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Read, Watch and Listen

(Photo Portus Project)

Research Theme 4

Although people were central to the life of any port, there is very little archaeological evidence for the inhabitants of Portus, or indeed many Roman Mediterranean ports, aside from occasional tombstones. Anthropological analyses of c. 43 inhumation burials of c. 6th c AD date from our excavations points to a predominantly male population involved in heavy physical labour with a heavy carbohydrate diet - a finding borne out from analyses of 3rd c AD burials nearby. On-going oxygen isotope evidence is investigating the possible origins of these people, as well as their foodstuffs. An idea of their cultural practices is coming from the table-wares and kitchen wares that they used, as well as from chance finds of rings and other personal possessions.

National Healthcare deconstructed

Saber, “Healthcare Reform Flag”, 2010. Certain responses to the treatment of epilepsy and other seizure conditions within institutional healthcare settings have been compellingly forthright. The Los Angeles graffiti artist Saber found himself the centre of media attention when he defaced an American flag to articulate his own frustration and disgust at the poor medical care and support for epileptics in America, of which he has personal experience. Saber’s flag has no direct representation of the epileptic experience; but the parallels with much more radical anti-American sentiment, usually expressed in flag burning, gives it extraordinary and controversial power. © Saber. Courtesy of the artist. 

‘Daisy’ wallpaper designed by William Morris

Registered by Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co on 1 February 1864. BT 43/99/171341. ‘Daisy’ was the first wallpaper designed by William Morris to be put into production. Morris, like the Pre-Raphaelite painters with whom he set up Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co, shared Pugin’s passion for medieval art, culture and design, as well as his belief in the intrinsic value of hand craftsmanship and dislike of contemporary British design. ‘Daisy’, formed of stylised floral motifs, is thought to have been inspired by an illustration in a fifteenth-century version of Froissart’s Chronicles, shown in an illuminated manuscript at the British Museum. By the 1870s Morris’s wallpapers were often regarded as key elements of an Aesthetic interior.


Gary Spencer Millidge, Strangehaven (Leigh-on-Sea: Abiogenesis Press, 1995-2005). In the 1990s Britain was home to an eclectic self-publishing scene: writers and artists were often their own editors and the comics they made were highly idiosyncratic and innovative. While they tended to have black-and-white interiors the covers were colourful and vibrant, as the first issue of Gary Spencer Millidge’s Strangehaven demonstrates. Millidge initially published this graphic novel in periodical form, and when each chapter finished serialisation, it was reprinted as a book. Like many self-published series Strangehaven did not last long enough for the story to reach its endpoint but it recently resumed serialisation in the anthology Meanwhile… (London: Soaring Penguin Press, 2014-present) and the entire narrative is due for imminent completion. Strangehaven © 1995 Gary Spencer Millidge

Therapeutic Commercialism

Karen Brown, Jeanine Gourong, Helen Hankins, Jonathan Klinger & Louise Wadsworth, “British Wildlife (Deer)”, 2015. Medicine has always functioned as commerce as well as science (or art). ARTHOUSE Meath provides an unusual kind of commercial healthcare venture. Their residential artists, all patients with epilepsy, produce and sell the products of their artistic labour to fund future services: a new form of medicine that is both entrepreneurial and an ethics of care. © ARTHOUSE Meath group collaboration. Courtesy of ARTHOUSE Meath.

‘Peacock’ wallpaper dado designed by E W Godwin

Registered by Jeffrey & Co on 18 February 1873. BT 43/100/270551

E W Godwin helped to popularise the Anglo-Japanese style, one of the defining characteristics of the Aesthetic movement. He introduced one of the movement’s most popular symbols, the peacock, shown here in the highly stylised form of a Japanese crest or mon. The diagonal ‘H’ pattern in the background was also derived from Japanese ornament. This formal peacock design was intended for use as a dado, with another of his designs, ‘Bamboo’, an informal, asymmetrical design, as the filling, or main section of wallpaper. The three-part division of walls into a dado, filling and frieze became a distinctive feature of Aesthetic design.


Mary M. Talbot, Kate Charlesworth, and Bryan Talbot, Sally Heathcote, Suffragette (Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Books, 2014). While the eponymous character in this graphic novel is fictional, the events and people around her have been reconstructed from the historical record of the suffrage movement. Dialogue and headlines have been faithfully recreated to show the sacrifice and struggle that accompanied the battle to win the vote for women. Sally Heathcote, Suffragette (c) 2014 Mary Talbot, Kate Charlesworth, and Bryan Talbot

Self-portrait of Jack Ephgrave, 1931.

EP01-201 ©2013 Adrienne Livesey, Elaine Ryder and Irene Brien.

1931: An early ‘selfie’: Jack was at work in the BCC Printing Department when he took this photograph in a mirror, one of several self portraits which show how far he thought of himself as a photographer, not simply a snapshotter.​

Ceramic Ware Market

Ceramic vessels and hand-painted ornaments are produced in two villages close to Mapusa. Cheap handmade clay ornaments, clay piggy banks (or elephants, chickens and other creatures) and festive items are popular. The unfired clay drinking cups once ubiquitous on India’s railways have now been replaced by plastic – though there is a move to reinstate them. During festivals the ceramic stalls stock thousands of brightly painted bowls which are filled with oil for burning at devotional shrines.