Current Lecture Programme
Tuesdays at 6:00pm. Members and Guests.
Society of Antiquaries of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly W1J 0BE
All lectures from March - June 2020 were postponed due to the corona virus lockdown. From September 2020 - June 2021 lectures were resumed but were only available live online via zoom, and posted subsequently on the
SJH website for members unable to view on the night.
Since September 2021 we have resumed live lectures at Burlington House, which will be made available online simultaneously. We aim to add as many lectures as possible to the website, but some lectures will not be available after delivery because of copyright restrictions on images or because they contain fresh and evolving research which lecturers are sharing at an early stage. We will let you know here when this is the case. All members are sent an email with details of how to login in advance of each lecture. Please let the Membership Secretary know if you would like to be added to the list at
If you missed a lecture, you can access past lectures
here (members only).
Lectures are restricted to members and their guests. It is not normally necessary to inform the Society that you will be atttending, but if attendance is expected to be exceptionally high the Society will inform members well in advance if booking a seat is a
requirement of attendance at a particular lecture.
If you are not a member, and would like to attend a lecture as a guest of the Society, click here to send your name, contact details, and the subject of the lecture you would like to attend. We will confirm your attendance by email. The Society welcomes new members. If you are interested in joining the Society further details can be given to you when you attend the lecture.
Greek and Latin inscriptions on Antique Engraved Gems and Rings (Greek, Etruscan, Roman)
Lecture prevented from delivery at the SJH 'Texts' conference by traffic close-down
Inscriptions first appeared on Archaic Greek seals in the middle of the 6th century BC, and later found echo on Etruscan scarabs. Classical and Hellenistic Greek gems, as well as Italic and especially Roman intaglios, inherited from this double epigraphical lineage but diversified the forms and types.
On Graeco-Roman engraved gems and rings, there is a rather wide variety of Greek and Latin inscriptions, which present different configurations (formula, term, abbreviation, initial letter) and epigraphical particularities (crasis, monogram, abbreviation by contraction or suspension, nexus, letters switched, reversed – boustrophedon – or written into each other as so-called ligature). Even more noteworthy, these inscriptions can be classified between very many types of different natures : name of the bearer (duo or tria nomina, diacritic name or ὄνομα, designation referring to some slave or freedman, partial indication of the cursus honorum), dedication, acclamation, commemorative inscription, eulogy, invocation, prayer, addition to the engraved iconographic theme (didascalie), salutation, wish of good omen, prophylactic or apotropaic formula, confirmation of votive gift (ex-voto), loving or friendly motto, marriage and religious symbolism, numeral, trade mark or signature of the engraver, intrinsic function of the gem (seal, gift), legal norm and, finally, combination of ideographic and linguistic elements.
Presenting an overview as exhaustive as possible, the lecture shall bear witness to the wealth of inscriptions on Graeco-Roman gems and rings.
New research on Tuareg jewellery
I plan to discuss the project I undertook in 2015 when I travelled to Niger to commission a jewellery collection from the tribal smiths of the ancient city of Agadez deep in the Sahara Desert. I had been researching the Berber peoples of North Africa and spending time in Morocco when I came across jewellery and artefacts from the Tuareg or the Blue men of the Desert who come from further into the Sahara bordering into Algeria/Mali and Niger. These smiths come from ancestral cultural, commercial and handicraft traditions which are still practiced today. I will outline how I developed the designs of the collection inspired by my research. I will speak about the smiths themselves born into their craft, the world they inhabit between tradition and modernity and how they continue their craft.
Pet Bling: Jewelled Animal Accessories in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Period
In this talk, historian Dr Kathleen Walker-Meikle will discuss animal accessories made from precious metals and stones, from cages to collars, which were available for the affluent late-medieval and early-modern pet owner to purchase or commission from their goldsmith. Some might reference contemporary human fashions or heraldry, while others might be traditional animal accessories, but ‘blinged up’. Drawing from a wide variety of sources, including inventories, accounts, and iconography, Kathleen will present the extravagant range of pet accessories of this period, from spaniels wearing pierced gold earrings to badgers sporting collars decorated with silver studs.
Death, Diamonds and Devotion: Anglesey Abbey’s remarkable Collection of Jewelled Crosses
Believed to have been founded by Henry 1st in 1135, Anglesey Abbey was formerly the home of Huttleston Rogers Broughton, The Lord Fairhaven, who had purchased the Abbey in 1926 and lived there until his death in 1966 when the Estate and its contents were taken over by The National Trust. As part of an initiative to identify and catalogue all the jewellery in the Trust’s extensive property collections, John Benjamin was given access to a cabinet containing some 100 crosses purchased by Lord Fairhaven, as well as rare jewels and objets d’art, a project which has revealed some truly remarkable finds.
For a banquet of vampires: Scottish stones in jewellery
Talking about her own work. TBA
Frances Parton and Dora Thornton
Working with The Goldsmiths' Company Jewellery Collection 1961-2024
Jewellery by Johann Karl and Karl Thomas Bossard, Lucerne, from Historicism to Art Deco
Carolina Beatriz Naya
The treasury of Our Lady of the Pillar
Function of Beads in Africa
Links to previous Lecture Programmes