Series 14 - 'Stone Implements of the Natives of Tasmania'; unpublished manuscript and plates by Henry Balfour.
Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford


Date Range1923 - 1939
ProvenanceBalfour, Henry (1863-1939)
Description

This series includes an unpublished, handwritten manuscript of Henry Balfour's unpublished paper 'Stone Implements of the Natives of Tasmania' that makes close reference to the Ernest Westlake Tasmanian Collection.

This Series also includes 14 plates of 131 pencil drawings from the Ernest Westlake Tasmanian Collection that were to illustrate this paper. They form part of the Henry Balfour Papers, Manuscrtipt Collections, Pitt Rivers Museum.


Inventory Listing

Stone Implements of the Natives of Tasmania, by Henry Balfour FRS, Curator of the Pitt Rivers Museum 1891-1939
Draft manuscript and notes
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This is a handwritten, 47-page manuscript that makes close reference to implements in the Westlake Collection. It has additional notes made in the text in black ink and blue pencil by the editor T. K. Penniman. It is accompanied by a 14-page typed list of plates, presumably by Henry Balfour, a 4-page typed preface by T.K. Penniman and a 1-page typed statement by T. K. Penniman. The manuscript and notes are kept in Box 6 of the Balfour Papers in the Manuscript Collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum.

Further notes and cross references:

Henry Balfour's paper was probably near completion by 7 January 1934, when he wrote to Aubrey Westlake that he had, at last, ‘broken the back of my Tasmanian paper’. [Image 69, WEST00355, Letter to Aubrey Westlake from Henry Balfour, 7 January 1934, 'Correspondence: French Collection 1923-1993 part 1', Westlake Archive, Oxford Natural History Museum.]

Henry Balfour’s conclusions from the Westlake Collection were not at all what had inspired Westlake to form it. In an earlier (published) paper, presented as his presidential address to the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia’ in 1924, [Henry Balfour, 1925, 4], concluded that: ‘The so-called "Eolithic Tasmanian" is a pure myth’.

Henry Balfour explained, in this unpublished paper, that the Tasmanian Aborigines often made ‘tools of the moment’, but it was wrong to generalize their cultural status, as many archeologists had done, from such examples. (To do so was like judging twentieth-century culture by ‘the feeblest efforts of junior apprentices’.) Rather, Balfour [1925, 7-8] concluded: ‘When we examine and sort into groups the deliberately fashioned implements of Tasmania...it becomes clear that certain well-defined types are repeated over and over again...which suggest correspondence with...two distinct phases of the early stone age (a) the mid-paleaolithic Mousterian culture and (b) the early-late-paleaolithic Aurignacian culture’.

Henry Balfour had carried out such careful examination and typological organization of the Westlake Collection; by 1934 he had studied and drawn 12,000 of the implements in 4 Accession Books: WEST00341, WEST00341, WEST00343, Series 13, Collections IX Westlake 1-3, 1934.83-85, Pitt Rivers Museum and WEST00344, Series 13, Collections X Westlake 4, 1934.86, Pitt Rivers Museum.

[For a detailed description, see: WEST00341, ‘Collections IX Westlake 1-3, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford’, Series 13, in Rebe Taylor, with Michael Jones and Gavan McCarthy, Stories in Stone: an annotated history and guide to the collections and papers of Ernest Westlake (1855-1922), The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre, 2012.]

This paper was not yet published when Henry Balfour died in 1939. It was intended to be published posthumously in the first of the Pitt Rivers series 'Occasional Papers in Technology', of which T. K. Penniman was the General Editor. The 4-page typed editorial note by Penniman was clearly written as a preface to the paper. It explains how Henry Balfour died ‘in the midst of his work, leaving a considerable number of notes and papers unfinished’.

T. K. Penniman edited the paper, added footnotes, and also prepared a draft map to illustrate the location of the implements referenced in the paper and in Henry Balfour’s 14 plates of implements in the Westlake Collection. [WEST00340, Series 11, 'Map of Tasmania with an overlay of the collection sites for the Westlake collection of stone implements', Manuscript Collections Pitt Rivers Museum, Balfour Papers.]

Ultimately, however, T. K. Penniman, decided not to publish Henry Balfour’s paper. In a typed note on 1 page that accompanies the manuscript [image 1] he justified that:

‘It is not ready for publication, as work on the 12,000 or so implements in the Westlake Collection shews [sic] forms like in almost every industry into the Neolithic period, and the comparison with two styles would only be misleading’.

It seems regretful that Henry Balfour’s paper, the result of more than 10 years of work on the Westlake Collection, was not published. Hopefully its inclusion in this Guide is of some recompense.

[For more detailed information and cross references see: WEST00339, ‘Plates of the Westlake Collection of stone implements by Henry Balfour’, Series 14; and WEST00340, ‘Map of Tasmania with an overlay of the collection sites for the Westlake collection of stone implements’, Series 11, in Rebe Taylor, with Michael Jones and Gavan McCarthy, Stories in Stone: an annotated history and guide to the collections and papers of Ernest Westlake (1855-1922), The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre, 2012.]

There is a copy of: [Henry Balfour 1925] in: [images 105-116, WEST00362, Series 15, Westlake Archive, Oxford University Museum of Natural History].

Creator Balfour, Henry
Control Pitt Rivers Museum, Henry Balfour Papers
Date range c. 1925 - c. 1939    Quantity 2 cm, 1 folder
Formats General Correspondence and Drafts
Inventory Identifier WEST00334 Box Number 6 Location Pitt Rivers Museum: Manuscript Collections, Balfour Papers Series 14
Plates of the Westlake Collection of stone implements by Henry Balfour
Evolution of Art - Drawings
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14 plates that include pencil drawings, in fine detail, of 131 implements from the Westlake Collection. [Plates 1; 3; 4; 5; 7 measure 38cm x 54cm; plates 2; 6; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 13 measure 23.5cm x 29.7cm.] They were created by Henry Balfour to illustrate his paper ‘Stone Implements of the Natives of Tasmania’ [WEST00334, Series 14, Manuscript Collections Pitt Rivers Museum, Balfour Papers]. They are kept in a box entitled 'Evolution of Art' in the the Manuscripts Collections Pitt Rivers Museum, Balfour Papers.

Further notes and cross references:

In a letter of 7 January 1934, Henry Balfour wrote to Aubrey Westlake that ‘all the drawings, 130 or so are done’. [Image 69, WEST00355, Letter to Aubrey Westlake from Henry Balfour, 7 January 1934, 'Correspondence: French Collection 1923-1993 part 1', Westlake Archive, Oxford Natural History Museum.]

A 14-page typed list entitled ‘Locations of Tasmanian Implements Figured in the Plates’ (kept with the manuscript of Henry Balfour’s paper; see above) names the sites in Tasmania from which the illustrated implements were collected and includes numbers in parentheses which correspond to Henry Balfour’s complete 6-page typed list of sites: images 27-32, WEST00338, 'Tasmanian Collection: Related Documents. 1934.83 - 86, part 2', Series 13, Pitt Rivers Museum.

These site numbers also correspond with a draft map, kept with these plates: WEST00340, Series 11, 'Map of Tasmania with an overlay of the collection sites for the Westlake collection of stone implements', Manuscript Collections Pitt Rivers Museum, Balfour Papers.

Henry Balfour's 6-page typed list of Ernest Westlake's collecting sites corresponds to his 4 Accession Books into which he organised, sketched and accessioned the Westlake Collection from 1923-1934: WEST00341, WEST00341, WEST00343, Series 13, Collections IX Westlake 1-3, 1934.83-85, Pitt Rivers Museum and WEST00344, Series 13, Collections X Westlake 4, 1934.86, Pitt Rivers Museum.

For a detailed description, see: WEST00341, ‘Collections IX Westlake 1-3, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford’, Series 13, in Rebe Taylor, with Michael Jones and Gavan McCarthy, Stories in Stone: an annotated history and guide to the collections and papers of Ernest Westlake (1855-1922), The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre, 2012.

Creator Balfour, Henry
Control Pitt Rivers Museum, Henry Balfour Papers
Date range c. 1923 - c. 1934    Quantity 10 cm, 2 plastic bags
Formats Mounted Works of Art, Sketches and Drawings
Inventory Identifier WEST00339 Box Number BEOA Location Pitt Rivers Museum: Manuscript Collections, Balfour Papers Series 14

Published by the The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre and the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, August 2010
Listed by Rebe Taylor, with Michael Jones and Gavan McCarthy
HTML edition
Updated 14 February 2017
http://web.esrc.unimelb.edu.au/WEST/WESS14.htm

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