Artwatch UK

The Sixth James Beck Memorial Lecture

On 30 November 2015, Professor Elizabeth Simpson of the Bard Graduate Center, New York, will deliver the sixth annual ArtWatch International James Beck Memorial Lecture in London ~ “KING MIDAS’S FURNITURE: A TALE OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONSERVATION”. The 2015 winner of the Frank Mason Prize will be announced.

In “KING MIDAS’S FURNITURE: A TALE OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONSERVATION”, Prof. Simpson discusses the remarkable but problematic excavation of the huge “Midas Mound” (Tumulus MM) at Gordion, Turkey, by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in 1957. The Phrygian royal tumulus burial contained a wealth of grave goods, including a rare collection of carved and inlaid wooden furniture dating to the 8th century B.C. The lecture details the excavation and initial conservation of the wood, along with subsequent efforts to rescue and reconstruct these spectacular pieces by the Gordion Furniture Project’s team of conservators, archaeologists, and scientists. Issues of display and storage continue up to the present, with the recent renovation of the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara, where the wooden furniture is kept.

The Gordion wooden objects comprise a large collection of furniture and other finds from Tumulus MM, Tumulus P, Tumulus W, and the city mound at Gordion. An introduction to the project can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordion_Furniture_and_Wooden_Artifacts.

Above, an inlaid table, Tumulus MM, Gordion, at the time of excavation in 1957 (top); in drawn reconstruction by Elizabeth Simpson (centre); in full restoration (above).

The lecture will be given at the Society of Antiquaries of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BE – all inquiries to: artwatch.uk@gmail.com – at 6 p.m. for 6.15 on Monday, 30 November 2015.

Admission is free but entry is by ticket only. For tickets, please write to “James Beck Memorial Lecture Tickets” at: artwatch.uk@gmail.com

For full details and programme of the ArtWatch UK/Center for Art Law/LSE Law December 1st conference “Art, Law and Crises of Connoisseurship”, click here. To buy conference tickets, click here.

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