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[The following is the reporter’s transcription of a 1976 letter from Bernard Ashmole to Getty

Museum Director Stephen Garrett from the Getty’s institutional archives. The Getty refused to
release a facsimile of the original letter.]

Feb. 3, 1976

Dear Stephen,

How kind of you to write: and I was delighted to hear of Jiri’s masterly diplomacy—so
completely characteristic!
I am sad not to be able to see the Museum, which really does sound wonderful, and it
certainly has made some almost incredible acquisitions within the last few years: we struck an
exceptionally favorable period, and although prices were sometimes high sometimes they were
not, and in any case the values are not likely to depreciate. We have had one or two interesting
television programmes lately—one called “The Plunderers” came pretty near the bone, but
the worst they could do against Malibu was that fragment of a Roman sarcophagus and it
was treated so gently as to make the JPGM sound almost innocent by contrast with other
horror stories. Jiri’s exploits over the bronze statue were also given, but again in such a
way as to minimize the crime.
On quite another subject, there has also been an excellent programme called Spirit of the
Age, an architectural survey of England from the Norman Conquest to the present day—about
half-a-dozen programmes of varying quality, John Summerson’s one of the best. Hugh Carson
had to cover this century, which of course was an almost impossible task in an hour, but
interested us particularly because he included High and Over, the modern house we built at
Amersham in 1930, now alas! Cut up and spoilt. The programmes have appeared as a book
published by the BBC with the same title as the series of broadcasts.
I very much admired your guide to the Museum, and was glad to see that you were also
lecturing on it; you really are making the place a model of what a museum should be, and I think
I told Jiri what an impression it had made on Peter Ebert who is a sensitive and intelligent
If ever you come in this direction do let us know; we should like so much to entertain you
and to have a talk. With all good wishes,

Yours as ever,

Bernard Ashmole.

P.S. I was down in Oxford in December and saw J. B. Brown of the Dragon, now rather
old and ailing, but alert and most interested to have news of you. He sent his warmest