Salon Archive

Issue: 70

Forthcoming meetings

20 November: Sculptural Traditions in Roman Britain, by Dr Martin Henig, FSA
27 November: The Berkeley Castle Muniments, by David Smith, FSA
4 December: The Restoration of Kelmscott Manor Gardens, by Hal Moggridge, OBE
11 December: A Miscellany of Papers

Fellows� news

As a coda to the sad loss of our Fellow, John Hurst, it was reported in The Times on 8 November that Alan Batty, aged 20, had been convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years� imprisonment. In passing sentence on Batty, Judge Michael Stokes told him: 'Because of you a distinguished scholar is dead. He is dead because you got it into your head that it was acceptable behaviour to target, follow and attack someone because of his sexual orientation. You didn't care that he was academically distinguished, an archaeologist of world renown, a leading expert on medieval pottery and a loved father.�

Arnold Taylor Memorial Day

The General Secretary has decided to postpone the Arnold Taylor Memorial Day planned for 9 December in honour of our former President. Interest in the event has been depressed because of its proximity to the Christmas season. Jayne Phenton, the main organising force behind the Memorial Day, has also suffered an accident and will be away from work until she recovers from an operation to her ankle. A new date will be finalised in early 2004 and advertised in Salon and Miscellanea.

Missing Fellows

The following Fellows have failed to respond to repeated attempts by the Society to contact them. If any Fellow knows the whereabouts of any of them, please contact Giselle Pullen in the Finance Office.

Miss Florence M Blomfield
Mr Richard Good
Mr Keith E Kissack
Professor Julie M Hansen
Dr Christopher Pare
Professor Maurice W M Pope
Dr T F Taylor
Dr Robin Thornes
Dr Robert Young

Advice to Fellows re Direct Debit or Credit Card payments

Giselle also asks Fellows to get in touch if they pay their subscriptions by Direct Debit and have changed their bank, branch or account number; or if they pay by a credit card that has expired. In both cases, new mandate forms are required. For further information or assistance, contact Giselle Pullen as soon as possible as collection for the 2004 subscription is due on 1 January 2004.

Llandaff Cathedral

Robin Simon, FSA, of The British Art Journal has written to alert Fellows to what he describes as a �sloppy scheme� to sweep away the sequence of chest tombs and headstones, interspersed with steps and landings, that form the graduated approach to the west door of Llandaff Cathedral.

The Dean and Chapter intends to flatten all this to create a piazza, with a single flight of steps up to the west door. Among those who have expressed anxiety about the scheme are disabled associations, who accuse the Dean and Chapter of ignoring their legal duties to consult and to provide adequate access.

The scheme has been approved by the Consistory Court, which was told that the tombs were moved here for purely cosmetic effect, that they contain no human remains and that the approach �could have been artificially created with waste soil dumped outside the west door during the eighteenth century�.

Robin says that there is a mass of visual evidence to the contrary, including a precise architectural drawing by JMW Turner showing the tombs, and when archaeological excavation started recently outside the west front forty bodies were found just 15 inches below the flagstones.

Robin concludes: �It is 100 years this year since the birth of Bishop Glyn Simon, also a Fellow, who was responsible for the restoration of the Cathedral after the War. Fortunately, he is not buried outside the West Door, but must by now be revolving in his grave nearby. It is a dismal way to mark his centenary�.

Public consultation on the future of the National Monuments Record

If you have views on the role of the National Monuments Record (NMR), now is the time to make them known. English Heritage has embarked on consultation about the future of the NMR and is asking what should the national archive contain; which services are of greatest value; what are the respective roles of national, regional and local institutions in keeping archives and databases; and what balance should English Heritage strike between promoting the National Monuments Record and helping other archives to make use of the information they hold?
Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, says that the consultation is �an opportunity to make a real difference to the way we develop the NMR.�

The consultation paper can be completed online or downloaded from the English Heritage website by clicking on the �National Monuments Record� tab, selecting �NMR Review�, and following the link to the consultation paper. Alternatively, send an email to request the hard copy consultation booklet.

If you are a user of the NMR's enquiry and research service, or the specialist advisory services, English Heritage would also encourage you to complete more specific user questionnaires. Please send an email to request copies.

Responses must be received by 4 February 2004.

Conservative leader names new Culture Shadow Secretary

Conservative party leader Michael Howard announced his new front-bench team on 10 November, appointing Julie Kirkbride, MP, as Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in his slimline Shadow Cabinet, consisting of just twelve names (compared to the Labour Cabinet�s nineteen). John Whittingdale, who had been Shadow Culture Secretary under Ian Duncan Smith, now becomes Shadow Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Secretary. Julie Kirkbride�s new team includes some familiar faces: Malcolm Moss, MP, retains responsibility for heritage matters in the Commons, with Baroness Buscombe and Baroness Anelay, DBE, looking after heritage in the Lords.

Haskins recommends that historical landscapes should come under new body

Lord Haskins�s report on the Government's delivery of rural services was published on 11 November, and it recommends the creation of a new �integrated land management agency�, one of whose responsibilities will be to �embrace the historical landscape�. The report was commissioned in the wake of criticism over the Government�s handling of the foot and mouth crisis and took the form of a thorough review of the workings of DEFRA (the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and those outside agencies that depend on DEFRA for funding.

As anticipated, the report's main proposal was the creation of a single body from the merger of English Nature, the Countryside Agency and the Forestry Commission. Lord Haskins said the new body should �embrace bio-diversity, historical landscape, natural landscape, natural resources, access and recreation�. It would also oversee the implementation of European environmental legislation and be concerned with water use and rural land management issues.

Reactions to the report were mixed. Sceptical environmentalists were concerned that the countryside might lose a strong and independent voice, and several newspapers reported the abolition of English Nature as �retribution� for opposing the introduction of GM crops. Unions and staff representatives were also critical of the potential for job losses and expensive administrative chaos.

In response, Margaret Beckett, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, stressed that the reforms did not imply a downgrading of the government's commitment to wildlife protection, and that the new department would have wider powers in its essential work of protecting biodiversity. Mrs Beckett also said that the new agency would be set up as a non-departmental public body and operate at arm�s length from ministers, continuing to offer independent and robust advice, even if its views contradicted those of Government.

The Haskins Report also makes a strong case for delivery of rural policy to be devolved downwards to regional development agencies and local authorities where possible � but the report admits that it might be some time before the regional infrastructure is in place for this to happen.

Work has already begun on a detailed response, which will be published in the spring of next year. Meanwhile, DEFRA is inviting comments on the report, which can be downloaded from its website.

Flanders mud yields forgotten war victims

Several newspapers marked Armistice Day (11 November) by reporting on the excavations taking place near Ypres (Ieper in Flemish), where a network of First World War trenches has been unearthed, including the remains of six soldiers. The soldiers were found where they had fallen, having been buried by earth thrown on top of them by exploding shells during one of the most important battles of the war � the Third Battle of Ypres, in October 1917 � which ended with the recapturing of Passchendaele and claimed about 400,000 lives.

Pictures of the waterlogged trenches, shored up with corrugated iron and with wooden duckboards still intact, brought home in a very direct manner the appalling conditions that all sides suffered in this war.

The site is being excavated because it lies in the path of a proposed extension to the A19 motorway. When the Belgian government announced its plans to build the motorway along the exact route of part of the 1915-17 front line, it bowed to public pressure by setting up an archaeological commission, which began work last year. Marc Dewilde, of the Belgian Institute of Archaeological Heritage, who is leading the dig at the Pilkem Ridge site, has declared it to be of outstanding significance, clearly showing the development of trench warfare. �We didn�t think it would be as well preserved � they are in really good condition,� he said.

The Anglo-Belgian excavation team will continue their work for another year, when a final report will be presented to the Belgian government, which will then decide whether to divert the motorway. Peter Barton, one of those involved in the excavation, said: �The fighting was so intense here, over such a long period, that the whole of this area is one huge cemetery. And there are hundreds of thousands of men still out there waiting to be found.�

Austerlitz battlefield at risk

The Independent reported last week that a second battlefield was under threat � this time, ironically, from the construction of a Nato radar station close to the site of the Battle of Austerlitz, in the Czech Republic, where Napoleon�s army defeated the combined forces of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian armies in 1805, with the loss of 36,000 lives.

Mayors of the twenty-two Moravian towns and villages that lie closest to the battle site have applied for a court order halting construction of the facility, but have not yet been given a date for the court hearing. Jiri Zivotsky, mayor of Sokolnice, said that people were angry because Nato had not sought planning permission, by contrast with villagers who live in an area that is listed and where �residents have to ask permission just to change our windows�. The Czech Defence Ministry is responsible for the choice of the site, rather than Nato headquarters, where Lord Robertson, Nato�s Secretary General, expressed the hope that an alternative site could be found that was not part of a protected historic landscape.

Tate Director attacks concept of �saving art for the nation�

Speaking at an international conference organised to celebrate the achievements of the Art Fund in saving hundreds of works of art from export, Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate Gallery, accused art lovers of caring too much about the past and not enough about the present. Millions of pounds, he said, were being spent on saving historic art to the detriment of buying contemporary works, and he warned that Tate Modern, Britain�s flagship gallery of contemporary art, was �deficient in works by important figures of the twentieth century�.

Whilst some commentators reacted by saying that Sir Nicholas�s speech was self-serving, others said that he had raised important issues, not least the fact that the policy of �saving art for the nation� meant that museums and galleries could do no forward planning and were at the mercy of �death, divorce and financial crisis�, which forced owners to put works of art on the open market.

Letters to The Independent

The debate sparked by the Art Fund conference continued on the letters page of The Independent when Claude Blair, FSA, wrote on 12 November to say that art saved for the nation should be housed �in London museums and galleries, unless it has a special connection with a particular region�, because the capital is easily accessible from most parts of the country.

His letter went on to say that: �The proposal to send works saved for the nation on tour is not as simple as it sounds. Any moving around of ancient, and probably fragile, paintings and antiques puts them at risk. Apart from possible accidental damage, changes of environment may affect them adversely, and there is, of course, always the security problem attached to objects of great value. Comparatively few local museums can provide either the special environmental conditions or the security that might be required, having been starved of funds by successive administrations for many years.�

On 15 November, Colin Tweedy, Chief Executive of Business and Arts, recommended that the UK look to Europe for inspiration in encouraging corporate philanthropy in donating major works of art to public galleries. �Whereas in this country such donations attract a tax saving of 40 per cent of the value of the donation� he wrote, �in France such donations attract a very encouraging 90 per cent reduction in tax�.

He also expressed his concern at the potential loss of corporate collections of contemporary art, �originally purchased by businesses to help develop a better working environment for their staff�. Saying that some of these collections were now of at least regional, if not national, significance, he said �we need to ensure that ... their donation to public galleries is facilitated�, pointing to the loss of 238 items from the collection of the TI Group, sold at auction in 2001, and the loss of the Aer Lingus collection of Irish art.

Plan to share Raphael�s Madonna of the Pinks

A tailpiece to the week�s debates was to be found in the pages of the Sunday Times, where it was reported that the National Gallery and the Getty Museum were involved in �secret talks�, with the aim of working out a compromise over the future of the Madonna of the Pinks. According to the report, each institution would contribute half of the �35 million sale price, and the painting would be displayed in each of the galleries in turn. Sir Timothy Clifford, Director of the National Gallery of Scotland, was reported to be unhappy with such a proposal, saying that he had already offered a similar deal whereby the two British galleries could jointly pay for and own the painting, just as the Scottish gallery shares ownership of Canova�s The Three Graces with the V&A.

Historic Environment Records Consultation deadline extended

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has announced that the deadline for responding to its consultation paper on Historic Environment Records has been extended to 30 November 2003. Further information relating to the consultation can be found on the DCMS website.

National Trust just keeps on growing

Ahead of its AGM on 15 November, the National Trust announced that it had gained ten per cent more members since last year, when it broke through the 3 million barrier to become larger than all the political parties and the Church of England combined. Now with 3.3 million members, it is the biggest conservation group in Europe and the joining rate of one new member every 42 seconds has overtaken the country's birth rate (one baby born every 52 seconds). Membership has increased by 20 per cent in the past two years. Visits to pay-for-entry properties is also up at 12.8 million visits, compared with 10.5 million last year, an increase of 22 per cent.

The figures were released as the Trust prepared for its activities to be put under the spotlight in a fly-on-the-wall documentary series, broadcast on BBC4. Those without access to digital TV can see the five-part series when it is repeated on BBC2 next year. Previews suggest that the programmes focus on tensions between modernisers and traditionalists within the Trust�s staff.

British School at Rome awards and residencies

The website of the British School at Rome has details of the 2004 scholarships and residencies designed to help students of archaeology and classical studies pursue their researches in Rome. New this year is the Tim Potter Memorial Award, established in honour of our late Fellow, intended to promote the study of Italian archaeological material by those of high academic potential who have had limited previous opportunity to visit Italy. The award provides for a two- to four-month residency, including accommodation and full-board, a research grant of �150 per month and a �500 travel allowance. Full details, including downloadable application forms, are to be found at www.bsr.ac.uk/.

London Archaeological Prize 2004

A prize of �250 for a work published in 2002 or 2003 (in hard copy or digital form) relating to archaeology in the area of Greater London is being offered by the Standing Conference on London Archaeology and the London Archaeologist. Nomination forms are available from Peter Pickering and the closing date for receipt of nominations is 15 May 2004.

National Maintenance Week 2003

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings is launching National Maintenance Week on 21 November with a conference at Hardwick Hall on �Maintenance: Making It Happen�. Speakers will include SPAB scholar and BBC2 Restoration presenter Marianne Suhr, plus speakers from Maintain Our Heritage, English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund and others. The full programme is available upon request from . Marianne Suhr will be on duty again later in the week at a press photo-call in Dulwich where she will be checking that the gutters and drains at the Dulwich Picture Gallery are clear of leaves in order to highlight SPAB National Gutters Day, on 28 November. For information about these and other events, see www.maintainyourbuilding.org.uk.

Victorian Society Lectures in Cambridge

On 29 November, our Fellow Dr Carola Hicks will give a talk on Stained glass in some Cambridge colleges and churches (excluding Morris & Co) and Jon Catleugh of the De Morgan Centre will then discuss The impact of Islam on nineteenth-century ceramics. The venue for both is Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. Tickets cost �12; cheques should be made out to The Victorian Society Great Eastern Group and sent to Michael Pearson, The Victorian Society Great Eastern Group, Primrose Cottage, Catmere End, Saffron Walden CB11 4XG.

Creating Academic Communities

Equilibris, the Dutch publishing company, is offering copies of Creating Academic Communities: Funeral Monuments to Professors at Oxford, Leiden and T�bingen, 1580�1700 post free for orders placed by Fellows before 10 December. The volume deals with the historical, religious and political background of each of the three North-European Protestant universities and analyses the funerary monuments under thematic headings. The author � Dr Stefanie A Knoell, assistant-curator at the Museum for Sepulchral Culture at Kassel, Germany � proposes a typology for the study of funerary monuments, and gives a detailed examination of funerary symbolism and portraiture, placing particular stress on the importance of the inscriptions and monument�s location. The work includes an extensive illustrated catalogue and accompanying CD-ROM with full-colour images. For further information, see the Equilibris website.

Vacancies

National Trust, Property Manager, Sissinghurst Castle
Salary �22,500 to �25,800 plus rent-free accommodation, closing date 24 November 2003

This could be someone�s dream job, taking responsibility for the operational management of Sissinghurst Castle, gardens, restaurant, shop, farmlands, cottages and countryside. A knowledge of historic houses or of horticulture is required. Further details by email.

University College London, Chair of UCL Council
UCL is inviting applications � and suggestions for suitable candidates � for the position of Chair of Council, to succeed Lord Young of Graffham. This is a pro bono position of considerable prestige, with responsibility for promoting the efficient governance of UCL. The prospective new Chair will serve as Vice-Chair of Council from 1 October 2004, and take over from the Chair on 1 October 2005. Further information about the Council and the role of Chair can be obtained from the Secretary to the Council, Tim Perry.