Monthly Archives: March 2015

Conference: Miracoli ‘di carta’ e miracoli dipinti: testi e immagini del prodigioso in Italia tra XIV e XVIII secolo (9 April 2015)

Istituto Sangalli, Piazza San Firenze, 3
April 9, 2015

Miracoli ‘di carta’ e miracoli dipinti: testi e immagini del prodigioso in Italia tra XIV e XVIII secolo

Seminario interdisciplinare di studi

(Università di Roma Tre)

MAURIZIO SANGALLI (Istituto Sangalli)
Vent’anni dopo. A mo’ d’introduzione

MARCO FAINI (University of Cambridge)
Miracoli quotidiani: libri di orazioni, fogli volanti e stampe

ALESSIA LIROSI (Università “La Sapienza”)
Icone sacre e Chiesa militante: miracoli nella Roma
della Controriforma

LUCIO BIASIORI (Villa I Tatti, Harvard University Center for Italian
Renaissance Studies)
“Ha fatto molti diversi et evidenti miracoli”: la lunga vita del
bambino di Babilonia (1319-1793)

12:30 Discussione

13:30 Pranzo
(Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli)

IRENE GALANDRA COOPER (University of Cambridge)
Oggetti di pietà domestica nella Napoli del Cinquecento

ALESSIA MENEGHIN (University of Cambridge)
I miracoli cinquecenteschi della Beata Vergine Maria della Chiesa del
Soccorso di Rovigo

LAURA FENELLI (Istituto Sangalli)
Ricostruire la topografia devozionale di un’immagine miracolosa
nell’Europa post-tridentina: il caso di san Domenico di Soriano

16:30 Discussione

17:30 Conclusione dei lavori

Book roundup: Spring 2015

Here’s just five books we’ve seen have come out in 2015 that might be of interest to our readers. We’d always welcome a review of one if you have opinions: email us!

9781782977827_2[1]Britain’s Medieval Episcopal Thrones by Charles Tracy with Andrew Budge (Oxbow Books)

This book is the first major investigation of a subject of seminal importance in the study of church history and archaeology. The two stone thrones, at Wells and Durham, the three timber monuments, at Exeter, St Davids and Hereford, and the mid-14th-century bishop’s chair at Lincoln, all come under a searching empirical enquiry.

The Exeter throne is the largest and most impressive in Europe. It is a distinguished innovatory example of the English Decorated style, with antecedents passing back to the court of Edward I. It exemplifies most of the historical and formal strands that suffuse the entire book – visual appearance, distinctiveness within the building, prestige, construction, stylistic context, finance, and the patronage and personal role of the bishop himself; as well as the subtler issues of the personal and collective politics of bishop and chapter, the monument’s liturgical applications, its relationship with the cathedral’s relics, its symbolism and what it tells us about the aspirations of the institution within the existing ecclesiastical hierarchy.

The thrones also reveal much about the personal circumstances of an individual bishop, and where he stood on the scale of a good diocesan on the one hand, and ambitious politician on the other, as exemplified at Exeter and Durham.

The text is by the art historian, Dr Charles Tracy, a seasoned expert on church furniture both in Britain and on the continent of Europe. The chapter on the stone thrones was prepared by Andrew Budge who is currently preparing a Ph.D thesis on ‘English Chantry Churches’ at Birkbeck College. The polychromy authority, Eddie Sinclair, spent many hours on the scaffold to bring forward her remarkable report on the Exeter throne. Her full report is to be published online.The Exeter throne is also interpreted by the established timber conservation practitioner, Hugh Harrison, and the St Davids throne by the experienced draughtsman, Peter Ferguson. In an age of the CAD, his meticulous measured drawings of the Exeter and St Davids monuments are one of the most remarkable features of book. The architect, Paul Woodfield prepared the drawings for the Lincoln chair.

9780198201571_450[1]The Art of Solidarity in the Middle Ages: Guilds in England 1250-1550 by Gervase Rosser (Oxford University Press)

Guilds and fraternities, voluntary associations of men and women, proliferated in medieval Europe. The Art of Solidarity in the Middle Ages explores the motives and experiences of the many thousands of men and women who joined together in these family-like societies. Rarely confined to a single craft, the diversity of guild membership was of its essence. Setting the English evidence in a European context, this study is not an institutional history, but instead is concerned with the material and non-material aims of the brothers and sisters of the guilds.

Gervase Rosser addresses the subject of medieval guilds in the context of contemporary debates surrounding the identity and fulfilment of the individual, and the problematic question of his or her relationship to a larger society. Unlike previous studies, The Art of Solidarity in the Middle Ages does not focus on the guilds as institutions but on the social and moral processes which were catalysed by participation. These bodies founded schools, built bridges, managed almshouses, governed small towns, shaped religious ritual, and commemorated the dead, perceiving that association with a fraternity would be a potential catalyst of personal change. Participants cultivated the formation of new friendships between individuals, predicated on the understanding that human fulfilment depended upon a mutually transformative engagement with others. The peasants, artisans, and professionals who joined the guilds sought to change both their society and themselves. The study sheds light on the conception and construction of society in the Middle Ages, and suggests further that this evidence has implications for how we see ourselves.

9781780232942[1]The Riddle of the Image: The Secret Science of Medieval Art by Spike Bucklow (Reaktion Books)

The Riddle of the Image explores the materials and methods that lie behind the production of historic paintings. Spike Bucklow, who works as a research scientist and restorer of paintings, analyses some of the most well-known and important medieval works of art, as well as less familiar artworks, to throw new light on art production techniques that have been lost for centuries. By examining the science of the materials, as well as the techniques of medieval artists, he adds new aspects to our understanding and appreciation of these paintings, and of medieval art in general.

The case studies include one of the most popular paintings in the National Gallery, London, and the altarpiece in front of which English monarchs were crowned for centuries. Many of the technical details presented here are published for the first time and some others have only been featured in exhibition catalogues and specialist academic papers. The author is internationally recognized for his work in the scientific examination of paintings and he also draws upon the work of other internationally recognized specialists. While intensive research into artists’ materials and methods has been undertaken for several decades, this book is the first intended for a general audience that examines the subject in depth.

9780226169125[1]Seeing Sodomy in the Middle Ages by Robert Mills (Chicago University Press)

During the Middle Ages in Europe, some sexual and gendered behaviors were labeled “sodomitical” or evoked the use of ambiguous phrases such as the “unmentionable vice” or the “sin against nature.” How, though, did these categories enter the field of vision? How do you know a sodomite when you see one?

In Seeing Sodomy in the Middle Ages, Robert Mills explores the relationship between sodomy and motifs of vision and visibility in medieval culture, on the one hand, and those categories we today call gender and sexuality, on the other. Challenging the view that ideas about sexual and gender dissidence were too confused to congeal into a coherent form in the Middle Ages, Mills demonstrates that sodomy had a rich, multimedia presence in the period—and that a flexible approach to questions of terminology sheds new light on the many forms this presence took. Among the topics that Mills covers are depictions of the practices of sodomites in illuminated Bibles; motifs of gender transformation and sex change as envisioned by medieval artists and commentators on Ovid; sexual relations in religious houses and other enclosed spaces; and the applicability of modern categories such as “transgender,” “butch” and “femme,” or “sexual orientation” to medieval culture.

Taking in a multitude of images, texts, and methodologies, this book will be of interest to all scholars, regardless of discipline, who engage with gender and sexuality in their work.

130676227895079625Lincoln%20Cathedral%20Bio%20resize%20100[1]Lincoln Cathedral: The Biography of a Great Building by Jonathan Foyle (SCALA publishing)

A fascinating and personal study of one of Britain’s greatest cathedrals, illustrated with specially commissioned photography, comparative and archival images, and the author’s own plans and drawings. Lincoln is one of Britain’s greatest cathedrals, its three towers and formidable west front dominating the surrounding plains from its commanding hilltop position. It was largely built over the course of a century, up to the completion of the glorious Angel Quire in 1280.

Architectural historian and broadcaster Jonathan Foyle regards Lincoln Cathedral as an old and valued friend and writes with deep knowledge and passion about the developing character of the building. He shows how innovative and experimental the grand thirteenth-century rebuild was, influenced not only by spectacular contemporary work at Canterbury, but also by changing political and spiritual values, and by the continental travels and experience of individual bishops.

Did we miss any new books that you’re enjoying? Email us at to let us know about it? Are you an author that’s publishing a new book of interest to medieval art historians and want a plug? Let us be your socket! 

Conference: History Books in the Anglo-Norman World (Trinity College Dublin, 22-23 May 2015)

22-23 May 2015
Trinity College Dublin
Synge Theatre, Arts Building

Cost: €25.00 (€15.00 concessions and/or one-day attendance; TCD staff and students free).
Please register by contacting Laura Cleaver (

22nd May 2015
From 13.00: registration
13.30 welcome and introduction to the History Books in the Anglo-Norman World
Project (Laura Cleaver)
14.00-15.30 session 1:
Anne Lawrence-Mathers (University of Reading), Computus, Chronology and the Calculation of Time in English Twelfth-Century Chronicles.
Michael Staunton (University College Dublin), Did the Purpose of English History Change During the Twelfth Century?
Mark Zumbuhl, [tbc]

15.30-16.00 tea

16.00-17.30 session 2:
Andrea Worm (University of Graz), England’s Place Within Salvation History in a Thirteenth-Century Copy of Peter of Poitiers’ Compendium historiae (British Library, Cotton MS Faustina B VII).
Diarmuid Scully (University College Cork), The Vision of History in a Manuscript of Gerald of Wales’ Topographia Hibernica and Expugnatio Hibernica (National Library of Ireland, MS 700).
Caoimhe Whelan (Trinity College Dublin), A New Version of an Old Story: Reading the Past in Late Medieval Ireland.

18.00 wine reception

23rd May
9.30-11.00 session 3:
Gleb Schmidt (University College, Saint Petersburg), The Circulation of
Manuscripts Containing Excerptum Roberti Herefordensis de Chronica Mariani
Scotti in the Anglo-Norman World.
Laura Pani (University of Udine), Paul the Deacon’s Historia Langobardum in
Anglo-Norman England.
Jaakko Tahkokallio (King’s College London), The Twelfth-Century Audience of
William of Malmesbury, Henry of Huntingdon and Geoffrey of Monmouth in the
Light of the Codicological Evidence.

11.00-11.30 coffee

11.30-12.30 session 4:
Charlie Rozier (Durham University), Durham Cathedral Priory and its Library of History, c.1090-c.1130.
Stephen Church (University of East Anglia), King John’s Books.

12.30-13.30 lunch

13.30-15.00 session 5:
Benjamin Pohl (Ghent University), An Illustrated Chronicle from Early Eleventh-
Century Normandy: Dudo of St. Quentin’s Historia Normannorum.
Laura Slater (University of York), Picturing the Past in Matthew Paris’ Vie de
Seint Auban.
Jane Gilbert (University College London), Translating History: British Library,
Royal MS 20 A ii.

15.00-15.30 tea

15.30-16.30 session 6:
Kathryn Gerry (Memphis College of Art), Artists, Abbots and Saints: Visual and Material Approaches to Cult at St Albans Abbey in the Long Twelfth Century.
Diarmuid O Riain, Marginally Wrong: The Canterbury Tale Behind the Confusion of Two Irish Saints in Marsh’s Library MS Z 3.1.5.
16.30 closing remarks

Reading, Scholarship and the Art of the Book at Reading Abbey (Reading University, 17 April 2015)

K151514[1]Reading University, Henley Business School, Whiteknights Campus, Room G10

17 April 2015, from 10am
Cost: £15 (including coffee, lunch, tea and wine); £10 for students and unwaged. Please register by contacting


10.00 registration and welcome

10.15-11.15 – Session 1:

Lindy Grant (Reading); ‘Reading Abbey in a cultural and intellectual, international context’.

Tessa Webber (Cambridge); ‘Reading in the Refectory at Reading Abbey’.

11.15-11.45 – coffee

11.45-13.15 – Session 2:

Michael Gullick (independent scholar); ‘Reflections on the Reading Abbey Romanesque Book

Collections and Documents’.

Laura Cleaver (Dublin); ‘History Books at Reading and Bec’.

Anne Lawrence (Reading); ‘The Reading Abbey computus manuscript and its context’.

13.15-14.30 – lunch

14.30-15.30 – Session 3:

Nigel Morgan (Cambridge); ‘The Calendar and Litany of Reading Abbey’.

Cyndy Johnston (London); ‘“In the custom of this country”: The Transmigration of Bolognese

Decorative Style in Thirteenth-Century Oxford and Reading Abbey Manuscripts’.

15.30-16.00 – tea

16.00-17.00 – Session 4:

Catherine Leglu (Reading); ‘An Anglo-Norman translation of the Bible at Reading Abbey: London BL Royal 1 C III’.

Brian Kemp (Reading); ‘The Reading Abbey Formulary’.

17.00 – closing remarks and update on the Reading Abbey ruins; followed by wine reception.

Conference: Experiencing Death in Byzantium (Newcastle, 29 May 2015)

This single day conference will consider the extent to which we can approach the individual experiences surrounding death in Byzantium and the relevance they have for our knowledge of Byzantine self-understanding. How can we approach experiences that played tangible social roles and yet were so irreducible to literal language and meaning that they remained couched in the language of allegory? To what extent were shared experiences and understandings of death and dying orchestrated for individuals? Can remaining physical and textual evidence reveal such intended experiences to us? This conference seeks to access the personal and contingent experiences surrounding death and dying in Middle Byzantine mortuary practices.

We will consider the affects of the objects, images, literatures and theologies connected to death, dying and the otherworld in Byzantium. In this way, both the material and immaterial aspects of death in Byzantium will be discussed from grave goods and eschatological literature, to the emotions and sensations of death along with images of death, dying and judgement. This conference takes seriously the evident dearth of systematic eschatological doctrine in Byzantium and Byzantine preference for allegorical understandings of death and the otherworld. It seeks to create a space to discuss and integrate the separate, and at times disparate and opaque, bodies of eschatological practice and knowledge across various spheres of Byzantine life.  It is hoped that this will reveal to us more profound and fundamental insights into eschatological thought, sentiment and action in Byzantium and their contribution to Byzantine self-understandings.

For further information and to register, please visit:

Organised by Dr Sophie Moore, Dr Niamh Bhalla and Dr Mark Jackson.

Conference: Princes of the Church and their Palaces (Bishop Auckland, County Durham 30 June – 4 July 2015)

Tuesday 30th of June – Saturday 4th of July

Important developments in research, conservation, and public presentation are currently taking place at Auckland Castle, the Bishop of Durham’s former residence.

In association with them, this conference will consider bishops’ and popes’ palaces from across Britain and Europe, and will stimulate discussion on:

  • How bishops’ palaces and houses differed from the palaces and houses of secular magnates, in their layout, design, furnishings and functions;
  • the relationship between bishops’ palaces and houses and their political and cultural context;
  • their relationship to the landscapes and towns and cities in which they were set, and their relationship to the parks, forests and towns which were planned and designed around them;
  • the architectural form of bishops’ palaces and houses, and how far they shared common architectural features across England, Wales, Scotland, and indeed across Europe.

Anyone with an interest in Auckland Castle itself or in historical monuments in general is warmly invited to attend and take part in discussions. The conference will be the fullest treatment of bishop’s and popes’ palaces ever undertaken.

Keynote speakers:

  • Simon Thurley – English Heritage
    What is special about bishops’ palaces? (Domestic performance of liturgy, private chapels, cloisters).
  • Maureen C. Miller – University of California Berkley
    Political and cultural significance of the Bishop’s Palace in Medieval Italy
  • Malcolm Thurlby – York University, Toronto
    Bishop Puiset’s Hall at Auckland Castle in relation to later Twelfth-Century episcopal halls in England.


Christopher Ferguson, Jacqueline Sturm, Michael Burger, Julia Barrow, Pippa Hoskin, John Hare, Michael Ashby, Margaret Harvey, Christine Penney, Robert McManners, Graham Jones, Jack Langton, Linda Drury, Andrew Miller, Mark Horton,  Tim Tatton-Brown, John Schofield, Stuart Blaylock, Richard Parker, Martin Biddle, Jeremy West, Matthew Reeve, Gottfried Kerscher, Rick Turner, Penny Dransart, Pam Graves, Jane Cunningham, Adrian Green, Richard Pears, John Martin Robinson, Ria Snowdon.

The conference will take place at Bishop Auckland Town Hall and Auckland Castle.

For more information call 01388 743750 or email

Full details, including the full programme, booking forms & travel/accomodation information can be found at

Student scholarships for British Archaeological Association 2015 conference (deadline 23 April 2015)

Peterborough_Cathedral_-_West_prospect_C17_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_13618[1]The British Archaeological Association 2015  Conference  will  explore  the  art,  architecture  and  archaeology  of  Peterborough Cathedral  and  the  Soke  of  Peterborough.  A  full  programme  of  lectures  and  visits  has  been arranged,  covering  the  city  and  Soke  from  Roman  times  and  specific  aspects  of  the  Cathedral and  precincts  including  the  Great  Gate,  the  Bishop’s  Palace,  the  lost  High  Altar  Screen,  the Trinity  Chapel  and  the  West  Front.  Speakers  include  Ron  Baxter,  Alexandrina  Buchanan, Rosemary  Cramp,  Paul  Everson,  Peter  Fergusson,  Eric  Fernie,  Richard  Gem,  John  Goodall, Jackie  Hall,  Richard  Halsey,  Stuart  Harrison,  Sandy  Heslop,  Edward  Impey,  Julian  Luxford, Harriet  Mahood,  Claudia  Marx,  Cathy  Oakes,  Charles  O’Brien,  Lisa  Reilly,  David  Stocker,  Tim Tatton-­Brown,  Stephen  Upex,  Jeffrey  West,  and  Francis  Woodman.
There  will  be  site  visits  to  many  parts  of  the  Cathedral,  including  the  West  Front,  Galleries, Cloister,  Infirmary,  Refectory,  Abbot’s  Gateway  and  Almoners’  Hall.  The  tour  of  the  Soke  will embrace  Thorpe  Hall,  Longthorpe  Tower,  the  churches  of  Castor,  Barnack,  Northborough  and Peakirk,  and  will  conclude  at  Wothorpe  Towers.

Applications  are  invited  for  student  scholarships.  The  conference  will  run  from  lunchtime  on Friday  10th  July  to  lunchtime  on  Tuesday  14th  July,  2015.  Scholarships  will  only  be  awarded  to those  who  can  attend  the  conference  in  its  entirety.  The  scholarship  will  cover  the  lectures and site  visits,  accommodation  for  four  nights,  three  dinners  and  refreshments  throughout.
Applicants  should  email  Andrew  Budge  (andrew.budge[at]  enclosing  a  brief  CV,  at  least one  academic  reference  and  a  brief  statement  on  the  reasons  for  wanting  to  attend  the conference.  The  deadline  for  applications  is  Friday  10th  April.  Applicants  will  be  notified  by 23rd  April.  Please  note  that  it  is  the  responsibility  of  the  applicant  to  send  the  academic reference  with  the  application;  the  BAA  will  not  chase  references.

Scholarships  will  be  allocated  by  the  conference  convenors  and  are  usually  given  to  those studying  medieval  art,  architecture  or  archaeology  at  postgraduate  level.  The  scholarships are funded  by  the  generosity  of  BAA  members  and  the  number  awarded  varies  according to  the funds  available.  Successful  applicants  are  expected  to  join  the  BAA  if  not  already members.