STUKELEY ILLUSTRATED : William Stukeley's Rediscovery of Britain's Ancient Sites
By Neil Mortimer, published by Green Magic at £9.99. 136pp. ISBN: 0-9542963-3-8 (Reviewed by David Taylor)
Neil will be well known to readers of WD as the editor of 3rd Stone magazine and occasional archaeological correspondent to Fortean Times. This has obviously been a labour of love for Neil, who has a real passion for the subject. As the title suggests, it is a collection of archaeological illustrations of places such as Stonehenge, Avebury and Stanton Drew (to name but a few) made by the seventeenth-century antiquarian William Stukeley (1687-1765) who was the first to chronicle prehistoric sites in this country. All of these are taken from Stukeley's own Itinerarium Curiosum (1724), Stonehenge: A Temple Restor'd to the British Druids (1740) and Abury: A Temple of the British Druids (1743). A small amount of text (outweighed by the illustrations) adds background to the life of Stukelely, and helps to put these wonderful illustrations into context. It is great to see places like Avebury as they would have been seen in the seventeenth century, and there is a certain 'Merrie England' charm about Stukeley and his "druid temple" ideas.
What Neil manages to do in this small book is inject his obvious passion and admiration for Stukeley, which will help a new breed of antiquarian discover his work. With a biography of the great man planned (a joint project with that other great modern antiquarian – Birmingham's own Aubrey Burl) get ready for a surge of interest in Stukeley and archaeological sites.
I cannot fault this great little book (except to say that a more "contemporary" cover design would have been nice, and highly recommend it to WD readers. And another thing – photocopies of the illustrations would look great framed (although for copyright reasons I didn't say that OK!). Add this to your bookshelf and you won't be disappointed.