New Publication: Stone Fidelity: Marriage and Emotion in Medieval Tomb Sculpture, by Jessica Barker

With 33 colour and 63 black & white illustrations, it’s a beautiful study of “double tomb” effigies in the Middle Ages. Pioneering investigation of the popular “double tomb” effigies in the Middle Ages. Medieval tombs often depict husband and wife lying side-by-side, and hand in hand, immortalised in elegantly carved stone: what Phiilip Larkin’s poem An Arundel Tomb later described as their “stone fidelity”.

This first full account of the “double tomb” places its rich tradition into dialogue with powerful discourses of gender, marriage, politics and emotion during the Middle Ages. As well as offering new interpretations of some of the most famous medieval tombs, such as those found in Westminster Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral, it draws attention to a host of lesser-known memorials from throughout Europe, providing an innovative vantage point from which to reconsider the material culture of medieval marriage. Setting these twin effigies alongside wedding rings and dresses as the agents of matrimonial ritual and embodied symbolism, the author presents the “double tomb” as far more than mere romantic sentiment. Rather, it reveals the careful artifice beneath their seductive emotional surfaces: the artistic, religious, political and legal agendas underlying the medieval rhetoric of married love.

Dr Jessica Barker is a Lecturer in Medieval Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London.

Published with the generous financial assistance of the Henry Moore Foundation.

Order the book here.

Published by Roisin Astell

Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

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