0 comments Friday, 28 September 2012

This photograph appears in 'Dr John Clifford, C.H. Life, Letters and Reminiscences' by Sir James Marchant, LL.D., first published in 1924, opposite page 218. Dr John Clifford was born at Sawley on 16 October 1836. John Clifford rose from a twelve hour per day child apprenticeship in a large factory through university exams in arts, science, and law to outstanding leadership in the Baptist Christian community. Among his fellow Baptists he was considered a progressive influence theologically. Socially, he frequently sided with radical movements, as evidenced by his membership in the Fabian Society. Politically, he exercised great influence on several pieces of legislation relating to education; he was a known supporter of David Lloyd George. In many ways, Clifford was the father of social Christianity among Free Churchmen in Great Britain. He used his Baptist conviction of religious liberty to advance his feeling that the message of Christ should be interpreted in light of growing knowledge and experience. He opposed, for instance the 'living-in' system of apprentices and later the atrocities perpetuated by the Belgians upon the Congo peoples. In 1885 his church established a home for unemployed women, and for more than thirty years he led in the temperance crusade to close public houses where neighborhood sentiment was in strong opposition. Clifford's attitude about the new interpretations of the Bible soon put him into conflict with Charles H. Spurgeon. The pastor at Praed Street had long urged attention to Darwin's work and German higher criticism, two issues Spurgeon saw as symptomatic of the 'down-grade' of Baptist life and thought. Eventually, Spurgeon withdrew from the Baptist Union in 1887, and Clifford was subsequently elected its president. In his inaugural address in 1891 he addressed the topic 'The Coming Theology'; he argued for the increase in the unity of humanity and a greater appreciation for Christianity. To Clifford's credit, he became the symbol of global Baptist leadership moving into the twentieth century. His openness led to significant positions in both the Baptist World Alliance and the Evangelical Free Churches in Great Britain. It was the issue of church-related primary and secondary education which made Clifford a powerful influence in the making of public policy. In the 1870s he welcomed legislation that created religious education in private schools. Clifford reasoned that the 'conscience clause' deprived schools where such instruction was offered of the right to public revenues. For this reason, in 1902 when a second Education Bill provided increased support for religious education in public schools, Clifford protested loudly and led a large-scale 'passive resistance' to the legislation. The preacher, who was largely credited with overturning the bill, had planned to protest with all his might against teaching a set of dogmatic theological opinions. He wished theological dogma to be taught, but by the churches, and at the expense of the churches. Clifford's literary output was remarkable. He penned ninety-nine books or pamphlets, edited denominational newspapers, and carried on a voluminous correspondence. His contributions were honored by heads of government and institutions; in 1883 Freewill Baptist Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, conferred on him in absentia an honorary doctorate. Sensitive to British opposition to 'bogus American degrees,' Clifford gracefully declined, preferring to be known as 'the pastor of Praed Street, Paddington'. (information from the 'generalbaptist' website)

0 comments Sunday, 16 September 2012

Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, professor of English at Allahabad University, had hoped to be the first Indian in 300 years to be elected Oxford Professor of Poetry when a successor to Christopher Ricks was chosen in 2010. But alas, he was pipped at the post by Geoffrey Hill who won the position and its “lousy” salary (£6,901 a year).


0 comments Saturday, 15 September 2012

Professor Hill was elected as Oxford’s 44th Professor of Poetry in June 2010. A graduate of Oxford, Hill read English at Keble College and his prolific and much honoured career as a poet has been accompanied by a series of academic posts at Bristol, Leeds, Cambridge and Boston University. While at Boston he was, with outgoing Professor of Poetry Christopher Ricks, a founding co-director of the university’s Editorial Institute. Geoffrey Hill gives a rare interview on Newsnight:


0 comments Thursday, 6 September 2012

I am a lecturer in Sustainable Heritage at the UCL Centre for Sustainable Heritage. I graduated in Physics from the University of Ferrara, Italy, with a dissertation on technical imaging applied to easel paintings and I completed my PhD at the same institution with a dissertation on Nuclear Activation Analysis.
Following a post-doctoral fellowship at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, where I studied prehistoric flint tools using a particle accelerator, I collaborated with the Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, US, on a project entitled Organic Materials in Wall Paintings. This project aimed to deepen our present understanding of the use of organic materials in wall paintings by means of scientific investigations.

While working on this project, I became interested in conservation-related issues.  I decided to study for a Masters in Conservation of Wall Paintings at the Courtauld Institute of Art. I completed the course in 2007 and in the same year I was appointed a Mellon Fellow at the British Museum, where I developed multispectral imaging in the conservation of artistic and archaeological materials. Special attention was given to the development and implementation of visible-induced luminescence digital photography, a novel technology for the non-invasive identification of Egyptian and Han blue pigments. Using visible-induced luminescence imaging, it was possible to prove, for the first time, that the frieze and the pedimental sculptures of the Parthenon at the British Museum were originally painted using Egyptian blue.

I applied the same imaging technique on several artworks, including the sarcophagus of Seti I at the Sir John Soane’s Museum; the wall paintings in the Tomb of Tutankhamen, as part of a project coordinated by the Getty Conservation Institute and the Egyptian Antiquity Authority; the tomb paintings of Nebamum; the Mausoleum at Halykarnassos and the Temple of Artemis at Ephesos at the British Museum.