Dame Drue Heinz

I learnt of Dame Drue’s death aged 103 on Friday. I only knew her slightly, the head of a great literary foundation, with a scrutinizing eye and a gentle manner. She had a great reputation for her support of writers and a special interest in Italy as well as Scotland. Suffice it to say, her generous support for the Butrint Foundation and our work in Albania was quintessentially her.

Excavating the theatre at Butrint, spring 1928

On learning we had discovered the archives of Butrint’s first excavator, Luigi Maria Ugolini (1895-1936), she proposed that her foundation support their publication. This completely altered the way we viewed the Graeco-Roman archaeological site, releasing to the digital world a vast body of letters, reports and photographs from a seemingly lost cupboard in a Rome museum. Many publications followed. These provided her the excuse to visit our excavations at Greek Easter, 2000. Her curiosity and humour left no stone untouched. She learnt more than she needed to and was such luminous company as a result.

For her, over a long life, nurturing creativity in all its diverse forms was both a duty and a supreme pleasure.

Luigi Maria Ugolini

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