Salon Archive

Issue: 75

Weekly meeting report

At the meeting held on 15 January 2004, Paul Harvey, FSA, and Malcolm Jones, FSA, revealed their shared passion for collecting references to animal names in historical and literary records � names that have since become generic, such as Reynard the Fox, Robin Redbreast or Jack Daw, as well as individual names, such as Chanticleer the Cock and Pertelot the Hen in Chaucer�s The Nun�s Priest�s Tale. A review of the sources of animal names � royal account books and treatises on hunting � suggests that the naming of animals was principally, though by no means exclusively, an aristocratic practice.

A full report of the meeting is available on the Fellows� side of the Society�s website .

Forthcoming meetings

22 January: The Archaeology of a Deserted Plateau: le Causse M�jean, by Peter Fowler, FSA, and Charles Thomas, FSA
29 January: Ballot
5 February: �Antiquarian Gleanings in the North of England�, by William Bell Scott, c 1851, by Simon Jervis, Hon VPSA

New Year Honours

Cross-eyed with trying to read the small print of the New Year Honours list last week, Salon�s editor failed to notice that Fellow Peter John Tullis Sanday was also awarded an OBE in the Diplomatic and Overseas List for services to architectural heritage conservation and training, especially in Cambodia and Nepal.

Antiquaries Journal 2003

The Antiquaries Journal for 2003 has now been published and copies are ready for collection from Burlington House by those Fellows who have elected to collect their copies rather than having them posted.

Burlington House � the trial begins

Monday 19 January sees the start of the High Court (Chancery Division) hearing that will decide the terms under which the Society of Antiquaries, along with the Linnean Society, the Geological Society, the Royal Astronomical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry, will continue to occupy their apartments in Burlington House.

The Times on Saturday carried an article by Jenny Uglow, author of The Lunar Men: A Story of Science, Art, Invention and Passion, in which she described the five learned societies as �being hubs of local, national and international networks, embracing members from local societies and advanced research bodies�. Each society, she wrote, �is strikingly different, but their energy flows across the �synoptic� courtyard, as the secretary of the Linnaen, John Marsden, describes it�. Answering the allegation that the learned societies are anachronistic, she writes that �they look to past and future simultaneously. The Antiquaries may have splendid teas and arcane ceremonies involving a tricorn hat and a mace, but their talk is of new excavations, antiquities lost in Iraq, bills in parliament�.

The novelist Antonia Byatt is quoted as saying that to evict the Linnean would be �an intellectual and aesthetic disaster and a scandalous loss to London�. Our own David Starkey, FSA, says: �The Burlington House scheme was conceived of monumentally � it was important, and deliberate, that the site was in the centre of things, and that the buildings themselves were a symbol of the idea of learning�. Sir David Attenborough, a Fellow of the Linnean, picks up that same thought and argues that the learned societies together have shaped our understanding of the world, and that they are what makes London a civilized city: �when visitors come from abroad you can take them into that courtyard and say: �Look, this sums it up. Ahead of you the arts � the Royal Academy � and to the left are history and the sciences�.

�If ever a place was redolent of learning and culture�, Jenny Uglow concludes, �the Burlington courtyard must be supreme�.

Gulbenkian Museum of the Year Prize shortlist

The shortlist for Britain's biggest arts prize, the �100,000 Gulbenkian Prize for Museum of the Year, was announced on 16 January, and two of the thirteen shortlisted projects are the work of Fellows. David Jaffe, FSA, Chief Curator at the National Gallery, devoted two years to planning the Titian exhibition held at the National Gallery from February to May last year and described by the judges as �one of the most high profile and highly acclaimed exhibitions of 2003�. And the Reticulum project at the Museum of Antiquities, Newcastle upon Tyne � the work of Lindsay Allason-Jones, FSA � has been shortlisted as an innovative educational project.

Also featuring in the shortlist is the Royal Armouries, Leeds, for The Knight is Young: Princely Weapons and Armour of Childhood, described as �a fascinating exhibition both for and about children�, and Tyne & Wear Museums for Pontis, �an innovative and witty public art project that captured the public's imagination� by linking metro stations in Newcastle with the Roman fort at Segedunum, Wallsend, using Latin names for local landmarks (the local job centre, for example, was renamed Forum Venalicium, or Slave Market).

Recently elected Fellow, Loyd Grossman, is Chair of the judging panel. He described all the shortlisted projects as �exemplary�. The four finalists for the 2004 prize will be announced at the end of March. The winner will be announced on 11 May at the Royal Academy during Museums and Galleries Month. Full details can be found on the Resource website.

Goodison Report argues for more spending on museum and gallery acquisitions

Sir Nicholas Goodison, former chairman of the Stock Exchange and of the National Art Collections Fund, has called for tax concessions for donors who give important works of art to the nation. The relief would enable someone donating a work �of pre-eminent importance� to public collections during their lifetime to offset the gross value of the object against income before the assessment of income tax. Sir Nicholas estimated that the measure would cost the Treasury around �30m a year.

This was one of 45 recommendations made in Sir Nicholas Goodison�s report � entitled Securing the Best for our Museums: Private Giving and Government Support � which was commissioned last year by Paul Boateng, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Other recommendations include raising the Government�s annual grant to the National Heritage Memorial Fund (the fund of last resort for saving treasures for the nation used to help the National Trust buy the Tyntesfield estate in 2002) from �5m a year to �20m; and the establishment of a forum for early discussions between owners and galleries to prevent tugs-of-war such as that between the National Gallery and the Getty Museum in the US over Raphael�s Madonna of the Pinks. Sir Nicholas stressed that the recommendations had to be implemented in their entirety if major gaps in the collections of Britain's museums and galleries were to be filled.

In launching the report, Sir Nicholas was also critical of what he called the �strong political strand� that failed to understand the importance of acquisitions. �A museum is nothing without its objects and proper curatorial management of its core collections,� he said. �The Government's priorities have seemed to dwell too much on access and education and not enough on the care of the collections. Well-judged acquisitions ... are not, as some commentators make out, an optional extra�.

Copies of the report can be downloaded from HM Treasury�s website.

Chancellor to stop charities using Gift-Aid �loophole�

It remains to be seen whether the Treasury will implement the recommendations in the Goodison report: reporting for The Guardian, Maev Kennedy said it was ominous that no minister had attended the launch of the report � which made some observers fearful for its success. The Treasury has, however, announced that it wants to stop charities from using Gift Aid to recoup income tax on the admission fees that visitors pay to enter museums and historic houses. Last year, Gift Aid formed a substantial source of income for Kelmscott Manor. All the visitor has to do is fill in a simple declaration form saying that they wish their admission fee to be treated as a donation, and the Society is then able to recoup income tax at the basic rate � worth an additional 22 per cent of the amount donated.

Now the Chancellor has announced that �it was not the intention of the exemption to treat admission charges as donations which attract gift aid ... the Government is determined to maintain the integrity of the Gift Aid scheme and will close this loophole.'

The Museums Association and the UK Visitor Attractions Forum have both announced that they are hoping to change the Treasury�s mind and they are gathering information in order to judge the likely impact of the measure. Tax experts have also pointed out this is not a �loophole�, as it is explicitly permitted under the Gift Aid guidance notes (3.27.2) published after the November Budget of 2000, and all those charities using the scheme have done so with the full agreement of the Inland Revenue.

�Long may it continue�, Arts Minister says of Portable Antiquities Scheme

Speaking at the launch of the fifth Annual Report of the Portable Antiquities Scheme on 18 December 2003, UK Arts Minister Estelle Morris said that �the whole nation benefits from these discoveries � generations to come will be able to learn about our past, our country�s past and about our past as a nation race. The scheme is a huge success all around and long may it continue�. Roger Bland, FSA, Head of Portable Antiquities at the British Museum, is interpreting this as a positive sign that long-term funding will be secured for the scheme once the current Heritage Lottery Fund grant comes to an end in March 2006.

The latest Annual Report sets out to answer those archaeologists who are concerned that the scheme actively encourages metal detecting, which in turn results in the loss of archaeological evidence. The report says that over 90 per cent of the 49,590 finds recorded in the period 1 October 2001 to 31 March 2003 were recovered from cultivated land, where they were susceptible to plough damage and natural corrosion. Some 70 per cent of finds are now being recorded to the nearest 100 square metres (a six-figure National Grid Reference) or better.

For further details, with pictures and a downloadable copy of the report, see the Portable Antiquities Scheme website.

Annual report of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art

The forty-ninth annual report of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art shows that eleven outstanding items worth �4.2 million were kept in the country following export deferral during 2002�3, including Joseph Wright of Derby�s portrait of Richard Arkwright junior with his wife Mary and daughter Anne, an armchair and a dressing table designed by the architect Marcel Breuer in 1936 for Highpoint, Highgate, and a bronze incense burner attributed to Desiderio da Firenze of c 1540. As a result of the Committee's recommendations, high-profile campaigns were also launched to prevent the export of important works of art, such as Raphael's Madonna of the Pinks, and the Portrait of Omai, by Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Export deferral enabled the British Museum to raise funds of �294,000 to purchase a Roman well-head, the Guildford puteal, decorated in low-relief carving and made around 100 BC. The British Library spent �61,575 on the purchase of the letters and diaries of Claudius James Rich (1787�1821), a pioneer in the field of Near Eastern archaeology who is credited with the discovery of the ruins of Babylon. Whilst Resident for the East India Company at Baghdad he collected the coins, manuscripts and pottery fragments that were later to form the basis of the British Museum's collections from the ancient Near East.

Copies of the report can be downloaded from the DCMS website.

Select Committee criticises Government inaction on illicit antiquities trade

The Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport (chaired by Gerald Kaufman, MP) has published a report that is highly critical of the Government�s apparent lack of activity in setting up a national database of stolen and illegally removed cultural objects. The report describes the lack of progress as �lamentable� and �frustrating�. It points to �the links between the illicit antiquities trade and organised crime�, saying that criminals use the art and antiquities market as a means of money laundering, Arguing that this is a major law and order issue, the committee calls on the Prime Minister to give as much priority to halting the illegal antiquities trade as it does to tackling car crime and auto theft.

The committee does not blame DCMS for the delays, saying rather that the situation results from �a complete failure of joined-up government�. On a more positive note, the report �welcomes the Home Office's recognition of the unsatisfactory progress made to date and the new commitment to ensuring that the project now comes to fruition along the lines, and within the timetable, set out by Ministers.� This refers to the statement given to the Select Committee by the Home Office Minister, Caroline Flint, MP (responsible for these matters since June 2003), to the effect that the Home Office has now committed funds to the project, appointed an independent consultant to review the two proposals on the table and advise on a decision between them to be made by Government before March 2004; that would be followed by an initial pilot phase for a year followed by �roll-out as soon as the pilot phase could be judged a success�.

The full report can be read on the parliamentary website.

Rising debts threaten cathedral closures ...

The Observer reported on 11 January 2004 that the Association of English Cathedrals is concerned at the sharp fall in visitors � and especially of relatively high-spending American and Japanese tourists who have stayed away from the UK because of concerns about terrorism.

David Burrows, the administrator of Chester cathedral and a member of the Association�s committee, said that around half of English cathedrals have mounting multi-million pound debts. He estimates that the average cathedral costs about �850,000 a year to service and maintain, of which about �300,000 comes from donations and �200,000 from commercial activities, including gift shops and restaurants. About �200,000 comes from property and investments, with the remainder made up of various grants.

Poor stock market returns and falling income from visitors and sales are compounded by the rising cost of keeping cathedrals open. To balance the books, cathedrals have delayed work on essential maintenance and repairs. �Most cathedrals have what is called a �maintenance overhang� as a result,� Burrows said. 'It's a real possibility that a number of cathedrals will soon have to be closed for some of the time each week,' Mr Burrows concluded, putting an end to the long-standing tradition that cathedral doors are always open during daylight hours.

... and the sale of bishops� palaces

In a move that is likely to cause concern amongst buildings and gardens conservationists, Church Commissioners last week announced that they were introducing guidelines to help reduce the costs of maintaining diocesan bishops� houses � including the possible sale of entire properties, or the sale of part of the grounds in order to raise funds and cut gardening costs.

According the Commissioners, twenty-two bishops� houses and palaces are classed as historic properties, out of a total of forty-four. Many double up as offices, and several are open to the public; some are even used as conference centres. Even where bishops and their families live in a tiny part of the palace, the �image of grandeur has often aroused resentment in cash-strapped parishes�, the report says.

Recently the Bishop of Bristol�s eight-bedroom Queen Anne house in Clifton has been sold, and the See House in Wakefield is about to go on the market. In future, the Commission said, it would consider the future of each and every house when the bishop was approaching retirement in order to see whether it was a �suitable house from which bishops can conduct an effective ministry�.

Stansted heads airports expansion plans

On 16 December 2003, the Transport Secretary Alistair Darling announced that Stansted and Heathrow are to get new runways under the Government's thirty-year plan for air travel in the UK. The Stansted runway would be ready by 2011, with Heathrow to get a third runway by 2020 if it meets a range of environmental and noise rules. Among other proposals announced are a new runway in Birmingham and a possible one in Edinburgh too.

The announcement was greeted with a great deal of anger. At a conservative estimate, two ancient monuments, fifty-four listed buildings and two hundred homes will be sacrificed to the Stansted runway. Airport Watch, the umbrella group that is fighting all the proposed airport expansion plans, has called a meeting to co-ordinate its response on 31 January at the London School of Economics (Room D702) from 1.15pm (all are welcome to attend). The group is considering a series of legal challenges and will try to ensure that the issue is high on the agenda at the next election (which will probably take place in June 2005).

Since the proposals only have the status of White Paper, campaigners still hope to change the Government�s mind. They argue that aviation is unfairly subsidised, and that fair taxation would do much to encourage more domestic tourism, create jobs and stem the very substantial net outflow of tourist revenue from the UK.

New fact file on tourism growth

Having said that, the Government has admitted that it doesn�t yet have adequate statistics to measure the value of tourism in the UK. To remedy this, Tourism Minister Richard Caborn has commissioned tourism experts from Cardiff, Nottingham and Limerick universities to produce comprehensive package of easy-to-understand statistical information to serve as a base from which to develop business strategies, marketing plans and policy.

It will provide details on the structure and economic value of tourism, numbers of people employed and marketing spend. It will also enable comparison between tourism and other economic sectors and improve understanding of the link between them � the departmental press release specifically mentions transport or agriculture here, but no doubt heritage sector organisations (such as English Heritage, the Historic Houses Association, the Museums Association and the National Trust) will be lobbying hard to ensure that their contribution to tourist income is recognised.

Figures will be collected for England (broken down by region) and Ireland to complement figures already collected by Scotland and Wales and provide a picture for the whole UK. Data collection will begin in the New Year, with figures published in the autumn. Further information is available on the DCMS website.

County Councils are to retain a role in the planning system

In 2002, when the Government published its Green Paper on the future of the planning system in England, many were critical of the proposal to abolish the role of county and unitary councils and to give the primary planning role to nine unelected regional bodies. Critics felt that the proposed replacement of county plans by regional strategies would lead to the loss of community involvement. Regions, they argued, are too remote to engage in the level of detail that is vital for good planning.

Two years on, the Government has finally conceded the point and to the delight of countryside and heritage organisations such as the Campaign for Rural England, the Planning Minister, Keith Hill, announced on 13 January that county councils and other authorities with strategic planning experience will be given a statutory role in preparing, reviewing and monitoring the implementation of regional spatial strategies. In making his announcement Keith Hill said: �The active involvement of county councils is vital to delivering our agenda of stronger regional planning frameworks.� The Government is likely to table an amendment to this effect when the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill enters its Committee stages in the House of Lords towards the end of January.

English Heritage to manage Apsley House

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell announced on 19 December 2003 that the management of Apsley House � the London home of the Duke of Wellington � is to pass to English Heritage. The new management arrangements, which followed an open competition, will come into effect from 1 April 2004. The house was previously maintained by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, while the associated museum and its collections � including major paintings, porcelain, silver and Wellington memorabilia � were managed by the V&A. Tessa Jowell said: �We are now bringing together the care of both the collection and the building in the hands of English Heritage. I hope English Heritage will work with the family to ensure an ever improving experience for the thousands of visitors who come to the house every year.� For further details see the DCMS website.

�500,000 special grant to British Museum to support Africa 2005 project

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has announced that the British Museum will receive a special grant of �500,000 to fund projects celebrating the link between the UK and Africa as part of the Africa 2005 celebrations. The BM will use the money to launch a series of events � from the popular to the scholarly � in collaboration with institutions across Africa. These will include exhibitions of African art, a major conference to be held at the British Museum, and international exchanges, bringing African scholars to this country to work on the collections and take part in the lectures and workshops throughout the UK aimed at increasing our understanding of African culture.

Protection for 1950s motorway cafe

The words �architecturally important Little Chef� seem to propose an impossible contradiction, but an institution that many consider the antithesis of culture is about to be saved from demolition because of its hyperbolic paraboloid roof � described as resembling a graceful concrete and aluminium butterfly.

The Highways Agency is to reconsider the alignment of a flyover for the A1 at Markham Moor in Nottinghamshire in order to protect the Little Chef, which was originally designed as a petrol station in the late 1950s by the late Sam Scorer, an innovator with roof structures, who died aged 80 last March.

The Markham Moor cafe is as yet unlisted, but when English Heritage listed Scorer's much larger Lincoln County Library, built as a car showroom in 1959, the then Arts Minister Alan Howarth described him as �a pioneer in the use of this type of roof construction and a figure of national significance�.

Study tour of Roman Britain

Fellow David Kennedy, Professor of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Western Australia, is organizing a second study tour for three weeks� duration in July 2004. Although run from Australia it begins and ends in the UK and is open to anyone. The tour circumnavigates the country from Canterbury to Aberdeen and ends in London. Travel is by coach and accommodation is in university halls of residence.

For further details see the Tour of Roman Britain 2004 website or contact David Kennedy.

Books by Fellows

The sheer diversity of Fellows� interests � from the scholarly to the sybaritic � are reflected in this week�s bumper crop of new(ish) books.

From David Gaimster, who takes up his new post as General Secretary of the Society in just two weeks� time, comes the first Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology monograph, entitled The Archaeology of Reformation 1480�1580, edited jointly with Roberta Gilchrist. The essays in this volume ask what archaeology can tell us about the rupture that occurred as the medieval order gave way to the foundation of modern society at the Reformation, with case studies from Scandinavia and other parts of western Europe as well as the UK. Further details from the website of Maney Publishing.

Lisa Jefferson�s newly published work (a copy of which has been donated to the Antiquaries Library) is called Wardens' Accounts and Court Minute Books of the Goldsmiths' Mistery of London, 1334�1446 (Boydell & Brewer, 2003). It presents an edition of the earliest record books of the Goldsmiths� Company, the financial accounts of the wardens, and the proceedings of their disciplinary court, from which a wealth of information emerges.

Also from Boydell & Brewer is C S (Paddie) Drake�s The Romanesque Fonts of Northern Europe and Scandinavia. This is a study of the (mainly) twelfth-century fonts of the two regions, with separate chapters on the stone fonts of the British Isles, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway and a final chapter on the metal fonts to be found in England, France and Germany. The full retail price is �90 but a 25 per cent discount is offered to members of special interest groups (�67.50 + UK post �2, overseas �4). Any interested Fellows should contact Boydell & Brewer Ltd direct at PO Box 9, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 3DF, tel: 01394 411320 or fax 01394 411477. Any queries about the book and its scope may be taken up directly with the author, C S Drake, by tel: 01473 720159 or email.

Nat Alcock, of the University of Warwick has recently published Documenting the History of Houses, a guide to discovering the history of a house, examining the different types of evidence, such as maps and deeds. The book is published by the British Records Association, in its Archives and the User series (see their website) and is an entirely new volume superseding John Harvey's seminal guide, Sources for the History of Houses, published in this series in 1974 and long out of print.

Just published by the National Library of Wales is the work of Huw Walters called Llyfryddiaeth Cylchgronau Cymreig / A Bibliography of Welsh Periodicals 1851�1900, (501pp, ISBN 1862250405, �35). The work is a sequel to Llyfryddiaeth Cylchgronau Cymreig / A Bibliography of Welsh Periodicals 1735�1850 (National Library of Wales, 1993) and it contains a detailed descriptive list of 879 periodicals published in Wales, or periodicals of Welsh association published in England, the United States of America, Australia, Patagonia, South Africa and India. Religious, temperance, literary and learned publications are represented, as well as periodicals for children and women, and parish, church, chapel, school and college magazines. There is a chronological listing of all the known Welsh periodical titles published between 1735 and 1900 and a comprehensive survey of the growth and development of the Welsh periodical press from its inception in 1735 to the end of the nineteenth century. This periodical literature, is of the utmost importance in promoting our knowledge and understanding of Wales and the Welsh in the nineteenth century.

At the other end of the spectrum is a delightful book devoted to The Pubs of Bromyard, Ledbury & East Herefordshire, jointly researched and written by our Fellow Ron Shoesmith along with John Eisel (320pp, ISBN 1 873827 63 6, �9.95 from Logaston Press, Woonton, Almeley, Herefordshire HR3 6QH). Covering the towns of Bromyard and Ledbury and the villages that lie in east Herefordshire, this book continues the series that details the history and social background of the hotels, taverns and inns that have existed in the county. All existing hostelries are included, along with many that have come and gone, including the Frenchman�s Inn, which now appears just to be a pile of stones, and the insalubrious sounding The Swill � which perhaps deserved its fade into obscurity. The stories are numerous, of inns, of landlords, of customers, even of elephants, pigs and the Inland Revenue!

Vacancies

Society of Antiquaries, Part-time Research Curator (Picture Cataloguer)
Salary �23,000 to �25,000 pro rata for a two- or three-day week

The Society is proposing to employ a picture cataloguer educated to at least MA level with experience in historical research, writing and editing. Much of the research into the Society�s picture collection has already been carried out by Dr Pamela Tudor-Craig, FSA, but it is intended that the cataloguer would perform the following tasks: re-work the entries that are in an advanced state of preparation, making them conform to an agreed format; write the entries that are either not written up at all or that exist in drafts which were prepared more than forty years ago; collaborate with the principal author, Dr Pamela Tudor-Craig, in arriving at an agreed text and incorporating any further important contributions.

A grant has been awarded by the Paul Mellon Centre to carry out the first stage of this work, which would concentrate on the Kerrich bequest of historical portraits. Further details can be obtained from the Librarian, Bernard Nurse.

Heritage Lottery Fund, Committee vacancies
Applications are invited from individuals interested in serving on the committees for the East of England, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the West Midlands from April 2004. The committees normally meet four times a year to decide on grant applications of up to �2 million. They also advise Trustees on regional priorities.

Applicants must be resident in the region of their committee and be able to devote approximately one full day per month to committee business. The appointment is for three years in the first instance. Members are entitled to claim a daily fee of �80. Travel and expenses are reimbursed.

Further details, including eligibility criteria, are available from Rubia Khanom.

St Bride Foundation Institute, Curator of the St Bride Printing Library
Salary �27,000, closing date 26 January 2004

The St Bride Printing Library is one of the world�s foremost collections concerned with the history and practice of printing. The curator will oversee the day-to-day management and lead the museum�s future development. For a job specification, contact Mike Jenkins.