Online Lecture: ‘Carved in Stone? The Green Man in Gothic Sculpture’ with Cassie Harrington, The Leaves of Southwell Project, 9 March 2021 14.00 (GMT)

Southwell Minster will host a talk by Cassie Harrington as part of the Leaves of Southwell Project. The event will take place on 9 March 2021 at 2pm, via Microsoft Teams.

Flourishing in the margins of medieval visual culture, foliate heads and masks enriched manuscripts and buildings. Painted on the page, and carved on corbels, ceiling bosses, capitals, tympana, fonts, and misericords, these so-called ‘Green Men’ permeated both the public and private spaces of Gothic Europe. Such foliate carvings are a ubiquitous and familiar part of the architectural framework of medieval cathedrals and church buildings. However, despite their popularity, little attention has been paid to them by medieval art historians and much of their contemporary implications have been lost or forgotten.

From enchanting early Gothic survivals at the Basilica of Saint-Denis in the Ile-de-France, to the celebrated chapter house carvings at Southwell Minster in the British Midlands, this talk will examine how recovering and piecing together the historical context of foliate head iconography can shed light on its significance during the High Gothic period. It will explore the cultural and symbolic importance of these enigmatic images, their place in the intellectual history of the thirteenth century, the roles that imagination and knowledge had in their dissemination and development, and consider how they had a didactic, and not merely decorative, function.

To book your place, please visit the Southwell Minster website.

About Cassie Harrington
Cassandra Harrington is a medieval art historian and PhD Candidate at the University of Kent. She has research interests in sculpture, manuscripts and illumination, architecture, the transmission and reception of ideas, and the dialogue between visual and textual modes in medieval Europe. Cassie currently teaches at Kent as an Assistant Lecturer in the School of History, and is working on a reappraisal of Gothic ‘foliate head’ iconography for her PhD.


Published by Lydia McCutcheon

Lydia McCutcheon graduated from the University of Kent with a First Class Honours in History in 2019. She also holds an MSt in Medieval Studies from the University of Oxford. Her dissertation on the twelfth-century miracle collections for St Thomas Becket and the stained-glass 'miracle windows' at Canterbury Cathedral explored the presentation of children and familial relationships in textual and visual narratives. Her research interests include the visual and material cultures of saints and sanctity, pilgrimage, and childhood and the family.

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