Virtually Exploring St Kilda

A 3D animation of St Kilda is now available online. This video shares the island’s heritage with a wider audience. It includes some interesting reworkings of archive photographs.

St Kilda is a World Heritage site, and is part managed by the National Trust for Scotland.

Oxburgh Hall: guidebooks

Oxburgh_2015There is a new National Trust guidebook to Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk, by Anna Forrest (2014). There are 56 pages with plans, archive photographs, and colour images.

There are five main sections: Survival and Continuity (2-5), The Exterior (6-9), Tour of the House (10-29), Landscape and Gardens (30-39), and Oxburgh and the Bedingfields (40-56). The guidebook includes a feature on Caring for Oxburgh today (51) describing the work of the National Trust team.

It is a beautifully designed guidebook with a generous amount of information.


The 2014 guidebook replaced the 2000 guidebook (reprinted as recently as 2010). This was divided into Introduction (4-5), Tour of the House (6-27), The Grounds (28-31), Oxburgh and the Bedingfields (32-47). Unlike the more recent guide this includes listings of significant paintings and works of art. This one includes colour images as well as archive photographs.



Oxburgh contains the hangings associated with Bess of Hardwick and Mary, Queen of Scots. The National Trust used to have a dedicated short guide (16 pp) with a number of black and white images. The hangings are on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum.

National Trust guidebooks are available to order online here.

Waterloo Heritage

© David Gill

© David Gill

This June marked the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo. Veterans from the Scottish regiments returning home were granted land and one of the settlements on the island of Skye (near Broadford) is the appropriately named Waterloo.

Yet the Gaelic name for the settlement, Achadh a’Chùirn, ‘the field of the cairn’, acknowledges the prehistoric burial mound located at this location.

Die Hallstattkultur



I have commented on the 1980 international exhibition on ‘The Celts‘. A companion exhibition, ‘Die Hallstattkultur’, was at Steyr from April to October 1980. Some 32 public collections and private individuals loaned material. One of my most vivid memories was the dramatic display of the Vix krater.


Entry was slightly less than the ‘Celts’ at 10 Austrian Schillings.

Exhibiting the Celts



I received my exhibition listing from the British Museum yesterday with details about ‘Celts: art and identity‘. The text informed me that ‘this is the first major exhibition to examine the full history of Celtic art and identity’. The exhibition opens on 24 September 2015.

This claim rather overlooks the stunning major international exhibition ‘Die Kelten in Mitteleuropa’ at the Keltenmuseum in Hallein, Austria in 1980. Some 67 museums from 10 different countries were represented. The catalogue has a substantial section on ‘Kultur der Kelten’ with a chapter on ‘Die keltische Kunst’ by Otto-Herman Frey. The catalogue has the Vorwort in four languages: German, English, French and Welsh (‘Mae’r Celtiaid yn dod!’).

The highlights in London will include the Holzgerlingen double-horned statue (Kelten no. 17), the Gundestrup cauldron (Kelten no. 188), and a gold torc from Snettisham.

I sometimes wonder if these major ‘blockbuster’ exhibitions fail to acknowledge earlier explorations. But then would ‘this is a further major exhibition to examine …’ bring in the visitors?


Incidentally I paid 15 Austrian Schillings to see the exhibition (at a student rate). The British Museum will be charging £16.50 (but free to Friends). Notice the Hallein ticket is in four languages.

Guides to Framlingham Castle

1959 (3rd impression 1965)

1959 (3rd impression 1965)

Framlingham Castle came into state guardianship in 1913. The castle still retains some of the original Ministry of Works signs. My oldest blue guide is by Frederick J.E. Raby, Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Works (history), and Paul K. Baillie Reynolds, Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments (description). My 1965 MPBW edition is the third impression of the 1959 guide consisting of 32 pages, including black and white photographs and a plan. The text is divided into a History (pp. 8-14, plan p. 15), and a Description (pp. 16-31), with a glossary (p. 32). The cover is decorated with the arms of the Howard Dukes of Norfolk that stands above the main entrance gate of the castle.

1977 (9th impression)

1977 (9th impression)

I also have a ninth impression (1977) issued by the Department of the Environment at 50p. The guidebook notes revisions based on published excavations by J.G. Coad (1971) and Derek Renn (1975). The plan has moved to the start of the guide (p. 4) although the handwritten caption has been replaced by a more standard typographic font. The guidebook follows the earlier one with Summary (pp. 5-7), History (pp. 8-16), Description (pp. 17-37) and glossary (p. 38). Pictures have been placed in text rather than in a single block.


Guide to Framlingham Castle

Alongside this is a small card guide to the castle, c. 1977.


2009 (revised reprint 2011)

The present English Heritage fully illustrated guide by Nicola Stacey was published in 2009 (revised reprint 2011). This consists of 40 pages with foldout plans inside the covers. It consists of a tour (pp. 4-21) and the history (pp. 22-40). The Howard coast of arms (see covers above) features in an early 20th century black and white photograph (p. 6).

The guide also includes information about the Howard Tombs in the adjacent church of St Michael, and a discussion of the ‘Flodden Helm’.