Medieval Pottery Research Group

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Newsletter No. 46 - September 2003

Secretary's Notes

Council met on 17th June at the Society of Antiquaries in Piccadilly. Much of the meeting was taken up with editorial business and our recent fund-raising efforts. We also discussed the Bibliography.

Volume 25 of Medieval Ceramics will now appear in the autumn, delayed for John Hurst's obituary. Volume 26, containing the papers from the Dublin conference, is in preparation, in the capable hands of Clare McCutcheon, and some papers have already been received for Volume 27.

Peter Davey attended the Council meeting to discuss the Bibliography. The online version is curated (at no cost to MPRG) at Liverpool University, and is updated from the Annual Bibliography (about 350 entries every year). The online version also contains a large amount of backlog material (not published in Medieval Ceramics), resulting from volunteers covering whole back-runs of journals, but geographical coverage is uneven. Following the departure of Liz Pieksma, the Annual Bibliography now lacks a co-ordinator. Despite problems, pointed out by Peter Davey, of inconsistent nomenclature, which make it impossible to index the Bibliography satisfactorily for research purposes, all were agreed that the Bibliography is potentially an immensely useful tool. This subject is addressed later on in this newsletter.

The annual meeting on Nottingham in June, organised by Duncan Brown, was very successful - speakers presented a range of stimulating papers on the subject of technology, and the event attracted a number of non-members. Next year's annual conference will be a three-day event in Winchester on the subject of Change - preliminary details appear elsewhere in this Newsletter.

The Membership Secretary and Treasurer have continued to chase up subscriptions, and are now targeting institutional members. Overseas members are reminded that MPRG now has both euro and dollar accounts, enabling easier payment.

Enclosed with this newsletter is a copy of our very attractive new publicity leaflet. If you can, please display it in a prominent place. This is part of our drive to attract new members.

Our recent problems with our website host have happily now been resolved, thanks to Sue Anderson, and we are now back on-line. Both Sue and Council are looking at ways to improve the website, and would welcome any suggestions (more links to related websites, etc) - please pass on any ideas in the first instance to Victoria Bryant.

The next Council meeting will be held on 15th October; if you have any comments or wish to raise any issues, please contact me before then.

Lorraine Mepham, Secretary


Dear Members

Your views are sought on two important subjects currently under discussion by Council. Please think about these and pass on any thoughts to Derek Hall.

John Hurst

Council decided at their last meeting that they would like to ask the views of the membership on the best way of commemorating the life and work of John Hurst. One way might be to have a memorial lecture at the MPRG conference in a similar fashion to the current Gerald Dunning lecture. Maybe we could alternate between a Gerald Dunning lecture and a John Hurst one? Several members have suggested setting up a travel fund in John's name to allow people to travel abroad to conferences or to search for parallel material. Could I ask members to let me know what they would prefer?

MPRG Bibliography

As mentioned earlier on in the Secretary's notes the time has come for the membership to decide how they would like the Bibliography to proceed. If we were no longer to publish it in Medieval Ceramics but to rely on it as an online internet resource would people miss it? In short is there any need to publish both in print and online? Can I ask for your views on this please.

Derek Hall, Assistant Secretary


MPRG Annual Conference 2004

Call for Papers

The theme of the conference is 'Looking at Change' - we'll be considering how we identify and interpret changes in the ways pottery was produced, supplied and used, and indeed examining how medieval pottery developed. We'll also look at how our methods for studying the ceramic record have progressed; and of course, we will be discussing what all those changes might mean.

Any offers of papers should be sent, with their name, contact details, and a draft title with brief description, to: Duncan H Brown, 7 Donnington Grove, Southampton, SO14 1RW.


Conference

A 'beautiful and ingenious' art: a one-day conference on Spanish and Italian lustreware

11th March 2004, The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN

This fascinating conference will address some of the most intriguing aspects of lustreware, from the challenge of producing it to questions of attribution and inspiration. From the Renaissance and the Renaissance Revival to the experience of potters working with lustre today, this conference will provide participants with the opportunity to find out about recent research from experts in the field and to enjoy a visual feast of lustrewares both on screen and in the galleries of the Wallace Collection.

Speakers will include Giulio Busti (Director of the Museo Regionale della Ceramica, Deruta), Alan Caiger-Smith (practising potter), John Mallet (formerly of the Victoria & Albert Museum), Anthony Ray (publications include Spanish Pottery 1248–1898), Dora Thornton (British Museum), Jeremy Warren (Wallace Collection), Steve Wharton (completing a doctoral thesis) and Timothy Wilson (Ashmolean Museum).

Conference fee £35 per person; concessions £25. Advance booking is essential. Payment is by cheque only. Contact Hayley Kruger, The Wallace Collection, tel 020 7563 9551.


Regional Group Reports

Scottish Group

Survey of Coulston
2003 survey of Colstoun production centre (© University of Glasgow)

Plough damage at Colstoun

A recent geophysical survey at Colstoun as part of the Sourcing Scottish White Gritty Ware project suggests that there has been considerable damage to the site since the last survey of 1999. It is intended to submit a bid to the Historic Scotland archaeology programme to assess how bad this damage is and decide what form of mitigation should be adopted.

Kinlochbervie shipwreck

Members of the group were given the opportunity, by Duncan Brown and Celia Curnow, to view the most recent group of ceramics from this shipwreck. A much larger group of oil jars and tiles was recovered than from the previous season as well as a smaller group of Maoilica.

New Review of imported ceramics

It is planned that Volume 1 of this review will be published by the City of Edinburgh Council early in 2004. This will focus on a catalogue and review of imported wares from France, Spain and Italy.

EAA conference, St Petersburg, Russia

Derek Hall attended this conference and gave a paper on the Scottish Medieval Pottery Industry to a mixed audience of Dutch, French, Russian. Macedonian and English delegates! One potentially important thing to come out of the ceramic session is the plan to create a database of European Ceramic Production Centres. This idea has been given EAA backing and will be discussed at the next MPRG council meeting.

Scottish contact


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