Salon Archive

Issue: 23


Several eagle-eyed proofreaders spotted errors in last week�s SALON, for which apologies. In particular, anyone who tried to contact Stephen Aldhouse-Green for further information about Rhys Day will have discovered that the email address was incorrect and should have been: St Andrew�s (the University) should, of course, have been St Andrews, without an apostrophe, and the Duke of Norfolk was Earl Marshal of England, not Earl Marshall

Forthcoming meetings

The programme of meetings for October to December 2002 is given below and includes some changes from dates previously announced (Dr Silke Ackermann�s paper will now be given on 3 October, rather than 26 September, and Linda Parry�s paper is now on 5 December):

3 October: �1752 hath only XIX days this year�: The Introduction of the Gregorian Calendar in England 250 years ago, by Dr Silke Ackermann
10 October: (Re-) Building the Christian City: Carthage in the Byzantine Era, by Dr Richard Miles, FSA
17 October: Mont Orgueil Castle, Jersey: Recent work on the Medieval and Tudor Royal Castle, by Dr Philip Dixon, FSA and Dr Warwick Rodwell, FSA
24 October: Ballot
31 October: The Ancestry of the Medieval Great Tower, by Dr Edward Impey, FSA
7 November: No Gain without Pain: Putting the Heritage on-line by Dr Elizabeth Hallam Smith, FSA
14 November: 'The Golden Chain of Beauty': Joan Evans, scholar and connoisseur, by Dr Nicola Coldstream, FSA
21 November: The Little House on the Prairie? The excavation of a major Neolithic building at Claish, near Stirling, by Gordon Barclay, FSA, K Brophy and G MacGregor
28 November: Urban Regeneration and Heritage Issues: the Gloucester Experience by John Pugh-Smith, FSA, Richard Sermon and Albert Williamson-Taylor
5 December: May Morris � author, artist and craftsworker in her own right, by Linda Parry, FSA
12 December: A Miscellany of Papers


The Times for 3 July carried the obituary of Professor Peter Isaac, FSA, who died on 15 June 2002, aged 81. Peter was credited with playing a large part in establishing two very different academic disciplines � public health engineering and book history � with the rare distinction of having been President of the Bibliographical Society and of the Institution of Public Health Engineers. His professional life was spent in the civil engineering department of Newcastle University, contributing significantly to helping the poor in developing countries through his work on the provision of water supplies and wastewater and refuse disposal. But his early love of books bore fruit in his retirement when Peter became an expert on the history of provincial publishing and bookselling, setting the history of the book trade in England over six centuries in its wider social context. Among the many activities that Peter initiated was the annual British Book Trade Seminar, a three-day conference that he convened. The papers from this year�s conference, held in Worcester, are shortly to be published as a festschrift in his honour.

The Times for 16 July carried the obituary of Kenneth Snowman, FSA, who died on 9 July 2002, aged 82. The obituary describes Kenneth Snowman as a rare combination of acute businessman, learned academic and artist. As an employee of the family firm of Wartski, the Mayfair jewellery dealers, he developed an unrivalled knowledge of the work of the Russian court jeweller Carl Faberg�, and published the first of several books � The Art of Carl Faberg� � in 1953. Enthusiastic about opera and art in almost equal amounts, Snowman spotted Roy Strong, then director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, one evening in the mid-1970s at the Royal Opera House and almost casually suggested an exhibition on the work of Faberg� to mark the Queen�s Silver Jubilee in 1977. It was agreed then and there, and Snowman went on to organise one of the most successful shows ever held at the V&A.

David Breeze writes with the sad news that Mike Apted, FSA, died in Kingston hospital on 10 July. Mike was the author of several books on painted ceilings in Scotland and a former Assistant Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments. He was the only member of the Inspectorate to have served in Scotland, Wales and England.

The Brian Hope-Taylor Archaeological and Personal Papers Project

Miriam R McDonald, of the National Monuments Record of Scotland (NMRS) Collections, RCAHMS, writes with a progress report on the Hope-Taylor Archive. When former Fellow, the late Brian Hope-Taylor died, his archaeological and personal papers were taken to the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Edinburgh, from his house in Cambridge. Basic stabilisation and conservation began on 1 July 2002 and will be completed by the end of December 2002. A bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the full conservation and cataloguing of the collection will be submitted early in 2003. Unfortunately, it is not possible to allow access to the collection until this work is done, but the many people who have requested access to the archive will receive regular reports as the project progresses.

Meanwhile, Miriam says, further enquiries and letters of support are welcome � as evidence to present to the HLF confirming our belief in the importance of this material and the need to make it accessible to the wider archaeological community. Miriam�s email address is:

Yeavering twenty-five years on

Even without the Hope-Taylor Archive, Yeavering-based research continues to thrive, and is the topic of a conference entitled Yeavering: Context, Continuity, Kingship to be held at Bede's World, Jarrow, on Saturday and Sunday 12�13 October 2002. Events planned for the weekend include an open discussion led by Society President Rosemary Cramp and Fellow Philip Rahtz on Brian Hope-Taylor�s work at Yeavering and its impact on British archaeology, a field visit to Yeavering, and an exhibition of Brian Hope-Taylor artwork. Further details from the Bede�s World website at:

Roman villa to be built at Butser Ancient Farm

The Directors of Butser Ancient Farm have just signed what is believed to be the first contract for the building of a Romano-British villa to be drawn for some 1,600 years. The project is being funded by the US cable-TV company, Discovery. Guy de la B�doy�re will present a series of programmes based on the construction of the villa, which will use the methods and materials that were available at that time. Understanding Romano-British constructional techniques is part of the Butser Ancient Farm�s core research programme, and the villa, once completed, will be handed over to the Farm for use in educational work.

Work is about to start with the construction of a lime kiln, and the villa is due to be finished by late October or early November. The public will be able to visit on the last weekend of every month � starting on the weekend of 27 and 28 July. Any Fellow who would like to go on an organised visit in October (departing from Burlington House) should let the SALON editor know (

Free tickets to the Castle and the Crown exhibition

Don�t forget that free tickets are still available (one ticket per FSA) to the Tower of London to see the Castle and Crown exhibition, which is on until 29 September 2002. Contact Lisa Elliott ( for further information.

Changes to the Treasure Act

Two legal instruments relating to the Treasure Act of 1996 were passed on Tuesday 16 July by the Sixth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation in the House of Commons. DCMS Minister Richard Caborn was given approval to introduce two changes to the Act. The first extends the definition of Treasure to include hoards of prehistoric base-metal objects (other than coins) and any object of prehistoric date (other than a coin), any part of which is gold or silver. The aim of this change is to bring within the scope of the Act finds such as the unique hoard of over 600 bronze artefacts (axes, miniature shields, etc) recently looted by two metal-detector users from a site near Salisbury. The objects appeared on the market and the find was only tracked down through the detective work of the curator at the British Museum. Under the terms of the new Order, such a find would be treasure and thus Crown property and its legal status would be clear.

The second amendment was made to introduce a revised Code of Practice, which sets out policy on the payment of rewards, arrangements for the acquisition of objects and the valuation of Treasure by the Treasure Valuation Committee. The Code, which has effect in England and Wales, also provides improved guidance for finders, museums, coroners and others who are concerned with Treasure. In particular, the new Code contains guidance designed to speed up target times so that finders and landowners are not inconvenienced more than necessary.

Admitting that there had been delays to the administration of Treasure cases in the past because of the volume of finds involved, Richard Caborn announced that two new posts have been created at DCMS (bringing the total to three). In addition, he welcomed the appointment by the British Museum of a Treasure Registrar in October 2001. The job of the Treasure Registrar is to co-ordinate all Treasure cases from England up to inquest; after that responsibility passes to the Treasure team in DCMS. Early indications are that the Treasure Registrar is already having a substantial impact on the administration of Treasure cases up to inquest.

Both amendments to the Treasure Act will now go to the House of Lords, where it is expected that they will be passed at the beginning of the next session of Parliament. Once approved, the new Code of Practice will be disseminated widely and will appear on the DCMS website.

English Heritage vacancy

Head of Archaeology Commissions: the task is to provide strategic direction and management for the Archaeology Commission Team and Programme, ensuring the uptake and implementation of the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund and delivering objectives agreed in the team plan and Exploring our Past 1998 Implementation Plan. Through the formulation of policy, provision of advice on archaeological matters and development and production of relevant articles and publications, the post holder will foster effective communication between the team and its partners throughout English Heritage and other agencies.
Salary �33,000��36,000 per annum. Based in London. Closing date: 5 August 2002
For an application form and job description, please send a self-addressed A4 sized envelope (no stamp) to Jo Schmidhauser, English Heritage, Room 409, 23 Savile Row, London W1S 2ET. Please quote Ref: R/44/02.

National Museums and Galleries of Wales vacancy

Director: responsible to the President and Council for all aspects of the day-to-day operations of the National Museums and Galleries of Wales, and for developing and implementing strategies for the future across the full range of the institution�s responsibilities.

Furher information from Joanne Roberts, of Search Consultants Whitehead Mann, email:, quoting reference 13569AA(ST). Closing date 29 July 2002

Revive to Regenerate

Speaking in Wapping at the launch of the Architectural Heritage Foundation�s Revive to Regenerate campaign on 9 July, HRH The Prince of Wales urged local communities to take control and rescue their own historic buildings, using the funding and advice that was available to them through organisations such as the AHF.

His Royal Highness told guests at the launch that �I can�t bear waste. I spend my whole life trying to find ways to recycle things�, and he pointed to the skill, pride and energy invested by the original builders in what have now become historic buildings. �We owe it to them�, the Prince said, �to find ways of preserving their work�.

AHF Director, Jonathan Thompson, said that some 25 to 30 projects a year are now being completed with AHF help, but that there was an urgent need to do more, as there were many thousands of buildings at risk in the UK. Jonathan emphasised the role that volunteers play in the regeneration process: �Volunteer enthusiasm and charitable status unlock funding that is not available to private owners or developers�, he said.

Further details can be found on the HFA�s website:

Buildings at Risk Register

On the same day that Revive to Regenerate was launched, Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, underlined the scale of the problem by announcing the publication of the latest Buildings at Risk Register, which contains details of some 1,398 listed buildings considered to be in danger of being lost through neglect and decay. Published annually, the 2002 list includes Finsbury Town Hall, the charnel house in Spitalfields, Horace Walpole�s Strawberry Hill, St George the Martyr Church in Southwark, All Saints Church, North Keston, in Lincolnshire and Apethorpe Hall, in Northamptonshire.

The Buildings at Risk Register can be viewed on the English Heritage web site at

Ploughing at Verulamium

Harvey Sheldon, Chairman of Rescue, and Tony Robinson, presenter of Channel 4's Time Team, have both spoken out against the threat to resume ploughing at the site of Roman Verulamium. Ploughing at Verulamium, which began during World War II, has already caused serious damage to the scheduled ancient monument, but was suspended two years ago. Hugh Reeves, a partner at Strutt & Parker, land agents for the estate, has said that they are reluctant to resume ploughing, but that �We are anxious to find a just solution which does not leave the estate picking up the entire costs of changing the land management structure. If the land is not ploughed, but returned to pasture, potentially costly stock management would be needed�.

Financial compensation could involve large sums and would set an unwelcome precedent. Government policy is to encourage farmers to undertake not to plough scheduled monuments voluntarily. Representatives from English Heritage and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport are in �more or less continuous� discussions with the estate, though the talks are said not to be making headway.

Agricultural reform

Although a huge amount of damage has already been done to the archaeological resource by ploughing and drainage activities, there are signs of hope on the horizon that aggressive and destructive agri-industry is on its way out. The European Union announced last week that a broad strategy had been agreed for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy to refocus subsidies on countryside stewardship rather than food production. In this week�s Public Spending Review, Gordon Brown announced that funding for implementation of the Curry Commission recommendations will increase to �200 million a year in 2005-6. A key part of that spending will be to support so-called Broad and Shallow agri-environment schemes, under which farmers will be paid to deliver environmental benefits. The scheme will be piloted for two years and then rolled out nationwide in 2005-6, after which farmers who do not participate will lose their CAP funding.

Planning reform

On the planning front, the news is not quite so positive. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has published its response to the Planning Green Paper consultation (in the form of a document called Sustainable Communities � Delivering through Planning) and admits that it received 16,000 responses � a measure of the importance of the issues and the strength of feeling. The lesson the ODPM draws from this is that it needs to �continue this dialogue with stakeholders ... and recognise the importance of community involvement in the planning system�.

On the issue of statutory consultees, however, the heritage sector�s response seems to have fallen on deaf ears. The Green Paper blamed statutory consultees for slowing up the planning system. Consultees responded by stating that the true cause of delay was the (often deliberately) poor quality of information provided by the planning applicants.

In its response, ODPM repeats its accusation and says: �statutory consultees have been identified as a major potential source of delay in processing planning applications. We have decided therefore to introduce a statutory deadline of 21 days for statutory consultees to respond to pre-application requests for advice from developers and to respond to requests for advice from local planning authorities in respect of particular planning applications. If the statutory consultees miss their deadline the local planning authority would be under no obligation to wait for their advice before determining the application in question. The deadline could be extended with the agreement of the relevant parties�.

No doubt consultees will now respond by asking that any attempt to introduce a statutory 21-day deadline will need to impose an equally binding duty on the applicant to provide adequate information. It will be necessary to define carefully at exactly what point the 21-day clock starts ticking.

The full document can be downloaded from the internet from the ODPM web site at:

Cultural treasures saved for the nation

Important paintings by Van Dyck, Bonnard, Zoffany and Stanley Spencer are among a package of cultural treasures that have been accepted in lieu of inheritance tax, Arts Minister Tessa Blackstone has announced. The paintings will be allocated to various public galleries and museums and include a Portrait of Sir William Killigrew by Van Dyck (1599�1641), a collection of mixed chattels from Bradley Manor, Devon, a seventeenth-century gold chocolate cup and cover, a painting by Pierre Bonnard entitled Le repas, an important collection of seventeenth and eighteenth-century clothes and textiles, a painting by Arthur Devis (1711�1787) entitled The Rev Streynsham Master and his Wife, a painting by Stanley Spencer (1891�1959) entitled View from Cookham Bridge, and a pair of group portraits by Johnann Zoffany, RA (c 1733�1810).

New national archives body

The Public Record Office (PRO) and the Historical Manuscripts Commission (HMC) are combining � from 1 April 2003 � to form a new national archives body to embrace both public and private archive networks. The new body, to be known as the National Archives, will report to the Lord Chancellor. Further information from the DCMS website: go to and then click on the Press Releases tab.

Minister acts to protect historic shipwreck

On 18 July, Arts Minister, Baroness Blackstone, issued an urgent Designation Order to protect a North Yorkshire shipwreck believed to be the eighteenth-century American warship Bonhomme Richard. The ship, lying off Flamborough Head in Filey Bay, has caught the eye of salvagers and there are concerns that it may be stripped within days. The Minister�s action prevents interference with the site without DCMS permission.

The Bonhomme Richard, commanded by John Paul Jones, was part of a small fleet of ships fighting the British in UK waters during the American Revolution. It was involved in the 1779 Battle of Flamborough Head with the Serapis and the Countess of Scarborough. After a long engagement, Jones captured the Serapis but the Bonhomme Richard sank. The engagement led to Jones becoming a national hero in the United States. He is now considered the �father of the US navy�.

The Order, made under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973, enables the wreck to be protected while further investigations take place and while wider consultation is held on whether the ship should be permanently designated as a historic wreck.

Rubens� Massacre of the Innocents

Massacre of the Innocents, a �lost� painting by Peter Paul Rubens (previously attributed to his pupil Jan ven den Hoecke), became the world�s most expensive painting on 10 July when it sold at Sotheby�s for �49,506,650 (including buyer�s premium), just beating the previous record set in 1990 when a Japanese businessman paid US$82.5 million (�49,005,059 at the 1990 exchange rate) for Van Gogh�s Portrait of Dr Gachet.

The auction took less than ten minutes, and the successful bidder was London dealer Sam Fogg, buying on behalf of Lord Thomson of Fleet and his son David Thomson, owners of the Thomson Newspapers Group. Immediately after the sale it was revealed that the new owners were now looking for a baroque frame for the picture, to replace the nineteenth-century frame currently housing the picture.

It has been suggested that the Thomsons might loan the painting to the National Gallery in London to hang alongside Rubens�s Samson and Delilah, but it is more likely that the painting will hang in the Art Gallery of Ontario, since the Thomsons, whose flagship newspaper is based in Toronto, can offset the purchase price of the painting against income tax under Canadian law if the painting is displayed in public.

Two skulls and the origins of mankind

The recent discovery of two fossil skulls has caused great excitement in the world of physical anthropology. The first, an example of Homo erectus, was found in Georgia, the former Soviet republic, and dates from 1.75 million years ago. The find site is significant as evidence that Homo erectus migrated further out of Africa, and at an earlier date, than had previously been understood.

But this find, announced on 8 July, was eclipsed two days later when the journal Nature published details of a fossil skull dating from six to seven million years ago with a chimpanzee-like braincase but with the flat face, prominent brow ridges and small teeth of a hominid. The discovery (along with fragments from at least four other individuals) was made by a team of scientists from the University of Poitiers led by Michel Brunet and Patrick Vignaud.

Perhaps more exciting than the great age of the fossil is its find site: the middle of the Djurab desert in northern Chad. Anthropologists previously thought that early hominid populations were only to be found in the area between modern South Africa and the Great Rift Valley. To find a new hominid species (formally named Sahelanthropus tchadensis after its find site) 1,000 miles further east greatly expands the area for potentially fruitful palaeo-anthropological field work.

There is insufficient evidence to say whether Sahelanthropus tchadensis was bipedal, and it is unlikely that we are directly descended from the new species, but the dating of the fossil makes it a million years older than the previous known hominid, the six-million-year-old Orrorin tugenensis, and nearly twice as old as the four-million-year-old Australopithecus group of hominids. Genetic scientists have estimated that the split between hominids and apes probably occurred between ten and eight million years ago, so the discovery of Sahelanthropus tchadensis takes us very close to the point of human origin.

The origins of advertising

Finds from recent excavations at Carlisle Castle have just gone on display at the city�s Tullie House Museum, and they include one of the earliest known examples of advertising copy. Still attached to a neck sherd from a common Roman amphora is a clay label, covered in sooty letters. In Latin it promised that the amphora�s contents were �top-quality aged tuna-fish relish from Tangiers�. Archaeologists have determined that, like most advertising copy, the truth is somewhat different: rather than coming from Tangiers, the origin was probably Cadiz � perhaps �Tangiers� describes the style of the sauce, rather than its place of manufacture.

The amphora, which held about a gallon of liquid, came from the commanding officer�s house at the Roman fort in Carlisle, and is one of thousands of organic finds to have come from this rich excavation, including 10,000 pieces of leather and timber, and dozens of pieces of complex wooden drainage pipe.

Captain Cook�s thigh bone

The Australian Museum in Sydney has agreed to X-ray and bone density tests requested by the president of the Captain Cook Society to determine whether an arrow shaft in their collection was fashioned from the explorer�s femur. Cook was killed in Hawaii in 1779, and in 1823, King Kamehameha II of Hawaii presented the arrow to one of King George IV�s personal doctors, saying that it was made from the explorer�s thigh bone. Scientists remain sceptical of the claim, and say the shaft is probably made from a sea-mammal bone.

Witley Court�s Perseus fountain

Work has begun at Witley Court to restore the garden�s two large and dramatic fountains. The largest of the two, with its 54-metre-wide (177-foot) pool and its 20-tonne sculpture of Perseus and Andromeda, was created by W A Nesfield in 1853 at a cost equivalent to �1 million in today�s terms. A similar sum will now be spent on replacing lost stonework and replanting the parterre on which it sits. Witley Court, one of Victorian England�s most fashionable houses, was left a ruin following a fire in 1937. Now it is in the care of English Heritage.

High tech comes to the Weald and Downland Museum

A striking new structure opened at the Weald and Downland Museum in West Sussex two weeks ago, in a setting more usually associated with historic buildings. The museum needed somewhere to store structural timbers from demolished buildings awaiting rebuilding on the open-air museum�s site. Instead of a traditional barn � one option � the museum director, Richard Harris, commissioned architect Ted Cullinan and engineers Buro Happold to create an entirely new design.

The result is based on a light lattice framework, made from one-inch by one-and-a-half-inch oak struts, clad in red cedar shingles. Described as resembling an armadillo or a bulging peapod, the new building is 50 metres long, 15 metres wide and 10 metres high. At one end is a platform where members of the public can watch carpenters at work. Timbers are stored in an open-sided shed alongside, or in the basement area, which is sunk into the chalk subsoil to minimise temperature fluctuations.

�A building of rare poetry� is how one visitor has described it, combining as it does timeless materials with innovative modern design.