Salon Archive

Issue: 17

New improved SALON

Little by little, SALON is being improved. From now onwards, clicking once on any headline will take you straight to the relevant story. Clicking on an email address should launch your email software, with the email address already in place. Similarly, clicking on a website address should automatically launch your browser and dial-up, and take you straight to the relevant web page.

Making these changes has led to erratic distribution of SALON so apologies to those who have received it late over the last three weeks, and to those who have notified us of changes of email address that have not yet been implemented.

Weekly meeting report

This week’s meeting took the form of a ballot. Richard Jewell, FSA, exhibited a beautiful Romanesque mount, dating from the first two decades of the twelfth century, found on the Thames foreshore in London, perhaps part of a London-made casket mechanism, lost not far from its place of manufacture. A second exhibit, a ninth-century strap end fragment, was unusual in being made in two parts, with a silver face riveted to a bronze back, instead of the more normal solid silver. The hound bending its head backwards to bite on a berry was a Christianized version of the more ferocious back-biting hounds seen in Hiberno-Saxon examples.

Jeffrey West, FSA, exhibited three recent finds of medieval sculpture from Canterbury: a late thirteenth century Caen-stone head from a corbel or label stop, an early thirteenth century torso with cloud patterns carved at the base, suggesting a figure in heaven, and a very fine twelfth-century seated figure – possibly St Mildred, carrying palm fronds as a reference to Psalm 92, verse 11, ‘the righteous shall flourish like a palm-tree’. All three are likely to have come from St Augustine’s Abbey, suppressed in 1539, and demolished in 1540 to provide stone for the bastion at Calais. The remaining stone was sold to townspeople in job lots in 1555 as building material.

For a full account of Thursday’s paper, see the ‘Meeting programme’ page of the Society’s website at www.sal.org.uk.

Ballot result

As a result of the Ballot held on 16 May, the following candidates were duly elected Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries:

Michael Stammers
Elizabeth Moignard
John Allan Fidler
Margaret Bent
Judith Margaret Stevenson
Christopher John Wright
Joy Rowe
Timothy Forbes Taylor
Thilo Rehren
Sarah Ann Scott
Godfrey Goodwin
Ofer Bar-Yosef
Julian Bennett
Ia Cecilia McIlwaine
Sally Mary Foster
Stephen Robert Cosh
Robert Norman Swanson
Christine Ann Finn
Gill Andrews
Roberta Lynn Gilchrist.

Forthcoming meetings

The next meeting will take place on 23 May, when Professor Bruce Redford will deliver a paper entitled The Measure of Ruins: Dilettanti in the Levant 1750—70.

The last meeting of the season will take the form of a Miscellany of Papers, to be presented at the Summer Soirée on 20 June.

SALON feedback

SALON was launched on 14 January as an experiment, and as an adjunct to the weekly meeting reports that are now posted on the Society’s website. Because the Society’s resources are limited, the Officers wish to review just how useful this service is, and they will be meeting on 27 June to consider whether SALON should continue and whether changes are needed to its content and style. We have already had feedback from some fifty Fellows, but if you have not commented yet, and would like to, emails can be sent either to the editor, Christopher Catling at boswell@dial-house.co.uk or to the General Secretary at devans@sal.org.uk.

It would be particularly useful to know whether Fellows mainly value the meeting reports and news relating to the Society and Fellows, or whether they also value the coverage of more general news, job vacancies, conferences and exhibitions, publications and public affairs.

Fellows’ news

Bernard Morris, FSA, writes with regrettable news that the Rev John Owen Wilstead, FSA, of Swansea died suddenly in Melbourne last week whilst on a lecture tour of Australia. Bernard was an expert on the pottery and porcelain of Derby, Worcester and Swansea, and he was co-author of the book Thomas Baxter – the Swansea Years, 1816-1819 (1997).

The Independent recently carried obituaries of Barbara Robertson, FSA, who died on 14 April 2002, contributed by Neil MacGregor, FSA, and Philippa Bishop. Both paid tribute to Barbara’s work as founder of the Courtauld Institute Summer School, which proved a fertile training ground for so many future distinguished professors, directors and curators, including many Fellows. Anthony Blunt, Peter Kidson and George Zarnecki were among the world experts who shared their knowledge with students on dawn-to-dusk sightseeing trips punctuated by lectures, picnics and debates – ‘the ideal academy’, writes Neil MacGregor, and ‘heady stuff for the young student’.

Bob Croft, FSA, County Archaeologist for Somerset, writes with further news of the Roman mosaics discovered recently at Dinnington, near Ilminster. Not wishing to pre-empt the Time Team programme on the discovery that will be broadcast early in 2003, Bob is nevertheless happy to reveal that the three mosaics were of very good quality, of fourth-century date, and relate to an extensive courtyard villa complex, revealed by geophysical survey to be 100 metres long, with wings projecting for a further 50 metres on each side.

Whilst Bob Croft and David Neal were busy at Dinnington, another Fellow was making headlines not many miles east, when Andrew Fitzpatrick, FSA, Project Manager for Wessex Archaeology, announced the discovery of the richest Early Bronze Age burial ever to be found in Britain. The grave of a man aged 59 or 60 was found near Amesbury, in Wiltshire, and contains far more objects than any other burial of this date - about 2300 BC – including arrow heads and stone wristguards to protect the arm from the recoil of the bow.

Whilst the Daily Mirror instantly declared the grave to be that of ‘The King of Stonehenge’, others dubbed him the ‘Amesbury Archer’, a military or tribal leader whose trappings of power included three copper knives and a pair of gold earrings. ‘These are some of the earliest kinds of metal object found in Britain', Dr Fitzpatrick said. Fellow Andrew Lawson, Chief Executive of Wessex Archaeology, pointed out that the burial was several hundred years earlier than most of the Bronze Age burials in the Stonehenge area: ‘it raises the question of who this archer was and why his mourners buried so many valuable things with him’.

Paul Arthur, FSA, writes to enlist help in a campaign to prevent the newly elected Portuguese government from closing down the much-respected Instituto Portugues de Arqueologia (IPA), an independent body set up in 1997. Simon Davis, former English Heritage archaeozoologist, and author of The Archaeology of Animals, now works closely with the IPA and says that it has become the base for Portugal’s younger generation of home-grown archaeologists. During the last five years of its existence, the IPA has successfully established centres for the study of nautical and underwater archaeology, rock art, human palaeoarchaeology and archaeological sciences, and the Côa Valley World Heritage Site. Further information on the Portuguese government’s proposals can be found on the IPA’s web site at: www.ipa.min-cultura.pt/forum/forum.

Fellow Philippa Glanville, curator of the Rothschild Collection, and former chief curator of metalwork, silver and jewellery at the V&A, has been busy recently with the organization of a new exhibition of silver from the table of George III, to go on display at Somerset House in June. The silver consists of a magnificent collection of candelabra, tureens and coolers, marked by exuberant neo-classical decoration, from goats' heads on a wine cooler to embracing putti on a soup tureen. Philippa describes the 120 items in the collection as ‘ravishing objects – French neo-classicism at its best; even though we were at war with the French, George III knew that French silver was the best and an English king wanted only the best’. The service has been acquired from an anonymous collector by a Rothschild family trust and will be on display at the Gilbert Collection for seven months before being exhibited at Waddesdon Manor permanently.

Key policy documents

Three key documents have been published recently that might be of interest to Fellows. The English Heritage Quinquennial Review: Stage 1 Report was published on 20 May and can be downloaded from the DCMS website by going to: http://www.culture.gov.uk/heritage/index.html, and then clicking on News Releases at the base of the page.

On the previous Friday, the Heritage Lottery Fund published its Strategic Plan 2002-2007, Broadening the Horizons of Heritage, which can be downloaded from: http://www.hlf.org.uk/cgi-bin/hlfframemast.pl?K=27209.

Finally the full text of the government’s plans for creating nine regional assemblies with devolved power is contained in the White Paper: Your Region, Your Choice: Revitalising the Regions, available from: http://www.regions.dtlr.gov.uk/governance/whitepaper/.

SALON will circulate details of equivalent papers for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland if any Fellow knows where copies can be found.

Job vacancies

Here is a selection of jobs advertized in the last seven days. Fellows are encouraged to pass details on to suitably qualified students, friends or colleagues.

English Heritage, Director of Policy: to lead a small central policy group, operating at Executive Board level, with responsibility for developing high level policy with the Chief Executive, Executive Board and the Commission. The post holder will be expected to build strategic partnerships with Government and other major stakeholders, and will have a close relationship with English Heritage’s nine Regional Directors, who are responsible for delivering our services in the nine English regions.

Candidates need significant experience of high-level policy work, excellent contacts within Whitehall and within the heritage sector, and the presence and reputation to influence key opinion formers at the highest level.

CVs should be sent to Brian Davies, Human Resources Director, Room 409, 3 Savile Row, London W1S 2ET. Salary c £75,000.

The Prince’s Foundation, Chief Executive: to lead a team of 40 people at the head of an organisation dedicated to promoting a return to human values in architectural urban design and regeneration. The Chief Executive will help articulate the Foundation’s vision and will need to be effective in challenging conventional attitudes and in turning ideas into practical projects. Further information from Claire Lane at Heidrick & Struggles International Inc, email: clane@heidrick.com. Closing date 31 May 2002.

University of Dublin, Trinity College Library, Keeper of Preservation and Conservation: to succeed Anthony Cains as head of the re-named Conservation Department, which is shortly to move to new purpose-built accommodation. The Keeper will have responsibility for developing and directing preservation activities throughout the Library. Details from the Recruitment and Establishment Manager, email: recruit@tcd.ie. Salary €59,000 to €76,000. Closing date 7 June 2002.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Trustees: to fill four positions on the board of Trustees that will become vacant in October. Trustees meet six times a year for half a day and serve for three years. Trustees are sought who have specific skills in architecture, heritage, science, business, tourism or the media. Details from the DEFRA website at www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/appointments/index.htm. Closing date 13 June 2002.

National Maritime Museum, Head of Collections Group: to manage the Collections Group, meeting targets relating to collections’ documentation, audit, care and access. CVs to Human Resources, National Maritime Museum, Park Row, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF. Salary £33,000 to £40,000 plus bonus. Closing date 31 May 2002.

Heritage Lottery Fund, Senior Grants Officer and Grants Officer: for assessing grant applications and, after grants have been awarded, monitoring project development. Further information from www.hlf.org.uk.Salary £19,000 to £32,000 (Senior Officer), £15,000 to £21,000 (Grants Officer). Closing date 31 May 2002.

Ministry of Defence, Curatorial Officer Grade F: to be involved in the planning and creation of the new Adjutant General’s Corps Museum, in the old Peninsula Barracks, Winchester, showing the development of the Royal Military Police and the Royal Army Pay Corps. Further information from the website cpmmisc.mod@gtnet.gov.uk (ref 208/11/46). Salary £14,000-£23,000. Closing date 14 June 2002.

Resource, Regional Co-ordinator: contributing to the implementation of the regional development plan of Resource, the Council for Museums, Libraries and Archives. Further information Debbie Wadlow, Resource, 16 Queen Anne’s Gate, London SW1H 9AA, quoting ref RC/24/02, enclosing an A4 stamped addressed envelope. Salary £19,000 to £29,000. Closing date 31 May 2002.

Tyntesfield latest

The National Trust’s campaign to acquire Tyntesfield for the nation achieved a considerable boost when it became clear last week that the Trustees of the National Memorial Fund intend to approve a £20 million grant towards the purchase when they meet on 21 May. Fellow Mark Girouard was reported as saying ‘This is marvellous news. Tyntesfield is a fabulous place’. The Trust still needs another £15 million to maintain and conserve the contents of the house, which include the original Victorian gasworks, built to light the house and stables, medicine cabinets full of Edwardian remedies, and ledgers recording every penny of household expenditure

Henry VIII’s divorce treatise

In another action designed to protect the nation’s historic resource, Arts Minister Baroness Blackstone has announced a temporary ban on the export of the Calco Treatise, a 34-page manuscript that played a key role in influencing Henry VIII’s decision to break with Rome. The treatise was written by Giacomo Calco, a Carmelite friar who arrived in England in 1529 when the king was wrestling with the problem of whether to divorce Catherine of Aragon. The carefully argued document sets out the moral primacy of the king’s conscience over the laws of Rome.

Calco was paid handsomely for his work and would have been made Bishop of Salisbury had he not died from plague. Henry VIII had the document bound in gilt-decorated covers, but very few scholars have ever seen the manuscript, which its owner wishes to take abroad. Museums in the UK have been given until July to raise £650,000 to acquire the manuscript.

England’s Lost Houses

Christie’s is hosting a series of free lectures on the theme of the country house to be held at 8 King Street, London SW1. Complimentary champagne will be served at each lecture, several of which are being given by Fellows, as follows:

‘Reasonable Cause of Extraordinary Circumstances? Why country houses were demolished in the 20th century’, 5 June, 6.30pm, given by Giles Worsley, FSA

‘Homes or Museums? Eighteenth-century country-house interiors, 1952-2002’, 3 July, 6.30pm, given by John Hardy, FSA

‘No Voice from the Hall’, 9 July, 6.30pm, given by John Harris, FSA

‘Country Life and its Photographers’, 15 July, 6.30pm, given by Alex Starkey and Michael Hall.

To reserve a seat at any of these lectures, please contact Frances Burridge, email: fburridge@christies.com.

The lecture series will accompany the exhibition, ‘England's Lost Houses’, at Sir John Soane's Museum (21 June - 21 September), an exhibition of photographs from the Country Life Picture Library. See: www.soane.org for more information.

Anatomy of the Landscape

The Geological Society, one of the other learned societies that shares Burlington House with the Society of Antiquaries, is organizing field trips this summer for anyone interested in art and the landscape. The idea is to learn about the geological processes that have shaped the landscape and acquire landscape drawing and painting skills, at all levels, from ‘can’t draw’ to advanced. Further information from the website www.earthart.org.uk.