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
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 yearsï¿½ 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.ï¿½
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.
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
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.
Robin Simon, FSA, of The British Art Journal has written to
alert Fellows to what he describes as a ï¿½sloppy schemeï¿½ 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
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
effect, that they contain no human remains and that the approach ï¿½could
have been artificially created with waste soil dumped outside the west
door during the eighteenth centuryï¿½.
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: ï¿½It 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 centenaryï¿½.
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 ï¿½an opportunity to make a real difference to the way we develop the NMR.ï¿½
The consultation paper can be completed online or downloaded from the English Heritage website by clicking on the ï¿½National Monuments Recordï¿½ tab, selecting ï¿½NMR Reviewï¿½, 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 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
Cabinetï¿½s nineteen). John Whittingdale, who had been Shadow Culture
Secretary under Ian Duncan Smith, now becomes Shadow Agriculture,
Fisheries and Food Secretary. Julie Kirkbrideï¿½s 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.
Lord Haskinsï¿½s report on the Government's delivery of rural services
was published on 11 November, and it recommends the creation of a new
ï¿½integrated land management agencyï¿½, one of whose responsibilities will
be to ï¿½embrace the historical landscapeï¿½. The report was commissioned in
the wake of criticism over the Governmentï¿½s 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 ï¿½embrace bio-diversity, historical landscape, natural landscape, natural resources, access and recreationï¿½. 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 ï¿½retributionï¿½ 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 armï¿½s 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 ï¿½ 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.
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 ï¿½ the Third Battle
of Ypres, in October 1917 ï¿½ 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. ï¿½We didnï¿½t think it would be as well preserved ï¿½ they are in really good condition,ï¿½ 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: ï¿½The 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.ï¿½
The Independent reported last week that a second battlefield was
under threat ï¿½ 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 Napoleonï¿½s army defeated the combined forces of
the Russian and Austro-Hungarian armies in 1805, with the loss of 36,000
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 ï¿½residents have to ask permission just to change our windowsï¿½. The Czech Defence Ministry is responsible for the choice of the site, rather than Nato headquarters, where Lord Robertson, Natoï¿½s Secretary General, expressed the hope that an alternative site could be found that was not part of a protected historic landscape.
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, Britainï¿½s flagship gallery of contemporary art,
was ï¿½deficient in works by important figures of the twentieth centuryï¿½.
Whilst some commentators reacted by saying that Sir Nicholasï¿½s speech was self-serving, others said that he had raised important issues, not least the fact that the policy of ï¿½saving art for the nationï¿½ meant that museums and galleries could do no forward planning and were at the mercy of ï¿½death, divorce and financial crisisï¿½, which forced owners to put works of art on the open market.
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 ï¿½in London museums and galleries, unless it
has a special connection with a particular regionï¿½, because the capital
is easily accessible from most parts of the country.
His letter went on to say that: ï¿½The 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.ï¿½
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. ï¿½Whereas in this country such donations attract a tax saving of 40 per cent of the value of the donationï¿½ he wrote, ï¿½in France such donations attract a very encouraging 90 per cent reduction in taxï¿½.
He also expressed his concern at the potential loss of corporate collections of contemporary art, ï¿½originally purchased by businesses to help develop a better working environment for their staffï¿½. Saying that some of these collections were now of at least regional, if not national, significance, he said ï¿½we need to ensure that ... their donation to public galleries is facilitatedï¿½, 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.
A tailpiece to the weekï¿½s 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 ï¿½secret talksï¿½, 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 ï¿½35 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 Canovaï¿½s The Three Graces with the V&A.
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.
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 Trustï¿½s staff.
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
ï¿½150 per month and a ï¿½500 travel allowance. Full details, including
downloadable application forms, are to be found at www.bsr.ac.uk/.
A prize of ï¿½250 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.
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings is launching
National Maintenance Week on 21 November with a conference at Hardwick
Hall on ï¿½Maintenance: Making It Happenï¿½. 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
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 ï¿½12; 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.
Equilibris, the Dutch publishing company, is offering copies of Creating Academic Communities: Funeral Monuments to Professors at Oxford, Leiden and Tï¿½bingen, 1580ï¿½1700
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 ï¿½ Dr Stefanie A
Knoell, assistant-curator at the Museum for Sepulchral Culture at
Kassel, Germany ï¿½ 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 monumentï¿½s location. The work includes an extensive
illustrated catalogue and accompanying CD-ROM with full-colour images.
For further information, see the Equilibris website.
National Trust, Property Manager, Sissinghurst Castle
Salary ï¿½22,500 to ï¿½25,800 plus rent-free accommodation, closing date 24 November 2003
This could be someoneï¿½s 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 ï¿½ and suggestions for suitable candidates ï¿½ 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.