Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Celtic art in Europe: making connections. Essays in honour of Vincent Megaw on his 80th birthday

Vincent Megaw's eightieth birthday is being honoured with a FestschriftCeltic art in Europe: making connections. Essays in honour of Vincent Megaw on his 80th birthday, Gosden, C. Crawford, S. and Ulmschneider, K. (eds), Oxbow Books, Oxford, (forthcoming) and a celebratory "do" at Oxford.

His publication history of more than half a century follows an interest in artefacts going back to when he was eight or nine years old and no one who has an interest in early Celtic Art (academic or public) is unfamiliar with his work.  He is one of the giants on whose shoulders we all stand. He also has a keen interest in music (violin) and Australian Aboriginal art.

One of the problems faced by many academics is the communication of their ideas to the public, but Vincent is not a member of such a group. Neither is he a "popularizer" -- all of his work is of the highest academic standards and yet can be understood by all. This, I believe, is the mark of a great scholar.

I first heard from Vincent Megaw in the mid nineties -- I had just written my very first post to an archaeological discussion list about looking at the evolution of Celtic art through their coinage and was suffering from a "flame war" from a number of academic Celtoskeptics. The only person to raise their head above the trenches to come to my defence was Vincent Megaw. I honestly do not know whether I would have published my subsequent book had that not been the case.

It must be a bittersweet time for him after the passing of his wife Ruth. They had worked together and she got first mention on their best-seller Celtic Art: From its Beginnings to the Book of Kells, Ruth and Vincent Megaw, Thames and Hudson, New York and London, now in its second (revised and expanded edition). Vincent's son, however is being very supportive of his father at this difficult time. Having lost my own wife and partner, I know how life can become very different after such tragedy.

I wish that I could give you all more information about the Festschrift, but Oxbow Books has yet to announce it. I am sure that this will soon happen, however, and I will pass on the details as soon as they become available.

Happy Birthday, Vincent, and congratulations on a well-deserved Festschrift!


  1. Vincent has just told me that I had the title wrong in my "first edition" of this post. I have now changed it to the right one. I got the wrong title from web announcements by a couple of the authors who perhaps were citing a previously intended title.

    He also tells me that he thinks the Oxbow announcement might have been planned for the 25th of this month -- ah, the vagaries of journalism!


  2. Oxbow Books is now taking advance orders for this title (at a special introductory price):

    following a book launch party at Oxford: