Salon Archive

Issue: 232

Elections to Council

As a result of the ballot held at the Society’s Anniversary Meeting held on 23 April 2010, Maurice Howard was elected as President, Martin Millett as Treasurer, John Creighton as Director and Brian Ayers as Honorary Secretary. The following were elected to serve as members of Council: Timothy Darvill, Clive Gamble, Stephen Johnson, Sian Rees, Graeme Barker, David Breeze, Sir Neil Cossons, Valerie Cromwell (Lady Kingman), Roberta Gilchrist, Anthony Emery, Colin Haselgrove, Colin Renfrew (Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn), Dominic Tweddle, Aideen Ireland, Leslie Webster, Gill Andrew, Margaret Richardson and Elaine Paintin.

Presidential Address

Completing his third and final year as President of the Society, Geoff Wainwright based his valedictory Presidential Address on the theme of the value of Fellowship. Having invited Fellows to write to him on this topic in last year’s Address, he summarised the contents of the 470 communications that he had subsequently received from Fellows in North America, Australasia and Europe. ‘My invitation’, said Geoff, ‘brought out some memorable personal statements of what it means to be a Fellow. Time only permits me to quote from one of them: “It means belonging to an international, cutting-edge community of learning; it keeps me abreast of major advances in my academic interests; and it means being made aware of issues that need resolution and discussion in the field of conservation and protection of antiquities.”‘

Many Fellows stressed the importance of the Society continuing to cater for both professionals and amateurs and many also valued the Society for its distinctive character as a polymathic society that embraces a wide range of interests: ‘Being part of that broad church is clearly important’, said Geoff, ‘and it provides a sense of identity within a scholastic tradition in which experience and knowledge has been passed from one generation to the next. Getting people together — either by traditional means or by using new technologies — is regarded as one of the most important roles we can play in the modern world.’

Geoff also said that there was a general welcome for the idea of contested elections as representing a long overdue move towards democracy in the Society’s affairs, support for the idea of an online bulletin board to enable Fellows to create and maintain connections between Fellows widely separated around the globe, high praise for Salon, ‘clearly anticipated with great pleasure’ by Fellows, a desire on the part of Fellows to have a greater influence on decisions that affect their relationship with the Society, a strong grass-roots demand for regional groups to which Fellows can attach themselves, and a real concern that — despite the fact that few organisations in the English-speaking world have such a wide international membership — the Society is nevertheless seriously under-represented in some fields and areas of the world.

Geoff used this feedback to set out a vision for the Society’s future. He foresaw the creation of a Fellowship Council that would ‘work alongside our Trustees in the development of projects and activities to enable the Fellowship to realise its true potential as a dynamic and powerful network’. He envisaged a substantial expansion in the Fellowship, whose age profile would be much younger than today’s body (57 per cent of the Fellowship is over sixty-five years of age and only 5 per cent are under fifty). Growth would lead to decisions about the Society’s location, and whether Burlington House alone would be adequate or appropriate. Fellows with similar interests would be connected through globally based information networks and the Society would be leading its own research projects, global in their scope, ‘involving many Fellows and worthy of our great traditions of scholarship’.

In conclusion, Geoff said that the Society’s strength and wealth lay in the talents of its Fellows, and he recommended six courses of action to Fellows who wished to participate fully in the Society’s development: ‘connect with other Fellows in your region and organise a regular local network; ensure that the Society’s website offers you the opportunity to debate, engage and connect; ensure that your fortnightly newsletter deals with your activities and concerns; lobby for a Fellowship Council and find out how to contribute; contribute to building a progressive and strong Society by nominating friends and colleagues for Fellowship; and use the Society’s facilities whenever you can and ask our staff for help when you need it’.

The full text of the President’s address can be read or downloaded from the Society’s website.

Society Medals

Acknowledging the importance of regional groups to the activities of the Society, the President awarded Society Medals to two Fellows who have played a key role in the formation of such groups in the recent past: Philip Lankester and Alan Aberg. Awarding the medals, the President said: ‘For a number of years I have had the very great pleasure of belonging to the Welsh Antiquaries and have thoroughly enjoyed our outings to places and people of antiquarian interest, interspersed with convivial dinners and lunches. In Wales it is our organiser Alan Aberg who with gentle persistence makes all this happen. In Yorkshire, the energy of Philip Lankester has ensured that nearly ninety Fellows belong to that regional group which pursues a programme similar to that of the Welsh Antiquaries. The Society strongly supports their regional activities and will sympathetically consider requests for financial support for similar groups: we need more regional groups and people who are prepared to organise them.’

Our new President

Maurice Howard, the Society’s forty-third President, is Professor of Art History at the University of Sussex, having formerly held posts at Pennsylvania State University and at the University of St Andrews. He studied History at Christ’s College, Cambridge, and History of Art at the Courtauld Institute. He specialises in the architectural history, painting and applied arts of early modern Europe, including issues of patronage and the transmission of ideas between England, the Netherlands, France and Italy. He is currently researching the conversion of monasteries to other uses in the post-Reformation period. His publications include The Building of Elizabethan and Jacobean England (2007) and Ornament: a social history since 1450 (1996; co-authored with Michael Snodin FSA).

Maurice has been closely involved with the running of the Society in his position as Director since 2007. He was also Chair of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain from 1991 to 1994, Visiting Chair at the Centre for Renaissance Studies, University of Tours, France, in 2000 and a member of the Advisory Council of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art from 2005 to 2010.

Professor Howard said: ‘It is a great honour to be elected President of the country’s oldest Learned Society. As a full-time teaching and researching art historian I am committed to the interpretation and sharing of our knowledge of the material culture of the past. The Society has much to offer the public and I look forward to playing my part in its exciting future.’

The new President said that he had a particular interest in three of the Society’s current projects: the creation of a new learning centre and improved visitor facilities within the historic barns complex at Kelmscott Manor; the refurbishment of the Society’s Library; and the publication of the Society’s picture catalogue.

David Gaimster appointed Director of the Hunterian

Our Fellow and General Secretary, David Gaimster, has been appointed to the post of Director of the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, Scotland’s oldest public museum, founded on the collections bequeathed to the University of Glasgow in 1783 by William Hunter, the scientist, antiquary and Fellow of our Society. David takes up his new post in September 2010, and the process of recruiting his successor will begin shortly, with the aim of making an appointment by the time of the July meeting of the Society’s Council.

David said: ‘I am thrilled to be joining one of the leading university museums in the world but am of course sad to be leaving Burlington House and its dedicated staff. The last six years have flown by. It has been a tremendous privilege to act as the Society’s General Secretary during its tercentenary. A solid foundation has been laid for the Society’s fourth century of operation and exciting plans are being developed for the future. I will always be grateful to Trustees and Fellows for sharing their knowledge with me and for their constant support. This is the best job in the national heritage and I wish my successor every happiness in the role.’

Forthcoming meetings

Thursday 29 April: ‘Sir Emery Walker VPSA, and his house: past, present and future’, by John Cherry FSA

Thursday 13 May: ‘New Research on Fish Remains from Pompeii, Italy’, by Andrew Jones FSA

Thursday 27 May: ‘Banteay Chhmar, Cambodia: a legend rediscovered’, by John Sanday FSA and James Hooper, Global Heritage Fund

Thursday 10 June: ‘Reflecting History: English and Irish Delftware in the British Museum Collection’, by Aileen Dawson FSA

11 June 2010: Symposium on ‘The Herkenrode Glass: the revival of Lichfield Cathedral’s Renaissance glass’. The sixteenth-century Herkenrode windows in the Lady Chapel of Lichfield Cathedral in Staffordshire are a brilliant example of Renaissance stained glass and have international significance. The glass is now in urgent need of conservation, as is the Lady Chapel stonework. The aim of the symposium is to reassess the cultural context and significance of this neglected masterpiece and to publicise the conservation effort. Places cost £20 (to include sandwich lunch, tea and coffee) and can be booked by sending a cheque made payable to ‘Lichfield Cathedral’ to Mrs Mithra Tonking, St Mary’s House, The Close, Lichfield WS13 7LD. The full programme for the day can be found on the Society’s website.

‘Treasures of Lambeth Palace Library’: private view for Fellows on 19 May 2010

Lambeth Palace Library is one of the earliest public libraries in England, founded in 1610 under the will of Archbishop Richard Bancroft. In celebration of its 400th anniversary in 2010, the Library is mounting an exhibition in the Great Hall of Lambeth Palace from 17 May to 23 July 2010. There will be a private view of the exhibition especially for Fellows and their guests on 19 May 2010 at 6pm with an introduction by the Head Librarian, our Fellow Giles Mandelbrote, plus drinks and nibbles, all for the price of £12 per person, which is only £4 more than the normal admission price of £8. To book, please send an email to Jola Zdunek, the Society’s Administrative Assistant, or send a cheque made payable to the ‘Society of Antiquaries of London’. Further details can be seen on the Lambeth Palace Library’s website.

Kelmscott Manor Fellows’ Day 10 July 2010

This year’s Fellows’ Day at Kelmscott Manor will take place on Saturday 10 July, when the gates will open for registration from 1.30pm. Along with the usual access to the Manor and a special seasonal tea, there will be a small, additional exhibition on the garden. The programme finishes at 5pm. The event, which is always enjoyable, is open to Fellows and their guests. Tickets costing £14 (£6 for children under the age of sixteen) are available from 1 May and can be booked by email or by telephone (01367 253348), and as this has proved to be a popular event in past years, early booking is advised.

Fellows’ tours of Burlington House

There are still places left on the introductory tour of Burlington House that takes place on 29 April 2010. Designed for any Fellow not yet familiar with the Society’s library and museum collections, the tours start at 11am (coffee from 10.30am) in the Council Room and will last about one and a half hours followed, for those who wish to stay, by a sandwich lunch (for which a charge of £5 is made). Places can be booked by contactingJola Zdunek, the Society’s Administrative Assistant. A further tour will take place on 24 June 2010, and this can be booked now in the same way.

Online Journals available to Fellows

The number of online journals that Fellows can access remotely through the Athens portal continues to grow. To those that are already listed on the website, the following have recently been added: Antiquité Tardive (online access to current and all back issues from 1993); the European Journal of Archaeology (from 1999); the Journal of World Prehistory (from No 1, March 2010); the Metropolitan Museum Journal (from Vol 38, 2003); the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (full access); and Speculum (all available issues from Vol 80, 2005).

Election manifestos: what the major parties say about culture and the heritage

At the time of the last UK parliamentary elections, held on 5 May 2005, Salon’s editor was also the Director of Heritage Link and in that capacity contacted all the major political parties for information on their manifesto commitments relating to the heritage. It was depressing to be told by both the Labour and the Conservative Parties that they did not consider culture or heritage to be election issues. It is perhaps a credit to the heritage sector, and its growing confidence in putting heritage on the political agenda, that the situation at this election is different; this time around some of the major parties have seen fit to provide information on their cultural policies.

In fact the Labour Party manifesto comes out best in terms of the sheer number of words that it devotes to the topic of arts, culture, heritage and the creative industries. It devotes a whole chapter to the subject, under the title ‘Communities and Creative Britain’. Under this heading we are promised ‘protection for the post offices and pubs on which community life depends’. We all know that pubs are hubs of intellectual debate and post offices play a vital role in the transmission of ideas in the form of books and manuscripts entrusted to the care of the postal service, but perhaps more central to our concerns as Fellows are the promises to ‘review how incentives for philanthropic support [for culture] can be strengthened’ and to ‘legislate to ensure the managerial and financial autonomy of our major museums and galleries’.

There is also an enigmatic promise to ‘review the structures that oversee English Heritage, putting mutual principles at the heart of its governance so that people can have a direct say over the protection and maintenance of Britain’s built historical legacy’. This might mean that Labour would do with English Heritage what it has already announced it will do with British Waterways, and turn it into some kind of a ‘mutual’ organisation such as a charitable trust. Finally, the Labour manifesto reassures us that National Lottery funding will increase, but mention is also made of plans to ‘promote greater public involvement in the way that National Lottery proceeds are spent on good causes’.

If some of these policies sound familiar, it is because the Conservative Party has also made similar noises about giving greater operational independence to museums and galleries through three-year funding agreements. It is also very keen on private philanthropy and enabling national museums and galleries to create endowment funds, following the example of the US museums sector. Not that you would know this from the manifesto, which is disappointingly laconic on the subject of culture and does not mention any of the policy initiatives widely rehearsed before the election by Jeremy Hunt, the Conservative Shadow Culture Secretary (for which see Salon 222). All that has survived from those speeches into the manifesto is the commitment to restore equity to the distribution of lottery income between the original three ‘good causes’ of sports, heritage and the arts.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto declares that ‘the arts are a central part of civic and community life. They contribute to innovation, education, diversity, and social inclusion, and the creative industries are one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. Britain’s culture and heritage play a vital role in attracting visitors to the UK and boosting the very important tourism industry’. The Liberal Democrats promise (as does the Labour Party manifesto) to ‘maintain free entry to national museums and galleries and open up the Government Art Collections’. They will reform the licensing laws that have had such a devastating effect on live amateur music, and reform the National Lottery ‘to deliver more for good causes’.

The Liberals also recognise that planning and agricultural policy have an impact on heritage. They will reform farm payments to favour farmers who protect ‘natural environment and heritage’. There is also a promise ‘to protect our built heritage by reducing the cost of repairs’, by which is meant ‘equalising the impact of taxation on new build and repair’. Planning law would also be reformed to prevent school playing fields and gardens being built over because they are defined as ‘brownfield’ sites in planning law.

For a nation that is defined by its distinctive history and culture, it is disappointing that the Scottish National Party makes no mention of heritage or culture in its manifesto. Plaid Cymru, by contrast, puts the distinctive and unique heritage of Wales up front in its manifesto, recognising that that heritage is ‘a national treasure’. Plaid’s emphasis is on the linguistic heritage, however, rather than the historic environment or any other forms of heritage. They promise to create the post of Language Commissioner ‘to ensure that the interests of Welsh language speakers are proactively safeguarded and promoted’, with more funds for Welsh-language broadcasting, digital services and print media.

The Green Party has no words on cultural heritage in its manifesto, but it is, as you might expect, concerned about using the planning system to favour small locally owned businesses (it proposes a ‘business conservation area’ in every town to protect small proprietor-owned shops) and it is concerned to ‘halt the degradation of our natural environment’, using reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and the planning system to ‘encourage restoration of heathlands, woods, marshland and other important habitats’, many of which are, of course, also archaeologically sensitive, and it would ‘oppose the introduction of a non-elected Planning Commission for so-called national infra-structure projects’.

National Trust book collection now online

Our Fellow Mark Purcell, Libraries Curator with the National Trust, was interviewed in Country Life magazine recently (7 April 2010) on his achievements in completing an online catalogue of over 155,000 historic books at 160 National Trust properties. The launch of the online catalogue marks a staging post in Mark’s journey through all the Trust’s properties, where tens of thousands of books remain to be catalogued, rather than the end of the journey.

Work on the catalogue has being going on since 1957, and Mark’s post, says the article, was created eleven years ago with funding from the Royal Oak Foundation, the Trust’s American supporters’ organisation. Mark’s statement that ‘I have barely scratched the surface yet’ is thus an accurate summary of his task, though he does foresee as inevitable the day when books as we know them will cease to be made, in some thirty to fifty years’ time, when electronic publishing will have taken over from the printed word.

That prospect simply adds resonance to a collection that includes Dunham Massey’s seventeenth-century atlases, copies of almost all the major editions of the Bible printed since 1475, including the Bible supposedly used by Charles I on the scaffold (at Chastleton House, Oxfordshire), and the autographed manuscript of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, inscribed to Vita Sackville-West (at Knole, in Kent). Some of the books are important as collections that tell us about literacy and readership at particular times (the library of a yeoman farmer at Townend in Cumbria, for example, which includes a bawdy ballad, ‘The Crafty Chambermaid’s Garland’ (1771), or about the reading habits of the owner (Rudyard Kipling’s private library at Batemans, in Sussex, for example).

Mark says that the project represents ‘an exciting and important step forward in making our book collection more accessible to historians, researchers and students, providing information about, and improving access where possible, to the books in our collections. It also offers a useful and flexible resource for property staff and volunteers, by helping them to unlock their collections for new and changing displays, and thereby increase visitor interest and enjoyment.’

The catalogue can be searched via the COPAC website, which also has information on access to the books themselves.

Groundbreaking library partnership

Staying with libraries, the New York Times reported last month on an interesting initiative involving four of New York’s major museums: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum and the Frick Collection have combined forces to create an integrated research library, combining the holdings of all four institutions. Full details can be found on the New York Art Resources Consortium website, and the online catalogue of the combined collection has more than 800,000 records spanning the spectrum of art history, from ancient Egypt to contemporary art, including exhibition and art collection catalogues, monographs and periodicals, rare books, photograph collections, artists’ books, files on artists, auction catalogues, textual and visual archives, digital resources and specialised databases.

Medieval sculpture, modern problems

A recent article in the Irish Times draws attention to the plight of Ireland’s heritage of high crosses and calls for better protection of this fragile legacy from weathering, erosion and wear and tear. The newspaper reports that the tenth-century Muiredach’s Cross, in Monasterboice, Co Louth, with its sixty-two scenes from the Old and New Testaments, suffered frost damage during this year’s harsh winter, adding to the problems of erosion caused by visitors climbing the cross.

Louth County Council, the Office of Public Works and the National Monuments Service of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government are considering what action to take to protect the cross from further damage, and the results of public consultation could set a precedent for all of the 200 or so high crosses in Ireland. The options include protection by the erection of railings, of a roof-only shelter, of a roof and glazed walls or – more radically - re-location of the cross to an indoor facility and replacement with a replica or retention of the cross in situ and fabrication of a replica for internal presentation.

Re-locating the cross is the most controversial, and is strongly opposed by those who attach a spiritual value to the site of the cross, which they see as overriding any issues to do with potential damage or structural failure if the cross is left in situ. In addition, crosses often form part of an assemblage, which includes such structures as round towers and sundials whose position in relation to each other has been carefully planned, so that the removal of a cross compromises the site’s authenticity.

The article quotes our Fellow Peter Harbison, author of numerous works on Irish high crosses, as saying that they are important historical artefacts on a par with the Book of Kells, the Ardagh Chalice and the Tara Brooch in the pantheon of Irish antiquities: ‘I would say that they are Ireland’s greatest contribution to the sculpture of early medieval Europe’. On the whole he seems to favour in situ conservation. Our Fellow Con Manning, senior archaeologist with the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, is also quoted. He agrees on the need for a national policy and says that more needs to be done on a national level to preserve high crosses for future generations, but points to resources as the key issue.

Leading archaeological metallurgist has post downgraded

A protest campaign is building amongst archaeological metallurgists at what they see as a serious blow to their discipline at a time when the National Heritage Science Strategy has revealed the disappointing lack of capacity in the UK’s university system for heritage scientists generally and of archaeometallurgy specialists in particular. The protest, being led by David Killick, Professor of Anthropology, University of Arizona, a world-renowned expert on early technology, particularly iron-making in Africa, is over the demotion of the post of Dr Gill Juleff, of the University of Exeter, to a 0.3 time teaching-only contract.

Dr Juleff is widely regarded as one of the best in her field. Earlier this year she led a joint expedition with the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore, in India’s Andhra Pradesh region, exploring and recording archaeological sites where iron and steel were produced over the last two millennia. Over a period of six weeks in January and February 2010, Gill’s team recorded more than 120 such pioneering metallurgy sites, seeking the origins of high carbon steel-making in an area renowned for the specialised production of crucible steel; sometimes called ‘wootz steel’, this was exported and traded throughout ancient Europe and the Arab world, where it became the favoured material for edged weapons, such as Damascus swords, renowned for their sharpness and durability.

Gill’s other work of international significance includes ethnological and archaeological investigation of wind-powered smelting in Sri Lanka, of bloomery iron smelting and the innovative Exmoor Iron Project, which has uncovered evidence for the first time of large-scale Roman iron mining and smelting in mid-Devon. The consequence of Gill’s change of status is that she will cease to be eligible for the funds she has relied on for such projects, will no longer be able to continue as co-director of the Indian project and will have to find a second job to support herself and thus will no longer be able to travel.

Dr Juleff’s supporters are being urged to write letters of protest to Dr Steven Smith, Vice-Chancellor, University of Exeter, Northcote House, Exeter EX4 4QJ, stressing the international importance of her work.

News of Fellows

Our Fellow Julian Mitchell is guest curator of a new exhibition that opens at the Chepstow Museum on 1 May 2010 on the theme of The Wye Tour and its Artists: Works by Artists from the Great Age of British Watercolours. Julian, who is best known as a writer for stage and screen (including Another Country, based on the life of the spy Guy Burgess, Wilde, based on Oscar Wilde’s life, and episodes of Morse) is also a historian who lives in Monmouthshire and who has studied the Wye tour and its artists for twenty-five years.

Julian says: ‘tourists taking the Wye Tour were rowed down the river from Ross on Wye to Chepstow on what may well have been Britain’s first “package tour”. They were following in the wake of the Revd William Gilpin, whose Observations on the River Wye and several parts of South Wales, &c relative chiefly to Picturesque Beauty (1783) did much to popularise the tour and the quest for landscapes that compared to those depicted in “picturesque” paintings, or that could become the subjects of such paintings. Goodrich Castle, Symonds Yat, New Weir and Monmouth were the highlights of the first day of the tour, followed by Tintern Abbey, the highlight of the tour, on the second morning, which concluded with the famous walks at Piercefield and Chepstow Castle.’

For the exhibition, Julian has gathered together more than seventy watercolours depicting these sights from national and private collections all over the UK. With funding from the Welsh Assembly Government’s ‘Sharing Treasures’ scheme, these include works by the masters from the great age of British watercolours — J M W Turner, Paul Sandby, Michael ‘Angelo’ Rooker, Thomas Hearne, Edward Dayes, John and Cornelius Varley, Samuel Palmer, David Cox and Joshua Cristall, as well as by local amateurs.

Alan Garner, another of the Society’s celebrated authors, is the focus of celebrations that will take place throughout the year but culminating in a weekend festival on 8 to 10 October 2010 in Alderley Edge to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Alan’s first book, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, now recognised as a modern classic. Alan’s book, like all of his work, is deeply rooted in the history, mythology and landscape of his native Cheshire landscape: so much so that Alan modestly claims not to invent his stories but to describe the reality of the part of England in which he grew up. There can be few children growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, especially, whose imaginations were not stirred by Alan’s books — not just the Weirdstone, but also its sequel, The Moon of Gomrath, Elidor, based on Irish and Welsh mythology, and the Owl Service, inspired by the Mabinogion. The author Philip Pullman (who should know) describes Alan as ‘one of the very greatest writers of books that children read’ (Pullman and Garner share a dislike of the limitations implied by the term ‘books for children’). Full details of the 2010 celebrations, which include readings, lectures, book signings, trips underground (to visit the Bronze-Age to nineteenth-century mines of Alderley Edge that form the setting for the Weirdstone story) and more can all be seen on the Weirdstone website.

The Fellowship includes several writers who are also accomplished gardeners. Sir Roy Strong is one example, and he is currently giving lectures on his Herefordshire house and garden, The Laskett, the largest private formal gardens to be created in England since 1945. Sir Roy has stated his intention to bequeath the house and garden to the Vivat Trust, on whose behalf he is giving the lectures, and visitors can already stay in the Folly, the cottage in the grounds of The Laskett, and enjoy the garden over a prolonged visit (see the Vivat Trust’s website).

But if visiting is not enough to satisfy your gardening ambitions, and if you would like to take on another Fellow’s garden, Long Leys Farm, Cumnor, the home of poet, journalist and critic James Fenton, is currently on the market (see the Savill's website) for £2.5m. A feature on the house and gardens in Intelligent Life magazine tells the story of how James came to acquire the house after being commissioned to write the libretto for the musical, Les Misérables, for which he was paid a fee of 0.5 per cent of box office receipts (the musical went on to make £600m in the first ten years alone).

With the help of his gardening friend, Philip Dennis, James transformed a bleak and windswept farmyard full of rotting cars and tyres (which his friend the crime writer Ian McEwan dubbed ‘Scene of the Crime Farm’) into a richly planted garden that is inspired in equal parts by Sissinghurst, with its garden rooms and carefully composed colour schemes, and Christopher Lloyd’s Great Dixter, with its hot-coloured exotics. After twenty years, James Fenton says he is leaving all this behind for Washington Heights, New York: ‘You move on; you do other things’, he says philosophically about leaving this splendid garden behind.

If you are anywhere near a radio on Monday 3 May from 10am, do listen in to ‘Woman’s Hour’ on BBC Radio 4 to hear our Fellow Philippa Glanville talk about an exhibition that she has curated at the Harley Gallery called ‘Dinner for a Duke: decoding food and drink at Welbeck 1690 to 1910’. The exhibition, which opens on 1 May 2010, explores different aspects of food production and display under the patronage of the Dukes of Portland, both in the servants’ hall and at one of their lavish balls. Exhibits include a rare silver wine fountain, brought from Holland in 1711 and eighteenth-century Sèvres porcelain ice-cream pails and serving cups. Original household bills and recipes are also on display, including Robert Harley’s chicken curry recipe from 1729, as well as material that provides an insight into the work of the servants working in hothouses, bakehouse, poultry house, dairy and fruit and vegetable gardens. An article by Philippa in the Spring 2010 NADFAS Review provides background information on the exhibition.

Two issues ago, Salon called for information concerning the whereabouts of our Fellow Anne Anderson; it did not take long to track her down because Anne was sitting the Society’s Library when that issue of Salon came out, because she has been working on the restoration of Leighton House Museum and has used the Library often in the last two years as part of her research to reconstruct the original interiors. An illustrated article in the April issue of Apollo magazine shows the triumphant result of Anne’s work, and she is also the joint author (with Daniel Robbins, Charlotte Gere and Barbara Bryant) of a new catalogue and guide to the house, which opened to the public again in all its decorative splendour, at the beginning of April (for visitor information see the website of the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

At another splendidly idiosyncratic house museum, our Fellow Eileen Harris has been honoured with the establishment of a special fund in her name, set up to raise money for the conservation of the book collection at Sir John Soane’s Museum. The establishment of the fund marks Eileen’s retirement after twenty-five years of cataloguing the architectural library of Sir John Soane’s Museum. Eileen asked that a fund be established in lieu of a leaving present, and in less than six months the Eileen Harris Book Conservation Fund has raised £14,580. Our Fellow Tim Knox, the museum’s director, confidently believes it will reach £20,000 before long. The museum’s ‘Save a Book’ web page has pictures of some of the books that need urgent conservation work, along with details of making an online donation.

Rich or happy? The Sunday Times publishes an annual list of the UK’s most wealthy people. This year’s ‘Rich List’, published on 25 April 2010, includes just the one Fellow (though not by name): at No. 63 is the Sainsbury Family (which includes our Fellow Sir Timothy Sainsbury), described by the Sunday Times as ‘the country’s most philanthropic family, with £275m spent or generated for charity in the past year, including huge sums to support education, the arts and medical research’). The Independent’s riposte to the ‘Rich List’ is the ‘Happy List’, made up of 100 people who, through their voluntary work, ‘make Britain a better and happier place’. It is good to note that a Fellow features in that list too: Jenny Freeman, Founding Director of the Historic Chapels Trust, is described as an ‘architectural writer and historian’, who ‘encourages people to get involved with non-conformist and Catholic chapels in need of restoration … established in 1993, the Historic Chapels Trust has worked to preserve and restore exceptional chapels across the UK’.

We end this round-up of Fellows’ news with a whiff of royal scandal. In the Copenhagen Post, under the headline ‘Queen was a Pipe Pilferer’, it is reported that our Royal Fellow, Queen Margrethe of Denmark, smuggled antiquities from London to Denmark in her youth. To be precise, she is accused of pocketing a clay pipe fragment that she spotted in a flower bed in London’s Hyde Park as a student and of bringing it back to Denmark without permission.

The revelation is contained in a new book — Queen Margrethe and Archaeology — which forms the catalogue for the exhibition of the same name that opened at Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus, on 24 March, as part of the celebrations for the monarch’s seventieth birthday (on 16 April). The exhibition and the catalogue document the excavations that Queen Margrethe, who studied archaeology at Girton College, Cambridge, from 1960, has taken part in.

The catalogue’s author, Count Jorgen Ahlefeldt-Laurvig, recalls being in London with the Queen when she spotted what she thought was an early example of a clay pipes in a fenced-off rose bed. The Queen threw her hat over the fence and called out ‘Jorgen, please be nice and fetch my hat’. Once he had scaled the fence she asked him to pass over the pipe, which she slipped into her pocket. Director of Danish Museums, Nils Jensen, said the Queen ‘had nothing to be ashamed of and that it just proved she was an avid archaeologist’.

The story is given added poignancy by the fact that Queen Margrethe is herself a keen pipe smoker; a habit she shared with her friend and compatriot, our late Fellow Birthe Kjølbye-Biddle, as was revealed in the letter that was read out from Queen Margrethe at Birthe’s funeral in Winchester Cathedral in January 2010.


Re Salon’s round-up of people standing in the 2010 UK Parliamentary election with a heritage background, Fellow Gordon Barclay writes to say that ‘John Howell, the sitting Conservative MP for Henley, is seeking re-election in one of the safest Conservative seats in the country. He is an archaeology graduate from Edinburgh, with a DPhil in archaeology from Oxford, who is active in trying to protect Thames gravel cropmark sites around Dorchester on Thames and Warborough from quarrying’.

Lives remembered

News has reached the Society of the death on 22 April of our Fellow Jim Tonkin. Our Fellow Ron Shoesmith said: ‘Jim was a good friend for many years who will be very much missed by all who knew him. He was very active in the original City of Hereford Archaeology Unit and was responsible for bringing out the story of many of the timber-framed buildings in Herefordshire. He will also be remembered as the headmaster of Wigmore School. Living within a few yards of the castle at Wigmore, Jim and his wife were very much part of this most attractive village. He was several times President of the Woolhope Club and its Editor for many years’. Jim’s funeral on 5 May 2010 will be followed by a reception at 1.30pm at Wigmore church and the village hall; further information from Ruth Richardson.

It was with great personal sadness that Salon’s editor learned last week of the death of Alan McWhirr, for it was Alan who gave a callow teenager his first taste of archaeology; and the same could be said for at least a dozen other Fellows. That same natural sympathy for the young that made Alan such a good teacher also gave him the ability to pick with great accuracy those few individuals from any larger group of diggers who showed real promise and interest; he then nurtured that interest by entrusting them with tasks that would challenge them and teach them skills that would last a lifetime.

Alan’s death from cancer on 14 April 2010 at the age of seventy-two came while he was still in the midst of numerous projects and he will be greatly missed by his university colleagues in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at Leicester, in the city and county of Leicester, in the diocese, on whose DAC he was a member, and in the much wider world of the study and conservation of the historic environment. Salon is grateful to Alan’s colleague and friend, our Fellow Marilyn Palmer, for the following obituary.

‘Born in St Albans in 1937, Alan had dug with Sheppard Frere at Verulamium before coming to the University of Leicester in 1957. The General Degree which was then offered enabled Alan to take not just maths and chemistry, which he went on to teach at Gateway School, but also archaeology, then in its infancy in the History Department. His short digging experience led to his being put in charge of one of the first student field courses on a Roman villa at Tixover, in Rutland, by Stanley Thomas, the first Lecturer in British Archaeology in the Department. Alan retained his interest in Roman archaeology and went on to direct excavations in Cirencester from 1965 until 1989, much of it directly supported by what had then become the Department of Archaeology in the University, a link established originally via John Wacher.

‘To start with, Alan worked as a school teacher in Leicester, digging in his holidays, a situation that continued when he became a lecturer in Environmental Studies at Leicester College of Education at Scraptoft (later Leicester Polytechnic). Following early retirement, he joined the Leicester Department of Archaeology in 1988 on a part-time basis. When Graeme Barker and the Department decided to initiate distance-learning courses in archaeology and heritage in 1996, the obvious person to ask to take it on was Alan, since he had so many contacts in the archaeological world and was known for getting things done! He showed enormously innovative skills in producing distance-learning materials, first for an MA and then a Postgraduate Certificate in Archaeology and Heritage, followed by PhDs by distance learning and then, to meet a growing demand, for Certificates in Archaeology. He made the best possible use of his IT skills in producing attractively designed materials but also demonstrated considerable initiative in the ways in which the courses were marketed. As a result, the School of Archaeology and Ancient History in the University of Leicester is the world leader in archaeology courses by distance learning. At the same time, Alan initiated the School’s important Monograph Series in the early 1990s, doing much of the editing, production and marketing himself.

‘Throughout his life as a lecturer in Leicester, Alan worked very hard in a voluntary capacity to promote public awareness of the historic environment in both the city and the county. He was involved with BBC Radio Leicester from its foundation, running a programme called ‘Digging Up the Past’, which involved on-site interviews with those involved in archaeology in the county. One would be quietly digging away on a site in Leicestershire, or measuring up a building, and Alan would appear in the distance with his recording equipment, including a large, fluffy microphone which would appear in front of your face as you were encouraged to talk about what you were doing! He was also largely instrumental in persuading the University to take on members of the county archaeological unit when it was dissolved in 1995, therefore helping to establish the University of Leicester Archaeological Services, which has played a major role in archaeological work in the city and county ever since.

‘Away from Leicester, Alan was President of Cirencester Archaeological and Historical Society from 1987 to 1997, and contributed several papers to publications on Cirencester and a popular book in the Shire Archaeology series on Roman Crafts and Industries, the cover being a mosaicist’s workshop at the Corinium Museum, for which he worked incessantly. In 2008, Cirencester Excavations Volume VI was published to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the formation of Cirencester Excavation Committee. This was dedicated to Alan, and he was formally presented with the volume at the Christmas meeting of the Society of Antiquaries on Thursday 18 December 2008 to acclamation.

‘Not content with his role in the Cirencester Archaeological and Historical Society, Alan served on the Committee of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society from 1964, acting as Hon Assistant Editor, Hon Secretary (Publicity) and, since 1980, as Hon Secretary. He has done far more than anyone else on that committee to see that this learned society takes positive action on local issues concerning the historic environment. He was assiduous in seeking publicity for the lectures and other activities put on by the Society and oversaw its publications. He produced its quarterly Newsletter and when an independent magazine called The Leicestershire Historian was in danger of collapsing, brought that under the auspices of the Society, thereby giving it a popular outlet alongside its more academic Transactions. He was also the Editor of another independent magazine, called Leicestershire and Rutland Heritage, from 1988. As a committee member of the Leicestershire and Rutland Rural Community Council, he was also on the editorial board of a community magazine called Village Voice, and more recently has been heavily involved in efforts to re-start the Leicestershire volumes of The Victoria County History.

‘Alan has also played a major role in the preservation of the historic fabric of churches in the county. He was a member of the Parochial Church Council of the important city church of St James the Greater from the 1980s and a churchwarden for the last twelve years. Beyond St James, he has been Chairman of the Leicestershire Historic Churches Preservation Trust since 1989, raising and distributing money for repair and maintenance of churches of all denominations in the county. The Trust’s Millennium Project was a series of booklets of church trails in the county, some of which Alan wrote himself. In the Diocese of Leicester, he served for many years on the Diocesan Advisory Committee which deals with the fabric of churches in the diocese and was appointed its chairman in 1996. As Chair of this Committee, he was also a member of the House of Laity of the Diocesan Synod and served on the Cathedral Appeal Committee when this was formed in 1999 to raise money for a visitor centre attached to Leicester Cathedral. He has therefore made a unique and outstanding contribution to the care of historic churches within the diocese of Leicester.

‘Beyond the cause of the historic fabric of churches, Alan also served on the Conservation Advisory Panel to Leicester City Council in order to give advice on wider conservation issues concerning the historic environment. His concern for the future of the City’s museums led to his establishment in August 2000 of the Museums Supporters Group, and he was always assiduous in bringing matters concerning both the museums of the city and county and the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland before the Committee of the Archaeological and Historical Society.’

Alan’s funeral will be private but there will be a memorial Choral Evensong at St James the Greater in the early summer, and it is hoped an event to pay tribute to his achievements later on. Further details will be published in Salon in due course.


11 May 2010: The King’s Blood: Relics of Charles I: venerated as a saint by some, relics of King Charles I took on huge significance for the Royalists after his execution, and this exhibition, at the art and antique dealers Wartski, 14 Grafton Street, London W1S 4DE, from 11 to 21 May, shows the elaborate gem-set reliquary made for a drop of the king’s blood, as well as the chalice from which he took his last communion and his pearl earring. Admission free; catalogues sold in aid of the Down’s Syndrome Association.

14 May 2010: ‘Urban Design and the Historic Environment’, a one-day course run in partnership with English Heritage and in association with the IfA and the IHBC on a subject of fundamental concern to planners, architects, designers, and all the diverse professions concerned with the evaluation and shaping of places. The historic environment provides the starting point for most urban design in the UK: it can both encapsulate the opportunities it offers and circumscribe possibilities. This seminar provides a unique opportunity to investigate different perspectives on the relationship between urban design and the historic environment and to engage some of the leading practitioners in the field in discussion and debate. Further information on the website of the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education.

26 May 2010: A Tudor Body in Georgian Clothes, a lecture to be given at 7pm at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey, by our Fellow Warwick Rodwell in aid of the £2 million appeal for repairs and restoration. In his capacity as Consultant Archaeologist at Westminster Abbey and St Margaret’s, Warwick is making new discoveries practically every day. His lecture at St Margaret’s offers a rare opportunity for an insight into the progress being made, especially with regard to the tower of St Margaret’s tower which, at fist sight, seems to be an early Georgian structure but that hides something much older. His lecture will be complemented by music from the Tudor and Georgian periods performed by the soprano Cecilia Osmond with Robert Quinney, Sub-Organist of the Abbey, on harpsichord. To book, see the Westminster Abbey website.

28 May 2010: Charles II: King, Court and Culture. Hosted by the Society for Court Studies at the University of Greenwich, this conference will include papers by Ronald Hutton, FSA, on ‘Charles II in the Twenty-first Century’ and Karen Hearn, FSA, on ‘John Michael Wright’, as well as a tour of surviving parts of Charles II’s Greenwich Palace. For further information, see the Court Studies website.

3 to 5 June 2010: Conservation Philosophies: Global or Local? This University of York and ICOMOS-UK International Conference is to be held at King’s Manor, York, and it will address the questions: ‘is there such a thing as a global conservation philosophy for cultural heritage and should cultural heritage conservation reflect cultural diversity?’ Among the speakers from China, India, Japan, Algeria and the UK are our Fellows Susan Denyer, the Revd Geoff West and Paul Drury. Further information from the ICOMOS-UK website.

16 November 2010: The conservation issues caused by the presence of bats in churches, the Conservation Forum 2010, to be held in the Guard Room, Lambeth Palace. With papers on such irresistible topics as ‘Why bats love churches’, this day-long seminar includes a number of Fellows speaking on mitigations strategies to prevent damage to monuments, wall paintings, historic furnishings and works of art caused by bats and to hear about the Church of England’s national strategy for co-existing with bats. Further information from our Fellow Andrew Argyrakis of the Church Buildings Council.

Books by Fellows

Ann Crawford’s new book, A Yorkist Lord: John Howard, Duke of Norfolk, c 1425—1485 (Continuum Books: ISBN 9781441165510), is of especial interest to Fellows in that it is based on four volumes of household memoranda compiled by John Howard, covering the periods from 1462 to 1471 and from 1481 to 1483, the latter two being part of our Society’s Collections. The memoranda consist of a daily record of the money received and dispersed by Howard himself, his family and senior members of his household. They illustrate almost every aspect of his life and bring vividly to life the domestic concerns of one of the most important men of the Yorkist period, a loyal supporter of the Yorkist dynasty from the late 1450s until his death at Bosworth in 1485.

Another biography of a remarkable man is the comprehensive account of Coke of Norfolk, by our Fellow Susanna Wade Martins (Boydell: ISBN 9781843835318). Remarkably, given his seminal role in the agrarian revolution, this is the first substantial biography of Thomas Coke, first earl of Leicester, since 1908. Susanna’s work is informed by her own decades of study of farm buildings and the history of post-medieval agriculture and by her research among the family archives at Holkham Hall. The book sets Coke’s agricultural achievements in a wider context, and places Coke himself in his milieu, as one of a small circle of landed grandees who were of major influence during a period of political turbulence and agricultural change. A mark of the quality of the work is that it has already been shortlisted for two awards.

Biographical too in a sense is George Hardin Brown’s new and compendious Companion to Bede (Boydell: ISBN 9781843834762), which sets out what we know of Bede’s life at Wearmouth Monastery, elucidates the context in which Bede wrote and serves as a reference guide to his many works, with summaries and analyses organised by genre — educational works, Biblical commentaries, homilies, hagiography, martyrology, poems, letters and the histories for which he is best remembered today. The book concludes with a brief examination of Bede’s posthumous reputation and reception through the later Middle Ages.

Three Festschrifts have been published recently honouring Fellows. The Four Modes of Seeing (Ashgate: ISBN 9780754660101), edited by Evelyn Staudinger Lane, Elizabeth Carson Pastan and Ellen M Shortell, is dedicated to our Fellow Madeline Caviness, best known as scholar of medieval stained glass. The thirty papers in the book are heavily weighted towards this theme, and include studies of workshop practice, the relationships between glass and architecture, the narrative structures deployed by stained-glass artists, and numerous close studies of specific examples of stained-glass art, but essays on the depiction of women in glass, as saints, monarchs and Biblical figures, and on medieval art in general reflect Madeline’s many other interests, including gender studies, how art has been collected and why.

London and the Kingdom (Shaun Tyas: ISBN 9781900289917), edited by Matthew Davies and Andrew Prescott, is published in honour of our Fellow Caroline Barron, historian of medieval London, and it consists of twenty-five papers given at the 2004 Harlaxton Conference, many of them by Fellows, on topics that address London from many different perspectives, including the London accent and the language of London schoolchildren in the Middle Ages, taxation and its evasion, the medieval English hospital, women as apprentices, wives and widows, and their representation on tombs, and, reflecting Caroline’s interest in Richard II, papers on Richard II’s London, the Peasants’ Revolt and Yorkist kingship.

Ancient Cyprus in the British Museum (British Museum Press Research Publication 180; ISBN 9780861591800) is edited by Thomas Kiely, the current Cyprus Curator in the Greek and Roman department of the British Museum, in honour of Veronica Tatton-Brown, who formerly occupied the same post, and contains essays by her friends and former colleagues, recounting the history of Cypriot archaeology as revealed by the museum’s archives and drawing attention to key points of interest in the museum’s rich and varied collection.

It is worth adding that the British Museum has now made a selection of titles from its Research Publicationsseries available on the internet as free downloads. One that might interest Fellows, for example, is the Catalogue of Anglo-Saxon Glass in the British Museum by our Fellow Vera Evison.

Gifts to the Library, January to March 2010

The Society is very grateful to the donors of the following books, given to the Library in the period January to March 2010. Full records can be found in the Society’s online catalogue.

From the author, Anne Crawford, FSA, A Yorkist Lord: John Howard, Duke of Norfolk, c 1425—1485 (2010)
From the author, Øystein Ekroll, Middelalderbyen Nidaros (2008)
From Emmanouil St Giannopoulos, Manuscripts of Byzantine Music, England: a descriptive catalogue of manuscripts of psalter art preserved in the libraries of the United Kingdom (2008)
From the compiler, Richard Falkiner, FSA, A Bibliography of Sundials (2009)
From the author, Michael Farley, FSA, An Illustrated History of Early Buckinghamshire (2010)
From the author, Michael Finlay, English Decorated Bronze Mortars and their Makers (2010)
From the author, Mirjam Foot, FSA, The Henry Davis Gift: a collection of bookbindings, volume 1 (1978)
From the author, Peter Fowler, FSA, Inventory of Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites of Potential Outstanding Universal Value in Palestine (Arabic edition) (2009)
From the author, Christopher Halliday, The Drawing Master: the life and work of Wilmot Pilsbury, RWS, 1840—1908 (2009)
From Elizabeth Hartley, FSA, Proceedings of the Seventh Niš and Byzantium Symposium 2008 (2009)
From the author, Jonathan Horne, FSA, Nonsuch (1994 exhibition booklet) and John Dwight (1992 exhibition booklet)
From the compiler, Jonathan Horne, FSA, A Catalogue of English Brown Stoneware from the 17th and 18th Centuries (1985); A Collection of Early English Pottery (two volumes, nd); and Jonathan Horne: English Pottery and Related Works of Art (exhibition catalogues 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009)
From Jonathan Horne, FSA, Printed English Pottery by David Drakard (1992); Liverpool Printed Tiles by Anthony Ray (1994); John and David Elers and their Contemporaries by Gordon Elliott (1998); William Greatbatch: a Staffordshire Potter by David Barker, FSA (1991); London Delftware by Frank Britton (1987); Pirates of the East End (2008 exhibition catalogue); White Salt-Glazed Stoneware of the British Isles by Diana Edwards and Rodney Hampson (2005); Irish Delftware: an Illustrated History by Peter Francis (2000)
From the compiler, Ia McIlwaine, FSA, Herculaneum: a guide to sources, 1980—2007 (2009)
From Vincent Megaw, FSA, Les Celtes, aux Racines de L’Europe (2009); Les Gaulois et la mort en Normandie (2009)
From the author, David Neal, FSA, The Basilica at Soli Cyprus: a survey of the buildings and mosaics (nd)
From the author, Nicholas Plumley, FSA, The Organs of Tewkesbury Abbey (2008)
From contributor, Jennifer Price, FSA, Le camp de la Flotte d’Agrippa à Fréjus (2009)
From the author, Philip Priestley, FSA, Aaron Lufkin Dennison: an industrial pioneer and his legacy (2009)
From the editor, Graeme Rimer, FSA, Henry VIII: Arms and the Man (2009)
From the author, Miles Russell, FSA, Bloodline: the Celtic Kings of Roman Britain (2010)
From the joint author, Michael Turner, FSA, Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum (2008)
From Richard Wainwright, FSA, The Antiquities of England and Wales (Vol 1) by Francis Grose (nd)
From Jeremy Warren, FSA, Jet in the Collection of The Hispanic Society of America (1930)


Faculty of History, University of Cambridge: The Dixie Professorship of Ecclesiastical History, closing date 14 May 2010.
For further details, see the University of Cambridge website.