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Inspiring Newcastle professor remembered


A Newcastle University professor who was renowned for his passion for Greek and Etruscan art and archaeology will be remembered with a series of events.

A trio of leading experts will deliver the Brian Shefton Memorial Lectures at Newcastle University and the Great North Museum: Hancock. A conference and an exhibition of children’s art will also be held at the museum in his memory.

Professor Shefton, who died in January 2012 at the age of 92, came to Newcastle University as a lecturer in Greek archaeology in 1955 and stayed until his retirement in 1984.

One of his greatest achievements at Newcastle was establishing a collection of Greek and Etruscan archaeological material to support teaching and research. The collection was begun in 1956 when he was given a grant of £20 and now comprises almost 1,000 objects.  It is on display in the Shefton Gallery of Greek and Etruscan archaeology at the Great North Museum: Hancock. 

Tony Spawforth, Professor of Ancient History at Newcastle University, said: “Brian would have loved these events. He would surely have dominated all discussions with his insatiable curiosity and astonishing breadth of knowledge. It is particularly fitting that a group of distinguished scholars will spend a day studying the rare and beautiful ancient artefacts which he amassed for Newcastle University. His collection in the Great North Museum is now one of Tyneside's cultural jewels: the remarkable legacy of a great man.”

Professor Spawforth’s talk, Alexander the Great: cross-dressing conqueror of the world? will be given at 5.30pm, on Tuesday, 16 April, in the Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building.

On Wednesday, 17 April, Andrew Parkin, Keeper of Archaeology at the Great North Museum: Hancock, will discuss Reflecting the past: an Etruscan mirror in the collection of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle Upon Tyne. The talk will take place at 6pm.

Finally, on Thursday, 18 April, Professor Sir John Boardman, Emeritus Lincoln Professor of Classical Archaeology & Art, at the University of Oxford, will give a lecture entitled Three British Collectors, at 6pm.
All lectures are free to attend and booking is not required.

A conference in honour of Professor Shefton will take place at the Great North Museum: Hancock on Friday, 19 April. The day-long event, entitled On the Fascination of Objects: Greek and Etruscan Art in the Shefton Collection, will feature expert speakers from institutions Newcastle University, University College London, Université libre de Bruxelles and the University of Edinburgh. Registration is free. To register email or call 0191 208 5121. 

Professor Shefton will also be remembered with an exhibition of art created by the pupils of West Jesmond Primary school. Professor Shefton lived in Jesmond and his daughter attended the school.  It will take place in the museum from Friday, 19 April to Sunday, 21 April.

A Just Giving page has also been set up in Professor Shefton's memory and the money raised will support the study of Greek archaeology at Newcastle University.

published on: 11 April 2013