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Congregation of the Regent House on 25 June 2007

A Congregation of the Regent House was held this day at 2.45 p.m. The Chancellor was present. Processions formed in the Schools Arcade at 2.40 p.m. and entered the Senate-House by the South Door and the East Door.

Music was performed at the Congregation by a Cambridge University Instrumental Award-holder, the Choir of St John's College, and by the King's Trumpeters.

The following titular degrees were conferred:

Doctor of Law (honoris causa)

HANS MARTIN BLIX

PH.D.

of Trinity Hall, Director General Emeritus of the International Atomic Energy Agency and formerly Executive Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission for Iraq

Doctor of Law (honoris causa)

ANN COTTON

O.B.E.

Honorary Fellow of Homerton College, Entrepreneur in Residence at the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning in Judge Business School, founder and Executive Director of the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED International)

Doctor of Law (honoris causa)

The Right Honourable ONORA SYLVIA, Baroness O'NEILL OF BENGARVE

C.B.E., M.A., LITT.D., F.R.S.(HON.)

formerly Principal and now Honorary Fellow of Newnham College, Honorary Professor of Ethical and Political Philosophy, President of the British Academy

Doctor of Law (honoris causa)

Sir NICHOLAS HERBERT STERN

M.A., F.B.A.

Honorary Fellow of Peterhouse, formerly Second Permanent Secretary and Head of the Government Economic Service, HM Treasury, I. G. Patel Professor of Economics and Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science

Doctor of Science (honoris causa)

Sir JOHN BERTRAND GURDON

PH.D., F.R.S.

formerly Master and now Honorary Fellow of Magdalene College, sometime Fellow of Churchill College, John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Cell Biology Emeritus, and formerly Chairman of the Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK Institute of Cancer and Developmental Biology

Doctor of Science (honoris causa)

RICHARD ERSKINE FRERE LEAKEY

F.R.S.

formerly Permanent Secretary, Secretary to the Cabinet and

Head of the Public Service of Kenya and sometime Director of the Kenya

National Museums and of the Kenya Wildlife Service

Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)

DAVID HOCKNEY

C.H., R.A.

artist

Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)

MURIEL CLAIRE TOMALIN

M.A., F.R.S.L.

Honorary Fellow of Newnham College and of Lucy Cavendish College and Honorary Member of Magdalene College, writer

The Orator delivered the following speeches when presenting to The Chancellor the recipients of Honorary Degrees:

'Imperium ciuile, quantouis magis si e ciuium uoluntate pendeat placere uideatur, non tamen quale sit iure gentium praescriptum est. quod utinam ne gentium non intersit: immo, semper magis interest, sed non adhuc ea condicione ut legibus certis sanciatur; iuris potius est iamdiu gentium ut ne quis cuius immutandi causa hostis intercedat.' uerbis illis, quae paene quinquaginta abhinc annis post studia apud nos confecta conscripsit hic uir, numquid inesse recentioris significationis auditis?

uirum habemus ratione acuta, accurato sermone, qui diu ciuium suorum minister factus (a peregrinis erat olim) pro gentium omnium salute uitam egit. XVI annos cohorti praeerat cui curae res de ui diffissis atomis soluta datur; quo tempore celabant Babylonii quantum ad uim illam armis exercendam processissent. hunc deceptum se confessum postea idcirco fide minus dignum esse censuere quidam. grauissimum tamen is aestimat ut id quod est referatur:

si cedas humilis, inquit, multis potes esse saluti.

uir probitatis tam praecipuae est ut relictis officiis publicis, munus uelut Cincinnatus ab aratro adductus acceperit quo quis certior fieret quid Babylonii in armamentariis haberent. suscepto munere instantibus his illis resistentibus rursus iterumque abesse quod inueniret inuenit, idque hi credere illi confirmare nolebant. has res et sermonibus apud nos habitis et libro de armis illis priuandis conscripto non sine dolore quodam cum sale coniuncto exposuit: colloquia sua rogatus hine clanculum audirent, Vtinam exactius, ait, audiuissent. paucis mensibus amplius datis magnam uitari posse caedem arbitratur.

praesento uobis doctorem in philosophia, cohortibus uariis pro gentibus in UNum conuocatis quo certiores de ui et armis parandis fierent praefectum, aulae Sanctae Trinitatis alumnum,

HANS MARTIN BLIX

'In spite of a certain tendency favouring forms of government dependent upon popular approval, it cannot be said that international law prescribes any particular form of government or constitution. It is not suggested that the international community should be completely indifferent to the kind of governments or constitutions existing in various states. On the contrary, it is certain that it is concerned, and that its concern is increasing, but this concern has not yet become so strong and productive of sanctions as to translate itself into law. Indeed, on the contrary, there has long existed a principle of international law prohibiting intervention.' Dr Blix wrote those words nearly fifty years ago, after completing studies in Cambridge. Something may be heard in them of contemporary significance.

Dr Blix is a man of shrewd analysis and careful expression. For many years he served in the government of his native Sweden, being briefly Minister for Foreign Affairs; all his life he has worked for the betterment of nations. For sixteen years he was Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency; Iraq then managed to conceal for some time how far it had advanced towards creating an atomic bomb. Dr Blix admitted he had been deceived; later that was construed by some as grounds for doubting his judgment. Yet nothing matters more to him than reporting the facts; to quote him,

The noble art of losing face

may one day save the human race.

So outstanding is his integrity that when fully retired he was summoned back, like Cincinnatus from his plough, to take on the task of verifying what weapons Iraq still had. As one side pressed and the other resisted, he came increasingly to realise that what he was meant to find was not there. One side would not believe it and the other would not confirm it. In his Lauterpacht lectures three years ago and in his book Disarming Iraq he has laid out the facts with a certain wry regret. When asked whether his private discussions had been bugged by the Americans, he replied 'I wish they had listened more closely.' A few months more, he considers, and much slaughter could have been avoided.

I present to you

HANS MARTIN BLIX, PH.D.,

of Trinity Hall, Director General Emeritus of the International Atomic Energy Agency and formerly Executive Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission for Iraq

*

Sunt mihi quae narrem - sed ab eis potius narrentur quas sustulit haec femina, puellis Africis quibus more patrio et fortuna uetitum erat ad ea gerenda spectare quibus ipsae sibi opitularentur. dicat igitur Lucia se, cum pater grauiore paupertate opprimeretur quam ut magistro solueret, ope data ita doceri ut nunc alias doceat; dicat Siphelani se post coniugis mortem ope data gallinas uenalis ea mercede alere ut se puerumque sustineat; dicat Spiwe se, primam e gente quae ad ludum iret, ope data textilia emere quibus uestimenta facta ea mercede uendat ut fratribus sororibusque docendis soluat; dicat denique Barbara sibi, cum permitteretur ad ludum ire, inuidere uim illam grauitatis quam uocamus, quod nubes saltu posset attingere.

uoces earum audistis quibus ita subuentum est ut non sibi tantum sed etiam aliis sint auxilio. illa spe et quasi lege agendi imposita rem multis commendat haec femina, primum in foro isto nostro (Haecine placentas illas tam dulcis coquebat? haec illas.), tunc apud exteros, eisque recentissime qui Acta Fiscalia edunt: qui huic uni palam suppeditant.

non prius intellexit quotiens in ea regione quae Zimbabwe nuncupatur doctrina priuarentur puellae quam egit: primo anno impetrauit ut XXXII ad ludum irent. iam XIII post annis, additis eis quae in regionibus Ghanensi, Zambiensi, Tanzaniensi habitant, numero amplius trecentis milibus subuentum est. magna res est, nisi potius multiplex dicatur: opes enim et misericordiam uni cuique dignissimae disponit intentas.

praesento uobis feminam excellentissimo ordini imperi Britannici adscriptam, in schola de Judge dicta negoti gerentium proximam adiutricem, negoti de feminis educandis auctorem et ducem, collegi Homertonensis honoris causa sociam,

ANN COTTON

I have a story to tell1 - but let it be told by the women whom Ann Cotton has helped, young women of Africa prevented by custom and circumstance from contemplating careers by which they could develop a prosperity of their own. Let Lucia speak: her father became too poor to pay for her to stay at school, but with the help of a grant she stayed; now she teaches other girls. Let Siphelani speak: her husband died, but with the help of a grant she started keeping chickens for sale, and now sustains herself and her son. Let Spiwe speak: she was the first in her family to go to school; with the help of a grant she bought cloth to make clothes for sale, and now pays for her brothers' and sisters' schooling. Let Barbara speak: when she heard she was to go to school, the force of gravity was jealous, because she could have jumped and touched the clouds!

In those words you can hear how the help received has enabled those girls to work for others as well as for themselves: that aim, which is almost a rule, has commended Ann Cotton's enterprise to many, first in Cambridge marketplace ('Is she the young woman who used to make such delicious cakes?' She is indeed!), then abroad, and most recently to the Financial Times; hers is the first charity to have their public support.

How frequently girls were losing out on education came home to her when doing research in Zimbabwe. Her reaction was immediate. In her first year she raised the resources to pay for 32 girls to go to school. Thirteen years later the number helped has risen, if you add in the girls assisted in Ghana, Zambia and Tanzania, to well over three hundred thousand. It is a big enterprise, perhaps better seen as many, many little ones; she drops her gentle rain precisely where it will do most good.

I present to you

ANN COTTON, O.B.E.,

Entrepreneur in Residence at the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning in Judge Business School, founder and Executive Director of the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED International), Honorary Fellow of Homerton College

1 I have a story to tell is the title of the book which celebrates the first decade of CAMFED.

*

Philosophi quid in re publica ualeant saepe disputatur. haec tamen femina si quid de publica re loquitur auditur. mirum quidem est si, quamuis prompta ad ea interroganda quae debili fulta ratione sumantur, fortunam Socraticam omittit.

sapientis illius inter Aestios Venetosque nati opera apud Oxonienses inuenit, in quibus primus officiis humanis locus traditur. anteponi tunc solita erant quae cui deberi uiderentur. quaerebat haec potius quis quo modo deberet quibusque de causis. deinde apud Iohannem illum Harvardensem studuit; mox quae de officiorum principiis ratione statuendis sapiens Germanus edixerat, ea haec, rationi studiorum parens, e scholis in forum elata quid in agenda uita ualerent probare temptabat. libros edidit, sermones habuit; Hippocraticae scholae eis excussis quae de hominum generatione, de moribus uitae, de cellulis quae stirpis uocantur adhibendis obiciebantur multum subuenit; munera suscepit quibus in omnibus gerendis Kantiana illa se quaestio imponit. librorum eum animaduertamus de struenda ratione dictum (quo titulo nullus clarius mentem huius designat); sermonum eos quos in nomine Reith habuit de fide dubitata dictos: quos cum habebat, num recordamini quo magis horum fidem interrogaret, eo magis illos ceteros stare cum ea, nisi cum uelut γλαυκις Αθήνη ipsorum interrogaret fidem? quo magis regulis fidem fulcis, ait, eo titubantiorem facis; nam eius modi fides est ut demum si cui uis habere, tu des eam - aut non des.

inter philosophos iamdiu femina honoratissima ea est eloquentia cura subtilitate ut philosophiam ipsam in medium egerit audiendam.

praesento uobis feminam admodum honorabilem, excellentissimi ordinis imperi Britannici commendatricem, magistram in artibus, doctorem in litteris, philosophiae ethicae et politicae honoris causa professorem, Regiae Societatis honoris causa sodalem, Academiae Britannicae praesidem, collegi Newnhamensis honoris causa sociam et quondam caput,

ONORA SYLVIA


baronissam O'NEILL DE BENGARVE

The importance of philosophy in public life is often questioned, but when Onora O'Neill speaks on a point of public interest, she is heard. Somehow, despite her readiness to challenge underconsidered assumptions, she rises above a Socratic fate.

At Oxford she met the works of Immanuel Kant, who gives prime place to our duties to each other. At the time it had become commoner to talk of our rights. She asked instead about responsibility for delivering those rights and the grounds for their assertion. At Harvard she became a student of John Rawls; what Kant had said about establishing principles of duty on a basis of reason she, obedient to the logic of her studies, took out of the lecture-room into the marketplace, to try to see how sturdy it was as a guide in life's problems. She wrote books and gave talks; she investigated medical problems in genetics, human tissues, and stem-cell research, all very helpfully; she undertook administrative duties upon all of which Kant's imperatives impinged. Among her books we may note Constructions of Reason (the very title marks the tenor of her thinking), and among her talks there are the Reith Lectures, published as A Question of Trust. Do you remember how when she gave them, the more she probed the trustworthiness of one group, the more the rest all agreed with her, until she turned her steely eye on one of them? As she says, if you prop up trust with rules and regulations, you only weaken it further; trust is something which in the end you give - or do not give.

Her fellow-philosophers have long honoured her. Such is her eloquence, such the scrupulous precision of her judgment, that she has made philosophy itself matter to us all.

I present to you the Right Honourable

ONORA SYLVIA,


Baroness O'NEILL OF BENGARVE, C.B.E., M.A., LITT.D., F.R.S.(HON.),

President of the British Academy, Honorary Professor of Ethical and Political Philosophy, formerly Principal and now Honorary Fellow of Newnham College

*

Maiores nostri cum de rebus futuris cognoscere uellent ad oraculum peregrinabantur uel auspices haruspicesque consulebant. sunt et nobis quos consulamus, Quid si hoc pignori ponamus, illud periclitemur? quid si solito more pergamus?

Tempora mutantur; totus mutatur in illis

per maria ac terras orbis: sic dixit Apollo.

uidetur Apollo quidam Aerarius illa responsa dixisse. eine auscultemus?

cursum honorum huius uiri antequam in tripodem eleuatus est primum uestigemus. studiis mathematicis curaque ciuitatum earum stimulatus quae nondum adulta prosperitate sunt, librum de colonis Kenyensibus conscripsit quomodo paucis agris mercede parua folia camelliarum colerent; tum libro scribendo aderat de uico Indorum Palanpur nomine, quorum res minui per unum annum spectauit hospes (hoc praesertim inito labore iunioribus ardorem iniecit quo suis oculis rerum rusticarum administrationem inspicerent). interim, dum res oeconomicas latius profitetur, fama eius apud aerarios increbruit: impetrant hic et ille ut sibi consiliis subueniret; impetrat postremo aerari nostri procurator ut de augendis opibus Africae referret. rettulit hic sapientia intelligentia celeritate summa. mox de mutatis tempestatibus consultus quid qua totius orbis euenire posset, multis ad inuestigationem consociatis, paucis mensibus, paginis sescentis opus celebratissimum edidit.

o qualem nuntium reddit, quot chartis rationibus argumentis instructum, qua singulorum ubertate plenum, qua ui et sinceritate consiliorum refertum. dicta ibi sunt quae iustissimis de causis neque euitanda sunt nec differenda. Oedipus cum sortem suam petebat ignorabat se iam a parentibus esse utique damnatum; nos eo tempore uiuimus quo Laius et Iocasta.

praesento uobis equitem auratum, magistrum in Artibus, Academiae Britannicae sodalem, alterum a ratione fisci quondam positum et regalis cohortis oeconomicae praetorem, apud Londinienses in schola rerum oeconomicarum scientiaeque politicae in nomine I. G. Patel professorem, collegi Sancti Petri honoris causa socium,

NICHOLAS HERBERT STERN

In times past when people wanted to know about the future they could go to consult an oracle, or ask the bird-diviners and entrail-inspectors. We have their counterparts still, to ask: What if I bet this, or risk that? What if I carry on as usual?

The climate changeth; so doth all the world

by land and sea: this is Apollo's word.

It is a voice from a Delphic Treasury. Are we to heed what it says?

Let us look first at Sir Nicholas Stern's career before he was elevated to the oracular tripod. He read mathematics and then pursued an interest in the economics of developing countries. He wrote An appraisal of tea production on smallholdings in Kenya. Then he assisted in writing Palanpur: the economy of an Indian village, spending a whole year with them at a time of declining prosperity (this venture has inspired many younger economists to do such research in the field themselves). Meantime, as his academic career developed, his name became known in the world of banking; both the European Bank and the World Bank sought and received his help. Finally Gordon Brown asked him to advise on reversing the decline of Africa. Sir Nicholas did so with knowledge, understanding and speed. In no time he was being asked to provide a report on the likely impact of changes in climatic conditions over the whole world. He recruited all sorts of expertise and compiled in a few months the famous 600-page review called The Economics of Climate Change.

And what a review it is, full of proofs by table and figure, rich in detail and packed with the clearest and most forceful of recommendations! The oracle has spoken; its message is backed with the soundest of reasoning, and it is not to be evaded nor to be postponed. When Oedipus asked his fate, he did not know that he had already been damned by his parents. We are of the same generation as Laius and Jocasta.

I present to you

Sir NICHOLAS HERBERT STERN, M.A., F.B.A.,

formerly Second Permanent Secretary and Head of the Government Economic Service, HM Treasury, I. G. Patel Professor of Economics and Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Honorary Fellow of Peterhouse

*
 

sic sapiens ille Anaxagoras: nam si frumento fructibusque alimur, unde fit sanguis et ossa nisi iam in cibo insunt aliquo modo? quam rationem sic refutauit T. Lucretius:

Quorum nil fieri quoniam manifesta docet res,

scire licet non esse in rebus res ita mixtas,

uerum semina multimodis immixta latere

multarum rerum in rebus communia debent.2

quae res si nobis manifestior est, gratias huic uiro agamus qui generationem animalium ouis tractatis perscrutatur. oua quibus utitur parit Xenopus leuis bufo, cloacarum incola fertilitate libera, paritque perparua. sed hic qua est agilitate digitorum nucleum e cellula sublatum cui potestas propria aut huius aut illius creandi iam tota definita est in ouum enucleatum inserit. en bono auspicio alterum crescit animal, omnino idem ac prius. sic postea creuit ovilla illa quae uocabatur Plangon; sed tamquam huius uiri parergon habeatur.

qui fit tamen ut cellulae istae iam saepius ipsae diuisae cum in oua enucleata restitutae sunt non partem hanc illamue corporis tantum creent sed totum animal? qui fit ut ita se diuidant ut singulis quibusque instruamur quibus opus est ad hominem uel Xenopodem creandum? quando denique potestas illa ceterarum partium generandarum perditur, retinetur huius illiusue discretae? num cuiquam animali ullo tempore suae sit initium uitae disputent philosophi; hic uir uitam ipsam uestigare non desinit.

praesento uobis equitem auratum, doctorem in Philosophia, Regiae Societatis sodalem, biologiae cellularum in nomine John Humphrey Plummer professorem emeritum, negoti de cancris biologiaque embryonica instituti olim praesidem, collegi Churchilliani olim socium, collegi Magdalenae honoris causa socium et quondam caput

JOHN BERTRAND GURDON

1 Fragment 11 (Simplicius, Phys. 164.23) and fragment 10 (schol. in Greg. Naz. Patrologia Graeca 36.911), adapted.

2 Lucretius 1.893-6.

There is a portion of everything in everything. Otherwise, how could flesh come of what is not flesh, or hair of what is not hair? A part of all is in all.' So thought Anaxagoras: if we feed on bread and fruit, where do blood, bones and flesh come from, unless they are somehow there already in the food? Lucretius disagreed: 'As the facts show that none of that happens, we can see that there is no mixture of things in things like that; there must instead be atoms of many things lurking commingled together, shared around in many ways.'

If the facts are clearer nowadays, we should thank Sir John Gurdon, who investigates the development of animal life in the egg. The eggs he uses are provided by the South African clawed toad, which lives in sewers, ovulates easily and produces eggs about a millimetre across. Sir John is a man of great dexterity: he removes the nucleus of a cell which has become fully specialised, its power of growth to this or that being now limited, and puts it into an egg from which the nucleus has been removed. Lo and behold, with good fortune a second animal develops, absolutely identical with the original. That is, incidentally, how Dolly the sheep was grown, but she is best considered a Gurdonian by-blow.

More importantly, how is it that those cells, themselves already the product of many divisions, do not create just this or that bit of the animal when restored to an enucleated egg, but the whole animal? How do they divide themselves in such a way that we are equipped with all the particular bits we need in order to become human beings - or South African clawed toads? At what point is the power of generating all the other bits lost and the power of generating only the particular bit retained? Whether there now is a moment when life begins for any living creature is for philosophers to discuss; Sir John continues his research into life itself.

I present to you

Sir JOHN BERTRAND GURDON, PH.D., F.R.S.,

John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Cell Biology Emeritus,

formerly Chairman of the Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK Institute of Cancer and Developmental Biology, sometime Fellow of Churchill College, Honorary Fellow and formerly Master of Magdalene College

*

Semper aliquid noui Africa ferre dicitur.1 quid tamen, si uetustissimum id esset quod nouum dixerat C. Plinius? humani generis originem modo his XXXX annis ex Africa quaeritur: argumenta rationis eius non pauca addidit hic uir, qui natus ad illa reperienda dici potest. memorat enim sibi sex tantum nato annos imperari ut ossa aliqua sua inuentum abiret (aliis, ut opinor, imperatum esset ut lusum abirent). abiisse se; postquam mirabile quamdiu sileret, occupatissimum parentes inuenisse in ossibus sedulo detergendis; quae cum statim magni momenti esse uidissent, inde quoque abire iussisse. postea cum iuuenis erat, expeditione sua prima facta ossa humana inuenit: mater arcessita ut inspiceret, Tantum, inquit, sapientis sunt. ita uero, sed uetustissimi sapientis, ut Herodoti uerbis utar, τνμεςδμεν.

nullam in academiam hic instituendus abiit; quod opus ei fuit qui re ipsa condocefactus tiro studeret gentilicius? qui praeterea aliis praeditus est artibus, argenti suadendi, rei administrandae, socios sibi conuocandi qui proprias scientias ei conferant. intellegit tamen qua parte uenatum irent aborigines illi nemo hoc melius, nec quisquam longius antiquitatem humanam extendit.

ciuis est patriae suae Kenyensis. pro rebus antiquis eius ferisque conseruandis magnam dedit operam, nec timet eis se opponere qui ambitu uel ignorantia obstare uideantur. suffragiis plebis magistratus electus mox pro magistro equitum fuit. nunc, uir assiduus usque et impiger, ad maiores nostros altius uestigandos rediit:

Vestigandus homost homini: quid maius oportet?

praesento uobis eum cuius patrem inter clarissimos alumnorum nostrorum numerauit orator prior, cuius matrem idem ad gradum doctoris honoris causa assequendum obtulit, uirum olim ab epistulis et libellis reipublicae Kenyensis, eundemque olim ab antiquitatum museis et a feris Kenyae, Regiae Societatis sodalem

RICHARD ERSKINE FRERE LEAKEY

1 Pliny the Elder, Nat. Hist. 8.42.

Something new, said Pliny the Elder, is always being reported from Africa. What would he have said if the new were very old? Only in the last four decades have the origins of man been sought in Africa; Richard Leakey has produced no small evidence to prove the theory, being born to the job, one might say, of discovering it. He recalls being told when he was six to go away and find some bones of his own (the equivalent for other children, I take it, of being told to go away and play). He went. When he had been suspiciously silent for a long time, his parents came and found him devotedly absorbed in cleaning off some bones. As the bones were clearly very important, he was told to go away again. As a young man, running his first ever expedition, he found human bones, and invited his mother to inspect them. 'It's just a sapiens,' she said. It was: the oldest sapiens 'of which we know', to use Herodotus' phrase.

Richard Leakey has no university training. Perhaps there was little need for it in a man trained on the job, the family apprentice, who has other skills besides, of fund-raising, of administration and of gathering about him the academic support he seeks. And no one understands better than he does where to look for the traces of our forefathers. No one has pushed the origins of mankind so far back.

He is Kenyan by birth and by citizenship. He has done his country great service in conservation of its antiquities and its wildlife, and politically. He stands up fearlessly to people who, whether corruptly or through ignorance, appear to obstruct its best interests. He has served as a member of its parliament and then as secretary to the Cabinet. Now, indefatigable as ever, he has returned to his roots, the search for our ancestors:

The proper study of mankind is man.

His father was declared one of our most distinguished alumni and his mother was presented for an honorary doctorate by the previous orator;

I present to you

RICHARD ERSKINE FRERE LEAKEY, F.R.S.,

formerly Permanent Secretary, Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Public Service of Kenya, and sometime Director of the Kenya National Museums and of the Kenya Wildlife Service

*

In huius pictoris secta pictor est unus multiplicesque sectae: nam multis se generibus artis exercet, neque uno titulo comprehenditur. singulorum enim imagines saepe pingit, non neglecta sua, idque primum cum uix moris pictoribus imagines facere erat. spectat recta ad eos, eique plerumque recta ad eum; in media tabula locantur recti uel sedentes, singuli uel bini aliquando - nisi forte coniuges illos recordamini cum fele depictos, tabulam clarissimam solitoque more prae ceteris, dispositione partium quae simplex uidetur esse uiuidisque coloribus, compositam. multas autem calamo cerulisque usus conficit, neque id tum moris nisi ad exercitationes faciendas erat; paret manus oculo sine ullo interpretationis errore. saepe praeterea aqua depicta quomodo reddantur fluctuationes eius et perluciditates, subiti impetus atque otia lente restituta, perquirit; tabulam recordemini precor aspersionis maioris nomine dictam. cum primum inter Americanos incoluit - sed redit, reditque ruris Eboracensis sui semper appetentior - Hogarthianum imitatus exemplum ganeonis cursum imaginum serie exposuit; postea cantico de eadem re proposito scaenas adeo insignis apparauit ut laudum pars maior eis occuparetur, atque opera alia musica magno ingenio et arte ornauit.

uirum uideritis uariis artis generibus exercitatissimum, peritissimum, curiosissimum: nam libro conscripto de arcana quae dicitur scientia, pictoribus Europaeis (quorum opera his DCC annis facta optime cognouit) subsidio esse cameram obscuram quam uocamus ostendit; quam rationem urget tabulis multis quas minute lustretis oblatis. argumentum sic fit plerumque conspectu. hoc, ni fallor, opus omnino non obscurum sed uiri sapientissimi est.

praesento uobis uirum inter comites honoratissimos adscriptum, Regiae Academiae sodalem, pictorem Musis amicissimum

DAVID HOCKNEY

In the Hockney school of painting there is only one painter but several schools. He is expert in many genres; no one label fits. Portraits are a notable part of his work, including self-portraits, and he took to portraiture when it was not fashionable. He looks at his subjects straight, and most of them look straight back at him; he puts them in the middle of the picture, standing or sitting, singly or sometimes in pairs - unless, that is, you recall Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, a picture which has become a classic, most Hockneyesque of all Hockneys with its deceptively simple composition and its vigorous colours. Then there are his many drawings in pencil and crayon; that too was not fashionable, being a technique more for sketching and practice. Hand follows eye in unerring fulfilment of intent. Water is another subject of fascination, with all its undulations and transparencies, its sudden surges and slow restorations of calm. You may recall a painting called A bigger splash. When he first settled in America - he always returns, however, increasingly attracted now by the landscape of his native Yorkshire - taking inspiration from Hogarth's sequence of pictures he created his own Rake's Progress. Later came the opera of that name at Glyndebourne for which he created the scenery, so brilliantly that it almost stole the show, and other operas have benefited from the genius of his imagination.

He is an artist of great expertise, wide study and a strong curiosity: hence a book he wrote called Secret Knowledge. In it he shows how European artists, of whose works over seven centuries he displays a remarkable knowledge, called in aid the camera obscura; he argues his theory mostly by presenting a great number of paintings for close inspection. The evidence is thus largely for the eyes to judge, and it is certainly not obscure. This is a book of considerable scholarship.

I present to you

DAVID HOCKNEY, C.H., R.A.

artist

*

Vitas aliorum qui conscribunt uiam notam terunt studioque populari respondent; pauci tamen artem supra sermones fabulasque aniles extollunt. inter eos haec femina, rebus inauditis sed pertinentibus inuentis, rebus tum temporis gestis lucide perspectis, uario suo muliebri consensu, eximia denique arte narrandi, laudes cum praemiis maximas accipit. primo libros aliorum lectos quam bene conscripti essent discernebat; mox, libello de iure feminarum uindicato inuento, primum librum edidit suum. secuti sunt iam sex, omnes inuestigationibus diligentissimis ornati. de feminis plerumque scribebat - ad Catherinae illius antipodensis uitam exponendam aptiorem idcirco sese praebuit quod femina esset - sed recentius non modo alia tempora sed etiam uiros elegit: Samuelem dico in collegio Magdalenae honoratum, et Durotrigem illum Thomam.

ille tamen auctore uitae caret? nonne in se ipsum commentarios uir singularis reliquit satis? annorum reliquit modo nouem: permulta alia, partim diu abscondita partim ualde disputata, addidit haec femina, praecipue de muliere uix cognita Maria - tritum illud est iter - sed etiam de classe administranda, de re publica tum turbata, de re omnium difficillima, cur ille quae fecit omissa re nulla cuncta memoraret. de Thoma quoque rursus inuenit noua, praesertim de uxore priore: rem domesticam eorum quo frigore gereretur prorsus depinxit. illius uitam ipsius carminibus subtilissime perquisitis illustrauit; quae si quando ipsa ediderit, ut fama est, opus sapientia plenissimum habebimus.

aliquid maius quam singulorum uitas egit haec femina. re enim cuiusque familiari cum ipsis rebus nostris moribusque gestis coniuncta mihi quidem uidetur alter esse Plutarchus.

praesento uobis magistram in Artibus, Litterarum Regiae Societatis sodalem, collegiorum Newnhamensis Luciaeque Cavendish honoris causa sociam, collegio Magdalenae honoris causa adscriptam,

MURIEL CLAIRE TOMALIN

Biographers follow a well-trodden trail and answer an evident public interest, but only a few raise their art beyond the level of anecdote and fable. Among those few is Claire Tomalin; her research is apt and original and her understanding of history is clear; she applies her sympathies as a woman and she excels in lucid narrative. Her work has earned both prizes and high praise. She began as an editor assessing the worth of other people's books. Then she lit upon Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Woman and published her own first work. Now there are seven biographies, all distinguished by the excellence of their research. At first, women were her usual topic - in dealing with Katherine Mansfield she made a point of her suitability for the task as a woman - but more recently she has picked not only different historical periods but also men: I think of Samuel Pepys, 'the unequalled self', and Thomas Hardy, 'a time-torn man'.

Does Pepys need a biographer? Didn't he leave enough of his unequalled self in his own diaries? In fact, they cover nine years only; there is a great deal else (some of it long undiscovered and some of it matter for scholarly debate) which Claire Tomalin has brought to her narrative, in particular concerning Mary Skinner, a woman little known before (Tomalin territory, this!), but also on Pepys' work with the navy, on the troubled times then prevailing and on that most puzzling of questions, why the diarist committed all his doings to paper without any inhibition. Original research also marks her work on Hardy, especially concerning his first wife; their frozen life in Max Gate is starkly rendered. The poet's career is illuminated by precise and delicate use of his own poems; if an edition of them is coming, as is said, we shall have a work of real scholarship.

Claire Tomalin is much more than a biographer; her works are a considerable contribution to our social and moral history. The line goes back, I think, to Plutarch.

I present to you

MURIEL CLAIRE TOMALIN, M.A., F.R.S.L.,

Honorary Fellow of Newnham College and of Lucy Cavendish College and Honorary Member of Magdalene College, writer


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Cambridge University Reporter 11 July 2007
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