Author Archives: James Alexander Cameron

About James Alexander Cameron

I am an art historian working primarily on medieval parish church architecture. I completed my doctorate on sedilia in medieval England in 2015 at The Courtauld Institute of Art.

Book roundup: Medieval architecture

All is thriving in medieval architecture publishing from the Romanesque to the Late Gothic: here are some very special books that have been published in the last few months.

As always do let us know of any recently-published medieval art history books you would like us to include in a book roundup – we would be happy to let people to know about them!


978-0-271-06645-5[1]Tom Nickson – Toledo Cathedral: Building Histories in Medieval Castile (Penn State University Press)

Medieval Toledo is famous as a center of Arabic learning and as a home to sizable Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities. Yet its cathedral—one of the largest, richest, and best preserved in all of Europe—is little known outside Spain. In Toledo Cathedral, Tom Nickson provides the first in-depth analysis of the cathedral’s art and architecture. Focusing on the early thirteenth to the late fourteenth century, he examines over two hundred years of change and consolidation, tracing the growth of the cathedral in the city as well as the evolution of sacred places within the cathedral itself. Nickson goes on to consider this substantial monument in terms of its location in Toledo, Spain’s most cosmopolitan city in the medieval period. He also addresses the importance and symbolic significance of Toledo’s cathedral to the city and the art and architecture of the medieval Iberian Peninsula, showing how it fits in with broader narratives of change in the arts, culture, and ideology of the late medieval period in Spain and in Mediterranean Europe as a whole.

Tom Nickson is Lecturer in Medieval Art and Architecture at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London.

1400.medium[1]Costanza Beltrami – Building a Crossing Tower: A Design for Rouen Cathedral of 1516 (Paul Holberton Publishing)

Prompted by the recent discovery of an impressive three-metre tall late Gothic drawing of a soaring tower and spire, this book offers a rare insight into the processes of designing and building a major Gothic project. The drawing’s place and date of creation are unknown, and it corresponds to no surviving Gothic tower. Equally mysterious is the three-quarter, top-down perspective from which the tower is represented, without parallel in any other medieval drawings. Who drew this? When? And what did he hope to convey with his choice of a top-down representation of the tower? Building a Crossing Tower explores these questions, and uncovers the dramatic circumstances in which this drawing was created.

Costanza Beltrami is a PhD student at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London.

9781783270842[1]Ron Baxter – The Royal Abbey of Reading (Boydell and Brewer)

Reading Abbey was built by King Henry I to be a great architectural statement and his own mausoleum, as well as a place of resort and a staging point for royal itineraries for progresses in the west and south-west of England. From the start it was envisaged as a monastic site with a high degree of independence from the church hierarchy; it was granted enormous holdings of land and major religious relics to attract visitors and pilgrims, and no expense was spared in providing a church comparable in size and splendour with anything else in England.
However, in architectural terms, the abbey has, until recently, remained enigmatic, mainly because of the efficiency with which it was destroyed at the Reformation. Only recently has it become possible to bring together the scattered evidence – antiquarian drawings and historic records along with a new survey of the standing remains – into a coherent picture. This richly illustrated volume provides the first full account of the abbey, from foundation to dissolution, and offers a new virtual reconstruction of the church and its cloister; it also shows how the abbey formed the backdrop to many key historical events.

Ron Baxter is the Research Director of the Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland.

Call for Papers: Medieval Art & Architecture in East Anglia Symposium (Norwich, 7 May 2016)


706[1]Saturday 7th May 2016

A one day event hosted by the Universities of East Anglia and Cambridge

Call for Papers – Deadline 31st Jan 2016

Offers of papers are welcomed from new and established students and scholars on topics concerned with aspects of the production, reception, nature and after-lives of medieval art (visual and textual) and architecture in East Anglia. It is anticipated that papers will be either 15 or 30 minutes in duration, including 5 minutes for questions. Please indicate which length of paper you are offering. Please submit an abstract of approx. 300 words as a Word file to: or no later than 31 January 2016.

Medieval conference double bill at The Courtauld (19-20 Feb 2016)

Many of our readers will be interested in this double bill of conferences at The Courtauld Institute of Art next month: the annual colloquium, followed by a conference in honour of the late Richard K. Morris.

The annual postgraduate colloquium is in its 21st year, and allows current research students both at The Courtauld and beyond to present their research. This year’s conference on Friday 19th February investigates the theme of viewership. Entry is free, but please register your place and read more at the official webpage.

09.30 – 10.00 Registration
10.00 – 10.10 Welcome
Session 1: Viewership: More than ‘seeing’
10.10 – 10.30 Miguel Ayres de Campos (The Courtauld Institute of Art): Seen / unseen: on the
mirabilis as visual object
10.30 – 10.50 Laura Stefanescu (University of Sheffield): Heavenly Music in the Garden of Love: Sound, Emotion and Devotional Practice
10.50 – 11.10 Sophie Kelly (University of Kent): ‘Seeing’ the Trinity Through the Late Medieval
Illuminated Book
11.10 – 11.30 Discussion
11.30 – 12.00 TEA / COFFEE BREAK (provided in Seminar room 1)
Session 2: Whence the Viewer?
12.00 – 12.20 Anna Konya (Central European University, Budapest): Decorating the Sanctuary. The Iconography, Function and Reception of Eucharistic Imagery in the Late Gothic Wall
Paintings of Transylvania
12.20 – 12.40 Lydia Hansell (The Courtauld Institute of Art): Witnessing the Nativity
12.40 – 13.00 Krisztina Ilko (University of Cambridge): Desire to see: the medieval viewer and the hagioscope
13.00 – 13.20 Discussion
13.20 – 14.30 LUNCH (not provided)
Session 3: The Many Medieval Viewers
14.30 – 14.50 Anya Burgon (University of Cambridge): Viewing the Mill in Medieval Art c.1100-1250
14.50 – 15.10 Emily Savage (University of St Andrews): Apocalyptic Heroines and Villainesses:
Expanding Traditional Visual Narratives for the Medieval Female Viewer
15.10 – 15.30 Petr Jan Vinš & Lucie Kodišová (Charles University, Prague): Portable Altar From a Status Symbol to a Forgotten Curiosity
15.30 – 15.50 Discussion
15.50 – 16.20 BREAK (the student café will be available for those who wish to buy tea/coffee, cakes)
Session 4: Viewing the Past: Medieval vs Modern Perspectives
16.20 – 16.40 Ann Adams (The Courtauld Institute of Art): An assertion of honour, but to whom? The cenotaph of Philippe Pot, Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Toison d’Or et de Saint-Michel
16.40 – 17.00 Stephanie A. Azzarello (University of Cambridge): Music of the Spheres: Seeing and Hearing the Choir Books of San Michele and San Mattia on Murano
17.00 – 17.20 Imogen Tedbury (The Courtauld Institute of Art): (Re)constructing the medieval fresco: Lorenzetti chapter house fresco fragments from Siena to London
17.20 – 17.50 Discussion
17.50 – 18.00 Closing remarks: Joanna Cannon (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Richard-K.-Morris-at-Kenilworth-Castle-655x1024[1]The next day, Saturday 20th February, the same lecture theatre will host a memorial conference for Richard “Mouldings” Morris, who died last year. The programme features Morris’ colleagues and students, as well as early-career researchers influenced by his methods. The conference is organised by the British Archaeological Association along with the The Ancient Monuments Society, and tickets are £16 (£11 concessions), and are available on The Courtauld’s site. The BAA also has a number of free places available for students, please contact Richard Plant for more information.

09.15 – 09.45 REGISTRATION
09.45 – 10.00 Welcome
SESSION I: Introduction and Approaches to Reconstruction
10.00 – 10.30 Nicola Coldstream (Independent scholar): Richard Morris and the rescue of Decorated
10.30 – 11.00 Linda Monckton (Historic England): Fact and fiction and the late medieval shrine of St Amphibalus
11.00 -11.30 Miriam Gill (Leicester University): The painted scheme of the Warwick Chapel,
Tewkesbury Abbey
11.30 – 12.00 TEA/COFFEE BREAK (provided)
SESSION II: Conception
12.00 – 12.30 James Alexander Cameron (The Courtauld Institute of Art): Modes of modo et forma in the fourteenth-century English parish church
12.30 – 13.00 James Hillson (University of York): St. Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster and St
Augustine’s Abbey, Bristol: iterative design, prolonged construction and innovation
during the 1290s-1340s
13.00 – 13.30 Peter Draper (Birkbeck College): The Bhojpur Line Drawings: some medieval Indian plans, elevations and moulding profiles from the 11th century
13.30 – 14.30 LUNCH (provided for the speakers only)
SESSION III: Workshops and the Archaeology of Buildings
14.30 – 15.00 Lucy Wrapson (Hamilton Kerr Institute): Workshop identities and moulding profiles on East Anglian rood screens
15.00 – 15.30 Jenny Alexander (Warwick University): Ciphers on walls: are these marks apotropaic?
15.30 – 16.00 Jackie Hall (cathedral archaeologist, Peterborough): Building an icon: the west front of Peterborough Cathedral
16.00 – 16.30 TEA/COFFEE BREAK (provided)
SESSION IV: Commemoration
16.30 – 17.00 Andrew Budge (Birkbeck College): St Mary’s Warwick: a visual record of family
17.00 – 17.30 Richard Marks (Cambridge University): Wills and windows: documenting fenestration in late medieval England
17.30 – 17.40 Appreciation
17.40 – 18.00 Concluding remarks

All are welcome, and we hope to see you at as many papers as possible.

Call for Papers: Andrew Ladis Trecento Conference (Tulane University, New Orleans, Nov 10-13 2016)


12439326_194880027531864_6327083374226155989_n[1]In the spirit of the tradition forged by the late Andrew Ladis and his colleagues at the University of Georgia, an international congress of Trecento specialists will congregate at Tulane University to share their research formally and informally in New Orleans, LA.

This call for papers invites scholars of all ages and stages to submit proposals for 20-minute discussions of specific art historical problems, issues, and ideas that focus on the arts of Italy during “the long fourteenth century” (late Dugento through early Quattrocento). MA students must provide a letter of support from a professor with whom they have taken a graduate level course.

Please submit paper proposal (500-word limit), and a CV by February 20, 2016 to:

The keynote speaker at the Tulane conference will be Marvin Trachtenberg, Edith Kitzmiller Professor of the History of Fine Arts at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

Thanks to the generous support of the Kress Foundation and other benefactors, we will not be charging any registration fees for this conference. Participants will be responsible for securing their own transportation and lodgings.
More information, including options for lodgings, will be posted soon on Facebook ( as well as on a Tulane website.
Conference registration will be on Eventbrite beginning May 1

This will be the inaugural Andrew Ladis Memorial Trecento Conference and we are very excited! The plan is for the conference to be held every other year, with a new venue and host institution each time. The 2nd conference will be hosted by the University of Houston in Houston, TX, in fall 2018.

St Stephen’s Chapel live

St Stephens chapelEver wondered how a medieval palace chapel was built?  St Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster (constructed 1292-1363) was one of the most influential buildings of its age, and extensive records of its creation survive in the National Archives, London.  From 21st November 2015, we will be using Twitter to post a live feed of a whole year of the chapel’s building accounts (1323-24) in real time.  It will be updated twice weekly, showing details of materials, workmen and techniques which give a unique glimpse into the world of medieval building.

Follow along at

This twitter feed forms part of the Virtual St Stephen’s Project based at the University of York, a facet of the wider AHRC-funded interdisciplinary project St Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster: Visual & Political Culture 1292-1941.  The accounts we are using are being transcribed and translated for publication as a critical edition by Dr Maureen Jurkowski and Prof. Tim Ayers.  This project is generously funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

Virtual St Stephen’s Project site

Leverhulme Project page


Time and Temporality in Medieval and Early Modern Art (May 18 – 19, 2016, The Open University of Israel, Raanana)

a-1496-copy-of-the-german-calendar-created-by-johannes-von-gmunden-c-1380-1443-copy[1]Call for Papers deadline: Dec 31, 2015

IMAGO – The Israeli Association for Visual Culture of the Middle Ages,
and the Department of Literature, Language and Arts, The Open
University of Israel

The subject of time was frequently encountered in medieval and early
modern thinking and culture, from the notion of eternity as an abiding
“now” outside of time (as defined by Gregory of Nazianzos, in Oratio
39.12, “Christ, the Maker of time . . . is not subject to time”) to the
aphorism Tempus vitam regit (“Time rules life”) engraved on more than
one sundial. Ranging from the discussion of the reception of
Aristotelian and Neoplatonic concepts of time and temporality (Pasquale
Porro, The Medieval Concept of Time) to the analysis of temporality and
anachronism in art (Elizabeth Sears, The Ages of Man: Medieval
Interpretations of the Life Cycle; Alexander Nagel and Christopher
Wood, Anachronic Renaissance), scholars have engaged with the
conceptualization and problematics of notions of time and temporality,
eternity and historicity, continuum and momentarity during the medieval
and early modern periods.

This conference strives to expand the existing body of research by
exploring the inventive nature of forms and ways of reckoning time in
art. We hope papers will consider questions such as: What is the
phenomenology of works of art representing ever-stretching, eternal, or
circular time? How has the idea of linear and progressive historical
time been appropriated or challenged in artistic objects and works?
What is the nature of the artwork when submitted to different regimes
of historical temporality? What are the specific artistic devices that
give form to past appropriation and temporal experience? What is the
nature of the work of art that records the passage of time in nature?
How has the notion of time been used for purposes of patronage and

Proposals for talks may refer (but are not limited) to the following
– Conceptualizing the idea of time and temporality in art
– The aesthetic rendering of time: color/grisaille, inaccurate
measurements, distorted notions of space
– Temporal characteristics of atemporal divinities
– Material culture as a marker of time
– Time, creation and continuity in art
– Reconfiguring the past in the present: biblical time and political
– Liturgical time and divine continuity in art
– Memory as a constructor of historical images
– Motion and time: temporal geographies in Christian, Jewish, and
Islamic visual space
– Spatial time and temporal space
– Visual indications of eternity versus time
– Temporality and identity in art
– Physiognomy, body, and traces of time
– Imaging medical and astrological temporality
– The question of trauma in the interpretation of art
– Use and abuse of the past in visual memory

Keynote Speaker:
Professor Charles Barber, Princeton University

Please send an English abstract of up to 250 words to the conference
organizer,, before 31 December 2015. Abstracts should
include the applicant’s name, professional affiliation, and a short CV.
Each paper will be limited to a 20-minute presentation, followed by
discussion and questions. All applicants will be notified regarding
acceptance of their proposal by 31 January 2016.

For more information or any further inquiries please contact the
conference chair, Mati Meyer –

Late Romanesque Sculpture in European Cathedrals: Stages, Narratives and Materiality (18-20 Nov 2015, Tarragona)

Girona 3The TEMPLA research group has convened a conference to discuss the usefulness of traditional stylistic terminology, and consider the questions posed by the categorisation of medieval European artistic production, specifically as this affects our understanding of work from the second half of the 12th century. Nowadays it is still difficult to grasp with any subtlety how late Romanesque sculpture was used across Latin Europe, and how it interacted with other media and other styles. Our purpose is to analyse the role of sculpture as both programme and scenery – foreground and background – specifically with regard to the solutions adopted in cathedrals.

Cambra de Comer• (Av. Pau Casals, 17, 43003 Tarragona)

Price (attendance to the sessions and cafe-break): standard €50
students and unemployed €30
(conference proceedings included)

For more information on joining email, stating the name of the conference.

Wednesday: 18 November

09h00-09h05. Reception and opening

09h05-09h45 Opening lecture: Xavier Barral i Altet (Universtà Ca Foscari – Venezia)

Què és l’anomenada escultura romànica tardana?

Session I: Late Romanesque sculpture in the cathedrals of Europe I

Chair: Emma Liaño Martínez (Universitat Rovira I Virgili)

09h45-10h30. Marcello Angheben (CESCM – Université dePoitiers)

Programas iconográficos y experiencias plásticas en Avallon y Chartres en las décadas centrales del siglo XII

10h30-11h00. Discussion

11h00-11h30. Cafe-Break

11h30-12h15. Quitterie Cazes (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès):

La escultura monumental en las catedrales y su entorno en el país tolosano alrededor de 1200

12h15-13h00. Free papers

13h00-13h.30. Discussion

13:45-15:45. Lunch

Session II: Late Romanesque sculpture in the cathedrals of Europe II

Chair: Jaime Nuño González (Fundación Santa María La Real para el Patrimonio Histórico – Centro de Estudios del Románico. Aguilar de Campoo)

15h45-16h30. Claudia Rückert (Adolph Goldschmidt Zentrum, Humboldt Universität Berlin)

Alrededor de 1200. La escultura monumental en Alemania. Viejas y nuevas concepciones

16h30-17h15. Elisabetta Scirocco (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz-Biblioteca Herziana di Roma)

La scultura nello spazio liturgico in Italia meridionale, XI-XIII secc.

17h15-18h00. John McNeill (University of Oxford Continuing Education)

Late Romanesque Sculpture in English Cathedrals: How far can the evidence take us?

18h00-18h30. Discussion

18h30. Visit to Santa Maria del Miracle


Session III. The Cathedral of Tarragona: visit to the church and cloister

09.30-13.30 Emma Liaño (Universitat Rovira i Virgili), Antonio Martínez Subías (Arxiepiscopat de Tarragona), Marta Serrano (URV-TEMPLA), Gerardo Boto

13.45-15.45 Lunch


Session IV: Sculptural Programs in the Cathedrals of the Iberian Kingdoms I

Chair: Marc Sureda i Jubany (Museu Episcopal de Vic)

15h45-16h30. Marta Poza Yagüe (Universidad Complutense deMadrid)

La recepción de esquemas borgoñones a finales del siglo XII, ¿canto del cisne de la escultura románica en Castilla?

16h30-17h15. José Carlos Valle Pérez (Museo de Pontevedra).

La escultura tardorrománica en las catedrales de Orense y Lugo

17h15-17h45. Discussion

17h45-18h15. Cafe-Break

18h15-19h00. Francisco Prado-Vilar (Real Colegio Complutense – Harvard University)

‘Aula siderea’: el esplendor de la Catedral de Santiago en los albores del siglo XIII / ‘Aula siderea’: The Splendor of the Cathedral of Santiago at the Dawn of the 13th Century

19h00-19h20. Free papers

19h20-19h45. Discussion

20 NOV. 2015

Session V: Sculptural Programs in the Cathedrals of the Iberian Kingdoms II

Chair: Javier Martínez de Aguirre (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

09h00-09h45. José Luis Hernando Garrido (UNED Zamora- TEMPLA) – Antonio Ledesma (Universidad de Salamanca).

‘De la Eglesia de Sancta María de la Sey de Salamanca’¿Prolongación o final de la escultura tardorrománica en los viejos reinos de León y de Castilla?

09h45-10h30. Free papers

10h30-10h00. Discussion

11h00-11h30. Cafe-Break

11h30-12h15. César García de Castro Valdés (Museo Arqueológico de Asturias-TEMPLA).

La renovación escultórica de la Cámara Santa de la catedral de Oviedo en el contexto del tardorrománico del occidente peninsular

12h15-13h00. Esther Lozano López (UNED Tarragona-TEMPLA)

Imágenes que transforman espacios en las catedrales del Ebro: montaje y puesta en escena

13h00-13h30. Discussion

13h30. End of conference. Summary of contributions and conclusion.

Optional visit: 16h30. La presència romana a la Tarragona medieval (guided visit directed by Joan Menchón).