ode to a Grecian puteal
of two heads Bretton students admire the Roman
antiquities inherited by the University from Bretton Hall,
are to be sold by auction. The heads are among certain
assets at Bretton Hall identified by the HEFCE for sale,
to repay some of the money provided by the funding council
towards the cost of the merger.
Roman Delian altar and the Greek Corinthian puteal, collectively
known as the Delphi Heads, were part of the Bretton Hall
estate when it was sold by the Wentworth family to Wakefield
council in 1946 and so became the property of Bretton
Hall College when it became independent in 1992.
marble puteal, or mouth of a well, dates from the first
century BC and was collected in Greece by the fifth Earl
of Guildford in the early 1800s. Although recorded extensively
during the nineteenth century, it was then ‘lost’ during
the 1860s, only to resurface again a century later. It
is a relatively rare piece, decorated with a number of
human figures. The Roman altar is more common, with a
decoration of rams’ heads.
pieces were being used as planters in the grounds of the
estate, when Bretton Hall fine art professor David Hill
identified them as ancient antiquities in 1995. They were
subsequently moved and restored, with the help of the
British Museum and the Henry Moore Institute.
University has been instructed by the HEFCE to put the
antiquities up for sale, and following valuation by Christies,
they will be sold by auction early next year. As part
of the merger agreement with the funding council, 80%
of the proceeds will go to the HEFCE, with 20% remaining
with the University to offset the significant investment
both organisations have made.