Society of Antiquaries of London

Society of Antiquaries of London

The Society of Antiquaries of London (SAL) is the world’s premier Learned Society for heritage. It is based at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, in the United Kingdom, along with the Royal Academy and four other leading Learned Societies, namely the Linnean Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Geological Society of London and the Royal Astronomical Society.

The Society's role

The Royal Charter granted to the Society by George II in 1751 defines the Society's role as being "the encouragement, advancement and furtherance of the study and knowledge of the antiquities and history of this and other countries". Although the term "antiquary" is no longer commonly used, it denotes a person interested in the study of the past through its material remains; today's antiquaries are drawn from the disciplines of archaeology, history, architectural history, art history, art conservation, heraldry, cultural resource management and ecclesiastical studies. The continuing use of the word in the Society's name reflects both the antiquity of the Society and its continuing broad range of cross-disciplinary interests.


Members of the Society are known as and are entitled to use the initials FSA after their names. Fellows are elected by existing members of the Society. Fellowship is regarded as recognition of significant achievement in the heritage field.

The Society has grown to some 2,500 Fellows, including directors of national museums and galleries, heads of university departments and directors of conservation charities, as well as well-known authors, journalists and broadcasters, bishops, peers and MPs, actors, poets, musicians, scientists, lawyers and doctors – all distinguished by their heritage expertise.

Well-known Fellows of the Society include HRH The Duke of Gloucester, Sir David Attenborough, David Starkey, Loyd Grossman, the Bishop of London, the actor Robert Hardy, the poet James Fenton, the Directors of the National Gallery (Nicholas Penny) and the British Museum (Neil MacGregor), the tenor Robert Tear and several members of Channel 4's 'Time Team'.

Library and publications

The Society has the leading archaeological and cultural heritage library in the UK. The contents include rare drawings, by Turner and Blake amongst others, and manuscripts, such as the Domesday book and the inventory of all Henry VIII's possessions at the time of his death.

The Society publishes the "Antiquaries Journal", and an entertaining and influential fortnightly online newsletter called "Salon" (Society of Antiquaries Online Newsletter).


A precursor organisation, the College of Antiquaries, was founded in 1586 and functioned largely as a debating society until it was forbidden to do so by James I in 1614, but today's Society traces its origins to the first meeting of the Society of Antiquaries, which took place in the Bear Tavern on the The Strand on the 5 December 1707.

In 2007, the Society celebrated its Tercentenary with an exhibition at the Royal Academy called "Making History: Antiquaries in Britain 1707-2007". A touring version of the exhibition will open on 4 October 2008 at the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum, Salisbury, and close on 3 January 2009; move to the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, from 17 January 2009 to 21 June; then visit the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens from 11 July to 4 October; and finally go on show at The Collection, in Lincoln, from 16 October 2009 to 3 January 2010, after which it will tour North America.

Notable Fellows

*Leslie Alcock (1925 - 2006)
*Mick Aston (1946 - )
*Sir Wyke Bayliss (1835 - 1906)
*John Thomas Blight (1835 - 1911)
*E G Bowen (1900 - 1983)
*John Charles Brooke, Somerset Herald (1748 - 1794)
*William Copeland Borlase (1848 - 1899)
*John Buckler (1770-1851)
*Barry Cunliffe (1939 - )
*Guy de la Bédoyère (1957 - )
*Beatrice de Cardi (1914 - )
*Neil Faulkner (1958 – )
*John Frere (1740 – 1807)
*Merlin Hanbury-Tracy, 7th Baron Sudeley (1939 - )
*Phil Harding
*Henry Herbert, 4th Earl of Carnarvon (1831 - 1890)
*Mark Horton (1956 - )
*William Hosking (1800 - 1861)
*Joseph Hunter (1783 – 1861)
*Helen Geake (1967 - )
*Henry Jenner (1848 - 1934)
*Carenza Lewis (1964 - )
*Samuel Lysons (1763 - 1819)
*William Collings Lukis
*Philip Norman (1842 - 1931)
*Edward Rowe Mores (1731 – 1778)
*Stuart Piggott (1910 – 1996)
*Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720 - 1778)
*Augustus Pitt Rivers (1827 – 1900)
*Francis Pryor
*Philip Rashleigh
*Charles Reed (1819 - 1881)
*Colin Renfrew, Baron Renfrew of Kaimsthorn (1937 - )
*Julian Richards (1951 - )
*John Christoper Sainty (1932 - )
*Edgar Ronald Seary (1908 - 1984)
*John Shaw (1776 - 1832)
*Sir John Sinclair, 1st Baronet (1754 – 1835)
*Albert Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer (1892 - 1975)
*David Starkey (1945 - )
*William Stukeley (1687 – 1765)
*Charles Thomas (1928 - )
*George Vertue (1684 – 1756)
*Sir Mortimer Wheeler (1890 - 1976)
*George Zarnecki (1915 - 2008)

ee also

*Society of Antiquaries of Scotland


External links

* [ Society of Antiquaries of London]

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