From Sutton Place to Easter Island:
new insights from the latest volume of
The Antiquaries Journal
The 2014 volume of The Antiquaries Journal is now available online. In this blogpost, the journal’s Assistant Editor, Christopher Catling, provides a summary of four articles from the volume, which you can download and share at no cost until 31st October 2014.
Sutton Place Re-Examined
Sutton Place, Surrey, occupies a place in the architectural history textbooks as a precocious and little altered building of the early English Renaissance. Nicholas Cooper has examined the building in detail and concludes that it is in reality the result of an early eighteenth century remodelling, incorporating terracotta detail of c 1525–30.
‘Out Of His Element’: Mr Johnson, Sir Joseph Banks and Tattershall Castle
Julian Munby’s paper on Sir Joseph Banks and Tattershall Castle identifies a hitherto unknown surveyor who deserves belated recognition for his pioneering efforts in recording a building that was to become a cause célèbre of the conservation movement when, threatened with the loss of its medieval fireplaces, Lord Curzon of Kedleston stepped in and rescued the building. The correspondence between John Lees Johnson and his client, Sir Joseph Banks, provides a rare (and sometimes unintentionally comic) insight into the workings of an eighteenth-century architectural surveyor and the expenses incurred in undertaking a work of this kind, as do both the working drawings and the final versions.
Hoa Hakananai’a: a New Study of an Easter Island Statue in the British Museum
It stands in a prominent place just off the Great Court at the British Museum, where it has been on public display for more than 140 years, but the Easter Island statue known as Hoa Hakananai’a has been little studied since it was taken from the remote Pacific island in 1868. Based on their recently conducted digital survey, combining photogrammetry and reflectance transformation imaging, Mike Pitts and his fellow authors are able to separate out the original carving and polychromy from the later bas-reliefs that narrate the island’s birdman myth; as for the latter, they come up with the intriguing suggestion that the annual birdman ceremony could have been a response to the great white sails of European ships, piloted by people who might have been gods, bringing strange, prized foods and materials from far across the sea.
Reconstruction Art and Disciplinary Practice: Alan Sorrell and the Negotiation of the Archaeological Record
Alan Sorrell, the artist whose paintings of ancient monuments and re-creations of ancient life once featured in numerous Ministry of Works postcards and guidebooks, has had a profound impact on the way that we visualise the ancient and medieval past. In this paper, Sara Perry and Fellow Matthew Johnson analyse his working practices, consider the role of drawings in the transmission of knowledge about the past, and throw new light on Sorrell’s career and achievements and his place in the intellectual and professional development of archaeology as a whole in the mid-twentieth century.