BSR News Summer 2017

As alumni, Members, friends and supporters of the BSR will know, today we officially say goodbye to Christopher Smith. 

After eight years as Director, Christopher's dedication to the mission of the BSR has been evident throughout.  As Chairman of Council Tim Llewelyn put it, Christopher's stewardship of the BSR has been ' full of imagination and encouragement of research and scholarship'.

The impact that this stewardship has had upon the BSR can be understood from Christopher's valedictory lecture that was held in London earlier this year, in which he offered a  personal reflection upon the BSR's achievements and its future role in inspiring creative research.

Christopher will be moving on to pursue a  Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, and we have no doubt that his research will continue to bring him back to the BSR in the future. Anyone wishing to get in touch with him in the future should do so via his University of St Andrews contact page.

On 1 October we welcome Christopher's successor Professor Stephen J. Milner. We shall introduce Stephen more fully in our next newsletter, but if you haven't already, you can find out more about Stephen and his research in our press release.

New staff and award-holders
Award-holders 2017-18
We are excited to formally announce the new intake of award-holders at the BSR for 2017-18. The full  list of award-holders can be found on our website

If you want to catch up on what happened in 2016-17, you can see our  round-up of the year, and  watch our podcasts on YouTubeAnd for more regular updates, follow us on  Facebook Twitter  and  Instagram !

New faces in Rome and London offices
In September, Alice Marsh moved from our London Office to the BSR, where she is assisting with communications and events. Replacing her in London is Becky Latcham-Ford, our new Administrative Officer (Awards and Development). We are also delighted to welcome Jess Venner in London as our Administrative Officer (Alumni and Events). This new post is funded by a grant from the British Academy's Business Development Fund.

Sinta Tantra makes waves at the Palio

As we reported in our last newsletter, this year's Bridget Riley Fellow Sinta Tantra was selected to design and create the flag, or  drappellone , to be awarded to the winner of the 2017 Palio di Siena.

The drappellone  itself combines the traditional elements of the city and the festival with Sinta's contemporary style and the bright, bold colours that are characteristic of her work. In particular, Sinta was asked to create a design to commemorate the Sienese sculptor Giovanni Duprè in the year of the 200th anniversary of his birth. 

While carrying out her research, Sinta discovered a sculpture by Duprè stored in the archives of the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna - right next door to the BSR. It is the representation of Duprè's Saffo Abbandonata that can be seen taking centre stage in her final design. And in an almost poetic finish to this story, the winners of this year's race was Duprè's own contrada, Onda ('Wave').

Read about a week in the world of Palio on our blog.

Ashby Patrons' study visit to Rome

Earlier this summer, our Ashby Patrons spent a long weekend exploring Rome and environs during their annual study visit, this time on the theme 'Ancient, medieval and modern treasures'. They were ably guided by the Director and colleagues, primarily exploring sites and museums in Rome. A day trip took the group further afield to Segni (where the BSR has long had a connection) and to Anagni - both of which were enjoyed in the sunshine.

Back at the BSR, Library staff treated the Ashbys to a handling session with some of the treasures of our Archive, as well as giving them an introduction to the BSR's Digital Humanities project. But even amongst the wonderful places explored and convivial meals enjoyed on their travels, the group found the guided visits to our artists' studios and conversations with our award-holders over dinner were true highlights.

For further information on the Ashby Patrons, visit our website or contact Development Director Elizabeth Rabineau.

Pompeii, gardens and incense
New cremations discovered in Pompeii
A final season of excavation at the necropolis of Porta Nola (Pompeii) was undertaken this summer by a joint team from the BSR, the  Ilustre Colegio Oficial de Doctores y Licenciados en Letras y Ciencias de Valencia y Castellòn,  Departamento de Arqueologia  and the Museo de Prehistoria e Historia de la Diputación de Valencia.

The discovery this season of six new cremations from the necropolis of Porta Nola at Pompeii significantly furthers our knowledge of the use of this necropolis and the associated funerary practices. The study season which ran alongside the excavation and which will continue into 2018 is beginning to reveal a fascinating history of this necropolis which was in use up until the final days of Pompeii.

Major conferences at the BSR
At the end of June the BSR was host to two major international conferences. 

The Hortus Inclusus conference looked beyond the horti of Rome to subjects as intriguing as Herod's royal gardens, connections between Classical Islamic gardens, to thinking about how applications of digital technologies and archaeological recovery techniques can advance our understanding of the topic.

In collaboration with the Ecole Française de Rome and co-organised by former PBSR editor Mark Bradley (Nottingham), the interdisciplinary Sensing Divinity conference examined the role that incense has played in the Mesopotamian, Greek, Roman and Judeo-Christian religious tradition. Putting theory into practice, the BSR cortile was host to a practical demonstration of incense burnings, leaving us with a very fragrant keynote lecture.

Frescoes and benches 
Fresco-making at the BSR
This term at the BSR we held our very own fresco workshop. Not only artists, but award-holders from all disciplines participated in this very interactive one-day workshop given by Anna De Riso and Eliana Billi, experts in the restoration of frescos.

Award-holders chose between two different fresco-making methods, with half using the method that would have been used at Pompeii, and the other half following Renaissance techniques. Communications and Events Assistant Ellie Johnson explains the whole process in our blog.

BSR receives gift from The Patron's Fund
Earlier this summer we received a £2,500 gift from The Patron's Fund, the charitable fund set up to acknowledge the work of the charitable organisations for which Her Majesty, The Queen acts as Patron, on the occasion of her 90th birthday. 

We are grateful for this generosity, which has enabled us to provide new outdoor furniture that is both durable and appropriate to our historic building. Given that the BSR's façade was designed by Lutyens, it is fitting that our new benches are of a Lutyens design. We are delighted that the benches are already being put to good use by award-holders, staff and visitors, as a place to meet informally and share ideas. 

Pictured are some of our 2016-17 award-holders from Australia.

Image acknowledgements 
Christopher Smith: Antonio Palmieri. Award-holders: Antonio Palmieri. London Office staff: Gill Clark. Ashby Patrons visit a studio: Antonio Palmieri. Drappellone by Sinta Tantra: courtesy of the artist. Excavation at Pompeii: courtesy of Porta Nola Necropolis Project. Sensing Divinity conference: Antonio Palmieri. Fresco-making at the BSR: Stephen Kay.  Award-holders in the cortile: Antonio Palmieri. Kiss, A4, acrylic and gouache on paper, by Peter McDonald (Abbey Fellow in Painting): Roberto Apa.