Salon Archive

Issue: 22

Weekly meeting report

This week�s meeting took the form of a ballot, with exhibits.

Mark Rickard exhibited an early miniature which he convincingly deduced to be a portrait of the young Charles I, as Prince of Wales, by Richard Gibson, one of the king�s court dwarves, who trained as a miniaturist.

Simon Bendall, FSA, exhibited two items from his personal collection. One was an autograph letter from Charles I, dismissing the Admiral of the Fleet, Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick (1587-1658), from his post (Rich�s refusal to resign and his take-over of the Fleet on behalf of the Puritan cause was one of the decisive acts of the early stages of the Civil War). The other was a silver spoon of c 1652 ploughed up in a field adjacent to Rich�s home, Leez Priory, bearing the Earl of Warwick�s crest.

The General Secretary exhibited two of the more unusual items from the Society�s Museum Collection. The first was a silver alloy Saxe-Gotha cut-throat razor, made by Samuel Smith, that had once belonged to Prince Albert, FSA. How it got to be in the drawer of the partners� desk in the General Secretary�s office, where it was recently found, and who gave it to the Society, remains a mystery. The second object was a whiskey bottle (empty) from Brittany (that well-known home of whiskey-making) donated by Roger Ellis, FSA, in 1989. As well as bearing a bar-code (only one of two objects in the Collection to do so � the other being a Stonehenge snow-scene sold as a souvenir by English Heritage), the bottle has a fanciful label incorporating a fake tartan design, the name �Sandy Scott Liqueur Whiskey� and the coat of arms of Llewellyn Jewitt who (as well as not having a very convincing Scottish name!) was elected a Fellow in 1853 and died in 1886. Again we can only speculate how his arms came to be selected for the label of this liqueur.

Ballot result

As a result of the ballot held on 4 July, the following candidates were duly elected Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries:

John Richard Sharp
Peter John Boughton
Harold Mattingly
Alan Edward Coates
Matthew Spriggs
Ewan Neil Campbell
Christopher Michael Woolgar
Linda Mary Hurcombe
Helen Charmian Carron
David Rhys Gwyn
Marijke Van Der Veen
Adam Zamoyski
Anthony James Monins Whitley
Peter Durrant
Murray Lloyd Chapman
Jane Clare Grenville
Christopher Henry Charles Whittick
Sheila Mary O'Connell

Forthcoming meeting

The next meeting will take place on 26 September, when Dr Silke Ackermann will deliver a paper entitled �1752 September hath only XIX days in this year� � the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar in England 250 years ago. This first meeting of the new season is taking place a week earlier than is usual in order to coincide with the calendar�s 250th anniversary.

News of Fellows

Patrick Greene, FSA, writes to say that he will be leaving his post as Director of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester on 13 August to take up a new role as Chief Executive Officer at Museum Victoria, in Melbourne, Australia � following in the footsteps of his Greene family forebears who made the momentous migration journey from Ireland to Victoria in 1856.

�Rhys� Day�, a day of research reports and celebration in memory of former Fellow Rhys Maengwyn Jones, will take place on Saturday 21 September at Burlington House, and is being jointly hosted by the Society of Antiquaries and the Prehistoric Society. Nineteen speakers are lined up to report on and discuss new work in the fields that Rhys made his own, and the day will end with a personal memory of Rhys from The Rt Hon Rhodri Morgan, First Minister for Wales, followed by a wine reception. Space is limited, so anyone wishing to attend should book in advance: details from Stephen Aldhouse-Green by emailing stephenaldhouse-green@newport.ac.uk.

Miles Fitzalan-Howard, Duke of Norfolk, FSA, died at his home in Hambleden, Buckinghamshire, aged 86, on 24 June 2002. Elected a Fellow in 1979, the 17th Duke served in the British Expeditionary Force in France, North Africa and Italy, where he won his Military Cross, which he proudly described as his real achievement, saying that �anyone can be Duke of Norfolk � it�s an accident of birth�. Remaining in the army and the Ministry of Defence, undertaking intelligence work until the late 1960s, he then joined the merchant bank Robert Fleming before succeeding as 17th Duke of Norfolk in 1972.

Hand in hand with the Dukedom went the office of Earl Marshall of England, in which capacity he managed the annual State Opening of Parliament, and spent much of his time supervising the College of Arms, spearheading major appeals to restore the College�s seventeenth-century building in 1982-3 and repair its roof in 1998. At the same time he assumed responsibility for the family home, Arundel Castle, and chaired the trust that channelled �1 million into the renovation of the castle and the adjacent Fitzalan Chapel.

Down to earth (�People think I have a footman. Actually I clean my own shoes�), he was also a fervent believer in tradition, and described his work at the College of Arms and as Earl Marshall as �all part of the remarkable fact that we haven�t had a revolution since 1688 and we haven�t been invaded since 1066�.

A service of thanksgiving will take place at Ely Cathedral on Monday 22 July 2002, at 5:30pm, in memory of Dorothy Owen, FSA, who died on 13 February 2002. Fellows are cordially invited to attend. The address will be given by the Revd Dr Judith Maltby, Chaplain and Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

Donald Bullough, FSA, died on 26 June 2002 at his home in St Andrews after losing his battle with cancer. Donald was Professor of Medieval History at St Andrew�s University from 1973 to 1991, and Dean of the University�s Faculty of Arts in 1984-8. He was best known for his pioneering study, The Age of Charlemagne (1965) and for his essays on the cultural history of the court of Charlemagne, published as Carolingian Renewal: sources and heritage (1991). Before he died, Donald managed to complete his a major work to be published later this year entitled Alcuin: reputation and achievement.

National Archaeology Days

Another full programme of events centred on Britain�s archaeological heritage will take place on 20 and 21 July, thanks to the sterling work of the CBA, and the Young Archaeologists Club. Full details are to be found on the CBA�s website at www.britarch.ac.uk/nads.

Georgian Group Caseworker Vacancy

The Georgian Group is seeking to recruit a full-time caseworker to be based in London (salary �16,480) to respond on the Society�s behalf to proposals affecting Georgian buildings, parks or monuments. For further information, telephone Robert Bargery or Clare Campbell on 020 7387 1720. Closing date 11 July.

Top jobs at English Heritage

The details of Simon Thurley�s long-awaited re-organization of English Heritage were announced on 18 and 19 June, and instead of the deep and painful redundancies that had been predicted by the rumour mill, a number of new posts were created. The organisation has been regrouped into five new directorates, focused on the core activities of Properties & Outreach, Resources, Development, Research & Standards, and Policy & Communications.

Five new posts have been advertized as a result of the new structure, details of which can be obtained by contacting Brian Davies, Human Resources Director, English Heritage, 23 Savile Row, London W1S 2ET, and quoting the appropriate reference (the closing date for all applications 12 July).

Director of Research and Standards: Ref: R/39/02 Salary �70K
Properties Presentation Director: Ref: R/40/02 Salary �50K
Conservation Director: Ref: R/41/02 Salary �50K
Visitor Operations Director: Ref: R/42/02 Salary �50K
Education and Outreach Director: Ref: R/43/02 Salary �50K.

British Museum valedictories

Robert Anderson, FSA, retired from the post of Director of the British Museum on 30 June, having weathered a stormy final month in which staff went on strike for the first time in the museum�s 250-year history, and the museum announced 150 job losses as part of a package of measures to eliminate the museum�s �6.5 million deficit. One of the Director�s final engagements was to give evidence to the All-Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group, in which he said that �Our funding is completely inadequate in terms of what government expects of us�. He described allegations of management failure at the museum as an excuse -- paying tribute to staff he said �people have extraordinary workloads and their output is already extraordinarily high�. The BM was not the only museum to suffer from the combination of cuts in funding and a collapse in visitor numbers, he said, adding that many regional museums had had to dispense with curatorial posts: �More and more we are the only significant museum in England that deals with archaeology � which is not entirely a healthy situation�.

Catherine Johns, FSA, another BM figurehead, retired on 29 May (having spent 35 years at the museum). Catherine made some trenchant points in her valedictory speech (the text is published in full in Lucerna, the newsletter of the Roman Finds Group), arguing that: �There is a chain of knowledge that is passed down within a venerable institution like this one, a form of cumulative expertise which enables each one of us to stand on the shoulders of our predecessors. The museum�s collections ... stretch back 250 years and form a database of potential knowledge and inspiration which connects us directly with all our forebears, all the way back into the eighteenth century. A museum like this one is a precious archaeological artefact in itself, an outstanding ideological and physical, concrete product of the Age of Enlightenment which is still living, flourishing and evolving today, and we should be very careful indeed about how we handle it.�

Catherine added that �our constant interaction with the general public [makes us] extremely familiar with the interests and levels of knowledge of the public, and we learn how to communicate effectively with them, whether through the labelling in the exhibition galleries, letters, lectures, full-length books, or personal conversations. We learn how to convey our hard-earned and often very obscure knowledge in succinct and accessible terms. This skill ... is something of a two-edged sword. Because we become adept at expressing difficult concepts and deep learning in simplified terms, and get into the habit of doing this whenever we converse with those who are not professional colleagues, there are people of limited understanding who imagine that our subject must be very easy � that anyone can do it, and that they are therefore entitled to instruct us simple souls on the nature of our work and how to �manage� it better.�

Royal Collection sees big drop in visitor numbers

The British Museum is not alone in seeing visitor numbers fall: The Royal Collection reported that visitors to Windsor Castle and Holyroodhouse last year fell by 300,000 because of foot-and-mouth disease and the events of 11 September. With high-spending overseas tourists absent from the UK, profits have halved, according to the Royal Collection�s annual report published on 30 June. Such falls in income have a profound effect on scholarship since curatorial work, conservation, primary research and publication are often the first activities to suffer when cutbacks have to be made.

Royal Academy appoints new General Secretary

Private Eye will no doubt have a field day with the name of the new Secretary of the Royal Academy of Arts if she fails to find favour with the Royal Academicians. Lawton Fitt (who like to be known as Miss rather than Ms) takes up her new post in October, having previously been managing director of the European high-tech division of Goldman Sachs, the US investment bank. Miss Fitt was included in Fortune magazine�s list of the most influential women in American business in 1999. One of her new challenges will be to complete the integration of the former Museum of Mankind into the Royal Academy, by raising funds in the order of �50 million.

Offa�s Dyke marks a �genetic barrier�

Scientists working at University College London�s Centre for Genetic Anthropology claim to have found significant genetic differences between modern populations living either side of Offa�s Dyke, the 150-mile long boundary between early medieval England and Wales. The research team chose seven market towns mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and recruited 313 male volunteers whose paternal grandfather had also lived in the area, studying the Y-chromosome, which is passed almost unchanged from father to son, looking for certain genetic markers.

They then compared the results with samples from populations in Norway and in Friesland, the northernmost province of the Netherlands. The English and Frisians studied had almost identical genetic make-up, but the English and Welsh were very different. It suggests that the Welsh border was more of a genetic barrier to the Anglo-Saxon Y-chromosome gene flow than the North Sea.

The team�s widely reported conclusion that a large-scale Anglo Saxon invasion wiped out the indigenous population of England but did not reach Wales is bound to be controversial. Archaeologists have argued that there is no evidence for this, and that the arrival of Anglo-Saxon culture could have come from trade or from a small ruling elite of migrants who arrived as Roman army mercenaries.

Neanderthals in Norfolk

Archaeologists working at a commercial quarry site near Thetford, in Norfolk, have found 50,000-year-old flint tools and mammoth remains. The tools consist of eight flint hand axes, and 129 pieces of worked flint, discovered in close proximity to the remains of three, or possibly four, mammoths, teeth from a woolly rhino and a reindeer antler. The site is being interpreted as a series of ponds used as a watering place by both Neanderthals and animals.

David Miles, FSA, Chief Archaeologist at English Heritage, said: �It is extremely rare to find any evidence of Neanderthals and even rarer to find it in association with mammoth remains. We may have discovered a butchery site or, what would be even more exciting, the first evidence in Britain of a Neanderthal hunting site which would tell us much about their organisational and social abilities. For the first time we may also be able to date the presence of Middle Palaeolithic hominids conclusively in Britain. It is a discovery of such international importance that English Heritage has awarded it our first grant from the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF), which was set up for projects such as this in areas affected by aggregate extraction.�

Arts minister steps in to save Apethorpe Hall

A draft compulsory purchase order was served on the owner of Apethorpe Hall � a Grade I listed country manor house in the village of Apethorpe, Northamptonshire � by solicitors acting for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on 25 June. Commenting on the legal action, Arts Minister Tessa Blackstone, said �This is a very important building, both architecturally and historically. The present owner has allowed it to fall into disrepair and has not responded to appeals over several years to restore it. The Government has decided that as a last resort it must initiate compulsory purchase action in order to ensure the building is properly preserved.�

Simon Thurley, English Heritage chief executive, added: �English Heritage is delighted that, following our advice, Tessa Blackstone has taken this vital step which we hope will safeguard Apethorpe Hall. This late fifteenth-century building is one of the most important and majestic country houses in England. Without decisive action this unique and irreplaceable building will be lost forever. English Heritage is determined that such a tragedy is not allowed to happen. Today the Government takes essential action towards rescuing Apethorpe Hall and securing its long-term future for the nation.�

Lady Brassey, who lives near the village, told reporters that it was thanks to a vigilant local caretaker, who had stayed on at the house unpaid, with a large alsatian, to prevent vandalism and theft. English Heritage has already spent in the region of �0.5 million making the house watertight, having served an urgent works notice.

Buildings conservationists have welcomed this move and are keen that local authorities should make greater use of their powers to serve repairs notices and compulsory purchase orders. An English Heritage spokesman said that issuing notices could be a valuable trigger to achieving a negotiated solution when an important building was suffering serious structural problems because of neglect.

Planning reforms should be torn up, say MPs

The All-Party Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions has condemned the proposed changes published in the Government�s Planning Green Paper, as likely to prove more costly and more time-consuming than the existing system.

The Green Paper argues that the current system inhibits economic growth and prosperity by placing barriers in the way of developers and investors. Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, has publicly expressed the view that London and the South East are losing investment to Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Hamburg because of the planning constraints on the Green Belt, industrial zoning and housing density.

The All-Party Committee (which has a Labour majority) rejected these theories as �based on anecdote and prejudice�. In its comprehensive report (published on 2 July) it says that delays are not caused by conservationists and environmentalists, as the Green paper claims, but by bureaucracy and �ministerial cowardice� in not wanting to be seen to be backing unpopular projects. The Government, the report concludes, would be more likely to achieve its objectives for regeneration and prosperity by �working with the grain of over 50 years� experience [of the present planning system] rather than stubbornly discarding it�.

Lord Rooker, the planning minister, is expected to make a statement on the future of the reforms before the parliamentary recess.

Everyone�s heritage

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell launched People and Places on 26 June, the document that sets out the Government�s views on how the heritage can play a role in tackling social exclusion. Speaking at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, in her own constituency, Tessa Jowell described social exclusion as being the feeling that museums, art galleries and libraries as well as historic buildings and landscapes were �not for the likes of us�. The heritage sector could play an important role in the Government�s agenda for tackling exclusion by involving people in decision-making about the built environment, and she described a number of successful schemes that had resulted in the transformation of run-down neighbourhoods.

Will Alsop, Chairman of the Architecture Foundation and designer of the award-winning Peckham Community Library, said that he welcomed the policy as opening up opportunities for truly creative interaction between architects and the public. Too often, he said, building projects end in acrimony � he believed the process of creating a new building or regenerating a historic townscape should be a cause for celebration � he enjoyed the process of community consultation, and offered two simple rules: insist that nobody is allowed to make negative comments and make sure that everyone has a drink in their hand (even if it is only fruit juice, it makes people more relaxed).

People and Places is available as an rtf file from www.culture.gov.uk.

Dracula bites the dust

Plans to build a Dracula Land Theme Park in the World Heritage town of Sighisoara, Romania, have been abandoned after protests by UNESCO, Greenpeace and Prince Charles, among others. The theme park (to be built in partnership with Disney) would have involved constructing a mock castle, accessible by cable car, that would have dwarfed the medieval citadel at Sighisoara, one of the best preserved in Europe, and would have involved the destruction of an 800-year-old oak forest surrounding the site. Dracula (1897), the fictional creation of Irish novelist Bram Stoker, was tangentially based on the life of Vlad the Impaler, who was born in Sighisoara and ruled Wallachia from 1456 to 1477, so called because of his habit of impaling his defeated enemies on stakes. The Romanian tourist authorities now say that they will develop eco-friendly tourism at Sighisoara, and seek a site closer to Bucharest for the theme park.