wreck in 2008 and reported the find to the Ministry of Defence. Two cannons were lifted for identification and Odyssey expressed a desire to excavate the wreck. After a public consultation, the Ministry of Defence announced that it was transferring ownership of the wreck and responsibility for the management of the wreck site to a newly formed charitable trust, the Maritime Heritage Foundation, chaired by Lord Lingfield (Sir Robert Balchin), a distant relation of Sir John Balchin, who died with his ship. The MoD also set up an Advisory Group within Navy Command, with members from the National Museum of the Royal Navy, English Heritage and an observer from DCMS, to ensure that any work carried out on the wreck would be in accordance with the 2001 UNESCO Convention on Underwater Cultural Heritage and its Annex.
Thus far, all seemed good, but a week after this announcement, on 2 February 2012, Odyssey Marine put out a statement saying that the idea of preserving the site in situ is clearly not practical and that we plan a phased approach which will include an initial non-disturbance survey and expect to begin the archaeological excavation as soon as practical. The statement announced that an executed agreement existed between Odyssey Marine and the Maritime Heritage Foundation and that an extensive project design for the archaeological excavation of the site had been drawn up and that once the project plan is approved by the Foundation, fieldwork is expected to begin in early 2012.
The statement went on to say that the agreement with the Maritime Heritage Foundation calls for Odysseys project costs to be reimbursed and for Odyssey to be paid a percentage of the recovered artefacts fair value. Details given in the statement indicated that Odysseys share in the fair value of recovered artefacts was substantial: 80 per cent of any objects not strictly related to the ships role as a warship. The preferred option is for Odyssey to be compensated in cash, the statement said, but if the Foundation determines, based on the principles adopted for its own collection management and curation policy, that it is in its best interest to de-accession certain artefacts, the Foundation may choose to compensate Odyssey with artefacts in lieu of cash.
To the members of the Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee, such an agreement flies in the face of everything that marine archaeologists stand for: JNAPC Chairman, Robert Yorke, puts it bluntly: this will provide a worldwide precedent for treasure hunters to finance excavation of historic wrecks by de-accessioning and selling artefacts … youre basically starting an archaeological excavation knowing that youll sell the artefacts off to finance it. On a land excavation, there would be an outcry. Fellow Lord Renfrew, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group (APPAG), agrees, saying that the agreement is against the UNESCO convention, in particular against the Annex, which states that underwater cultural heritage may not be sold off or exploited for commercial gain … to raise artefacts simply for sale would be regarded by most responsible archaeologists as plundering.
APPAG, JNAPC and the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) are now determined to halt the project and are seeking to persuade the Ministry of Defence, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the Maritime Heritage Foundation (MHF) to think again. Lord Renfrew will raise questions in parliament and legal advice is being taken about many aspects of the case, not least, in Lord Renfrews words, why the MoD apparently gifted the wreck of HMS Victory to this rather obscure trust, the MHF. Fellow Mike Heyworth, Director of the Council for British Archaeology, said the procedure raises questions about the lack of transparency involved.
In particular, JNAPC and APPAG want to know why the MoD did not offer the Victory wreck to established marine archaeological organisations and charities and why an offer from the Plymouth-based archaeological charity Promare to make quarterly surveys of the wreck at no cost to MOD, thus allowing the wreck to be safely monitored in situ until a proper course of action could be decided, was simply ignored; what steps were taken to ensure that the MHF had adequate archaeological, conservation, management and financial resources to carry out its responsibilities; why no other archaeological contractors have been given the chance to bid for the excavation of the wreck; what archaeological advice was taken before entering into discussions with Odyssey Marine; whether is this an appropriate contract for a registered charity to enter into; and what plans MHF has to appoint trustees with relevant archaeological, museums and fund raising experience?
This is just a sample from a long list of questions drawn up by campaigners, all of which ask whether the MoDs decisions are compatible with charity law and the UNESCO Convention. Adding urgency to the case is the news that a second historic wreck, HMS Gloucester, the frigate from which the future King James II was rescued when it sank in 1682, is being considered for transfer to the Maritime Heritage Foundation. On the other hand, there are signs that all is not lost: a MoD spokesman told the Observer newspaper last week that MHF is not free to disturb, excavate or dispose of the site without the agreement of the Defence Secretary.
The Council for British Archaeology is engaged in another campaign with a maritime flavour down in Deptford Dockyard, in the East End of London, where developer Hutchinson Whampoa have plans to build 3,500 new homes, plus hotels, offices and a cultural centre on a huge site called Convoys Wharf. Local people, while welcoming the investment, do not feel that the current master plan for Convoys Wharf pays sufficient heed to the heritage of Englands first Royal Dockyard, founded by Henry VIII in 1513, and visited by Peter the Great in 1698 when the Tsar came on a three-month fact-finding visit prior to establishing the Russian navy.
The target of heavy bombardment during World War II, the historic docks were levelled after the war, but recent archaeological work carried out by MOLA has revealed that far more archaeology survives than was thought, including impressive eighteenth-century dockyard walls and slipways and the ground floor and cellars of Sayes Court, home to the diarist and horticulturalist John Evelyn (it was here that Tsar Peter lived during his three-month visit as a guest of the English government, leaving such a trail of destruction that the Treasury eventually agreed to pay £350 to Evelyn in compensation).
Such is the strength of local feeling in favour of retaining and restoring evidence of the sites past use that Lewisham Council has sent back the initial planning application for further thought, saying that the master plan was not sensitive enough to the unique heritage assets of the dockyard. As a consequence, the developers, Hutchinson Whampoa, have called in Sir Terry Farrell to look at redrawing the master plan.
The Council for British Archaeology has offered a helping hand and has convened a panel of independent experts from the Naval Dockyards Society, the Garden History Society, the Panel for Historic Engineering Works and the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society. Hand in hand with the local campaign group Deptford Is, the CBA has offered to assist the developers and English Heritage in their understanding and enhancement of the dockyard and its remarkable history … with the aim of achieving a better, heritage-led scheme that delivers wider public benefit and a more sophisticated approach to this internationally important site.
The events that Deptford witnessed included the refitting of the Mary Rose, the knighting of Sir Francis Drake by Elizabeth I aboard the Golden Hind in 1581, the refitting of HMS Bounty in 1787, the rebuilding of Cooks Endeavour in 1768 and the construction of several of the warships that served under Nelson at Trafalgar. Just as importantly, lying beneath the sites concrete are the avenues, orchards and trial beds of John Evelyns garden, where he experimented with the new plants brought back by Deptford ships from all corners of the globe, thus having a enormous influence on garden design and planting in England in the seventeenth century; a re-creation of that garden is certainly one possibility that the group would like the developers to consider.
Those who have been following the extraordinary story of Perths City Hall (in Private Eye and elsewhere) will be pleased to learn that permission to demolish (yes, demolish) this fine building in the centre of the city has been firmly quashed. It is hard to believe that such a fine civic building should have been subject to a demolition proposal, but that the local authority argued that the Grade B Edwardian building was in a poor state of repair and should be swept away to create a public space that would cost £4.4m, but, according to the local authoritys advisers, would bring an additional 15,000 people per year to the city, with a combined additional spend per person per visit of £23 generating a total gross expenditure of £1.65m per annum.
Local opinion was divided: the managing director of a local department store described the building as an Edwardian interloper that should never have been built, but another developer described it as perfectly intact, in perfect condition, a perfectly reusable building from that golden era of Scottish stonemasonry.
Permission to demolish the building was turned down on the grounds that, under Scottish Historic Environment Policy, no listed building should be demolished unless it has been clearly demonstrated that every effort has been made to retain it. The decision was also based on the failure of the demolition plan to meet one of four key tests: that the building is not of special interest; that it is incapable of repair; that demolition is essential to delivering significant benefits to economic growth or the wider community; or that the repair of the building is not economically viable and that it has been marketed at a price reflecting its location and condition to potential restoring purchasers for a reasonable period.
Historic Scotland said that it would be happy to offer advice to the local authority on its next steps.
The Victorian Society is calling on campaigners across the country to nominate Victorian or Edwardian buildings that are at risk in their local area. The annual campaign aims to highlight the problems facing buildings such as Broadmoor Hospital, Berkshire, Bletchley Cricket Pavilion, Buckinghamshire, and Crumpsall and Cheetham District Library, Manchester, which all featured in last years list of the Top Ten Endangered Buildings. Nominations can be made via the VicSoc website, and the closing date is 17 July 2012.
Our Fellow Ian Dungavell, Director of the Victorian Society, said: all over the country there are wonderful examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture. If you live near a building at risk that you think is worth saving, then we want to hear about it. Buildings don’t have to be listed to be nominated, but they should be at risk perhaps of demolition, from insensitive development or simply neglect and they need to have been built between 1837 and 1914.
The partners in the Heritage Angel Awards scheme English Heritage, the Daily Telegraph and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation have announced that they have widened the criteria for this years awards to include all at risk listed buildings, not just Grade I and II*. The English Heritage Angel Awards are for the best rescue or repair of a historic place of worship; the best rescue of a historic industrial building or site; the best craftsmanship employed on a heritage rescue; and the best rescue of a listed building, scheduled monument, registered garden, landscape or battlefield, protected wreck or conservation area.
Andrew Lloyd Webber said: The people responsible for securing our countrys treasures are at the heart of the Angel Awards and our goal is to recognise their work. For details on how to enter or to nominate someone else, visit the English Heritage website. The deadline for applications is 15 June 2012.
The panel of judges, to be chaired by Andrew Lloyd Webber, will include Melvyn Bragg, Bettany Hughes, Charles Moore (of the Daily Telegraph) and our Fellows the Bishop of London, the Right Revd Richard Chartres, and Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage. Sixteen short-listed entrants, four in each award category, will be invited to a ceremony at The Palace Theatre in London in October at which the winners will be announced. The event will be hosted by television presenter Clare Balding, and Graham Norton will be among the celebrities presenting the awards.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has announced initial support worth £76m for eight major projects in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, including £12.1m for Ditherington Flax Mill, a cause célèbre of the industrial archaeology movement, and our Burlington House neighbour, the Royal Academy of Arts, which is to receive £12.7m towards the transformation of 6 Burlington Gardens (formerly the Museum of Mankind) in time for the RAs 250th anniversary in 2018. The RAs plans include the creation of new learning spaces and programmes and the establishment of conservation apprenticeships. At Ditherington Flax Mill (see picture to the left), where the eighteenth-century Main Mill is the oldest iron-framed building in the world, and thus the forerunner of the modern skyscraper, a partnership including Shropshire Council, English Heritage and the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings plans to transform the site into a centre for learning, leisure, culture and enterprise.
Other recipients of HLF grants are the V&A at Dundee (£9.2m), with plans for a new museum to celebrate Scotlands influential design heritage; Northumberland National Park (£6.3m), working in partnership with the Youth Hostels Association to create a new Landscape Discovery Centre and youth hostel; Knole, in Kent (£7.5m), for urgently needed conservation work that will take place in new studios that will also provide apprenticeships and short courses; Londons National Army Museum (£11.3m) for a complete physical makeover of the museum building and an extensive outreach programme; Winchester Cathedral (£10.5m) for a five-year programme of urgent conservation work; and The Maze Long Kesh, Lisburn (£6.4m), the former military and prison site that is to be transformed into a centre for peace-building and conflict resolution.
Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of HLF, said: This latest portfolio of projects is probably one of the most wide-reaching we have ever seen. It covers so much that is important to the UKs heritage from cathedrals to national parks and industrial buildings to great museums.
In London two weeks ago, police raided an art gallery in Londons Bruton Street and demanded that a picture of Leda and the Swan be removed from display. According to the sensitive souls at the Metropolitan Police, the picture condoned bestiality, which they said was an arrestable offence.
In that case, let us hope that the police never stumble across the new British Museum exhibition of Picassos celebrated etchings (known as the Vollard Suite), in which there is quite clearly something going on between a muscular creature with the head and torso of a bull and a voluptuous and unashamedly naked young woman (to make matters worse, the woman, Picassos muse, Marie Thérèse Walter, was a mere seventeen when her relationship with the forty-two-year-old Picasso began sufficient in todays world for Picasso to be locked up, vilified and placed on the Sex Offenders Register).
Instead of which this consensual relationship, which began in 1930, led to an outpouring of art that is almost a month-by-month diary of Picassos shifting ideas as he explores the idea of metamorphosis and the way that a living person can be transformed by the artist into a work of art that has mythic and timeless qualities (very much like Lucien Freud, whose portraits are pulling crowds at the National Portrait Gallery).
The British Museum has acquired a complete set of the one hundred Vollard Suite etchings thanks to Hamish Parker, a City fund manager, who donated them in what Stephen Coppel, curator of the modern section of the BMs prints and drawings collection, calls an astonishing act of generosity, like a fairytale. The BM has chosen to display them along with ancient Etruscan bronze mirrors, red-figures vases, sculptures of Aphrodite and busts of Hercules, making explicit the source of the myths that Picasso alludes to in his work but also the purity of line that characterises the delicate draughtsmanship of the early etchings.
Part way round the exhibition there is a perceptible shift in atmosphere and style, as the classical restraint of the early work gives way to the darker works of 1937, heavily scrawled and cross-hatched with storm clouds of anger as Picasso responded to the growth of fascism in Europe. By now his virile Minotaur has been publicly humiliated in the bullring; blinded and pathetic, he is led about the streets by a girl (with the features of Marie Thérèse; see picture to the left), his head lifted in a bellow of pain in an image that instantly calls to mind the mural that Picasso painted only a few weeks later for the 1937 Worlds Fair in Paris as a response to that bombing of Guernica (and whose influence on British artists, including Francis Bacon and Graham Sutherland, is the subject of another must-see Picasso exhibition on at Tate Britain until 15 July. The free Vollard Suite exhibition is on until 2 September 2012 at the British Museum.
It has been another exceptional fortnight for Fellows in the media, with appearances by Fellow Dora Thornton in The King and the Playwright: a Jacobean history on BBC 4, the first of what will no doubt be many appearances in the run-up to the opening of the British Museum exhibition, Shakespeare: staging the world, which Dora has curated, on 19 July. Fellow Lucy Worsley has been winning plaudits for Antiques Uncovered on BBC 2, looking at the histories of common forms of antiques, and stirring up quite a debate following the revelation in an interview that she and her husband, the architect Mark Hines, did not wish to have children as this would restrict the amount of time they would have for doing the things they enjoy.
Controversy and the name of Fellow David Starkey are never far apart, and he has had much media coverage in the last fortnight, not least from interviewers who start out hostile and wanting to boo, and end up being charmed and perhaps just a shade more sympathetic once they listen to what he says rather than what they think he says. Sophisticated arguments too have come from the pen of Fellow Ferdinand Mount, whose newly published book, The New Few, has been warmly praised by reviewers of all political persuasions for its attempt to analyse how we have reached the stage where huge amounts of money and power are concentrated in the hands of a very small number of individuals, and whether this is a situation that can be resolved.
The French Revolution had a solution, said Fellow Mary Beard (only half in jest) on Radio 4s Sunday morning news magazine, Broadcasting House, reviewing the Sunday Times annual Rich List. Mary was literally ubiquitous in the last fortnight: from Private Eye to Radio 4s Womens Hour and even BBC 1s Question Time, there she was, whenever you opened a newspaper or turned on the TV or radio. How galling it must be for A A Gill that the person he judged not to have an appearance suitable for TV should now be all over the screen. And a good thing too, say the many Fellows who responded to the last issue of Salon with such warm praise for Marys Meet the Romans programme. Sample comments in response to Gills lookist rant include the Guardian reader who asked does the British public no longer like anyone with a character? (to which the answer is surely that they do all except one Adrian Gill the London Evening Standard has even nominated Mary as their pin-up girl) and the Sunday Times reader who wrote to say could A A Gill be encouraged to present a TV programme so that we can all see how to do it properly?
Frances Spalding also referred to Gills egregious comments on Beards TV appearance in her review of Marys new book All in a Dons Day in the Guardian, praising Mary for her edgily dignified riposte to A A Gill in the Daily Mail, and for using the thick rubber-soled shoes habitually worn by Beard to kick against many prejudices concerning women in public roles. Marys blog, the book and her TV programme are all, she says engagingly demotic and cunningly argued … the appeal … lies in listening to a mind uncaged and engaged, provocative but not polemical.
Back to Marys comments on the Sunday Times Rich List. Asked whether, as a classics don at the worlds leading university, she wasnt herself elitist, Mary said there are two kinds of elitism: one based on money and one on intelligence … and I will defend to the death the right of Cambridge to exist on the basis of brains. Leonardo da Vinci was just the kind of brainy humanistic polymath that Cambridge likes (and he was the illegitimate son of a lowly Turkish servant born with no social advantages in life, so he ticks all the social-deprivation criteria as well); our Fellow Martin Clayton was much in evidence during the week explaining the exhibition that he has curated at The Queens Gallery on the subject of Leonardos anatomical drawings an unlikely subject for a best-selling show, but one that has been universally praised and will no doubt attract the sort of long queues we have become used to for art exhibitions in London proof, perhaps, that the world isnt going to the dogs after all!
Or is it? Fellow David Abulafia (Professor of Mediterranean History at Cambridge) thinks there is still room for improvement in our knowledge of key historical events. The Daily Telegraph published his list of thirty-seven key dates around which the English history curriculum should be based and immediately sparked a furious correspondence from Telegraph readers whose favourite pivotal event had been omitted. As that storm broke around his head, David was able to bask in the latest reviews for his book, The Great Sea, newly out in paperback and hailed by Dominic Sandbrook (he of the absorbing BBC 2 television series, The 70s) as a book to which no review can really do justice: in its epic sweep, eye for detail and lucid style, his book is a magnificently satisfying read. Wouldnt we all love reviews like that!
Fellow Paul Cartledge, A G Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at Cambridge University, got something almost as good: the chance to promote his new book on Radio 4s Today programme two weeks ago. In The Sites of Ancient Greece, Pauls text accompanies Georg Gersters evocative photographs. And why would the Today programme be interested? In a normal year, they probably would not be, but everyone is jumping on anything with even the slightest connection to the forthcoming London Olympics.
Which neatly brings us to Fellow Simon Jenkinss well-justified storm of rhetoric in the Guardian on the sins against freedom, democracy and human rights being imposed upon Londoners by the Olympic authorities. The Olympics, Simon writes, have become a festival of the global security industry, with a running and jumping contest as a sideshow … an Orwellian parody of what happens when a world agency blackmails a government aching for prestige into spending without limit. We already knew about the likely chaos at Londons airports, the probable transport chaos and the strict access rules to some parts of London that will hamper peoples right to enter their own home or place of work, but now we face RAF Typhoon jets screaming back and forth over the Thames … Starstreak surface-to-air missile batteries in East End parks and on flats in Bow … army and navy helicopters clattering back and forth, with snipers hanging from their doors to shoot down pilots of terrorist planes.
We also have the sinister-sounding Locog fanning out across the capital, arresting anyone who uses the words 2012 Olympics or any other associative phrase, for not paying a fortune in sponsorship fees … blogs, pictures or videos [of the Olympics] on YouTube or Facebook are banned. Anyone who so much as carries an unapproved bag, hat or shoe in a venue is banned. The Chinese politburo is Liberty Hall compared with this authoritarianism, Simon concludes.
Left: a reconstruction of the lyre from the early 7th-century ship burial at Sutton Hoo
The news in Salon 275 that a wooden lyre bridge dating from about 300 BC had been found at High Pasture Cave in Skye came just too late for our Fellow Niamh Whitfield, whose paper on ancient Irish lyres was published in the Festschrift for Fellow George Cunningham A Carnival of Learning mentioned in Salon 276. Niamhs paper analyses a passage in the Old Irish saga, Táin bó Fraích, which describes the crotts (also cruit(t)s), lyres or harps played to the court of Medb and Ailill at Cruachain by three brothers, Otherworld musicians of kingly appearance belonging to the retinue of the eponymous hero, Fróech. Niamh quotes ample evidence (in Ann Buckley, Music in Ireland to c 1500, in Dáibhí Ó Cróinín (ed), A New History of Ireland I: prehistoric and early Ireland (Oxford, 2005), 744813) for lyres as having predominated in north-western Europe from at least as early as the fifth century to the tenth, when harps began to replace them. That date span has now been more than doubled by the Skye find.
Fellow Nick Balaam quite rightly points out that the last issue of Salon was not quite accurate on the VAT status of historic building repairs: as I have been looking at VAT on projects all week I cant help pointing out that there has always been VAT on repairs to listed and unlisted buildings. The current and controversial proposal is to remove the eligibility of residential and some charitable uses for zero rating of approved alterations. The fact that it is charged on repairs has been the subject of campaigns over a number of years and I am sure has featured in Salon before now.
Jane Baile writes with more information on the race to raise funds for the Westmorland Archive to say that the BBC has a short news item on the campaign and to say that Fellow David Starkeys talk on the archive at Apethorpe Hall on 14 May 2012 was a sell-out success.
Fellow Peter Boyden was one of many who wrote in support of our Fellow Mary Beard: As a non-reader of the Murdoch Press my wife and I were grateful for your piece in the last edition of Salon about the Sunday Times and Mary Beard, as it helped us to enjoy fully the article in the current issue of Private Eye. This leads me to wonder how many Fellows have had their pictures published in the Eye?, Peter asks.
Fellow Linda Hall, writing on the same subject, said that I found Mary refreshingly normal and engagingly enthusiastic, with her emphasis very firmly on her subject matter and not on herself … Mary Beard has re-fired my enthusiasm for Latin, for Italy in general and for Rome in particular and I very much hope that she will present more programmes in the future whatever the critics say, I shall certainly be watching.
Fellow Mark Hall writes to say that we should not entirely dismiss the Cultural Olympiads Stonehenge bouncy castle: Whilst I agree with your sentiment that finds the Cultural Olympiad a rather disappointing and lacklustre achievement I wanted to offer a word or two in defence of Jeremy Dellers Sacrilege, both as Fellow and bouncee. It is currently sited on Glasgow Green and at the weekend attracted joyful queues of people of all ages who delighted in releasing their inner Tigger. On the Saturday Glasgow Green was also host to an Orange gathering with what seemed to be full band and regalia and a strong police presence. I know which event I preferred for its release of positive energy and engaging, playful irony. It seemed to me there was very little actual sacrilege, but rather a demonstration by performance of Stonehenge as a social gathering place. Art loves archaeology and long may it do so!
Fellow Richard Hobbs writes to update Fellows on the hoard of late Roman silver that was discovered during recent archaeological excavations in the eastern Croatian city of Vinkovci, the Roman town of Colonia Aurelia Cibalae (see Salon 276). Some fifty items have been found, including plates, saucers, bowls, jugs, cups and spoons, with a total weight of more than 30kg. Richards blog on the British Museum website has photographs and commentary on what is being called the Cibalae treasure.
Richard has also communicated with Steve Gaunt, who witnessed the discovery, who says the site is being developed for building a New Yorker clothing store and is right in the centre of the Roman colony. The hoard was found between a minimum of 70cm and a maximum of 160cm deep. The find spot was only 1.5 metres away from the 7m-deep basement of a shopping centre. Alongside the find spot was a modern manhole and rubble and modern drains had been constructed over the find spot. Only 20cm of undisturbed earth covered the hoard, which had been piled inverted on top of four bricks, probably in a pit. The edges of the dishes had been found some time previously, but the hoard went unrecognised for days because the stacked rims looked like the ribbing of a plastic drain!
Fellow David Baker has been nominated as the Societys representative on the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England in succession to our Fellow Dr Richard Hall (much missed and a hard act to follow, David says). The Society nominates a member jointly with the Council for British Archaeology. Fellow Paul Crossley is also a member. The current Chair is Frank Field MP and the Vice-Chair is former English Heritage Chief Executive, Jennie Page. More on the work of the Commission can be found on the Church of England website.
Fellow Dr John Blatchly has just been elected President of the Bookplate Society. John was made an MBE in 2007 and is sometime editor of the Bookplate Journal, to which he has been a regular contributor over many years. He is also the author of several books published by the Society, including The Bookplates of Edward Gordon Craig (1997), Some Suffolk and Norfolk Ex-libris (2000) and East Anglian Ex-libris (2008).
Fellows who knew Mary Bliss MBE (elected a Fellow on 7 May 1987) will be saddened to learn that she died on 9 May 2012 following several weeks of poor health. A graduate of Bristol University and Deputy Head of Churchdown School, in Gloucestershire, until her retirement, Mary was one of this countrys foremost church bells experts, with a knowledge that was hard to beat and an impressive passion for the subject. Her great memorial will be her monumental book The Church Bells of Gloucestershire (1986) and her influence in ringing matters nationally will continue to be felt in many ways for years to come.
Mary served on the Gloucester Diocesan Advisory Committee from January 1973 until December 2009, being Chairman from January 1998 to July 2005. She also served at national level, notably as Chairman of the Bells and Clocks Committee of the Council for the Care of Churches. Paying tribute to her work, our Fellow Jonathan MacKechnie-Jarvis, Secretary of the Gloucester DAC, said that Mary served the Church faithfully at every level, from the parish to the national.
30 May 2012: On the Trail of Mrs Coade, a Soane Museum Study Group lecture to be given by our Fellow Caroline Stanford, Historian to the Landmark Trust, at 6pm for 6:30pm in the Seminar Room of Sir John Soanes Museum, at Number 14 Lincolns Inn Fields. Places must be booked in advance by contacting Beth Walker, Head of Education.
Eleanor Coade (17331821), artificial stone manufacturer and female entrepreneur extraordinaire, is one of the most intriguing figures in eighteenth-century architectural history. From her manufactory at Lambeth she supplied her high-quality fired stone wares to all the great architects of the day, including Sir John Soane indeed, the Soane archive is one of the key sources for Mrs Coades scattered surviving catalogues. Her goods helped transform the appearance of expanding late Georgian London and the landscapes and great houses of Britain and beyond. As the Landmark Trust embarks on a major appeal for the restoration of Belmont, Mrs Coades former seaside villa in Lyme Regis, Caroline Stanford tells us about her recent research into Mrs Coades work and milieu in London, shedding some light on this remarkably shadowy figure.
9 June 2012: The Summer Symposium of ASPRoM (the Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics) will be held from 2pm to 5.30pm, at the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, Oriel Chambers, 27 High Street, Hull. The speakers are Alison Tasker (Mosaics and microfossils), C Knowles (William Fowler: Lincolnshire builder and engraver or architect and antiquary?), John Rumsby (From Italy to East Yorkshire: medieval tile mosaic and its origins) and T Greenaway (Pictures in stone: an introduction to pietra dura, with a practical demonstration). Further information is available on the Associations website. Those wishing to attend should contact Dr Will Wootton, Department of Classics, Kings College London.
25 June 2012: Head of Our Morality: why the modern British monarchy matters, by our Fellow David Starkey, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. The 2012 Marc Fitch Lecture will be the highlight of celebrations to mark the re-dedication of the Victoria County History to Her Majesty The Queen. The occasion will also be marked by the launch of a Jubilee commemorative book, The Victoria County History 18992012: a Diamond Jubilee celebration, published to spread the word about the present activities and past achievements of the VCH. If you would like to attend, please email VCH Events.
13 October 2012: Timber Castles Twenty Years On. The Castle Studies Group is celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Timber Castles by our Fellow Bob Higham and our late Fellow Philip Barker by holding a one-day conference at the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, University College London. Speakers, and those chairing sessions, come from all parts of the UK and Ireland and include Fellows Chris Caple, Oliver Creighton, Brian Davison, Bob Higham, John Kenyon, Richard Oram, Tom McNeill, Pamela Marshall and Derek Renn. For details and a registration form, see the CSG website.
From medieval Europe and the Renaissance, through the French Revolution and Nazi Germany, and onwards to twenty-first-century cinema and YouTube, ancient Sparta continues to resonate through Western thought, more than 2,000 years after the peak of its power. Invoked by radical Enlightenment thinkers as a model for an egalitarian republic, Sparta has since been shunned or hailed as the enemy of liberal democracy and the prototype for such totalitarian and militaristic regimes as the Third Reich. But positive views of the Spartans continue to flourish in contemporary popular culture, especially in novels and films such as 300.
Sparta in Modern Thought: Politics, History and Culture (ISBN: 9781905125470; Classical Press of Wales), edited by our Fellow Stephen Hodkinson and Ian Macgregor Morris, is the first book to focus exclusively on Spartas impact in post-classical times and is the latest publication from Stephens research project, Sparta in Comparative Perspective, Ancient to Modern, conducted at the University of Nottinghams Centre for Spartan and Peloponnesian Studies and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Eleven international experts take readers across ten centuries to reveal previously unknown aspects of Spartas impact on modern politics and culture. These include the influence of Spartas lawgiver, Lycurgus, on Renaissance conceptions of Spartas socio-political order, and studies of Germanys growing identification with Sparta after 1800, culminating in Spartas use by Nazi leaders and ideologues as an Aryan prototype for the racial policies of the Third Reich and for the training of future leaders in Adolf Hitler Schools.
Perhaps most striking, however, is the books revelation of Spartas ongoing impact on recent political and popular culture. Stephens own chapter exposes how American intelligence analysts used Sparta as a model for interpreting the economic prospects of the USSR, in support of Ronald Reagans evil empire critique of the Soviet system in the early 1980s. Another chapter investigates positive portrayals of Sparta in 1990s American popular fiction, examining how they deal with problematic elements of Spartan culture such as infant exposure. The final chapter studies the impact of new digital technologies and participatory mass culture in the shape of fan-made YouTube video clips parodying the presentation of Sparta in Zack Snyders 2006 film, 300.
York-based Fellow Steve Sherlock has just had his research on Iron Age settlement published as a Tees Archaeology Monograph. Entitled Late Prehistoric Settlement in the Tees Valley and North-East England (ISBN: 9780953274741; available from Tees Archaeology, Sir William Gray House, Clarence Road, Hartlepool TS24 8BN; £15 + £6 p&p), the work focuses on a group of twenty-six sites in south Durham and the North Riding of Yorkshire, many of which have been excavated in the last twenty years and some of which are still unpublished. The study looks beyond agriculture to the types of structures within the settlements and seeks evidence for a broader type of economy. One of the outcomes is that the Brigantes are seen as a construction of the Romans: Steve argues that the area comprised a series of smaller tribal groups, each with their own characteristics. The overall conclusion is that the Tees Valley should be understood as an area distinct from the East Riding, West Riding and Tyneside settlements, each region having its own identity.
This volume by Fellow Hugh Pagan (ISBN: 9780197265024; Oxford University Press and Spink & Son Limited for the British Academy) is the long-required sequel to volume 5 in the Sylloge series, by our late Fellow Elizabeth Pirie, published as far back as 1964 and recording those Anglo-Saxon and later coins in the Grosvenor Museum, Chester, that were explicitly identified as having been struck at Chester by the presence in their inscriptions of the name of the Chester mint. The present volume adds descriptions and images of all the other Anglo-Saxon, Norman and early Plantagenet coins (to AD 1180) in the Grosvenor Museums impressive collection of coins of this period, together with an essay by the author on the history of coinage at Chester up to Edgars reform of the coinage in c 973.
The volume is of particular importance in that it publishes many coins that were in fact struck at Chester but which were omitted from Piries volume because they did not carry the Chester mint signature, as well as many significant coins not of the Chester mint but deriving from a series of major coin hoards of the Anglo-Saxon period found at Chester between 1857 and 1950. It also serves the purpose of bringing to completion the publication of the outstanding collection of coins of the Chester mint formed by Dr Willoughby Gardner, Fellow (18601953), purchased for the Grosvenor Museum by public subscription shortly before Dr Gardners death.
Breaking Ground, Finding Graves (ISBN: 9781905569618; Wordwell Books), by Fellow Mary Cahill and Maeve Sikora, is a two-volume monograph that gathers together more than 400 reports on excavations of burials carried out by, or on behalf of, the National Museum of Ireland between 1927 and 2006. None of the sites reported here was selected for excavation. They were all found accidentally by people engaged in some form of earth-moving activity, from changing the position of a shrub in a garden at Lisnakill, Co. Waterford, to semi-industrial activity in quarries such as Martinstown, Co. Meath.
The monograph is structured chronologically. Volume 1 covers the Neolithic and Bronze Age and Volume 2 the Iron Age, early medieval, late medieval, post-medieval and later periods. Those sites for which little or no detail is available or which were not inspected are collated in the form of an inventory. Brief introductions to each chapter are intended to place the reports within the wider context of the burial practices of the period in question. Each report includes an introduction, a description of the grave(s), descriptions of objects, comment, a report on human remains and any other relevant specialist reports. Osteological reports commissioned for many of the sites provide important new information on diet, disease and causes of death over a period of almost 5,000 years. The monograph also includes some 113 specially commissioned radiocarbon dates from seventy-four sites.
In Imperial Outpost in the Gulf: the airfield at Sharjah (UAE) 19321952 (ISBN: 9781846246845; Book Guild Publishing), Fellow Nicholas Stanley-Price tells the story of the surprisingly glamorous Sharjah airfield, created out of nothing in the open desert in 1932 as an overnight stop on Imperial Airways route carrying mail and passengers to India and eventually to Australia. Though constructed as a fortified rest house for fear of possible attacks from the Bedouin, passengers in transit praised the comfort of this desert oasis whose history is central to the story of the modern Emirates.
Sharjahs romantic heyday was short-lived, however, as Imperial Airways switched during the 1930s to using flying-boats that landed on the creek at Dubai, a move that favoured Dubais emergence as a commercial hub. By World War II, the airfield had become a transit point for troops going to India and the Far East: RAF and American air force personnel feared a posting to Sharjah, which had become notorious for its extreme heat, isolation and poor rations. Nicholas Stanley-Price brings all this vividly to life, using an impressive array of unpublished contemporary photographs and records, and fascinating stills from documentary footage shot at Sharjah in the 1930s.
Fellow Grace Ioppolo has produced this scholarly edition of the Jacobean tragicomedy The Honest Man’s Fortune (ISBN: 9780719086113; Manchester University Press / Malone Society Reprints Vol 176) from her own transcription of Dyce MS 9. Grace introduces the play text with a discussion of the manuscripts provenance (purchased for the Revd Alexander Dyce by the bookseller Thomas Rodd at the 1836 auction of Richard Hebers library, it was part of the massive gift of some 40,000 books and manuscripts bequeathed to the South Kensington Museum at Dyces death in 1869).
Much of the manuscript is in the handwriting of Edward Knight, a professional scribe associated with the Kings Men acting company, who notes on the title-page that the play was originally Plaide In the yeare 1613. The manuscript concludes with the notation by Sir Henry Herbert, then Master of the Revels, that he re-licensed this new copy of an old play on 8 February 1624 [new date 1625].
Uniquely for a play text of the period, the 2,930-line manuscript thus records the transmission of the play text from authors to censor, along with such changes as Herbert required. The differences between this manuscript and the slightly different text of the play printed in the 1647 folio of Beaumont and Fletchers plays also allow us to see how the text was updated for its revival, and what sort of changes were made at various stages in the plays performance. These revisions and variants demonstrate that there was no single and final form of the play-text, as was also true of so many of the plays that have come down to us from this period.
Co-edited by our Fellow Joe Flatman and Dr Marcy Rockman of the US National Park Service, Archaeology in Society: its contemporary relevance (ISBN: 9781441998804; Springer) adopts an innovative approach to the subject whereby pairs of authors were given topics to debate; one author set out his or her views, the other responded, and both authors then draw conclusions. For example, the Societys former General Secretary, David Gaimster, debates the role of learned institutions with Della Scott-Ireton of the Florida Public Archaeology Network. As well as this debate, which addresses the broader issue of archaeology and education, there are debates on the unique perspective that archaeology can bring to such major contemporary issues as climate change, energy, globalisation, conflict, ethnicity and national identity.
Joe himself observes that Gordon Childe believed that archaeologists had the capacity and the responsibility to take a stand on modern issues, extrapolating from their detailed understanding of human interactions. The big challenge is how to get policy makers, decision-makers and the public to listen.
Edited by Fellows Sally Badham and Paul Cockerham, volume 554 in the BAR British Series (ISBN: 9781407309330) is devoted to a church that arguably has the best-preserved medieval floor in any parish church in the country it is all the more surprising then to learn that its monuments did not receive the attention they deserve until the Monumental Brass Society held a Study Day there in May 2009. The result is this detailed catalogue of the surviving and recorded monuments (extending to more than fifty pages), as well as chapters on the lost and extant brasses, incised slabs and effigies contributed by the editors and by Fellows Derrick Chivers, Mark Downing and Brian and Moira Gittos plus Jessica Freeman. These essays are set in context by background chapters on the economic history of Boston by Stephen Rigby, the architectural development of St Botolphs by Fellow Linda Monckton and the towns religious guilds by Sally Badham.
The result is a volume which sits well beside the well-regarded History and Antiquities of Boston, written by Pishey Thompson as long ago as 1856. The editors also hope that it will serve as the template for other studies of urban churches with important collections of monuments.
Closing date for applications for both posts: 28 May 2012. Interviews: 6 June 2012
Kelmscott Manor was the country residence of William Morris, FSA, leader of the Arts and Crafts Movement; it holds extensive collections of his possessions, including works of art, textiles, ceramics and furniture. Attracting around 18,000 visitors a year, the Society of Antiquaries stewardship of Kelmscott Manor preserves the legacy of William Morris, and stands as one of the Arts and Craft Movements best-kept houses and collections.
Temporary Property Manager
£25,000£30,000 per annum (pro rata)
The Society of Antiquaries of London is looking for an experienced Property Manager to ensure the smooth running of Kelmscott Manor from June until the end of December 2012. The temporary Property Manager will be taking over from an established property management team; accordingly, applicants will have a strong historic property management skill set including project and stakeholder management skills, and substantial experience in the heritage industry.
Temporary Visitor Experience Manager
£15,238£16,253, (£17,316£18,470, 88% Full Time Equivalent)
The Society of Antiquaries of London is looking for a temporary Visitor Experience Manager to maintain and develop Kelmscott Manor as a leading visitor-focused attraction until December 2012. The Visitor Experience Manager is expected to manage and lead Kelmscotts staff and volunteers in order to maintain excellent standards of service, optimise opportunities to generate income and ensure that the site and its assets are safe and secure. The Visitor Experience Manager will be in charge of a multi-skilled team and will have significant experience supervising a wide range of staff and volunteers.
Full job descriptions and application packs for both posts can be downloaded from the Societys website Societys website. Completed application forms will be the only means of application considered.
University of Edinburgh, School of History, Classics and Archaeology: closing date 25 May 2012
Three Professorial Fellowships are on offer to candidates with an outstanding track record of research in any field currently under active exploration within the School. Ref. 3015648JW.
University College Dublin, Classical Archaeology: closing date 1 June 2012
UCDs School of Classics is advertising for a Lecturer in Classical Archaeology who will also serve as curator of the UCD Classical Museum, the only museum of classical art and archaeology in Ireland. Ref. 005200.
Durham University Professorships: closing date 8 June 2012
Durham is currently advertising vacancies for three Professors/Readers in the Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and for a Professor in Prehistoric British Archaeology
Ripon Cathedral: Cathedral Archaeologist
Closing date 18 June 2012
The Chapter of Ripon Cathedral invites applications for the post of Cathedral Archaeologist. In making this appointment Chapter follows the guidelines set out in the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England (CFCE) document, The Role and Duties of the Cathedral Archaeologist (2010). Applicants should be a graduate, or hold a post-graduate qualification, in archaeology or a closely related discipline. He or she should preferably, though not necessarily, be a member of the IfA. Applicants should possess proven experience in the study and understanding of historic buildings and monuments and archaeological sites, in particular to those aspects relating to church archaeology and standing buildings. For further details please contact the Cathedral Administrator, Lt Col Ian Horsford, tel: 01765 603462.