I will be exploring the relationship between Winifred Lamb’s work as an archaeologist in the Aegean, and her role as Honorary Keeper of Greek Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. In the museum there are recognisable strands to her curatorial work: the display (and publication) of the Greek figure-decorated pottery, supplemented by the Ricketts and Shannon loan (and later Shannon bequest); the formation of a prehistoric gallery; the development of a collection of Greek, Etruscan and Roman bronzes; and finally material from Anatolia. The Greek pottery interest was influenced by her work with (Sir) John Beazley in Room 40 during the final stages of World War 1.
In a second paper I will consider the process of writing Lamb’s biography: the archive sources including her correspondence, diaries, and photographs; her acquisitions for and gifts to the Fitzwilliam; and her publications. I will then turn to the writing of a life from an essay in Breaking Ground to the memoir in ODNB. What should be included or excluded? Where do the emphases lie?
Oxford University Press has published a series of essays on refugee scholars who found a home and a welcome at the University of Oxford from 1930.
My contribution was on Professor Brian Shefton (1919-2012), who was brought to England with his parents in the summer if 1933. His father, Professor Isidor Isaac Scheftelowitz, initially found a home at Montefiore College in Ramsgate before moving to Oxford in the summer of 1934. Brian was a scholar at Oriel College, Oxford, where he came under the influence of Paul Jacobsthal and (Sir) John Beazley. His studies were interrupted in 1940 when many refugees of German origin were interned on the Isle of Man. Brian enrolled in the Pioneer Corps of the British Army serving in Yorkshire and Scotland. In 1944 he transferred to the Education Corps.
At the cessation of hostilities Brian returned to Oxford to complete us studies, and in 1947 obtained a School Scholarship at the British School at Athens where he assisted with the excavation of Old Smyrna. During this period he collaborated with colleagues at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) on the publication of some of the pottery from the Agora excavations. One of his significant publications from this time was on the monument to Kallimachos from the Athenian Acropolis.
Nike from the Kallimachos monument on the Athenian Acropolis © David Gill
In 1950 he was appointed Lecturer in Classics at Exeter, and in 1953 moved to King’s College, Newcastle (now Newcastle University). One of his achievements was the creation of the Greek Museum (now incorporated in the Great North Museum). Among his research interests was the distribution of Greek and Etruscan material in Central Europe, a topic no doubt inherited from Jacobsthal.
Brian Shefton lecturing at the opening of the Great North Museum © David Gill
Gill, D. W. J. 2017. “Brian Shefton: classical archaeologist.” In Ark of civilization: refugee scholars and Oxford University, 1930-1945, edited by S. Crawford, K. Ulmschneider, and J. Elsner: 151-60. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
A series of essays on objects in the Shefton collection, part of the Great North Museum in Newcastle upon Tyne, arrived this week. There are 14 essays that explore the Greek and Etruscan objects brought together by Shefton.
My own essay was on an early example of an Attic black-glossed bosal [a name invented by Sir John Beazley for shapes he recognised in Bol[ogna] and Sal[onika]] that had once formed part of the Nostell Priory collection in Yorkshire.
This publication coincides with my the electronic publication of my memoir in Shefton that appeared in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- ‘The Nostell Priory bolsal’, in J. Boardman, A. Parkin, and S. Waite (eds.), On the Fascination of Objects: Greek and Etruscan Art in the Shefton Collection (Oxford: Oxbow, 2016), 95-106.
- ‘Shefton, Brian Benjamin (1919–2012)’, in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). [online]