Category Archives: Jacquetta Hawkes

News Update: two new exhibitions

We’ll be back with the final three Objects soon!  We put them on hold to get our archives accreditation sorted out – and not to mention working on two exhibitions which readers of this blog may enjoy …

Pots Before Words.  Kate Morrell created artworks inspired by Jacquetta Hawkes.  Gallery II, University of Bradford, until 22 May 2014.


Artwork by Kate Morrell, part of Pots Before Words at Gallery II. Credit: Kate Morrell.

J.B. Priestley soldier writer painter – a rare chance to see the fragile surviving objects from Priestley’s time in the First World War trenches.  Bradford Industrial Museum until 19 August 2014.

We’ve also been busy with the Peace Studies 40th anniversary conference. We’re contributing two elements to this international conference: a display (A Concern for Peace) telling the story of the department and a paper about our wonderful collections of peace-related archives.  1-3 May 2014.  If you aren’t going to the conference, you can find similar information by exploring our Objects!



96. A Pattern of Invasions and Occupations: Jacquetta Hawkes and the Archaeology of Jersey

The Channel Island of Jersey is extraordinarily rich in archaeological remains.  Key sites include La Cotte de St Brelade (a cave filled with Neanderthal stone tools and the bones of mammoths and rhinos) and La Hougue Bie, a prehistoric grave mound topped by a medieval chapel.  Jacquetta Hawkes explored this heritage in her first book: The Archaeology of the Channel Islands: Volume II The Bailiwick of Jersey.

Pen drawings of flints from Les Quennevais and Le Pinacle (The Pinnacle), Jersey, published in The Bailiwick of Jersey by Jacquetta Hawkes pp 66 and 168. Archive ref HAW 1/14.

Pen drawings of flints from Les Quennevais and Le Pinacle (The Pinnacle), Jersey, published in The Bailiwick of Jersey, by Jacquetta Hawkes, pp 66 and 168. Archive reference HAW 1/14.

Volume I, covering the archaeology of Guernsey, had been published by Methuen in 1928.  Its author, Thomas Kendrick, worked at the British Museum, as did Jacquetta’s husband Christopher.  Kendrick had done much of the research for a second volume, on Jersey, by 1934, but “an increase in other work, and a growing distaste for the stones and bones of prehistory” meant that he was glad to put the task into Jacquetta’s “capable hands”.

Jacquetta had recently married Christopher; both were becoming known as exceptional young archaeologists.  Jacquetta was particularly well placed to take on the Jersey project. As J.G.D. Clark pointed out, “Her cave experience in Palestine  … made her sympathetic to one of Jersey’s chief glories, the Cotte de Brelade, while her own distinguished researches into the Neolithic pottery of France … equipped her to deal with the megalithic backbone of the island’s pre-history”.

From left, Christopher & Jacquetta Hawkes, with unknown man (possibly a Jersey connection?), 1930s.  Archive reference: HAW 18/3/46/1.

From left, Christopher & Jacquetta Hawkes, with unknown man (possibly a Jersey connection?), 1930s. Archive reference: HAW 18/3/46/1.

Part IV of The Bailiwick of Jersey, detailed descriptions of individual archaeological sites, was largely Kendrick’s work.  However, Parts I-III were written by Jacquetta herself and reflect changes in archaeological thought since the original volume: she took a more hypothetical and conceptual approach to the subject.  Although this volume was her first publication, she already demonstrated qualities that were to distinguish her writing in the future, bringing together a huge range of sources and ideas to create a coherent, clear and readable account.  Jacquetta’s biographer Dr Christine Finn observes the clarity and ambition of the green exercise book, “Jersey arch. Notes”, in which the book took shape, and the “lyrical” introduction.

Detail from the front cover of "Jersey Arch. Notes" the exercise book in which Jacquetta Hawkes planned The Bailiwick of Jersey.  Archive ref HAW 1/11

Detail from the front cover of “Jersey Arch. Notes” the exercise book in which Jacquetta Hawkes planned The Bailiwick of Jersey. Archive ref HAW 1/11

The Jersey volume is a fine example of Jacquetta collaborating with other archaeologists, as she did later on for the Festival of Britain.  In particular, she drew on the efforts of the Société Jersiaise (who published the book).  Jacquetta’s Archive documents her extensive correspondence with key researchers including Emile Guiton, responsible for the photographs in the book, N.V.L. Rybot, who created most of the line drawings, R.R. Marett, H.L. Stapleton, and Arthur Mourant.  She also gathered older research material which is now part of her Archive, notably an important collection of 1870s letters by Philippe Langlois on Jersey antiquities.

The Bailiwick of Jersey was well received by archaeologists.  It made Jacquetta’s name and enabled her to become a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.  The book remains an essential resource for anyone interested in the Island’s prehistory.

Front cover of The Archaeology of the Channel Islands.  Vol. II The Bailiwick of Jersey.  Tom Kendrick and Jacquetta Hawkes

The flints illustrated above lead us to another aspect of Jacquetta’s first book and of Jersey’s archaeology, which has been explored by Dr Finn.  The top row of flints came from “… a considerable piece of ground in the sandy terrain of the Lower Quennevais [which] is still scarred by the last traces of the Prisoners-of-War Camp which was established there during the Great War” and were revealed by “the disturbance of the occupation and dismantling of this camp, followed by a severe storm”.

The story of the flints and their finding exemplifies Jersey’s own turbulent story.  Its closeness to mainland Europe led to easy contact with other communities, often resulting in invasion, occupation and the presence of refugees.   Jacquetta paid particular attention to this narrative in her sections of The Bailiwick of Jersey.  Her approach seems horribly prescient given what was to come soon after the long-delayed publication of the volume, in 1939.  The Nazis invaded Jersey in June 1940 and it was occupied until the end of the Second World War.

Jacquetta’s book thus has an added value and resonance as the record of a landscape about to change forever, where (as at La Hougue Bie and many other sites) “gun emplacements, bunkers and other observation posts” were built on the same “exceptional vantage points” chosen by the prehistoric peoples for their buildings.

Quotations.  The Bailiwick of Jersey, Clark’s review in Man, Vol. 40 (July 1940), pp. 107-108 (available via JSTOR), Christine Finn’s articleArtefacts of Occupation” in Artefacts Consortium Publications Vol. 5 and her online biography of Jacquetta.

Note on dates: The Bailiwick of Jersey has no publication date.  Jacquetta’s Preface is dated April 1937, hence library catalogue records and bibliographies may give the date as 1937 or 1938.  The date of 1939 is correct, as far as I can ascertain.

Note on creator of drawings: In the absence of information on the flint drawings themselves, we have in the past attributed them to Jacquetta.  The pencil annotations are certainly hers.  However, the phrasing of her Preface to Bailiwick now leads me to think that the drawings might be by Rybot, but the sketchy nature of other drawings on the same graph paper brings me back to Jacquetta.  I will continue to investigate this.

90. Whither Archaeology? Jacquetta Hawkes versus the statniks

In 1968, Jacquetta Hawkes considered the future of archaeology in one of her most famous and controversial pieces of writing: “The Proper Study of Mankind”, published in the journal Antiquity.

Jacquetta Hawkes in a garden, 1969 (ref HAW 18/6/43).

Jacquetta Hawkes, 1969 (reference HAW 18/6/43).

In this article, Jacquetta warned against the dangers of scientific reductionism in archaeology.  She certainly was not against the use of technological aids, but she felt that these had taken over along with pseudo-scientific aims and methods:   archaeologists had become “statniks”, looking only at what could be quantified.

Too much archaeological writing was “swamped by a vast accumulation of insignificant facts, like a terrible tide of mud”.  In another geological simile, the “extreme precision of detail” combined with “endless uncertainty of interpretation” in archaeological reports was like “walking across coarse scree”.  Instead, archaeologists should be economical in presenting their data and “extract the essential historical meaning … set this out in clear, firm and humane language”.

Archaeologists were also paying less attention to human attainment, consciousness and individuality: “art and religion receive very little of the serious attention that is available in our world of archaeology”.  More could be learned from art historians, psychologists and folklore experts as well as natural scientists.

An editorial in the next issue of the journal observed that the article had “aroused widespread comment”, mainly from archaeologists over 40!  Antiquity therefore announced an essay competition for the under-40s: “Professors,  archaeological correspondents, Druids, moonrakers – anyone may put in”.   The essay title would be “Whither Archaeology?”  (the original holding title for Jacquetta’s piece).  The two prize winners were published in the journal in 1971.  One, by Glynn Isaac, is an interesting response to the points made by Jacquetta by an author who did not agree with her view of archaeology or its relationship to the humanities.

Further responses can be found in letters to Jacquetta in her Archive.  Whole-hearted praise:  “Three cheers … the statniks needed taking down a peg or two”.    A couple of writers observed that the archaeological research she criticised was bad science anyway: “many of the people would not be very good at any sort of research … you underrate the creative and selective role that a competent natural scientist plays.”

Over the next few years, Jacquetta became “an established champion of old-time humanist values in archaeology” as the debate continued.  Eloquent in writing and in person, and “a free-range individual with no academic eggs to break”, she wrote, lectured and appeared in discussions on radio and television.   In one television programme, she opposed Professor Lewis Binford, a founder of the “new” or “processual” archaeology.  “To me his long abstractions were almost without meaning, while to him I must have appeared as something out of the rotting woodwork”.

Jacquetta Hawkes outside Kissing Tree House, 1973 (reference HAW 18/7/8).

Jacquetta Hawkes outside the Priestleys’ home Kissing Tree House, 1973 (reference HAW 18/7/8).

This concern that she is “suffering from the sense of universal decay that so often invades the passing generation” appears in Jacquetta’s article.  To some younger archaeologists excited by the potential of the new models, Jacquetta’s ideas did indeed seem “desperately out of date” (Clive Gamble in his Guardian obituary of Binford).   However her approach appealed at least to some budding archaeologists: one letterwriter exclaimed, “Why couldn’t you have written the article two years ago?  You would have inspired at least a handful of originally enthusiastic undergraduates who are now reduced to a state of cowed apathy by the hot wind of turgid technological detail …”

Sources.  The articles in Antiquity can be read online by staff and students of the University of Bradford and other organisations which subscribe to the title.  Jacquetta quotations are from “Proper Study” or the preface to Nothing But or Something More, her John Danz lecture against reductionism.  Letters quoted are in HAW 3/14.

87. Elegant and Convenient Sets: J.B. Priestley’s Shirt and the Apartments at Albany

This week’s Object has been requested by several colleagues: it’s J.B. Priestley’s shirt!  The shirt, which is clean, is folded and wrapped in cellophane (or something similar) marked with the details of the laundry: The Mayfair Laundry, Strafford Road, London W3.

J.B. Priestley's laundered shirt (archive ref. PRI 23/5).

J.B. Priestley’s laundered shirt (archive ref. PRI 23/5).

“Realia” (objects, things, belongings of the creators of archives) can help shed light on aspects of their life or works and give an added dimension to those archives.  Witness Priestley’s pipes, Jacquetta’s arrowhead or her OBE.

Such objects are also often instantly appealing in a way that documentary evidence may not be.  Certainly we have found that the shirt is one of the most popular Objects in Special Collections, the one that many people remember from their visits, perhaps because it is so unexpected (unlike say letters, photographs or other standard archive materials).

Letterhead based on an engraving of Albany from 1800, detail from 1981 letter to the Priestleys acknowledging their departure (archive ref. 16/3).

Letterhead based on an engraving of Albany from 1800, detail from 1981 letter to the Priestleys acknowledging their departure (archive ref. 16/3).

 The shirt is also a reminder of Priestley’s long connection with London, in particular with the fascinating Albany.  This block of apartments (“Sets”), built in the 1770s, is an oasis in the centre of Piccadilly, and has been home to many writers, artists, politicians and other well-known people: Byron, Gladstone, Bruce Chatwin, Georgette Heyer and many more.   It is also rich in literary connections, to Dickens, to The Importance of Being Earnest, and as the home of gentleman thief Raffles.

Albany, Piccadilly, London from HerryLawford's flickrstream (licence CC BY 2.0).

Albany nowadays, from the same direction as the 1800 engraving, above, from HerryLawford’s flickrstream (licence CC BY 2.0).

By the Second World War, Priestley and his wife Jane had made their home on the Isle of Wight.  But Priestley needed a London base for his broadcasting and theatre work. This had been no. 3 The Grove, Highgate (in another literary link, once Coleridge’s house), but a land mine had made this uninhabitable.  Tired of the disruption of moving around hotels and flats in London, Priestley rented flat B4 in Albany in 1943.   Later he also took the flat across the landing, B3.

Detail from the Deed of Covenant for the seven year lease taken out by Priestley in 1943 (archive ref. PRI 16/3)

Detail from the Deed of Covenant for the seven year lease taken out by Priestley in 1943 (archive ref. PRI 16/3)

After the war the Priestleys returned to the countryside, to the Isle of Wight, first to Billingham Manor, then to Brook Hill, where JBP made his home with Jacquetta after their respective divorces.  He and Jacquetta finally moved to Shakespeare country, Kissing Tree House in Warwickshire.  However, the Albany flats continued to be important to the Priestleys for many years, for instance as a venue for committees and campaigns such as the Albany Trust and CND.  Pressure of taxes and expenses meant B4 was given up in 1972 and eventually B3 in 1981.

I imagine the shirt’s laundry wrapping must be connected with JBP’s residence at Albany: the address is about seven miles away which doesn’t seem very convenient, but I expect that the firm collected laundry to do for the residents (this is borne out by a letter of 1975 from the management to residents which alludes to a laundry service).  With archives, there are always more questions …

Sources: this chapter from the Survey of London offers a detailed guide to Albany, its architecture, history and extraordinary list of residents.  Many writers and journalists have written about Albany, see the Wikipedia article  for some links.  The biographies by Vincent Brome and Judith Cook are vital in understanding dating and other details of JBP’s homes.  Legal material, letters, lists of furniture and other material concerning the Priestleys and Albany are in the Priestley Archive, in section 16/3 in particular.

A Cabinet of Gems

No new Object this week – we’re slowing the pace a little because the last few entries are having to be researched and written from scratch.

Meanwhile you might like another of our online creations, A Cabinet of Gems.  I’m using this to highlight amazing images from the collections, like this beautiful 1920s design found among the photographs of Jacquetta Hawkes.

1920s girl with headscarf on photo wallet from Camrbidge camera shop, HAW 18/2/5.

1920s girl with headscarf on photo wallet from Cambridge camera shop, HAW 18/2/5.

While we’re away …

We’re taking a little break, to edit broken links in our older stories, do some technical tweaks and research the final twenty.  Back in March!

Statue1gifMeanwhile, if you’re interested in J.B. Priestley, the J.B. Priestley Society has plenty to offer you!

The Society’s spring event explores the relatively unknown links between Priestley and another great British author.  Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess liked J.B. Priestley’s Image Men so much he read it ten times!   Dr Andrew Biswall, Director of the Burgess Foundation, explains, at this free event in Manchester on 16 March.  Full details on the Society website or see our Facebook event.

75. “Let us also have fountains – more and more fountains …”: J.B. Priestley’s One Hundred and Fourteen Delights

J.B. Priestley’s Delight (1949) is one of his best-loved and best known books.  A quirky selection box of 114 mini essays, each offering a glimpse of an everyday moment which delighted him.  Altogether they also give a sense of Priestley’s personality, family life, his boyhood in Bradford, and life in the late 1940s.

Front cover of Delight by J.B. Priestley, 1973 Heinemann re-issue

Front cover of Delight by J.B. Priestley, 1973 Heinemann re-issue

The joy of this book is that there are Delights to appeal to everyone.  My own favourites are A walking tour, about the joy of a spring morning in the Dales just after Priestley left the army, Gin and tonic, 1940, which gives a lovely sense of a moment of peace in the pub during the madness of the Blitz, Lawn tennis, and The sound of a football.

Some are famous, such as Fountains, in which Priestley calls for towns and cities to be filled with “fountains – more and more fountains – higher and higher fountains – like wine, like blue and green fire” instead of the “many idiotic things we are given and do not want”.

Some are funny, such as Quietly malicious chairmanship.  Priestley must have sat through many excruciatingly dull meetings to give this insight into how a chairman can ruin an event by pre-empting the speaker’s main point in his introduction, whispering, passing notes, doodling, and taking a cigarette lighter to pieces.

J.B. Priestley addressing an audience, late 1940s, occasion & photographer unknown. Ref: PRI 21/9/24

Accustomed as he was to public speaking … J.B. Priestley addressing an audience, late 1940s, occasion & photographer unknown. Ref: PRI 21/9/24

Some show Priestley’s delight in things one might expect him to like, such as tobacco (Trying new blends, Smoking in hot bath).  Others give new insights into unexpected experiences,  such as the refreshment of Mineral water in bedrooms of foreign hotels, after traipsing round cathedrals etc and drinking too much wine.

The essays often explore the compensations of adulthood: being allowed to wear Long trousers, and No school report, and of age, such as Not going to social events if you don’t want to – he came to realise he wasn’t missing much, and not to care if he did.

 Spine of copy of US edition of Delight (Harper & Brothers, 1949). Book was specially bound for JB and later inscribed by him to Jacquetta Hawkes in 1978 describing it as the most attractive book in his collection

Spine of copy of US edition of Delight (Harper & Brothers, 1949). Book was specially bound for JB and later inscribed by him to Jacquetta Hawkes in 1978 describing it as the most attractive book in his collection

The book has added resonance because it goes against Priestley’s own apparent nature and public image.   As he said in his Preface, or “Grumbler’s Apology”, “I have always been a grumbler”, stemming in part from his Yorkshire background where “to a good West Riding type there is something shameful about praise, that soft Southern trick.  But faultfinding and blame are constant and hearty”.

Naturally, as  a journalist, Priestley often felt compelled to highlight negative things in his essays and broadcasts, speaking for those who could not.  Which might lead readers to complain, as he suggested, “Does this chap never enjoy anything?”.  But of course he did – and Delight beautifully illustrates his talent for evoking positive emotions, especially little bits of happiness, wonder and cosiness in everyday life.

Want to experience Delight for yourself?  It’s in print (60th anniversary edition), plentiful and cheap on the second-hand market, and widely available in public libraries.  If you read it, do let us know your favourite Delight, and if there are modern works (blogs perhaps) which do something similar.