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.
4 October 2012: Late Hellenistic jewellery from the Antikythera shipwreck: new chronological evidence, by Monica Jackson, FSA
In the middle of the first century BC, a heavily laden Roman merchant vessel sank off the coastal cliffs of the tiny island of Antikythera, north of Crete. A storm 2,000 years later was the catalyst for the discovery of the wreck by Greek sponge divers returning from Tunisia. The ships rich cargo included jewellery and one immensely complicated scientific instrument, now known as the Antikythera Mechanism, a device of such sophistication and astonishing accuracy of construction that its original function and structure have eluded scholars for more than a century.
One of the most challenging of the questions surrounding the Mechanism is its precise date. This paper will throw some light on that issue by examining the Late Hellenistic gold jewellery from the wreck, in conjunction with a comparable coin-dated jewellery deposit from the island of Delos, whose chronology coincides with the most recent date suggested for the manufacture of the Antikythera Mechanism. In addition further comparative material will be presented in the form of a series of terracotta Erotes from Gortyn, Crete, which may help place the jewellery in the wider context of Mediterranean production and practice.
11 October 2012: Dating old Welsh houses, by Margaret Dunn, FSA
An outline of the North West Wales Dendrochronology Project will be presented, including its aims, objectives and results. The Society has supported this project which is nearing the successful conclusion of its three-year grant-aided scientific phase during which nearly one hundred houses have been sampled and many tree-felling dates obtained. Interim results suggest that domestic architecture in the region was more innovative and some styles of architecture were earlier and more widespread than previously thought. Community involvement has been a key aspect and will develop further as future programmes will encourage a deeper appreciation of local Elizabethan houses.
18 October 2012: Collector, dealer and forger: the perils of collecting bookbindings and caskets in the nineteenth century, by Mirjam Foot, FSA
Bibliophily flourished in nineteenth-century England, but collectors enthusiasm was not always matched by bibliographical knowledge, and unscrupulous dealers and forgers took advantage of men like the East India merchant, John Blacker, whose book-collecting passion was like a mans love for his mistress. After his death in 1896 it was discovered that the important collection of books on which he spent a fortune of around £80,000 had not belonged to a very important French or Italian sixteenth-century collector, as he had thought, but were forgeries of excellent workmanship, but historically worthless, nevertheless. This paper unravels the story and describes the attempts to trace the later whereabouts of the forged books, culminating in the discovery of the only casket ever to have come to light of the many that Blacker had made for storing and displaying his revered collection.
23 October 2012: Celebrating May Morris: textile artist and editor of William Morris, by Jan Marsh
The second lecture in the Societys public lecture series (starting at 1pm) celebrates the legacy of textile designer and editor, May Morris, daughter of William and Jane Morris, and it marks the fiftieth year of the Societys ownership of the Morris familys Oxfordshire home, Kelmscott Manor, which passed to the Society in 1962. The lecture is free but seats must be reserved using our online booking service.
25 October 2012: Rusts and Crusts and Frusts of Time: an archaeography of Gilbert Whites Selborne Priory, by David Baker, FSA
Gilbert Whites book, The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne, first published in 1789 and never out of print since, is often abbreviated to The Natural History of Selborne; the antiquities, largely eclipsed by the natural history, deserve greater recognition. The interventions they inspired at the site of the Priory can be seen as a combination of clerical antiquarianism and emergent archaeological approaches. The history and archaeology of a small Augustinian house, bog-standard in many ways but founded late and dissolved early, illustrate the development of the disciplines.
The Autumn Meeting of the York Antiquaries will take place on 30 October 2012. The speaker will be Dr Cath Neal, of the Department of Archaeology, University of York, on the subject of Landscape development and human settlement at Heslington East: later prehistory to the early medieval period. The meeting will be held in the Bedingfield Room, The Bar Convent, York, very near the Nunnery Lane car park, Nunnery Lane, York YO23 1AA. The meeting begins at 6pm with refreshments; the lecture will begin at 6.30pm and conclude by 8pm, after which Fellows will dine at a reasonably priced restaurant close to the venue.
Any Fellow wishing to attend the meeting should contact Stephen Greep, Hon Secretary of the York Antiquaries, stating also whether they would like to join the post-talk dinner.
Generous donations from our Fellow Tristan Hillgarth and from Johnny Van Haeften, the specialist in Dutch and Flemish Old Master paintings, has enabled work to begin on the conservation of the Societys sixteenth-century panel painting of St Agatha. The painting is one of eighty-three pictures that will be published in the Societys forthcoming picture catalogue, researched and written by Fellows Jill A Franklin, Bernard Nurse and Pamela Tudor-Craig.
The Society received the painting in 1835 from Sharon Turner, FSA, as part of the bequest of Prince Hoare, FSA (17551834). Son of the artist William Hoare, RA (1707/892), Prince Hoare was an artist and playwright who was elected a Fellow on 15 June 1815. In his will he described the subject of the painting erroneously as The Duchess of Gloucester doing penance on an accusation of Witchcraft, a reference to the episode in which Eleanor Cobham, wife of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, was sentenced to pay public penance in 1441 on charges of witchcraft, sorcery and treason.
The subject has now been identified as the persecution of St Agatha of Catania, an early Christian martyr whose story was among the saints lives recorded in The Golden Legend, of Jacobus de Voraigne, compiled around 1260. Tortured on the orders of Quintainus, Roman Consul of Sicily, for refusing to worship pagan idols, she suffered the excision of her breasts, which were then miraculously restored by St Peter. The painting depicts the moment in the legend when the earth began to tremble and Mount Etna threatened to erupt in protest at Agathas cruel treatment, leading to mass panic among the people of Sicily.
Johnny Van Haeften has helped the Society research the provenance of the painting and has pointed out that it has similarities with works attributed to the painter Lucas de Heere of Ghent (153484).
Tristan Hillgarth said: Im delighted to meet half the costs of the conservation of this important panel painting as I have a love of old and beautiful things. Time has not been kind to St Agatha and I was especially keen to help out after seeing her unloved and languishing in the basement of Burlington House, with cracking panels and discoloured varnish. I hope that in the course of her restoration further light will be shed on the paintings historical context and provenance, and I look forward to seeing St Agatha brought out of the darkness and exhibited in her beauty for all to see.
Dominic Wallis, Head of Development, said that the Society was very grateful to Tristan and to Johnny Van Haeften for their financial support. He said: we have received a number of exceptionally generous donations but still require £12,000 to meet the costs of completing the conservation programme. If you are willing to help in any way, or would like to see the paintings before they go to the conservator, do send an email to Dominic or telephone 0207 479 7092.
The biggest news story in the month that Salon has been absent has been the search for the remains of Richard III by means of an excavation at the site of Greyfriars church in Leicester, now (as we were continually reminded in all the media coverage) the car park of a social services office.
Among the dramatis personae of this unfolding saga are our Fellow Richard Buckley, Co-Director of University of Leicester Archaeological Services and Director of the Greyfriars excavation, and our Fellows Anne Curry and Robert Hardy, Honorary Patrons of The Richard III Foundation, which is sponsoring the excavation as part of its mission to prove that Richard III was an enlightened and far-sighted ruler, greatly maligned by his opponents.
The excavation resulted in the exhumation of the remains of an individual with a severe scull wound caused by a blade and an arrow lodged in the spine, with the symptoms of severe scoliosis, a form of spinal curvature, thus matching the Shakespearean Crookback image of Richard III. Richard ruled England from 1483 until he lost his life and crown at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. After the battle, his naked body was paraded through the streets of Leicester before being buried at Greyfriars. Historians working on the project used maps and records dating from the seventeenth century to guide the archaeologists to the likely burial site, dismissing as a myth the story that the monarchs remains were dug up at the Dissolution and thrown in the River Soar.
We are not saying that we have found Richard III, the archaeologists said when they announced the discovery, but the combination of deformity and probable death by violence warrants further detailed examination. We will all now remain in suspense until Dr Turi King, also of Leicester University, completes her DNA analysis, which will compare mitochondrial (maternal) DNA taken from the teeth of the Greyfriars remains with DNA from Canadian-born furniture maker Michael Ibsen, who was identified in 2006 by historian Dr John Ashdown-Hill as being a seventeenth-generation descendant of Richards sister, Anne of York. The results are expected in early December, too late for the annual conference of the Richard III Foundation, which takes place in Market Bosworth, Leicestershire, on Saturday 13 October when our Fellow Robert Hardy will be among the speakers.
Both of our Societys portraits of Richard III are on display in the British Museums current Shakespeare exhibition, along with our fifteenth-century processional cross, with its Yorkist sunburst emblem, ploughed up in 1788 at what was then thought to be the site of the Battle of Bosworth. One of our portraits is thought to be a copy of a version painted in Richard IIIs lifetime; it shows no shoulder deformity. The second, a posthumous version, shows him holding a broken sword and a withered left arm and shoulder, alluding to his defeat and to his alleged disfigurement. At a later date the portrait was altered to make the shoulders look more even. Our Fellows Jill Franklin and Pamela Tudor-Craig, who have researched the history of this portrait for the Societys forthcoming picture catalogue, believe that the overpainting was inspired by Horace Walpoles efforts to rehabilitate Richard III and rescue his reputation.
Also seeking to re-evaluate the man and myth that is Richard III, challenging Shakespeares creation and also shining light on some lesser known historical facts is a new theatrical production inspired by the recent archaeological excavations called simply R3. This will take place in the atmospheric setting of St Saviours Church, Eton Road, Chalk Farm, London NW3 4SQ, from 17 October to 3 November. A question and answer session will take place after the Friday matinee and evening shows (19 and 26 Oct and 2 Nov), with actor Timothy Allsop and Artistic Director Caroline Devlin, both of whom are hoping that archaeologists and historians specialising in the period of Richard IIIs reign will turn up and take part. Further details from the website of Centre Five Productions.
Much of the press coverage of the Leicester excavation has included the erroneous information that Richard III and James II are the only English monarchs whose remains have not hitherto been located. Those of James II were lost when his coffin, in the Chapel of Saint Edmund in the Church of the English Benedictines in the Rue St Jacques in Paris, was raided during the French Revolution. But, as Tim Tatton-Brown told us in the lecture that he gave to the Society on 17 May this year on The archaeology of English Royal burial: a neglected subject?, there is another king whose grave lies unlocated beneath the tarmac of a modern car park: Henry I was buried in a spot now lost at Reading Abbey. No trace of his grave has survived but Tim believes the likeliest spot is beneath the car park of what is now Reading Gaol.
Ending on a lighter note, the following pithy letter from our Fellow Percival Turnbull was published in the Guardian on 16 September 2012: The identification of bones found in Leicester as those of Richard III may be supported by the telling absence of any trace of a horse.
The Church Monuments Society is asking churches with small portable monuments to take extra care over their security after further thefts in the Herefordshire area. In late August, the church of Abbey Dore, which has many loose architectural and monumental stone fragments, was targeted by thieves who stole the diminutive effigy of John De Breton, Bishop of Hereford 126975.
The monument, marking a heart burial, was prised from the wall of the church, to which it was attached with metal cramps, so the thieves evidently came prepared. Measuring around 39 by 25cm, the small stone monument depicts the bishop in Eucharistic vestments with parts of an inscription in Lombardic lettering down both sides. Further information can be found on the webiste of West Mercia Police.
The Times, in a report published on 11 September, said that six sculptures had been stolen from churches in the Marches region in the last few months in what was increasingly looking like the work of a gang, stealing items to order or for export to continental Europe.
Salons editor is grateful to Fellow Andrew Johnson and to Manx National Heritage for permission to reproduce the following appreciation of the life of our Fellow Marshall Cubbon, who died in August 2012.
Marshall Cubbon, born in Douglas (Isle of Man) in 1924, first joined the staff of the Manx Museum as Assistant Director to Basil Megaw in 1950. He had previously obtained a BA (Honours) degree in Geography from the University of Manchester, and had qualified as a teacher in Sheffield. Cubbon became Director upon the departure of Megaw in 1957.
During his thirty years as Director, Cubbon extended the work of the museum by completing the library wing and considerably enhancing the galleries and creating new ones, including the planning for the new extension on the Kingswood Grove / Crellins Hill site in Douglas. In 1950, he almost single-handedly saved the Old Grammar School in Castletown (the oldest roofed building in the Isle of Man) from destruction, literally pinning the preservation order to the door as the bulldozers approached. As Inspector of Ancient Monuments, Cubbon carried out some significant excavations, perhaps most notably at Clay Head, Lonan, King Orrys Grave, Laxey and at Killeaba, Ramsey, a site which covered a period from the late Neolithic to the early Bronze Age; he was also responsible for numerous emergency rescue excavations. His excavation report for Clay Head is still required reading for any archaeologist researching Bronze Age burnt mounds, even half a century on. In 1951, shortly after his appointment as Assistant Director, the role of Manx National Trust was added to the museum and ancient monument responsibilities. Cubbon himself was influential in helping the Trust to acquire land at Maughold Head, Eary Cushlin, Spanish Head and the Chasms, Fort Island and other significant stretches of the Manx coastline.
In 1967 under his stewardship the Nautical Museum was considerably extended and developed. In 1969, Cubbon instigated negotiations with the UK Government which led to the Treasury agreeing that the presumptive right to Treasure Trove finds should pass from the British Museum to the Manx Museum. This proved to be a far-sighted move, as major coin hoards found in 1976 and later have greatly enriched the museum collections. Two years later, under Cubbons direction the Grove at Ramsey was opened to the public this historic Victorian mansion, once home to the Gibb family and still full of their original artefacts, was a triumph of interior restoration and presentation accomplished on a shoestring budget.
Cubbon contributed to the research into Manx history and culture by the publication of many articles in journals both within and outside the Isle of Man, and served on committees of such organisations as the Society for the Preservation of the Manx Countryside, the Advisory Council on Planning, and the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society of which he was President more than once. He was instrumental in ensuring that several internationally important archaeological excavations undertaken during wartime conditions found their way to publication. He also saw to it that the Manx Archaeological Survey a gazetteer of the Islands iconic keeills (chapels) and burial grounds was finally completed some sixty years after it was begun under the guiding hand of the Museums original director, P M C Kermode, with whom he shared a passion for another of the Islands archaeological gems, its unique collection of 200 carved Celtic and Viking stone crosses.
In 1975 he was awarded an OBE for his services to the Manx Museum and National Trust. Marshall Cubbons legacy is a tremendous body of work to preserve the Manx archaeological, historical and cultural record, for which modern curators and scholars are deeply in his debt.
Salon is very grateful to Fellow Alex Gibson for permission to quote from his appreciation of the life of Ian Kinnes (elected a Fellow on 8 January 1976 but amoved in 2000), who died peacefully after a short illness on 24 August 2012 at the age of sixty-eight (the full obituary can be read on the Antiquity website.
Ian studied Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge and in 1973 presented his doctoral thesis on Neolithic Burial Practices in England and Wales. He was appointed Assistant Keeper in the then Department of Prehistoric and Romano-British Antiquities at the British Museum in 1974, taking early retirement in 1999, after which he spent much of his time between the family home in Guildford and his house in Courseulles, Normandy, where he was welcomed by the French archaeological community and spent time working on the excavation report of his site at Les Fouillages on Guernsey.
His major published works include his tome on earthen (non-megalithic) long barrows and his equally magisterial review of Neolithic round barrows. Ian inaugurated the British Museums Beaker Dating Programme, the results of which showed that none of the existing typologies had much chronological coherence, and his review of Peterborough Ware dates not only turned the existing chronologies on their heads but was the first paper to define a Middle Neolithic as a separate entity. His paper on the Neolithic of Scotland as seen from outside (1985, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland) remains a hugely influential paper and the excellently produced Catalogue of the Greenwell Collection (jointly with Fellow Ian Longworth) provided an important reference work of great and lasting value.
Ian was a member of the Bronze Age Studies Group and an inaugural member of the Neolithic Studies Group and was a regular and lively contributor to both. He served as Secretary of the Prehistoric Society from 1976 to 1980. As well as a brilliant mind, Ian had immense wit and a wicked sense of humour. He took exception to some archaeological theory not because he did not see its value but because he objected to the impenetrable jargon used by some of its practitioners to dress up ideas of little academic merit. Those of us who knew him well, however, also knew a real bon viveur, a man of great charm and, most of all, a family man happiest amongst close friends, family, and, of course, his grandchildren.
Anne Ross died peacefully at her home near Aberystwyth in late August; though not a Fellow, Anne was known to many of us for her empathetic research into Celtic mythology and iconography, Druidism and the cult of the head. Originally published in 1967, her Pagan Celtic Britain was a pioneering study into pre-Roman and pre-Christian beliefs that went on to inspire New Age and neo-Pagan practices. Controversially, Anne subsequently linked the death of Lindow Man, whose well-preserved remains were found in Lindow Moss bog in Cheshire in 1984, with the Roman Conquest, suggesting, in The Life and Death of a Druid Prince (1989), that British warriors fleeing westwards as the Roman legions advanced made increasingly desperate offerings to the gods, including human sacrifice, in the hope of securing their help in staving off defeat.
Salons editor is very grateful to Alan Philipp for the following account of the life of our Fellow Yvonne Hackenbroch who died on 7 September 2012, at the age of 100. Yvonne retired from the Metropolitan Museum of Art many years ago, but still had many friends in the world of art and antiquities, and she regularly attended meetings of our Society until recently.
Yvonne Hackenbroch was born on 27 April 1912 in Frankfurt am Main into the intellectual and artistic milieu of a Jewish middle-class family. Her father (Zacharias M Hackenbroch, 18841937) was an art dealer; his other relatives were in banking. The family of her mother (Clementine, née Schwarzschild, Hackenbroch, 18881984) included several art dealers mainly descended from Selig Goldschmidt, one of the greatest dealers and experts of his day. Her childhood was spent mainly in the family house overlooking the River Main, moving to their house in the beautiful medieval town of Miltenburg for the summer and spending winter holidays skiing in Switzerland. By the time Yvonne left school she was fluent in French, English and Italian as well as German. She had also visited the main museums of western Europe and was well informed about the culture and art of Germany and other countries.
Yvonne was destined to work in the arts from an early age; whilst still at school she produced a booklet about the important and royal collection of religious artefacts from the Middle Ages known as the Guelph Treasures that had been bought by her father together with two other dealers. She studied History of Art at Munich University at undergraduate and postgraduate level. She was the last Jew to gain a doctorate there in December 1936, as life became increasingly difficult under the Nazi movement. Munich University honoured her later in her life with a festschrift ceremony and papers written in her honour.
In 1938, after the death of her father, her family moved to London where she worked for the British Museum, as part of the team that excavated and catalogued the Sutton Hoo treasure, and subsequently helped to pack up and move large parts of the BM collection to storage places outside London. In 1946, at the request of the British Government, she went to Toronto as the expert responsible for the Lee Collection of Renaissance art given by Viscount Lee as a gift to Canada in appreciation of its help during the war.
While she was working on the Lee Collection in Toronto, she met James Rorimer, the Director of New Yorks Metropolitan Museum of Art. He felt she would be well qualified to work on the cataloguing of Judge Irwin Untermyers almost unrivalled collection of English decorative art objects, then still housed at Judge Untermyers home, but expected to come to the Museum eventually as a gift. Eventually Yvonne was employed full time at the museum as a curator, mainly specialising in Renaissance art. The result was a series of major works based on Judge Untermyers collection, published in the US and in the UK, covering Meissen, Chelsea and other china, silver and furniture. Many other articles followed, including her seminal work on Renaissance Jewellery (1979), that cemented her reputation as the world expert in this field.
Yvonne travelled widely to meet other curators and collectors, mainly in Europe. She went to Italy most summers, partly because she could find clothes small enough to fit her more easily in Italy than in the US. When in New York she regularly hosted parties to bring together experts and students in her apartment (generously using her contacts to help others). Once she retired from the museum she decided to move to London so as to be closer to her family and in 1987 she bought a flat in Lancaster Gate. Curators often stayed as house guests at her flat. Her research continued and she wrote and had published a book on Enseignes: Renaissance hat jewels in 1996. Yvonne was a familiar figure in the libraries of the Warburg Institute, the Courtauld Collection and the British Museum and up to a few months ago she still took a daily walk in Hyde Park.
The following obituary for our Fellow Maurice Hugh Keen, who died on 11 September 2012 at the age of seventy-eight, was written by Christopher Tyerman and first published in the Guardian on 26 September 2012.
Until the second world war, most British medieval historians avoided cultural history, remaining more concerned with the church, government or the law; institutions and politics. Except for the literate pious, what might have made medieval people tick was treated as self-evident, immaterial or unknowable. In the subsequent revolution of approaches, Maurice Keen played a seminal role, even if his unshakeable modesty would probably have denied it.
His major book, Chivalry (1984), which won the Wolfson Prize that year, remains one of the great works of history in English of the past seventy years, comparable with such landmarks as his old tutor Richard Southerns The Making of the Middle Ages or Peter Browns The World of Late Antiquity. After Chivalry, no one could look at Keens subject, the knightly life, unaffected by his comprehensive and nuanced exposition of the nature and significance of the culture of those who ruled western Europe for half a millennium.
Keen demonstrated that chivalry existed as a serious feature of medieval politics, religion, nobility and society, not an exotic distraction. Using a vast array of literary, visual, legal, academic and archival evidence, he dismantled the then prevalent view associated with the Dutch cultural historian Johan Huizinga that chivalry was a decadent expression of the waning of the Middle Ages.
In studies produced over forty years, he revealed the practical importance of chivalric ideals and institutions such as tournaments, dubbing, orders of chivalry and heraldry. His analytical ear was pitch-perfect in defining chivalrys implications as tonal rather than precise.
Such subtlety was evident in his doctoral thesis, supervised by the redoubtable Bruce McFarlane, published as The Laws of War in the Late Middle Ages (1965), a virtuoso piece of mature scholarship that demonstrated how the law of arms, while reflecting the international freemasonry of chivalry, was actively employed in regulating how wars were fought, a legacy that fed subsequent theories of international law. Connecting the medieval past with later social developments remained a notable aspect of Keens work, as in his last important work, The Origins of the English Gentleman (2002), which delicately traced how, between 1300 and 1500, the warrior knight transmogrified into the aristocratic gentleman.
In pioneering a radical reassessment of knightly values, Keen brought to bear his early enthusiasm for knightly literature, which found precocious expression in his first book, The Outlaws of Medieval England (1961). Many of his sharper insights were derived from subjecting a literary stereotype, such as brothers-in-arms or Chaucers Knight, to forensic examination by archival sources. Increasingly, he incorporated a sensitive exploitation of visual culture, not then so obvious a resource of historical evidence as it is today. Beside his work on chivalry, Keen also produced three general works, A History of Medieval Europe (1968), England in the Later Middle Ages (1973), and English Society in the Later Middle Ages (1990), which revealed his range and ability at lucid historical synthesis.
Yet his outstanding scholarly distinction, recognised by the Royal Historical Societys Alexander Prize medal in 1961 and his election to Fellowships of the Society of Antiquaries (1987) and the British Academy (1990), formed only part of a deeply fulfilled academic life.
A stellar undergraduate career was capped with a first in 1957 and a junior research fellowship at the Queens College (195761) before he returned to Balliol, succeeding Southern as Fellow and Tutor in medieval history (19612000). Keen became a legendary tutor, one of the few to be portrayed in his own guise in popular fiction, the semi-collapsed upholstery of his room and a tutorial on Jan Hus appearing in Frederick Forsyths The Negotiator (1989).
Keen enjoyed the company of young people upon whom he expended seemingly limitless reserves of sympathy, patience and friendship. He did not regard research and teaching as hostile competitors. In many ways he shared the values of the knights he studied loyalty, duty, service, generosity and showed these were by no means redundant. Possessed of indelible charm, with an advanced sense and capacity for enjoyment and fun, Keen was also a private man, most content exploring the ways of fish in quiet streams and enjoying his family, the centre of his happiness.
The handsome bronze medal to the left is the European Archaeological Heritage Prize, which was awarded to our Fellow Professor Willem Willems, Dean of the Faculty of Archaeology, University of Leiden, at the annual meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists held in Helsinki in September.
The prize committee described Professor Willems as a distinguished and internationally respected scholar in the field of Roman archaeology and archaeological heritage, who has played a central role in the internationalisation, integration, consolidation and modernization of archaeological heritage policies and practices in Europe during the last thirty years. Not only has he served as Director of the Dutch State Archaeological Service, State Archaeologist of the Netherlands and Inspector General for Archaeology at the Netherlands Ministry of Culture, he was also one of the initiators and authors of the Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage of Europe, a founder and subsequently President of the European Association of Archaeologists and founding President of the Europae Archaeologiae Consilium. He is currently a co-President of the ICOMOS Committee for Archaeological Heritage Management and he serves as an expert in the nominations of World Heritage Sites.
The reason for adding the European Heritage Prize to an already ample collection of distinctions, said the committee, is that Willem Willems has significantly contributed to widening of the perspective of European archaeology and heritage management. It is a widened perspective that not only helps us transgress internal European borders, but also positions European archaeology and heritage in a wider global context.
Our Fellow Gwyn Meirion-Jones writes to say that The career of our Fellow Catherine Laurent was recently marked by the publication of a Festschrift in her honour. For much of her career she had been Director of the Municipal and Metropolitan Archives in Rennes and for some eighteen years President of the Société dHistoire et dArchéologie de Bretagne, a demanding role which involves not only being President but also Editor of the Mémoires as well as organiser of the annual Congrès. Colleagues academic as well as from the world of archives collaborated to produce a volume containing some twenty-eight papers reflecting the variety and significance of archives particularly previously unpublished archival material in historical research, the majority concerning Brittany. The title, Talabardoneries ou Échos dArchives, is a play on Catherines maiden name; talabardon signifying, in Breton, a musician, a sonneur. Copies (price 25 euros) are available from The Treasurer, SHAB, c/o Archives Départementales dIlle-et-Vilaine, 1, rue Jacques Léonard, 35000 Rennes, France.
Fellow Mike Parker Pearson has joined the staff of the UCL Institute of Archaeology, in London, as Professor in British Later Prehistory. Mike is one of the directors of the Stonehenge Riverside Project and leads the Stones of Stonehenge Project, which has just completed fieldwork in Clatford, Wiltshire, looking at the possible sources of the Stonehenge sarsens and at Craig Rhos y Felin, Pembrokeshire (left), where (according to his newly published monograph on Stonehenge) Mikes team found not just a prehistoric quarry, but a perfectly preserved one, complete with hammerstones and a 4m-long, 4-tonne orthostat that had been extracted and abandoned. He will discuss the research being undertaken as part of the Stones of Stonehenge project at an Institute research seminar on Monday 29 October 2012.
Fellow Ian Burrow reports that he has just commenced an elected three-year term as Vice President for Government Relations for the American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA). It may prove to be an interesting time, Ian says, as the looming fiscal cliff faced by the Federal government, and the strong hostility to government regulation (and indeed to government itself) evident within the Republican party, inevitably raise the possibility of an assault on historic preservation laws and regulations after the November elections. Like other historic preservation organizations here in the US, ACRA is preparing to advocate hard for the Federal historic preservation programme, which centres around the iconic and successful 1966 Historic Preservation Act. Ian adds that that ACRAs excellent current President, Teresita Majewski, is also a Fellow of the Society.
Fellow Mark Staniforth writes to say that he will be in Vietnam in November for research and to teach the internationally recognised Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) training programme through a project called Underwater Cultural Heritage in Vietnam. The NAS training will be conducted by members of a team called the Bach Dang Battlefield Research Group, which has been working in Vietnam, in collaboration with the Vietnamese Institute of Archaeology, for the last four years. This project will help Vietnam to preserve and protect its underwater cultural heritage and uses the innovative crowd-funding website CommonSites to help fund the training where you will find further photographs and a more detailed account of the project, to which any donations will be gratefully received.
A number of people devoted to medieval houses, timber-framed buildings, wooden roofs and even Roman villas, gathered on Sunday 9 September in a suitably interesting timber-framed building in St Albans, which also happens to be an excellent restaurant, to celebrate the birthday of our Fellow John (J T) Smith, who achieved his ninetieth late in August 2012. A good meal was enjoyed by all and was followed by a few short appreciations which paid particular attention to Johns kindness and help to young colleagues and researchers, and his constant habit of upsetting experts with his meticulous studies.
Currently being performed at the Theatre Royal, Bath, is a new play The Welsh Boy by our Fellow Julian Mitchell (to 13 October:
The name Anti-Pamela indicates that this is one of many satires on Pamela (1740) Richardsons novel about a maidservant who goes to extreme lengths to preserve her virtue until her would-be seducer marries her and makes her mistress of his fortune. In Parrys novel, music teacher James Parry seeks to seduce his pupil, the rich heiress Mary Powell, but it turns out that while Mary is happy to be seduced, she is not prepared to surrender control of her fortune quite so easily.
Reviewing the play, the Daily Telegraph gave it four stars out of five, describing it as a funny and erotic delight … a seriously class act. The Guardian, also awarding four stars, praises this as a play about the age-old intersection of sex and class, says it portrays vividly the way sex relieves the monotony of small-town life in eighteenth-century Herefordshire, but thinks the love scenes could afford to be even steamier.
In a report on the DNA of Mesolithic Europeans, the last issue of Salon referred to geneticist Carles Lalueza-Fox, of the University of Barcelona, as she. Fellow Keri Brown of the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology says that last time I saw Carles, he was definitely a he. We apologist to Carles for the error.
Thanks to the wonder of downloads, writes Fellow Vincent Megaw from Australia, I’ve just been listening to our Fellow Christine Finns suitably evocative and poetic BBC sound portrait of Jacquetta Hawkes suitable that is for the co-author with our Fellow Martin Henig of Outside Archaeology: material culture and poetic imagination. Like Martin, I remember the Festival of Britains Dome of Discovery, even if I was even more impressed by the Roland Emett train in the nearby Battersea Gardens. Jacquettas exhibition, The Land, was indeed notable for the group of dioramas which, after the Festival, began a second life in the Jewry Wall Museum in Leicester where they were just as popular with my students even if Stuart Piggott got it all wrong about the lack of evidence for clothing in prehistory.
Great too to hear Nicholas Hawkes, whom I remember when, as a schoolboy, he was digging at Gwithian, as did Simon Hepworth Nicholson son of Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson and the son of potter Bernard Leach. But I digress.
I have a nasty feeling that it was Stuart who taught us a verse (of which I am sure Salon will allow only the first line): J B Priestly, fat and beastly. I also recall my mother saying that she used to meet Jacquetta at CND meetings.
Still, it is true that Jacquetta doesnt seem to be as much in our archaeological consciousness as she should. Despite Barry Cunliffes telling summation of Jacquettas contribution, I have to point out an omission. On page xiii of Communities and Connections, Barrys Festschrift, published by Oxford University Press in 2007, is a picture of a ridiculously young Barry at Fishbourne while just visible on the right is Mortimer Wheeler, both duly captioned. The central figure unidentified but fashionably dressed as ever, and only slightly over-trimmed, is the Archaeological Correspondent of the Sunday Times one Jacquetta Hawkes.
By way of a postscript, Vincent reports that the block-buster exhibition, The World of the Celts: centres of power treasures of art, opened at the Baden-Württemberg State Museum of Archaeology and the Württemberg State Museum last week, showcasing the role of the Celts of the first millennium BC as one of the formative forces in European history (on until 17 February 2013), and that the British Museum and National Museums Scotland are planning big exhibitions on the Celts for 201516.
Vincent is also gratified by the fact that our Fellow Ian Ralston has a new title at Edinburgh University: he is Head of Archaeology and fourth Abercromby Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology (in succession to Vere Gordon Childe, Stuart Piggott and Dennis Harding). As Salon readers may well remember, Vincent has been lobbying hard for several years for the University to do the right thing and appoint someone to the chair, which was left vacant after Fellow Dennis Hardings retirement in 2007.
12 October 2012: Two Burne-Jones Manuscripts: the account books and Morris & Co cartoon book, by Dr Douglas Schoenherr, 6.15pm for 6.45pm, hosted by the British Society of Master Glass Painters (BSMGP), at The Art Workers Guild, 6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR. Dr Schoenherrs transcription of the Morris & Co account books detailing the stained-glass commissions of Edward Burne-Jones, is a highlight of the Burne-Jones Special Issue of the Journal of Stained Glass (see Books by Fellows below), which will be officially launched at this event.
The lecture will discuss the uniquely comic nature of the account books and what they tell us about the friendship between Burne-Jones and William Morris; it will explore the long-running and almost universally misunderstood complaint-in-jest that the artist was underpaid, and it will examine the artists surprisingly frank assessment of his own design successes and failures. See the BSMGP website for booking details, send an email or telephone Helen Robinson (01582 764834).
13 October 2012: Army Medicine: from leeches to lasers, from 10.30am to 5.30pm, National Army Museum. The recent lecture to the Society on the work of Operation Nightingale in using archaeology to help injured soldiers recuperate has thrown light on the history of army medicine, which is the theme of this day of talks, in which military historians and medical practitioners review battlefield practice from the English Civil War and the Western Front to the present day.
18 October, 2012: In Pursuit of Special Interest: heritage designation in the twenty-first century, by Fellow Roger Bowdler, Designation Director, English Heritage, the Nigel J Seeley Memorial Lecture hosted by the UCL Centre for Sustainable Heritage, A V Hill Lecture Theatre, Medical Sciences Building, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT.
Next year sees the centenary of the 1913 Ancient Monuments Amendment Act, a landmark piece of legislation that introduced designation and protection processes that are now exercised by English Heritage. This talk looks at the development of designation and the challenges it now faces in an age of limited resources, multiple values and an ever-faster pace of change. It asks what role the state has in protecting heritage when regard for private property has long been an attribute of English society and looks at the careful balancing act that is required between the celebration of special interest in the historic environment and the triggering of regulation and control.
This is a public lecture, to which all are welcome; please send an email to Bethia Tyler if you would like to attend.
30 October 2012: The Restoration of Hadlow Tower, the Vivat Trusts annual lecture, to be given by Lucinda Lambton and Paul Sharrock, 7pm at St Pauls, Knightsbridge. Long deemed a Building at Risk, Grade-I listed Hadlow Tower was built in 1838 by Walter Barton May as part of Hadlow Castle, who inherited the building project from his father (the archive photograph to the left shows the tower and castle before the latter was demolished in 1951). Based on Beckfords Tower, the tower is the tallest surviving folly in the UK. At 53 metres, it is a well-known landmark dominating the Kent plains. Following years of neglect, the tower is being restored as a holiday property with public exhibition space on the ground floor. For further information, see the Vivat Trust’s website.
24 November 2012: Who invented the Shakespearean theatre? Burbage and Shakespeare and/or Henslowe and Alleyn, 10am to 5pm, The University of Reading. New digital resources such the University of Readings Henslowe-Alleyn Digitisation Project and recent excavations by Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) are allowing us to re-evaluate our standard assumptions about drama, theatre and playhouses in the age of Shakespeare. This one-day conference brings together, for the first time, the MOLA archaeologists who excavated the remains of The Theatre and the Rose, Globe and now the Curtain playhouses, with leading scholars on Burbage, Shakespeare, Henslowe and Alleyn to discuss playhouses and acting companies and the writers, actors and entrepreneurs and to address the question of who invented the theatre that we know as Shakespearean.
Speakers include our Fellows Grace Ioppolo (who is organising the conference), Sally-Beth MacLean and Julian Bowsher (see Books by Fellows below). For further information, see the University of Reading.
19 January 2013: The Third Conference on New Insights into Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-century British Architecture, organised by Fellows Claire Gapper and Paula Henderson, from whom booking forms may be obtained, at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BE, from 10am to 5pm.
Speakers and topics include James Jago on Commonwealth Conundrum: Brasenose College Chapel and architectural identity in early modern Oxford, 165663; Fellow Roger Bowdler on Ghastly Grim: Londons memento mori churchyard gateways; Christopher Sealey on Sir Thomas Treshams Market Hall at Rothwell, Northamptonshire; Emily Mann on It puts us to begin the world anew: natural destruction and the reconstruction of Englands early colonies; William Napier on Continuity, Transition and Change: the development of plaster decoration in late seventeenth-century Scotland; Duncan James on Decorating the Vernacular: expressions of status in the sixteenth-century timber-framed house; Shannon Fraser on To welcome guests with kindness: expressing the hospitality of nobility in designed landscapes of the Scottish Renaissance; and Fellow Sally Jeffery on Moor Park, Hertfordshire, in the seventeenth century.
The year 2013 sees the City of Derry-Londonderry mark its status as the UK City of Culture. As part of the celebrations, the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology and the Irish Post-Medieval Archaeology Group are hosting a joint conference at the Verbal Arts Centre within the historic walls of the city. The conference, to be held on 2225 February 2013, is intended to situate the 1613 granting of the citys charter within its broader historical context, while also considering the ways in which the early modern urban fabric continues to shape contemporary lives. The conference will feature public workshops, a guided tour of the city walls, field trips to nearby archaeological sites and formal papers, for which proposals are being sought on aspects of the evolution, character and continuing legacy of sixteenth- to eighteenth-century urbanisation within and well beyond Ireland and Britain.
If you are interested in presenting a paper, please send a 100-word abstract before 31 October to Fellow Audrey Horning.
Hosted by the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Saint Louis University, Missouri, USA, the First Annual Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies will take place on 17 to 19 June 2013 and will provide a convenient summer venue in North America for scholars in all disciplines of the medieval and early modern worlds to present papers, organise sessions, participate in roundtables and engage in interdisciplinary discussion. The deadline for the submission of proposals is 15 December 2012. Further information can be found on the symposiums web page.
Two new books by Fellows have just been published by Scala Publishers. The first, by David Gaimster, is in the Directors Choice series, in which national gallery and museum directors present a personal selection of items from the collections they curate. In the case of The Hunterian, University of Glasgow (ISBN 9781857597141; Scala Publishers), David is right to call the collection encyclopaedic, for his selection includes a map of the world produced for the imperial Chinese court in 1674 by the Flemish cartographer Ferdinand Verbiest, a late eighteenth-century Tonganese headrest, brought back by Sir Joseph Banks from Cooks third Pacific voyage (the one in which he met his death), and a series of rooms, designed by Charles Rennie Macintosh and Margaret Macdonald Macintosh in Glasgow art nouveau style in 190614, rescued from 6 Florentine Terrace, Hillhead, when it was demolished in 1963, and reconstructed in the Hunterian.
What holds such a diverse collection together is that every object in Davids section has a fascinating story: the magnificent bluefin tuna, for example, which has ended up taxidermised and on display thanks to Dr John Scouler, Keeper of the Museum of the Andersonian Institution in Glasgow, who spotted it for sale in Glasgow fish market in 1830, where the fishmonger described the 10-foot long specimen as a fine mackerel, that had been caught in a herring net in the Clyde estuary. Then there is the 4.56-million-year-old meteorite fragment, described by David as the oldest object at the Hunterian; [one that] pre-dates the birth of our own planet, that fell to earth from the asteroid belt (between Mars and Jupiter) on 5 April 1804, narrowly missing quarrymen at work at High Possil on the edge of Glasgow, who thought, from the violent whizzing noise and the trail of smoke that they had been the target of a cannon ball that had landed a few feet from where they were working.
These and such objects as a Roman drain cover from the Antonine Wall (AD 1423), the joyful dancing nudes of John Duncan Fergussons Scottish Colourist painting, Les Eus (1910), and a Rowlandson cartoon of prurient Connoisseurs (1799) ogling a painting of a lascivious Venus, succeed in doing what this type of guide book aims to do whetting your appetite and making sure that you head for the Hunterian at the earliest opportunity.
The second of the two guides is more of a coffee-table book in terms of its size and its numerous excellent illustrations, ranging from some of the earliest surviving views of the enormous medieval cathedral with its skyscraping spire, one of the tallest in Europe in its day, to recent pictures of The Queens Diamond Jubilee Thanksgiving service. In between are Wrens plan for a rationalised post-Fire London, all geometric blocks (and frankly, just a touch boring compared to the tangle of medieval alleys and lanes preserved in todays street plan), along with his original Greek cross design for the new cathedral (again, one cant help feeling that the building that we ended up with is an improvement). Other pictures draw our attention to touching and heroic monuments we might miss, details of Grinling Gibbons carvings for the choir stall, the elegant library above the south aisle, which few ever normally see, with its 1720s woodwork by Jonathan Maine, and the still-controversial Venetian-style mosaics above the quire, completed in 1907.
The text of St Pauls Cathedral: 1400 years at the heart of London (ISBN 9781857598025; Scala Publishers) is by our Fellow Ann Saunders, who demonstrates how well she knows every inch of the building with her insights into the heating arrangements, her constant reminders to us to move our attention from the over-large marble figures with their classical poses and togas to the bas-reliefs on the pedestals in which the real story is told of the heroic individual commemorated in the cathedrals many monuments. She draws our attention to the many memorials that were added long after the death of the person they commemorate: John Wyclif (d 1384), not given a plaque until 1986, for example, or Sir Philip Sydney, whose funeral took place in the medieval cathedral but who is remembered in the new by an elegant tablet carved by David Kindersley in 1985.
All this and more comes on top of what you would expect from such an author, a lively account of the history and archaeology of the various church buildings on this site, well supported by vivid quotations, such as the one in which Christopher Wren wastes no tears on the demise of the old cathedral and contemplates with relish the opportunity to build anew: I must comfort you as I would a friend for the loss of his Grandfather, he wrote to Dean Sancroft, by saying in the course of nature you could not enjoy him, so many and so evident were to me the signs of its ruin when I last viewed the building.
Also packed with fine photographs taken by our Fellow Peter Cormack is the Burne-Jones Special Issue of The Journal of Stained Glass (ISBN 9780956876218; British Society of Master Glass Painters), and they serve to bring home what a talented and productive designer Burne-Jones was and what a major role he played in the rejuvenation of stained-glass art in Britain. He seemed to have been born fully fledged in the art of stained glass: his first ever design, the 1857 Good Shepherd window made for a church in Maidstone, is said to have driven Ruskin wild with joy. He quickly soared to greater heights: in the 1870s, in partnership with William Morris, he was producing an average of one new cartoon every eight-and-a-half days.
Several of the contributors seek to pin down the secret of his trademark style. John Christian suggests that his figures are sculptural; they convey a strong sense of three-dimensional form, which perhaps reflects his many years of studying Michelangelo, the Elgin Marbles and other antique sculptures in the British Museum. Fiona MacCarthy points to the richness of colour in his work, and papers by Albert Tannler and Brian Clarke take us into the technicalities of glassmaking, the experiments conducted at the time into the precise composition of medieval glass, and Burne-Joness quest for the same deep colours that were available to the medieval artists who created the windows of the French Gothic cathedrals that he admired. Towards the end of his career (in 1895), Burne-Jones wrote wryly of contemporary critiques of his work: What with my extraordinary love of bright colour, and my extraordinary love of dark colour and my extraordinary love of chiaroscuro and my extraordinary love of a hard clear line among my many loves I get into difficulties.
There is a sense of humour at work here and it comes out strongly in the Morris & Co account books for 1861 to 1900 that are transcribed and reproduced in this journal. Douglas Schoenherrs introduction rightly describes them as the funniest account books in the history of book-keeping, full of fascinating biographical tit-bits hidden amongst the pounds, shillings and pence. Schoenherrs commentary tends to take Burne-Joness marginal comments on the success or otherwise of his work too much at face value. Surely what is going on here is an extended joke that quite possibly reflects the banter that passed between Morris and Burne-Jones as they worked together at the Merton Abbey stained-glass workshops. For example, Burne-Jones records that: In a moment of inexcusable elation at the conclusion of this work I asked Mr Morris what he and his firm would do when in the course of nature I should be removed his reply was irrelevant and irreligious and even coarse for which I shall also charge. The next entry in the ledger then reads To cartoons, strain on imagination, dissylabic and coarse reply of Mr M to pathetic comment of mine: £60.
This banter takes pictorial form in four stained-glass caricatures that Burne-Jones sketched in the account books. One has the skeletal Burne-Jones himself, wearing a laurel crown and standing in triumph on the barrel-shaped stomach of a prostrate Morris, with the caption The Artist Victorious, and one suspects a joke here along lines of art versus Mammon. Further examples tread very close to accusing Morris, the socialist, of hypocrisy, portraying him as a rotund and bibulous oenophile, raising a glass of wine against a background of grapes and vine tendrils, a figure so full he is scarcely contained by the frame of Burne-Joness cartoon; on the opposite page, Burne-Jones portrays himself as a wretchedly thin figure in ragged clothes, surviving on a meagre diet of bread and water once again, the proprietor lives well and grows fat on the toil of the starving artist.
Stained glass, along with wall paintings and rood screens, feature large in Roberta Gilchrists new book, Medieval Life: archaeology and the life course (ISBN 9781843837220; Boydell), a fascinating and compendious book packed with information gathered together to illustrate and analyse the material culture of everyday life in the Middle Ages. Very specifically, as the subtitle indicates, Roberta is concerned with the material culture specific to different stages of human life, from conception and birth to death and burial, with all the different stages in between, and all the further differences that social status, occupation and gender make to the ways in which your experience of the material world might have differed during this period.
We are reminded that there is nothing in the world that does not have a symbolic meaning, and that some objects had an even richer cluster of metaphorical meanings then because of their potential to work magic or miracles, something we now tend to discount, but that was very much alive in the minds of those who paid good money for relics or who put shoes up chimneys or who curated certain heirlooms: some hint of the latter practice comes from Jan van Eycks Arnolfini Portrait (1434) in which the figure interpreted as Arnolfinis wife wears a head-dress that is a generation out of date: Roberta tells us that headgear was one of the forms of heirloom most often handed down the generations from mother or grandmother to a young woman on her betrothal or marriage.
The book is full of such insights that help you understand the meaning of particular items of clothing depicted in medieval funerary monuments, for example, or in poetry (Criseydes lack of a head covering in Chaucers description seems natural enough to us but would have signalled shocking sexual wantonness to his contemporary audience) but then, the book is equally good on stones, coins, wax, bone, pottery, needles, bits of wood, toys, beads, dice, shells stuff that archaeologists frequently encounter whose human significance is here explained (with a gratifying number of references to papers that have appeared in the Antiquaries Journal or to the work of Fellows more widely).
Our understanding of Shakespeares material world has come on by giant leaps in the last twenty-five years or so, not least as a result of MOLAs excavation of The Theatre, The Curtain, The Rose and The Globe, all playhouses of significance because of their Shakespeare connection. But Fellow Julian Bowshers new book, Shakespeares London Theatreland: archaeology, history and drama (ISBN 9781907586125; MOLA), ranges far more widely than this core group to present what we know about all the theatres that flourished in London for that remarkable period between 1567, when the Red Lion, the first public playhouse of the Shakespearean era was built in Whitechapel, and 1642, when Parliament banned playhouses altogether. With an emphasis on the archaeology of those theatres that have been located and excavated, the book gives us a real insight into the unusual form of these new and experimental buildings, and the physical environment in which the plays of Shakespeare, Marlowe, Jonson and the like were enacted, and what impact the design and intimate scale of these buildings might have had on the performance.
The book ends with eight well-thought-out walks that take you to the sites of the playhouses, to the taverns that playwrights and actors used to frequent, to the house (6 Silver Street) where we now know Shakespeare lodged, and to the places where Shakespeares friends, fellow actors and playwrights were born, baptised, fought and died in duels or are buried.
The subject of Shakespeares first tragedy, Antony, Cleopatra and the Fall of Egypt, is also the title of the new British Museum book (ISBN 9780714122748) by David Stuttard and Fellow Sam Moorhead. The date of the title has been chosen because that was the year in which the conflict between Egypt and Rome came to a head in the Battle of Actium, a conflict that has long been romantically expressed in terms of the personalities of the key protagonists and the bonds of love that tied Antony and Cleopatra.
The authors set out to remove the accretions of Roman propaganda and 2,000 years of subsequent drama, poetry, art and mythology to ask what really happened, though the lively text does not altogether eschew the anecdotal or the vividly described event (the chapter enticingly called Marked Woman begins with The beat of oars [that] had marked the rhythm of Cleopatras life and goes on to describe her garland-festooned galley gliding into the royal harbour).
That simply serves to make a well-illustrated book all the more readable.
From two of the best-known characters in Egyptian history we turn to the period that Fellow Aidan Dodson describes in The Afterglow of Empire (ISBN 9789774165313; The American University in Cairo Press) as a little-known and turbulent period of Egyptian history the 500 years between the eleventh and the sixth centuries BC, when the power and the glory of the imperial pharaohs of the New Kingdom crumbled in the face of internal crises and external pressures, ultimately reversed by invaders from Nubia and consolidated by natives of the Nile Delta following a series of Assyrian invasions.
To this obscure, confusing and problematic period, Aidan brings the eye of clarity, reconsidering the evidence and proposing a number of new solutions to the problems of the period. He also considers the art, architecture and archaeology of the period, including the royal tombs of Tanis, one of which yielded the intact burials of no fewer than five pharaohs. The book is extensively illustrated with images of this material, much of which is little known to non-specialists of the period.
Aimed at visitors to Englands newest national park, Fellow John Manleys introduction to The Archaeology of the South Downs National Park (ISBN 9780904973228; Sussex Archaeological Society) has been described (by Fellow David Allen) as evocative, romantic … full of information but in a compelling narrative of interwoven themes.
This is the first book under the editorship of Fellows Robin Milner-Gulland and John Manley that the Sussex Archaeological Society intends to produce in the South Downs Series (in preparation are guides to the wildlife, and to the landscape and geology of the South Downs), and it provides a lively introduction to the principal monuments in the recently designated national park. John Manley chooses to describe these thematic headings so as to stress the continuities between archaeological periods, rather than the differences, so that From the Earth looks at the ways in which flint and chalk have been exploited from the Mesolithic (tools and weapons) to the recent past (Beeding Cement Works, near Shoreham, which closed in 1991, having started as a chalk quarry in 1851). What comes across is a wide and deep knowledge of the South Downs and an infectious love of the area, as well as a strong encouragement to get out and get to know it, and to find out more by getting involved with a local history and archaeology society.
Fellow Andrew Lawsons book on Painted Caves: Palaeolithic rock art in western Europe (ISBN 9780199698226; Oxford University Press) also has the feel of a personal tour guide, taking you round twenty key cave sites in France and Spain and pouring out information on their dating, imagery and possible meanings. Andrew says that he finds the lack of contextual description in books on Upper Palaeolithic art frustrating: they get up close to the art but give no sense of what sort of environment surrounds the caves and might have influenced those who created the images. Hence he seeks to give a portrait of the region and a sense of place, as well as detailed site accounts.
His introductory chapters are also intended to explain how we know what we know about these sites: when and how they were discovered, how the discoveries were received and the works interpreted, the slow but steady pace of scientific dating techniques, the big conservation issues and such fraught questions as what these scenes mean and whether they are all art. On the question of whether or not rock art is the product of shamanism and the realm of the spirits entered by means of hallucinogens and trance, he is, like most site guides, a determined fence sitter, aware no doubt that many of his readers are likely to bring their opinions already formed and fixed, but he does work in some fine quotations from our Fellow Paul Bahn, dismissing such ideas as among the silliest ever made.
David Phillipson explains in an epilogue to this book why he calls it Foundations of an African Civilisation (ISBN 9781847010414; James Currey); the word foundations is intended to signal how much there is still to know about what is now northern Ethiopia and southern Eritrea, the heartland of the Aksumite kingdom that flourished during the first seven centuries AD. His book presents a critical outline of current knowledge, but, he argues, this tends to be historical and art historical in nature, based on studies of elite culture in the form of literature and manuscript illumination, coinage and metallurgy, stelae, tombs, sculpture and inscriptions and, most especially, the astonishing churches.
All of these are given their due here, even as the author points to the gaps, calls for a more multidisciplinary approach and suggests that future research needs to aim for a more comprehensive understanding of the people of the northern Horn of Africa over time, including the non-elite elements; to study the homes, the settlements, the material culture and the agricultural and commercial practices of the people who fed the population, worked in the quarries and transported materials. He is convinced that there is much continuity between past and present and that there is much to be gained from studying, rather than ignoring, what is referred to as the decline of Aksum. His hope for the future is placed in the increasing numbers of Ethiopian and Eritrean scholars who are embarking on careers involving the study of their own countrys past and the preservation of its remains to whom, one feels, this book is tacitly dedicated.
This Guide to the Muniments of Westminster Abbey (ISBN: 9781843837435; Boydell) is Richard Mortimers valediction, completed in December 2011, just before his retirement, as a distillation of all that he had learnt about the labyrinth (physical and metaphorical) that he spent twenty-six years exploring as Keeper of the Muniments. Richards account of the history of the archive and of the work of his predecessors is vivid and gently humorous; he observes, for example, that a notable characteristic of empty spaces is that they soon fill with objects; but that archives are vulnerable to periodic clearances, due to crises of accommodation or perceptions of irrelevance to immediate concerns a truism that perhaps applies more to the wider world of libraries and archives, one suspects, than to the Westminster Abbey Muniments under its most recent Keeper.
There follows an account of the 67,000 or so items in the catalogue, described by date and type, including accounts and deeds, estate records, fabric records, charity records and what must be a rich resource for scholars of the history of liturgical music records of the music sung at services in the Abbey going back to the late-seventeenth century. There are photographs too, of stained glass subsequently destroyed, of funerals (Gladstones), of Queen Victorias Jubilee (1887) and of the coronation of 1902, as well as sound recordings going back to the 1920s. There is much more packed into this volume, modestly described by its author as a first approximation to a guide, but one that is likely to spark off all sorts of future research.
Edited by Fellows Robin Myers, Michael Harris and Giles Mandelbrote, Publishing the Fine and Applied Arts 1500 to 2000 (ISBN 9780712358477; British Library) is about the role played by printed books and the publishing trade in disseminating the ideas and theories, the practical information and the actual designs of artists and architects from the sixteenth century onwards.
Palladios I Quattro Libri dellArchitettura (The Four Books of Architecture), first published in Venice in 1570 and the subject of a paper by our Fellow Charles Hind, is a prime example of a series of books that have been enormously influential on architectural practice, but is not the earliest examined in this book. As the essay by Fellow Malcolm Jones informs us, that honour goes to the Books of Hours printed in Paris on an industrial scale, including many editions adapted to the Sarum Use clearly designed for mass export to England either side of the year 1500. Malcolms paper shows how the border designs in these Horae were translated into misericord scenes at Bristol Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and Beverley Minister, sculptures in stone in the De La Warr chantry chapel at Boxgrove, bench ends at Crowcombe and East Lyng, in Somerset, and illustrations in any number of English Books of Hours.
Fellow Mirjam Foot investigates the boundaries between art and craft specifically with reference to bookbinding, while Fellow Charles Sebag Montefiore draws on his own extensive collection of printed catalogues of private art collections from the early 1600s in discussing competition and emulation amongst wealthy art collectors, and the role of such catalogues in dictating fashions and defining standards of taste. By contrast, Fellow Rowan Watson looks at the popular end of the market and the way that the development of inexpensive colour printing from the 1840s to the 1870s, coinciding with the emergence of the first public museums and art galleries, enabled the production of cheap guidebooks and hand-books to the collections, illustrated artists biographies and instruction manuals on the techniques of drawing and painting (especially in watercolour) that did much to raise awareness of fine art among the masses, something strongly encouraged by those who believed that exposure to art was morally edifying.
There is a popular belief amongst publishers that architectural monographs on single buildings do not sell, so congratulations to our Fellow Anthony Peers for persuading his publisher to defy conventional wisdom and produce this handsome volume devoted to Birmingham Town Hall (ISBN 9781848220744; Lund Humphries), with its preface by Fellow Frank Salmon. But then, as Anthony tells it, this is not just the story of a supremely dignified building, it is also the story of the civic, social and political life of Birmingham and its florescence from small town to industrial capital of the Midlands, a process whose consequences were captured in a popular song of 1828, I cant find Brummagem, in which the singer returns to the town of his birth after twenty tears and laments that ‘every place is altered so, theres hardly a single place I know. One of the many strengths of this book is the number of illustrations that document this process through maps, drawings, paintings and engravings showing the before and after Birmingham.
Anthony also tells us about the design competition and selection process, sets Birminghams Town Hall in the context of other buildings of this type in the Golden Age of town hall construction spawned by the Municipal Reform Act of 1835, which formalised the right of ratepayers to elect their own town council, the sources for and influences on the design, the construction process, the interior decorations and the many uses to which the building has been put not least (as lovers of every kind of music, from classical to folk rock will know) as a wonderful concert venue, especially atmospheric when one of the great home-grown bands is playing, whether the CBSO or Black Sabbath.
When Salons editor was digging with Fellows Martin Millett and Simon James at Cowderys Down in 1979, the discovery of a sixth- to seventh-century settlement on what had been assumed to be a Civil War encampment on the hill opposite Basing House caused a rapid rethink; there were almost no parallels for the site (other than nearby Chalton), and there was a very real sense of excitement and of excavating something new and hitherto unknown as the full complexity of the site began to be revealed. The amount of fieldwork and publication that has taken place since then means that Fellow Helena Hamerow is able to review eighty-four separate settlements from the period in her new book, Rural Settlements and Society in Anglo-Saxon England (ISBN 9780019903253; Oxford University Press).
While still nowhere near as much data exists for Britain as for Scandinavian countries at the same period, this is enough for Helena to be able to discern the broad development of building types and standardised ground plans from the fifth to tenth centuries, including regional variations. From this base she moves on to discuss settlement forms and community structures on the basis of building ensembles and their related boundaries, enclosures and cemeteries. Running through the discussion of the evidence is an analysis of the functions of the spaces within buildings, of different building types and of the subdivisions of entire settlements and how these might reflect agricultural practices and industrial processes, social status and ritual and, of course, how all of these things changed and developed over the 500 years covered by the book.
The result is a much more complete and complex picture of the period than one might have thought possible, and the suggestion that the collapse of Roman-style mass production and long-distance trade in the early fifth century led to a rebuilding of the economy from the ground up. Anglo-Saxon settlements, and the material culture associated with them, reflect the changes that occurred as a peasant economy based on households producing what they consumed evolved into an economy based on specialisation, making foodstuffs and goods for others to consume and consuming those made by others. Medium- and longer-distance trade networks are built as production became increasingly specialised and increasingly geared towards consumers outside the community, leading to new types of settlement, including specialist emporia. Helena maps out the many detailed studies that remain to be done to flesh out this analysis, including the question of regional variation, raising the possibility that the absence of settlements readily datable to the Anglo-Saxon period in the north west and south west of England might be down to the continuing persistence of … essentially Iron Age architectural forms.
The Complete Roman Legions (ISBN 9780500251836; Thames & Hudson) is the first scholarly history in English since 1928 of all of Romes imperial legions, written by two members of Swansea Universitys College of Arts and Humanities, our Fellow Nigel Pollard and Joanne Berry. Nigel says that much new primary evidence for the Roman legions has come to light since H M D Parker wrote The Roman Legions more than eighty years ago. For me, recent highlights include the evidence from Kalkreise in Germany for the AD 9 Roman defeat in the Teutoburg Forest, the inscribed gravestones from Apamea in Syria that tell us so much about the organisation and men of the legion II Parthica, and newly discovered inscriptions that show the geographical extent of the Roman military presence in the ancient world, such as those of the legions II Traiana and VI Ferrata from the Farasan Islands off the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia.
The book covers aspects of military history, evaluating recent scholarship on the tactics, equipment and organisation of the legions, but, says Nigel, much of my interest in the Roman army lies in such aspects as the social and ethnic origins of recruits, the armys role in policing the provinces and how particular legions and individual soldiers engaged with the people and physical environments around them.
National Trust Architectural Panel; application deadline 5pm on 2 October 2012
A volunteer is being sought to join the Architectural Panel with experience in one or more of the following areas: the conservation of historic buildings, the sensitive adaptation of historic buildings to new uses, the design of sustainable architecture of today; conserving historic landscapes and designing sensitive interventions within important landscapes; designing and implementing projects for generating sustainable energy and sustainable design; assessing the significance of historic buildings and considering the implications of proposals for their alteration and change.
The role requires a commitment of approximately fifteen days a year, and is for an initial term of three years with the potential for the term to be renewed. Applicants need to submit a short CV and a covering letter saying why they are motivated to join the Panel to Becci Shanks, Panel Administrator; tel: 0207 799 4557). For further information about the role and the work of the Architectural Panel, please contact Dr Edward Diestelkamp, Secretary; tel: 0207 799 4557).
English Heritage Advisory Committee (EHAC); expressions of interest by 17 October 2012
EHAC advises English Heritage, on request, on historic environment issues that are novel, contentious, exceptionally sensitive, technically or intellectually complex or that raise broader policy issues (see the English Heritage website for the precise terms of reference). English Heritage is currently seeking four new members with expertise respectively in architectural history and gardens, Roman and/or prehistoric archaeology, architecture and urban design, and urban regeneration and planning.
Applicants should write to Vida Cody, Commission Secretariat Manager, explaining why they are interested (no more than two sides of A4) and enclosing a CV.
Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) regional committees; closing date 22 October 2012
The HLF is currently seeking to recruit up to two committee members in Wales, eight committee members to join four committees in the East of England, the East Midlands, the West Midlands and the South West and a new committee chair for the North West Committee. HLF regional committees make decisions on individual grants between £100,000 and £2 million and provide a crucial local perspective to the HLFs UK-wide Board on larger grants, on the funding priorities for the region/country and on applications submitted within targeted programmes. Committee members also play a vital role as ambassadors for HLF in their region/country.
For further information, see the HLF website.
Montagu Evans LLP; Senior Heritage Adviser
Fellow Dr Chris Miele is seeking to recruit a Senior Heritage Adviser to join the highly regarded Planning and Development Department at Montagu Evans, the development consultancy that offers a range of valuation, investment and planning services, and that works on many high-profile and challenging projects for major developers (CIT, Land Securities, Chelsfield, Standard Life) across all sectors. Founded in 1921, the practice has more than 230 staff, mostly based in Mayfair, a well-established loyal client base and a strong profile of central London projects.
This position provides a rare opportunity to join a leading property consultancy and the successful candidate will be highly motivated and creative, able to work independently, to a very high standard and with entrepreneurial flair. The firm offers a competitive package of benefits; high-potential candidates are able to progress in proportion to their success and are rewarded accordingly. Interested candidates should send a CV with a short statement describing how they believe they would contribute to the teams work and an independently minded business culture. Further information can be obtained from Anna Walker marked Attention Dr Chris Miele (Salon Notice).