Monthly Archives: December 2016

Conf: Reconsidering the Concept of Decline and the Arts of the Palaiologan Era, University of Birmingham, 24-25 February 2017

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Conference: 
Reconsidering the Concept of Decline and the Arts of the Palaiologan Era
University of Birmingham
24-25 February 2017

This one day and a half conference combines a symposium and a workshop. The aim is to examine and contextualise the artistic and cultural production of the geopolitical centres that were controlled by or in contact with the late Byzantine Empire. This conference will explore the many intellectual implications that are encoded in the innovative artistic production of the Palaiologan Era often simplified by a rigid understanding of what is Byzantine and what is not.

24 Feb 2017 – 1st day
14.00-14.10 – Opening remarks: prof Leslie Brubaker, University of Birmingham
14.10-15.00 First Keynote lecture and discussion: Dr Cecily Hilsdale, McGill University, Title TBC
15.00-16.00 First panel – Chair Dr Ruth Macrides, University of Birmingham
Ivana Jevtic: Late Byzantine Painting Reconsidered: Art in Decline or Art in the Age of Decline?
Andrew Griebeler: The Greek Botanical Albums in Late Byzantine and Early Ottoman Constantinople
Maria Alessia Rossi: Political ruin or spiritual renewal? Early Palaiologan art in context
16.00-16.20 Discussion
16.30-16.50 Coffee break
17.00-17.50 Second Keynote lecture and discussion: prof Niels Gaul, University of Edinburgh: Palaiologan Byzantium(s): East Rome’s Final Two Centuries in Recent Research
18.00-19.00 Reception

25 Feb 2017 – 2nd day
9.00-9.50 Opening keynote lecture and discussion: Dr Angeliki Lymberopoulou, Open University, Palaiologan art from regional Crete: artistic decline or social progress?
10.00 -10.40 Second panel – Chair Dr Daniel Reynolds, University of Birmingham Anđela Gavrilović: The Stylistic Features of the Frescoes of the Church of the Mother of God Hodegetria in the Patriarchate of Peć (c. 1335-1337)
Ludovic Bender: Mistra and its countryside: The transformation of the late Byzantine religious landscape of Laconia
10.40-11.00 Discussion
11.00-11.20 Coffee break
11.30-12.30 Third Panel – Chair Dr Francesca Dell’Acqua, University of Birmingham Andrea Mattiello: Who’s that man? The perception of Byzantium in 15th century Italy
Tatiana Bardashova: Palaiologan Influence on the Visual Representation of the Grand Komnenoi in the Empire of Trebizond (1204-1461)
Lilyana Yordanova: The Issues of Visual Narrative, Literary Patronage and Display of Virtues of a Bulgarian Tsar in the Fourteenth century
12.30-12.50 Discussion
13.00-14.00 Lunch break

Workshop
14.10-14.50 Two 10-mins presentations by MA students and 20-mins discussion
14.50-15.30 Two 10-mins presentations by MA students and 20-mins discussion
15.40-16.00 Coffee break
16.10-16.50 Two 10-mins presentations by MA students and 20-mins discussion
16.50-17.00 Closing remarks: Andrea Mattiello/Maria Alessia Rossi

The programme, further information and details of how to book can be found at:

and
http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/bomgs/events/2017/reconsidering-palaiologan-arts.aspx

Locating Becket

How can the life and cult of Thomas Becket be traced through material culture? This was the question at the heart of the ‘Locating Becket’ workshop, sponsored by CHASE, and held at the British Library, British Museum and Courtauld Institute of Art on Tuesday 6th December 2016. Curators and scholars gathered first at the British Library to examine a number of manuscripts connected to Becket’s life and cult, including Cotton Claudius B II, with the earliest representation of Becket’s martyrdom (below). This fairly stable iconography  could be followed in later manuscripts, including the (very bloody) Huth Psalter (Add MS 38116 ), a 15th-century Book of Hours from Rouen (Harley 1251), and in two seals attached to Ch. 17353 and Harley Ch. 44 C 33.

martyrdom-thomas-becket-a80136-48

Becket’s martyrdom, from Alan of Tewkesbury’s letters, British Library Cotton MS Claudius B II, late 12th century. Image in the public domain.

An early collection of Becket’s miracles was also examined (Egerton MS 2818), as well as the early fourteenth-century ‘memorandum book’  of Prior Henry Eastry (Cotton Galba E. iv), which includes an inventory of Prior Eastry’s interventions, an extensive inventory of the sacristy, and an inventory of the library. Finally, we looked at the early fifteenth-century customary of Becket’s shrine (Additional 59616), with extensive instructions  for the celebration of his feast days, which is bound together with two copies of his lives which seem to have been kept at the shrine and read to pilgrims.

The afternoon was spent looking at the British Museum’s extraordinary collection of pilgrims’ badges, ampullae, reliquaries and other objects related to Becket, including the impression of the 15th-century seal of the Mercers Company (below), which shows Becket on a ship, returning from exile.

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Impression of a Mercers’ company seal matrix, after 1462

 

Below is a full list of the objects consulted at the British Museum:

Badges
1836,0610.32, ca. 1320-1450, Becket bust, purchased from Cureton.

1855,0804.70, ca. 1250-1350, Becket contained within a T, found Thames 1845, previous owner Chaffers, then Cureton.

1855,0724.5, head of Becket between two raised swords contained within an octofoil frame, ca. 1320-1450. Purchased from William Edwards.

1856,0701.2036, ca. 1300-1350, bust of Becket between a nine point star, inscription SANCTVS.THOMAS, found 22nd August 1850, purchased Charles Roach Smith.

1856,0701.2031 and 2032, two badges in the form of Becket’s bust, ca. 1320-1450, purchased Charles Roach Smith.

1856,0701.2039, ca. 1350-1400, four embossed fleur-de-lis in the form of a quatrefoil around a central boss, inscription SANTE.THOMA.OR.P.M., purchased Charles Roach Smith, previous collection Edward Wigan.

1868,0904.39, badge in the form of a kind of ship known as a cog, ca.1350-1400, donated by Franks.

2001,0702.1, Becket’s bust reliquary, ca. 1320-1375, found Billingsgate.

OA.1817, decorative sword sheath (referring to the relic of the sword tip) with Fitz Urse coat of arms, ca. 1350-1450.

2001,0702.2, Becket riding  a peacock, ca. 1250-1350, found Thames Exchange.

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Ampullae

1891,0418.21, ampulla with circular openwork tracery. The obverse of the ampulla is embossed with the standing figure of St Thomas Becket in a bishop’s mitre and chasuble, with an equal-armed cross standing out from his breast. The reverse bears a representation of his martyrdom with Becket kneeling in the centre, inscription OPTIMUS EGRORVM.MEDICVS.FIT.THOMA.BONORVM, ‘May Thomas be the best doctor of the worthy sick’, ca. 1220-1420.

1896,0501.69, the front of the ampulla  depicts the standing figure of St Thomas Becket in mitre and chasuble,  making a gesture of benediction and holding a crosier. The reverse shows the  scene of his martyrdom with one knight faced by a kneeling Becket. The  frame is filled with openwork decoration of symmetrical sexfoil and fleur-de- lis motifs and a representation of the front- and back-view of a seated  Becket, depicted in episcopal garb, enclosed within a roundel. Inscription, REGENAKDVS.FILIVS HVRS:THOMAS:MARTIRIVM:FECE:FR., ‘Reginald Fitz Urse brought to pass the Martyrdom of Thomas’, donated by Franks.

2001,0702.3, chasse shaped ampulla, ca. 1250-1350, found Billingsgate.

2001,0702.6, ship-shaped ampulla (referring to Becket’s return from exile) with a high relief representation of Becket, ?ca. 1170-1250, found Billingsgate.

 

Seals

1880,0624.1, impression of Mercer’s company seal matrix, showing a  half-figure of St Thomas of Canterbury in a ship, inscriptions, ‘sigillu : anglicor in flandria : brabancia : hollandria: zeeladia : m’cat’ and ‘s. thomas catuar’, after 1462, found Harrow.

1913,1105.3, Langdon Priory seal matrices. On the obverse is a Virgin and Child seated in a canopied niche on a corbel. On the reverse is a scene of the  Martyrdom of St Thomas in Canterbury Cathedral. 13th century. Inscriptions, ‘SIGILL’ . COMMVNE MONASTERII: ECCE: DE MARIE: DE: LANGEDON’ and ‘CAVSA: DOMVS: XPI: MORTEM: SIC: IRTVLIT ISTI’.

1981,1103.1, Seal-matrix: Warden of Greyfriars at Canterbury. Inscription, ‘SIG GARDIANI FRUM MINORU CANTUARIE’. Ca. 1330-1350.

casket-interior

Reliquaries and other objects

AF.2765, Reliquary pendant showing on the observes John the Baptist and possibly Thomas Becket on the reverse. Inscription, ‘A MON + dERREYNE’. Late 15th century, found Devizes.

1878,1101.3, Chasse depicting the martyrdom of Becket, ca. 1210, donated by Meyrick, previous collection Douce.

1852,0327.1, Henry of Blois plaques, made possibly in England, ca. 1150-1171. Inscriptions:
+ MVNERA GRATA DEO PREMISSVS VERNA FIGVRAT. ANGELVS AD  CELVM RAPIAT POST DONA DATOREM;. NE TAMEN ACCELERET NE  SVSCITET ANGLIA LVCTVS, CVI PXA VEL BELLVM MOTVSVE  QVIESVE PER ILLUM (= ‘The aforementioned slave shapes gifts pleasing to God.  May the angel take  the giver to Heaven after his gifts, but not just yet, lest England groan for it,  since on him it depends for peace or war, agitation or rest.’) + ARS AVRO GEMMISQ (UE) PRIOR, PRIOR OMNIBVS AVTOR.  DONA  DAT HENRICVS VIVVS IN ERE DEO, MENTE PAREM MVSIS (ET)  MARCO VOCE PRIOREM.  FAME VIRIS, MORES CONCILIANT  SUPERIS.  Also inscribed within the scene, HENRICUS EPISCOP  (‘Art comes before gold and gems, the author before everything.  Henry, alive in bronze, gives gifts to God.  Henry, whose fame commends him to  men, whose character commends him to the heavens, a man equal in mind to  the Muses and in eloquence higher than Marcus [that is, Cicero].’)

1854,0411.2, enamelled casket depicting the murder of Becket, 13th century, purchased from William Forrest.

1890,0809.1, alabaster panel showing the murder of Thomas Becket,

 

Prints and Drawings

1973,0512.3.2, Ecclesiae Anglicanae Trophaea, Plate 2: the Trinity surrounded by angels in the upper section; two bishops in  brocaded cloaks in the lower section, after Niccolò Circignani, etching.

1973,0512.3.25, Ecclesiae Anglicanae Trophaea, Plate 25: the martyrdom of St Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury, the saint  kneeling before the altar, about to be martyred by a group of soldiers with  swords; scene separated from the background by a balustrade with balusters;  St Thomas named archbishop by Henry II at far left; saint kneeling before  Pope Alexander III seated on a throne, accompanied by two male attendants  at far right, etching.

illustration-to-bowyers-edition-of-humes-history-of-england-1793

Illustration to Bowyer’s edition of Hume’s History of England, 1793

1853,1210.383, Illustration to Bowyer’s edition of Hume’s History of England; the  assassination of Thomas Becket, wrestled to his knees by a gang of four  knights, one raising a bludgeon above him, his mitre and staff fallen at left.   1793, etching and engraving.

1856,0607.15, Portrait of Thomas Becket, head and shoulders to left, with hands joined in  prayer, wearing ecclesiastical robes, a sword wedged in his skull.  1647, etching.

The day concluded with a lecture at The Courtauld by Cynthia Hahn, ‘Like life-giving seeds: The Multiplication and Dissemination of Relics and Reliquaries‘.

This event was made possible through a CHASE Network Development Grant, with additional support from the University of Kent and The Courtauld.

CFP: Bishops’ Identities, Careers and Networks, University of Aberdeen, 26 May and 27 May 2017

cropped-welwick-crosierCall for Papers: Conference: Bishops’ Identities, Careers and Networks
Centre for Scandinavian Studies, University of Aberdeen
26 May and 27 May 2017

Bishops were powerful individuals who had considerable spiritual, economic and political power. To be a bishop was to be a leader who might crown kings or foment rebellion. So who became bishops? What were their family backgrounds, educational attainment, social networks? What was the impact of international Church events such as the Great Schism or the Council of Basle on the types of bishop appointed in individual dioceses?

The aim of this two-day conference, funded by an AHRC Early Career Research Grant, is to stimulate discussion on how individuals achieved a bishopric in Europe, including Scandinavia and the British Isles. An edited volume is the planned outcome for the conference.

Topics for the conference include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Family origins
  • Education
  • Pre-episcopal careers
  • Social networks
  • Spiritual networks
  • Political networks
  • the centralisation of the Papacy
  • international Church events
  • Diocesan patrons
  • Election of bishops

We invite proposals between 250-300 words for individual 20 minute papers relating to the conference theme. Please send abstracts to bishopscareersnetworks@gmail.com.

Please send abstracts by Friday 27th January 2017.

Please direct any queries to Sarah Thomas and Michael Frost at bishopscareersnetworks@gmail.com.

 

 

CFP: Mobility and Space in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe, University of Oxford, 23 June 2017

Call for Papers: Mobility and Space in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe
Oxford University, 23 June 2017

Deadline for submissions: 1 February 2017

The application of spatial paradigms to the study of late medieval and early modern societies is now well underway. In contrast, the so-called ‘mobility turn’ has struggled to find its way from the social sciences to the humanities and particularly to disciplines concerned with the study of the past. This conference proposes to bring the two together by exploring how everyday mobility contributed to the shaping of late medieval and early modern spaces, and how spatial frameworks affected the movement of people in pre-modern Europe.

In focusing on these issues, the conference also intends to relate to current social challenges. The world is now more mobile than ever, yet it is often argued that more spatial boundaries exist today than ever before. The conference hopes to reflect on this contemporary paradox by exploring the long-term history of the tension between the dynamism of communities, groups and individuals, and the human construction of places and boundaries.

Prospective speakers are invited to submit proposals of no more than 300 words for 20-minute papers. Papers may engage with questions of mobility and space at a variety of levels (regional, urban, domestic) and interdisciplinary approaches are particularly encouraged.

Potential sub-topics may include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Performing space through movement (border patrols, civic and religious processions, frontier trespassing)
  • Mobile practices in public spaces (itinerant courts, temporary fairs, diplomatic exchanges, travelling performances, revolts on the move)
  • Narrating movement, imagining space (pilgrimage guides, travel diaries, merchant itineraries, road maps)
  • Digital scholarship in exploring the intersections between mobility and space (network analysis, flow modelling, GIS-based research)


Please send your proposal and a brief bio
 to luca.zenobi@history.ox.ac.uk & pablo.gonzalezmartin@history.ox.ac.uk.