Salon Archive

Issue: 63

Obituaries

Percival Turnbull, FSA, writes to inform Fellows of the death at the beginning of September of Denis Coggins, FSA.

Shortly afterwards we also learned that Dennis Haselgrove, FSA, died suddenly on 6 September. Colin Haselgrove, FSA, has written this brief summary of his father's career. �A devoted civil servant since joining in 1937, he showed a lifelong attachment to the Ministry of Transport and rose to the rank of Under Secretary and was appointed Companion of the Bath in 1963. He spent his final two years at the Dept of the Environment reorganising its archaeological work. In retirement he pursued his lifelong interest in archaeology and also in local history. He was heavily involved in the excavations of the old pottery of John Dwight, English potter during the reign of Charles II, near his home in Fulham. He edited and contributed to a report and book about the excavations, his research taking him far and wide. He also assisted with the organisation of the finds for accession to the Museum of London. He was elected a Fellow in 1983.

Fellows� news

Professor Neil Jackson, FSA, of the University of Leeds has won the Forty-ninth RIBA Banister Fletcher Award, given by the Authors' Club for �the best book on an architectural subject published during the past twelve months'. The winning book is entitled Craig Ellwood (Laurence King Publishing, 2002). Craig Ellwood (1922�92) is best known for his elegant steel and glass houses, built in Los Angeles in the 1950s and 1960s. Although he never trained as an architect, his work was amongst the best known of the post-war era and came to epitomise the Californian good life. He retired from practice in 1976 and spent the last fifteen years of his life working as a painter in Tuscany.

Looted Iraqi statue is found buried in garden

The 5,500-year-old lifesize marble head known as the �Mona Lisa of Warka�, one of the earliest representations of the human face and one of the most treasured of the artefacts still missing from the Iraqi National Museum, has been dug up by police from a back garden in a small town north of Baghdad.

Police have arrested the owner of the property where it was buried. �Local people informed the police about a piece buried in a private property, although they didn�t know exactly what it was,� Donny George, the museum�s director, said. �The owner claimed he didn�t know what it was, and that it had been given to him by someone who owed him money.� According to Mr George, however, the man appears to be an art dealer who had probably tried to sell the piece outside Iraq. �It seems that because it is a very famous artefact, no one was able to sell it even on the international market. This is the most wonderful news I have ever heard.�

Excavated in the 1930s from the ancient city of Warka, or Uruk, the ancient Sumerian head dates from around 3,500 BC. The head�s companion piece, the Vase of Warka, was returned to the museum earlier this year, though it had been broken into fourteen pieces.

Lords Second Reading of the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Bill

The looting in Iraq was discussed at length in the House of Lords on 12 September when Lord Redesdale moved the second reading of Richard Allan�s private member�s bill on the trade in illicit antiquities. Arts Minister Lord McIntosh of Haringey said that further time for debating the Bill was short, and he hoped that peers would not be tempted to table amendments to the Bill when it comes back for its final reading in the week of 6 October. All being well, the Bill will return to the Commons for Royal Assent at the end of October, with enactment in December.

Theft of coins from Folkestone Museum

Compared to what has happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is perhaps small beer, but several Roman and Iron-Age coins were stolen from Folkestone Museum on 28 August. It was Fellow Maurice Byrne who noticed and reported that the cabinet in which the coins were displayed had been broken into. The first- and second-century coins came from S E Winbolt�s 1924 excavations at the Roman villa in Eastcliffe.

Stolen art database

During the debate on Richard Allan�s bill last week, peers discussed the creation of a national database of stolen and unlawfully removed cultural objects. Lord McIntosh said that �such a database is important in fulfilling our new obligations under the 1970 UNESCO Convention�. He went on to admit that the Government had been accused of lack of progress in setting up the database, but said that: �it is an ambitious project that needs extensive consultation among policy makers in other Government departments and law enforcement agencies. The Home Office has asked us to prepare an outline business case for the database, which analyses the administrative arrangements, the budgets required and the operational security and access issues ... I recognise that the issue is an important and urgent one and that what has happened in Afghanistan and Iraq has increased the urgency. The measures are needed by the trade, by law enforcement agencies, customs and the museums.�

Earlier this month, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said the problem was that the police and the art market �both want a database, but they want it for different purposes and neither wants to pay for it�. The police and the Home Office apparently want a confidential database, with limited access. Dealers, on the other hand, want an open, free-to-access database that they can use to prove �due diligence� under the terms of Richard Allan�s bill. In other words, they want to be able to look up objects brought to them for sale � and to be regarded as innocent of any criminal intent if they trade in goods that are not listed on the database but that later prove to have been stolen. Dealers argue that a database open to the trade is essential because: �to deny access to dealers would be to cut off the main artery for recovery�.

It is understood that DCMS is now investigating the option of developing the database with a commercial partner, such as the Art Loss Register, or Trace. The costs of the register have been estimated as being between �4 and �12 million.

Hidden Treasure � your response

Following the last issue of Salon, several Fellows have written to say that they too were very unhappy with the tone and content of the BBC�s Hidden Treasure series with its glamorising of metal detecting, and its emphasis on the monetary value of archaeological finds.

Some correspondents warned that it was far too easy to be seduced by TV into co-operating with programme makers, only to discover that they do not keep their promises. Staff at the BM say they were repeatedly assured that Hidden Treasure would be a serious series that would convey to the public the same message that is implicit in the exhibition that opens at the museum in November � namely, that market value is one of the least interesting aspects of treasure finds. They also complained of the enormous disruption that the series caused to the museum�s work. Precious and fragile objects were moved and handled more often than curator�s might have wished, academic study was delayed, and BM staff had to devote time and effort to this project that could productively have been spent on their many other duties.

Staff working for the Portable Antiquities Scheme have also expressed dismay at the undermining of their efforts to build bridges with the metal-detecting community, encouraging them to enjoy their hobby, but with a commitment to contributing to knowledge rather than destroying it. Hidden Treasure has now sent out the opposite message with its appeal to human greed and its �get rich quick� narrative.

Some Fellows are suggesting that a formal complaint should be made to the BBC on behalf of the archaeological and antiquarian community � perhaps even by the Society.

Battlegrounds invaded by metal detectors

Further commentary on the damage done by metal detectorists is to be found in an article by David Keys published in The Independent on 22 September 2003. David reports the findings of the Battlefield Trust, that �at least ten important battlefields have been damaged by uncontrolled metal detecting and the unrecorded removal of thousands of objects ... they include medieval England's largest battle (Towton, 1461), Edward IV's great Wars of the Roses victory at Tewkesbury (1471), the Civil War battles of Newark and Newbury, and Henry V's first great battle (Shrewsbury in 1403) � one of the first mass deployments of longbows�.

Only a week ago, on 13 September, at least 300 people turned up with metal detectors at a field adjacent to the English Civil War battle site at Marston Moor, in Yorkshire, and unearthed hundreds of objects. The Marston Moor operation was perfectly legal because it took place with the owner�s permission on private land, which has only recently been identified as part of the battlefield. The rally was widely promoted as a family-oriented history event, and donations from participants raised more than �5,000 for charity.

After the rally, the question of uncontrolled metal detecting on British battlefields was raised in the House of Lords. Heritage Minister Lord McIntosh said that the protection status of historic battlefields would form part of the Government�s current Designation review.

Meanwhile, recognising that it is powerless to stop such events, Paul Stamper, FSA, English Heritage's battlefield expert, has said that EH plans to work with the Portable Antiquities Scheme to develop and promote better recording methodologies and practices.

For the full article, see The Independent website.

UK Government publishes new policies for rural development

Whilst redrafting of PPGs 15 and 16 on archaeology and the built environment remain on hold, pending the outcome of the current Designation consultation, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has just published its newly revised version of the old PPG7, now known as Planning Policy Statement 7 (PPS7) � Sustainable Development in Rural Areas. This will be the principal source of guidance for rural authorities on the use of open countryside in the future. As widely predicted, the draft removes the current special exceptions for �new country houses� (the so-called Gummer clause, introduced by John Gummer, the former Secretary of State for the Environment).

Initial reaction has been positive, but the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has expressed concern about wordings that might lead to the watering down of countryside protection. Whereas the old guidance said that �building in the open countryside should be strictly controlled�, the new phrasing says that �new development away from existing settlements ... should be strictly controlled�, which, says the CPRE, �is far less clear cut in its intentions and could risk unprecedented new building in the countryside�.

The statement in PPG7 that said �the countryside should be safeguarded for its own sake' has turned into the much more complicated phrase in the draft PPS which states that �Planning authorities should continue to protect the countryside for the sake of its intrinsic character and beauty, the diversity of its landscapes and wildlife and the wealth of its natural resources�. What is not clear, according to CPRE, is how local authorities will use this policy to protect an area of open countryside, potentially having to justify reasons under each of those qualities.

Finally, CPRE points to the introduction of a possible new loophole in otherwise strong protection for designated Green Belt land, which would allow �the wider benefits� of farm diversification to override strict controls over development.

Copies of the draft PPS 7 can be obtained from the ODPM website. The deadline for responses to the draft is 12 December 2003.

SAVE mounts campaign to keep Endsleigh for the nation

SAVE Britain�s Heritage is gearing up a big campaign to find a public-spirited buyer for Endsleigh House and its Repton-designed gardens. The house, on the borders of Devon and Cornwall, was built as a holiday retreat in 1811-14 by the 6th Duke of Bedford, to the designs of Sir Jeffrey Wyatville. Writing in The Times on 8 September, Marcus Binney, FSA, described Endsleigh as �an English version of Marie Antoinette�s famous farm at Versailles, designed for an al fresco life�. Set in 108 acres of beautifully planted grounds, the house enjoys views of rolling hills and of the wooded banks of the River Tamar. The furnishings in the main rooms have changed little since the 6th Duke�s death in 1839.

In recent years, Endsleigh has been run as a country-house hotel by the Endsleigh Fishing Club, set up to save it when a break-up of the estate was threatened in the 1950s, after the death of the 12th Duke of Bedford. In 1989 the club transferred responsibility for the maintenance of the house, gardens and arboretum to the Endsleigh Charitable Trust, which has carried out extensive restoration in the gardens. However, at the end of last year the hotel closed and the club has now decided to sell, retaining an adjoining stretch of the river for its members to fish.

Endsleigh has been valued at �3.25 million, but if it were purchased by an organization dedicated to maintaining public access, Endsleigh Fishing Club might not have to repay grants of about �1 million received from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund - so the right purchaser could have room for negotiation over the price. Who could that purchaser be? One name being floated is the enterprising Landmark Trust, which has already restored Endsleigh�s Swiss Cottage and nearby Pond Cottage and makes them available for short holiday lets. Peter Pearce, Director of the Landmark Trust, said: �One possibility would be for Landmark to lease the house from a new owner and continue to run it as an hotel. Our properties at Endsleigh are very popular and we will consider it.�

Meanwhile, campaign literature is being prepared by SAVE to make everyone aware of the special qualities of the house and gardens, and to secure its future ownership for the public rather than a private buyer. Aanyone interested in helping with the campaign or wishing to find out more can contact Adam Wilkinson at SAVE. Further information about the house and its history can be found at www.endsleigh-house.com.

Prehistoric sites found beneath the North Sea

Several newspapers reported last week that a group of archaeologists from Newcastle University were learning to dive when they noticed worked flints on the seabed. Closer inspection led to the discovery of arrowheads and blades at two prehistoric sites eight metres (26ft) under the North Sea near Tynemouth, located at the edge of a coastal sea cliff that became submerged 10,000 years ago as sea levels rose after the last Ice Age. The prehistoric sites are said to be the oldest yet to be discovered in British waters and the first to be discovered under the North Sea.

Dr Penny Spikins, leader of the university�s Submerged Prehistoric Landmarks Project, said that �the finds could change our understanding of the earliest occupation of the British isles. They open up a whole new landscape under the water, a new frontier for archaeology.� David Miles, FSA, English Heritage�s chief archaeologist, said: �We know that there is a prehistoric Atlantis beneath the North Sea where people and animals roamed. The discovery gives us a stepping stone into this unknown world.�

The secret of imperial purple

According to John Edmonds, 72, a retired engineer, the recipe for imperial purple - the dye used to create the colour worn by Roman emperors to signify their rank - is to ferment shellfish in a vat, like beer, for ten days. Speaking at last week�s British Association Science Festival in Salford, Greater Manchester, John Edmonds said he had rediscovered the technique after studying the fermentation process used to obtain indigo pigment from the woad plant. The Romans used a gland from the murex shellfish to create purple dye, he said, but equally good results could be obtained from cockles bought in the local branch of Tesco�s.

Mr Edmonds said that he put the cockles in a jam jar along with wood ash to keep the mixture alkaline, and stewed them in water at 50�C in a bain-marie for ten days. The result was a dye that appeared green, but when wool was dyed in it and then exposed to the air, it turned a deep purple. To produce imperial purple the fermenting vat must be covered to exclude light. Left open, a blue version is produced, similar to tekhelet, the colour of the tassles worn by devout Jews.

Modern chemistry is able to make both colours, said John Edmonds, but he wanted to discover how dyes were made in antiquity and to develop a clean biological method to replace the chemical process that is widely used in the production of jeans.

Oscar-winning writer in dispute over extension plans

Last Sunday�s Observer reported that Julian Fellowes, Oscar-winning screenwriter of the film Gosford Park, is in dispute with English Heritage over plans to add a new service wing to Stafford House, near Dorchester in Dorset, originally built in 1633.

Fellowes argues that: �We want to bring this house back to life ... but English Heritage seem reluctant to let us restore it. They have this curious blocking mentality which, I'm afraid, is why so few people are prepared to buy Grade I houses. They have done heritage a tremendous disservice because people now don't want to take these places on, which is the reverse of what they should be achieving.'

In reply, Jenny Chesher, English Heritage inspector of historic buildings in the south west, insists that: 'If one buys a Grade I-listed building there are inevitably going to be more restrictions than on a building which is not listed ... there is a hierarchy in this building and the service wing should be simpler to reflect it. His plan involved solid stone walls with arched stone mullioned windows. It was a bit grand for the service wing of a country house, which is of a different date from the main house.�

Dr Kevin Brown, English Heritage's regional director, defended EH against the charge of discouraging the purchase of listed buildings. 'It's an understandable reaction from someone who's had difficulty getting consent for their property, but I don't believe this is a majority view,' he said. 'More than 90 per cent of applications for consent are granted. We are always trying to help owners reach the best solution while preserving the building's history and integrity.'

British Museum Great Court competes with ferry shelter in final of RIBA Stirling

The annual RIBA Stirling Prize, worth �20,000 and awarded to the building which has made the greatest contribution to British architecture in the last year, could go to a humble shelter for passengers trying to get out of the wind while waiting for the ferry on the Hebridean island of Tiree. This was one of the two most popular of the shortlisted projects with listeners to the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, who were invited to vote online for their favourites from the shortlist. The little Scottish shelter, designed half-huddled into the hillside against the prevailing winds by Sutherland Hussey Architects, tied with Lord Foster's Great Court at the British Museum, each receiving 30 per cent of the votes cast.

This year�s other contenders include the Laban dance centre, designed by Herzog and de Meuron, the Swiss architects of Tate Modern, built on wasteland beside Deptford Creek, in south-east London, which William Hill bookmakers have made the favourite to take the prize, and Bedzed, a pioneering high-density, low-energy housing development at Wallington in Surrey.

The jury includes the novelist Julian Barnes, Justine Frischmann, who trained as an architect but is better known as lead singer with Elastica, and Chris Wilkinson, whose design firm won last year�s prize, which went to the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. The winner will be decided at a final judges' meeting on 11 October.

Sixteenth-century wall halts work on the Paris Orangerie

Work to construct a subterranean exhibition space at the Orangerie in Paris, home of Monet's celebrated Nymph�as (Waterlilies), ground to a halt last week when workmen discovered that the gallery stands on top of a sixteenth-century wall erected around the Tuileries palace and gardens by King Charles IX. �It's the most astounding oversight,� said Alexandre Gady, a Paris historian. �Everyone knows about this wall: it dates from 1566 and is on every map of Paris up until the nineteenth century. The Orangerie was built above it in 1852. How could they have even thought of excavating?�

�Something has gone badly wrong,� a French culture ministry spokeswoman said. �As things stand, all I can say at present is that it will clearly be impossible to carry out the renovation and extension work to the Orangerie as planned while leaving the wall intact. It will be up to the minister to decide what to do next. Either the wall is so important that we have to completely rethink the whole Orangerie project, or we have to work out some way of integrating it into the design.�

Monet�s series of eight huge Nymph�as was painted especially for the Orangerie's oval rooms in 1921, and they were presented to the nation as a �spiritual testament� six years later. An upper storey was added to the Orangerie in the 1960s to accommodate an enlarged art collection, but this deprived Monet�s masterpieces of natural light. The intention of the current work was to remove the upper storey and house the bulk of the museum's collection in a newly constructed basement. Unfortunately, nobody seems to have checked in advance what lay underneath the Orangerie.

Alderley Edge website

Following on from the item in Salon 62 about the educational use of the built environment, Fellow John Prag has written with news of a ground-breaking educational website that has just been launched by the Manchester Museum, called The Story of Alderley Edge.

A unique feature of the site is the way that it integrates the fiction of children�s writer Alan Garner with the research findings of the Manchester Museum�s Alderley Edge Landscape Project (AELP). Garner�s novel, The Stone Book Quartet, consists of four stories about a day in the life of four members of his family over four generations, set in Alderley. Inspired by Garner�s semi-fictional stories, children using the site can then explore the real life history of Alderley Edge � its geology, mines, archaeology, architecture, plants and wildlife, geography, history, folklore and literature � using the huge store of data gathered by the Alderley Edge Landscape Project, including rare maps, original documents, old photographs and a unique sound archive drawing upon more than 200 hours of oral interviews. In these the story of Alderley Edge is told from many perspectives � from the wealth of legends that surround the area, such as the sleeping hero and his warriors behind the iron gates waiting for the last battle of the world, to the story of the birth of the village with the arrival of the railway and Manchester�s �Cottontots�.

The site has detailed schemes of work for teachers, especially those working with pupils at Key Stages 2 and 3 in English, Geography and History. John Prag says that the site is proving especially attractive to children at the notoriously difficult primary to secondary school transition, a period during which there is a real risk of �learning drop� and demotivation.

Further details from John Prag, FSA, Director of the Alderley Edge Landscape Project: Heritage and Education Resources (AELPHER) at the Manchester Museum on tel: 0161 275 2665.

Bill Bryson appointed as English Heritage Commissioner

Travel writer Bill Bryson is one of six new Commissioner appointments announced on 14 September by the Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell. Bryson is well known for his love of the commonplace and often overlooked features of the British landscape � explaining his decision to move back here from Boston, USA, last year, for example, he remarked: �Britain is the best place in the world to go for a walk, post a letter, buy a book, venture out for a drink, get lost, seek help, or stand on the hillside and take in the view�. Commenting on his appointment last week, Bill Bryson said: �I'm not the only person who loves England, but I'm one of the few prepared to be vocal about it. Millions of other people feel the same, but they just stand around in an embarrassed silence, in that very English way.�

Also appointed are the environmentalist Maria Adebowale, planner Joyce Bridges, investment specialist and former MEP, the Marquess of Douro, property developer Manish Chande and Fellow Elizabeth Williamson, Architectural Editor of the Victoria History of the Counties of England. All six will serve for a period of four years.

English Heritage announces grants moratorium

English Heritage has announced that it has embarked upon a grants review which aims to ensure that its grants programme and mechanisms are �sufficiently flexible to meet the needs of the historic environment in the most appropriate way�. The review will ensure that EH�s grants strategy is focused on A Force for Our Future and SHER priorities, and supported by modernised procedures. This will include regionally based strategies for the delivery of both advice and grants casework. The nine Regional Delivery Strategies will be published as consultation drafts later this year.

In order to allow for the implementation of changes to grant priorities and procedures, the processing of any grant applications received after 30 September 2003 will be delayed until the new system is in place for the following grant schemes:

Historic Buildings, Monuments, Parks and Gardens Grants scheme
London Grants
Grants to establish Conservation Staff.

Applications received after that date will be considered against the new national and regional priorities and will not receive a decision until at least April 2004. For further advice and guidance applicants are asked to contact their English Heritage regional office.

Gimson at Cheltenham Art Gallery

Inspired by William Morris, Ernest Gimson, the Arts and Crafts architect and designer, worked in the Cotswolds from 1893 until his death in 1919. Nikolaus Pevsner described him as �the greatest of the English artist craftsmen�. Amongst his works are the village hall and two estate cottages in Kelmscott. Now a major exhibition devoted to Gimson�s work has just opened at the Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum, which holds a comprehensive archive of his working drawings.

The exhibition includes furniture, ironwork, plasterwork, embroidery and architectural work, and a number of recent pieces made by young contemporary designers inspired by Gimson�s work. Arts and Crafts specialist Mary Greensted has edited a book to go with the exhibition called Originality and Initiative: the Arts and Crafts Archives in Cheltenham. The exhibition runs until 2 November.

Forthcoming events at the Sir John Soane Museum

On Thursday 23 October, at 6.30pm, at No. 14 Lincoln�s Inn Fields, Fellow Dr Ann Saunders will lecture on the monuments in St Paul�s Cathedral commemorating the heroes of the Napoleonic Wars.

On Thursday 30 October, at 7pm, at the Royal College of Surgeons, 35-43 Lincoln�s Inn Fields, Dr Robin Middleton will lecture on �Julian David Leroy�s Search for the Spirit of Architecture�.

On Tuesday 25 November, at 7.30pm, the Special Soane Lecture will be given at the Royal Institution, 21 Albermarle Street, by Professor David Watkin, FSA, on �The Origin and Progress of Architecture According to Sir John Soane�, being a summary of the twelve lectures that Sir John Soane delivered in 1817 and 1820 at the Royal Institution, and between 1809 and 1836 at the Royal Academy where he was appointed Professor of Architecture in 1806. Tickets for this event can be booked by telephone on 020 7670 2985 (Visa and MasterCard only), by email, or online.

Vacancies

Historic Royal Palaces, Curator (Historic Buildings) Ref 0367
Salary �22,000 to �25,000, closing date 3 October 2003

To lead the presentation, appearance, development and appropriate use of the palaces � especially Hampton Court � including responsibility for conservation, research and archaeological recording. Further details from recruitment@hrp.org.uk.

Historic Royal Palaces, Curator (Collections) Ref 0368
Salary �21,000 to �24,000, closing date 3 October 2003

To assist the curatorial team at Kensington Palace in the planning and execution of the project to open the apartment formerly occupied by HRH The Princess Margaret and to represent other parts of the Palace � including the development of a new conservation and access centre, and the relocation of the collection of historic dress. Further details from recruitment@hrp.org.uk.

Resource, Chief Executive
Salary c �100,000, closing date 24 October 2003

Leading and managing the day-to-day operations of the principal policy-setting and advisory body for the UK�s museums, libraries and archives sector. Further details from Odgers Ray & Berndtson, tel: 020 7529 1111, email: nfp.response@odgers.com.

Yale University Press, Managing Editor
Closing date 20 October

John Nicoll is retiring as Managing Director of the Yale University Press in March 2004 and the Board of Trustees is now seeking his successor. As well as being a leading publisher of scholarly books on art history and history, Yale now also publishes the Pevsner Architectural Guides. Developing publishing strategies relevant to the digital world will be a key responsibility of the new Managing Director. Further details from the Trustees, Yale University Press, 47 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP.