About me

Anna Reeve

Student of classics and resident of Leeds. Join me as I explore collections of ancient Cypriot art in Leeds, tracing their origins and collection history.

30 thoughts on “About me

  1. Dear Ms Reeves

    Robert Merrillees has just sent me a printout of the entry headed “Ancient Cypriot Art in Leeds: Thomas Backhouse Sandwith and the triple juglet”. I assume you are the author, on the strength of which I write to you. From the Sandwith point of view I helped Robert with information for his paper, to which you refer.

    I am much interested in T B Sandwith and am planning to write about him, mainly his diplomatic career, to complement what others (like Robert, Sinclair Hood et al) have written about his collecting. I was therefore intrigued that “Leeds Phil and Lit” had bought material from him, I assume direct. I did not know this. Do you happen to know, please, either if Leeds City Museum, or perhaps the University, have any papers about the purchase? I should love to be able to read any surviving documents, private TBS papers being very rare. Those about his sale of embroideries to the (then) South Kensington Museum were very revealing.

    Some other related points, if I may: (i) I assume you are aware of the TBS Cypriot items in the Cawthorne Victoria Jubilee Museum near Barnsley. Some still bear their labels from the 1875 Leeds exhibition. I tracked them down thanks to the late Veronica Tatton-Brown, then at the BM. Robert has seen photos and confirms their authenticity. These items were given to the Museum in 1884 by TBS’s brother Henry who had been Curate at Cawthorne many years before, but there are no associated documents. (ii) I am having a great problem in tracking down the catalogue to the 1875 exhibition, despite much searching. It seems not to be in the BL or at Cambridge or the Society of Antiquaries, but is in the Minster Library at York which I have not yet been able to get to – I live in Bedfordshire. Do you know where copies are, or even better if it has been digitalised? (iii) do you happen to know of any other TBS archaeological items in museums, apart from the BM, please?

    I am sorry to pester you with so many questions but I am much excited at the possibility of their being sale-related papers in Leeds and wanted to make sure you knew about Cawthorne.

    I assume that having ticked the box below I will receive any reply by conventional email. Being fairly ancient, I am not certain how else I will see it.

    With my thanks,

    Stephen Boys Smith


    • Dear Mr Boys Smith,

      Thank you very much for contacting me. This is just to acknowledge receipt; I shall send a full reply directly to your email address.

      With best wishes,

      Anna Reeve


  2. Dear Anna.

    I just saw a reference to your work posted on the Cyprus College of Art Facebook page. It looks interesting. I remember the Cypriot ceramics at the old Leeds City Museum when I was a child. Also there used to be a strange table with telephones on it where we could listen to Greek (and other countries’) music.

    Anyway, in the hope of being helpful, are you aware Sandwith went to Crete after Cyprus? There too he amassed a collection, this time of local textiles, which he eventually donated to the V&A.

    You might find useful the exhibition catalogue for a show held in at the Royal Museum Edinburgh in 1988 called “A Mischievous Pastime”, about early archaeology, where he is mentioned.

    Also have you looked at the 2001 book “Cyprus in the 19th century AD” edited by Veronica Tatton-Brown? I think there is an essay on Sandwith’s excavations in Cyprus.

    With regards
    Michael Paraskos
    (Cyprus College of Art and occasionally Leeds University)


    • Dear Michael,

      Thanks for your comment, and for the tips. It was actually Goring’s ‘A Mischievous Pastime’ which got me interested in researching the people behind the Leeds collection in the first place.

      The telephones sound brilliant – I expect they’re still somewhere in the Discovery Centre, and I shall look out for them!

      Best wishes,


    • Dear Michael, I respond because I am much interested in Thomas Sandwith and have just started to write up his life. His 15 years in Crete were the most important part of his career, at least from the diplomatic point of view. I hope you will not mind, however, if I pick you up on the point about Sandwith having given the Cretan embroideries to the South Kensington Museum. That is, I fear, a common belief, repeated for example in Roderick Taylor, Embroidery of the Greek Islands, p 109. In fact, as the V & A archives show, he sold them for Ł250, equivalent to half a year’s salary. I am very grateful for the reference to the 1988 Edinburgh catalogue, which I was not aware of before. And to add one thing to your point about Anna’s work being very interesting: more important than that, it is very valuable too. Best wishes, Stephen Boys Smith

      Sent from my iPad

      On 1 Oct 2012, at 22:20, Ancient Cypriot art in Leeds wrote:

      WordPress.com Michael Paraskos commented: “Dear Anna. I just saw a reference to your work posted on the Cyprus College of Art Facebook page. It looks interesting. I remember the Cypriot ceramics at the old Leeds City Museum when I was a child. Also there used to be a strange table with telephon”


  3. Hi!
    I am the great grandson of John Holmes. We have a few family memorabilia. My dad used to mention his grandfather’s connection with the Sandwiths. I am trying to gather material for a little article about JH on Wikipedia. He seems to have been a very interesting chap. He was a radical campaigner for the coop movement and union rights.
    Perhaps we could speak some time. I assume my email address shows up with this message.
    Peter H


    • Hi Peter, thanks for getting in touch. I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve read about John Holmes, he made such a huge contribution to the Leeds collection. I’ve gathered various bits of relevant information (I’m planning a blog post focusing on him at some point), so I’d be happy to compare notes. I’ll be in touch via your email address.


  4. Dear Sir or Madame,

    I am a Swedish architect and documentary film maker.
    I am writing regarding an object in my possession.

    Its an old lentoid red ware flask measuring 19.5 cm in height.

    The ware is very thin and it has no base, can therefore not stand on its own.
    Some of the decorations have “fallen” off.

    Would you be able to help me get more information?
    Can I send photos?

    Curious greetings from Sweden
    Daniel Bengtson


  5. Dear Anna,

    I just found this site (I hadn’t actually realised that Leeds owned some ancient Cypriot artefacts).
    I became fascinated about 2 years ago by ancient Cypriot pottery, especially pre classical. This has led me to starting a collection and to reading about the history. My wife and I are about to leave for a holiday there next Wednesday.
    As you must know, because many of the tombs are in limestone areas and were periodically flooded, many pots have extensive calcium carbonate accretions. One Middle Bronze Age bowl of mine, which is not especially valuable and has been reassembled from 15 pieces, has a dense painted patterning all over it (red lines in two directions at right angles, probably done with a multi-brush) which is largely obscured by accretions. I read a little about how this is removed and get the impression it would be very expensive to have it done professionally but I am an artist and was toying with the idea of doing it myself. Since it involves first soaking the object, though, I would be afraid that the glue holding the pieces together might well give way.
    I would be grateful for any thoughts you might have on this, and happy to send pictures of my collection if this might interest you (I am particularly proud of an Incised Red Polished Ware goat/jug).

    Best wishes
    David (Johnson)
    my website: http://www.david-johnson.co.uk


    • Dear David,
      Thank you very much for getting in touch, and for the link to your website, which makes fascinating reading/viewing. I’m sorry I missed your exhibition at Dean Clough – the Viaduct Theatre is such a great space, and I know it well from Northern Broadsides performances. I’d be very interested to know whether the ancient Cypriot pottery has impacted on your own work in any way; I’m increasingly intrigued by modern artistic responses to the art of ancient Cyprus (hopefully something on Picasso’s re-imagination of Cypriot shapes will be coming to the blog fairly shortly).
      I would very much like to see pictures of your collection, many thanks for the offer – particularly the goat/jug! I can be contacted directly on cypriotartleeds@gmail.com, if it’s possible to email pictures. As far as the restoration goes, I must admit it would be a professional conservator or nothing for me – I’d be far too cautious to attempt it myself. Personally I quite like the accretions that pots collect, as records of part of their journeys, though of course it’s a shame if they conceal the decoration.
      I hope you have a great trip to Cyprus, and thanks again for your comment.
      Best wishes,


      • Thank you Anna, I have emailed you. I hope you can see the images I sent (Thomas Kiely for some reason can’t – I had to put them on a website)
        Best wishes


  6. Hi Anna,
    I just put my collection online with all my notes (now a little enlarged and some pics redone)
    For me it is a bit like the personal pages on Pinterest except I own the pieces. There is quite a range, from the relatively ordinary early collection to what I buy now (and what I know now).
    Best wishes


  7. Dear Anna,
    I was alerted to your new blog post via Twitter, and was fascinated to read about your plans for PhD – I completed my PhD on a related topic earlier this year (the role of classical antiquities in regional museums – more info on http://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/people/research/donnellan). I think, in fact, that we may have met at the Classical Association conference in Reading, a couple of years back, if I am remembering correctly. It would be good to make contact again – I’d be very happy to share experiences/info regarding my PhD if that might be useful. Do get in touch if you’d be interested.
    Good luck with completion of your MA.
    Best wishes,


    • Dear Vicky,

      Thanks very much for getting in touch – I remember chatting at the CA conference. It would be great to get the benefit of your experience as I embark on my PhD! I’ll send you a mail.

      Best wishes,



  8. Anna, met you at Tactile Access training last week. We have some ancient Cypriot material in our collections – I can send you a list if you provide me an email address. Best wishes, Alexia


  9. Dear Anna, I have just (and very belatedly!) accessed your interesting correspondence on Cypriot antiquities. I am particularly interested in your and Peter Holmes’ references to John Holmes. Many years ago, when I was an Australian postgraduate student in Leeds, I collected a good deal of information on still unknown aspects of John Holmes’ remarkable mid Victorian career as a radical. After a very busy working life, I am now hoping to write something about him. I would very much appreciate it if you would send this message to Perter Holmes with my request here that he contact me about his great grandfather (I suspect Peter may be the author of the current Wikipedia article on John Holmes). Noting that you yourself were intending to write about Holmes, I would also love to here whether you have ever done so and let me know if I can access it. Do you know anything about Holmes’ relations in Yorkshire with Reverend Sandwith? Hoping to hear from you and Peter Holmes. Warm regards from Blackheath, New South Wales, Australia. Jeff Warnock


    • Dear Jeff,
      Many thanks for your comment, which I’ll pass on to Peter. Your work sounds fascinating; there is certainly a lot more to say about John Holmes! I’ve published a short piece on T.B. Sandwith, Holmes and Cypriot antiquities, which you can find on my academia.edu page. My doctoral thesis (currently in preparation) has two chapters which deal at length with Holmes’ collecting, lecturing and relations with Leeds museums; it does cover his connection with Henry Sandwith from that perspective. Do stay in touch, I’d love to hear more about your work as it progresses.
      Best wishes,


    • Hi Jeff, I think this trail has gone cold! Anna has mentioned your name but I don’t think we have managed direct contact. This is what I put together.

      We have since found more material including a Leeds PhD in which he is mentioned,
      and a reference to his activity in a book by Duncan Bowie.
      It would be nice to be in touch again.


  10. Dear Anna
    I am currently engaged in writing about Bretton hall college.i was a lecturer there and then at Leeds ( 1987-2001, 2001-16) The ERS was a key asset at one time : I wonder if you had any contacts/ discoveries in addition to those in your articles. At one time the collection was housed by the college in Wakefield and the curator was called Peter. Berry but I have not been able to go further with tracing him

    I would appreciate any pieces of linked information!

    Susan Daniels


  11. Hello I’m not sure when you wrote this article But, I am interested in the name of charles Louis hoelen and if u would be willing to help me find some stuff out about him and and miss stotts exploits.


    • Hi, nice to hear from you! Most of the info I have is in the relevant blog post, but I do have a few extra details, and some copies of official documents. Is there anything particular you’re interested in?


  12. Dear Anna
    We exchanged comments in September 2019 though I did not receive any email from you. Despite being unable to access archives from late autumn 2019 due to lecturer industrial action and nine the pandemic I remain very interested in the ERS and anything you may have discovered
    Best wishes


    • Hi Susan,

      We had a brief exchange of emails, I think – it’s a shame the archives aren’t accessible at the moment. I’m not actively researching the ERS at the moment, as it’s not strictly relevant to my current project, but if I come across anything that may be of interest, I’ll pass it on.

      All best wishes,



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