Category Archives: Current Events

New Exhibition and Events: Opus Anglicanum, Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery, V&A Museum, 1 October 2016 – 5 February 2017

opus anglicanum to deleteNew Exhibition: Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1 October 2016 – 5 February 2017

From the 12th to the 15th centuries, England enjoyed an international reputation for the quality of its luxury embroideries, and were frequently referred to as ‘Opus Anglicanum’ (English work). Often featuring complex imagery, and ambitious in their scale and intricacy, they were sought after by kings, queens, popes and cardinals across Europe. This exhibition is the first opportunity in over half a century to see an outstanding range of surviving examples in one place. Paintings, illuminated manuscripts, metalwork and stained glass will be shown alongside, to explore the world within which these exquisite works were created.

Luxury embroideries were made by professional craftsmen and women living in the City of London, some of whom we can still identify by name. London was a hub for commerce, and the embroiderers formed part of an international mercantile network. The rare survivals of this extraordinary period of English art are today scattered across Europe and North America. Some of the embroideries have not been seen in Britain since they were produced.

Book now: vam.ac.uk/opus


 

lossy-page1-1024px-web2c_grevens_sc3a4ngkammare-_detalj2c_grevens_sc3a4ng_-_skoklosters_slott_-_88043-tifEnglish Medieval Embroidery Unpicked, day course, The Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre @V&A Museum, Saturday 12 November 2016

STUDY DAY: This study day explores the world of England’s Medieval luxury embroideries, known as Opus Anglicanum. We will examine their materials, techniques and design; the patrons and artists involved; and the extraordinary images depicted on them.

During the later Middle Ages, England enjoyed an international reputation for its luxury embroideries, produced for Europe’s greatest patrons including kings, queens, cardinals and popes. This study day will put embroideries in the exhibition Opus Anglicanum: Masters of Medieval Embroidery under the microscope, examining their materials, techniques and design; the patrons and artists involved; and exploring the extraordinary images depicted on them. Leading experts in the field will discuss these questions in what promises to be a fascinating afternoon.

With exhibition curators Glyn Davies and Sally Dormer.

14.00 – 16.30, Saturday 12 November 2016

£35 full, £30 concessions, £15 students


 20160719161621_170Opus Anglicanum: An Introduction to Silk & Gold Embroidery, Workshop, Art Studio @V&A Museum, Saturday 12 November, 10.30 – 16.30

WORKSHOP: Learn the secrets behind the beautiful embroidery techniques of Opus Anglicanum as seen in this exhibition. Sarah will guide you step by step through split stitch fillings, surface couching and underside couching with gold threads on an Opus Anglicanum inspired piece of your own, in this one day introduction to medieval embroidery. All materials included.

Saturday 12 November, 10.30 – 16.30

£92.00, £73.60 concessions

(Lead Image: The Steeple Aston Cope 1330-40 (detail). The Rector and Churchwardens of St Peter and St Paul, Steeple Aston, Oxfordshire. On long term loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.)

Lecture: The Arts & Science in Early Islamic Spain (15 June, Courtauld Institute of Art)

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Wednesday 15 June 20163:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Research Forum Seminar Room, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 0RN

There is a symbiotic relationship between design, art and visual culture, and the exact sciences, which is attested in early scientific objects from al-Andalus and in medieval Arabic texts. In this talk I explore the objects, spaces, and figures that illuminate this relationship, focusing on ‘Abbas Ibn Firnas (d. ca. 887), the celebrated polymath of the Cordoban Umayyad court, and on al-Andalus and its contemporaries between the 9th-11th centuries.

Glaire D. Anderson is a historian of Islamic art of the caliphal period, with a focus on the art and court culture of Umayyad Cordoba. She is the author of The Villa in Early Islamic Iberia (Ashgate, 2013), co-editor with Mariam Rosser-Owen of Revisiting al-Andalus (Brill, 2007), and recent articles on the Islamic west in architectural history, women and the arts of Cordoba, and material culture and caliphal sovereignty.

http://courtauld.ac.uk/event/the-arts-science-in-early-islamic-spain

Upcoming Event: London Medieval Society Meeting- Forging Ahead (November 14, 2015)

scan0006The first London Medieval Society Colloquium of the new academic year welcomes Dr Alfred Hiatt as the Society’s new President. To celebrate the program explores themes central to his research: – Medieval Forgeries, Medieval Maps, Places and Spaces

Speakers are:

Catherine Delano-Smith on understanding medieval maps;

Leonie Hicks on medieval voyaging;

Marianne O’Doherty on medieval ideas of the Indian Ocean;

Yossef Rapoport on Islamic cartography;and

Lawrence Warner on medieval forgers and Piers Plowman

Members attend free; non-members are also very welcome to attend. Please see website for membership details – you may pay your temporary or annual membership on the day (£10/5 concessions per colloquia: it is £20/10 for annual membership: there are three events each year).

The event will be held in the beautiful Charterhouse Square (nearest Tube: Barbican)

WHEN
Saturday, 14 November 2015 from 11:00 to 18:00 
WHERE
Lecture Theatre – Joseph Rotblat Building, Charterhouse Square. London EC1M 6BQ GB – View Map

Lecture Series: Robert Branner Forum for Medieval Art, Columbia University

Robert-BrannerRobert Branner (1927-1973) was an art historian specializing in Gothic architecture and manuscript illumination. Active as an excavator, he made important discoveries in the chronology and style of French cathedrals, incorporating cultural historical tools into the method of design analysis that had more traditionally dominated architectural history.

Branner is remembered through the Robert Branner Forum, a student-run symposium sponsoring lectures several times a year that are open to the public. The Forum originated as a series of visiting lectures organized by Branner’s graduate students immediately after his death during the academic year as a way of continuing his courses. It has been supported by his family since that time.

Spring 2016

Professor Ittai Weinryb
“Bronze and Conversion”
Monday, January 25, 2016, 6:30 p.m.

Professor Sonja Drimmer
“A City Full of Walls You Can Post Complaints at”
Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 6:30 p.m.

Professor Benjamin Anderson
“Monument and Narrative in Medieval Constantinople”
Friday, April 28, 2016, 6:30 p.m.

All events take place in Schermerhorn Hall, room 612.

Learn more about the Branner Forum here.

Wymondham Abbey: Medieval Architectural Design Uncovered

Fellow Roland Harris reported to Salon, the Society of Antiquaries newsletter, about the following discovery from Wymondham Abbey. Current work there, for construction of new buildings at the east end of the church, has been accompanied by excavation and building recording. As anticipated this has revealed more of the plan and detail of the Norman Benedictine priory (founded as a cell of St Albans in 1107), and a few tantalizing details of an earlier church: the origins of Wymondham Abbey probably lie in a Saxon minster on the site. More unexpected has been the sheer quantity of Gothic architectural mouldings recovered from the excavation and from above ground, which is providing new insight into the later development of the medieval priory. The most substantial quantity of worked stone has come from the unblocking of the former opening from the 12th-century nave north aisle into the north transept. More exciting still, this unblocking has revealed a substantial incised architectural design on the newly exposed respond (also forming the rear of the north-western 12th-century crossing pier).

The incised design measures 1.9m x 1.3m and is a scale drawing for a gable and window tracery. The design is largely complete, with gaps in the lines mostly due to surviving patches of later medieval paint, and includes various setting-out lines, circles and points (see the images below).

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The significance of the discovery is threefold. First, the completeness of the design is remarkable—indeed, rather more complete than well-known examples such as those in the Galilee Porch at Ely Cathedral, the Roslin chapel crypt, and Christchurch Priory. Second, the design does not relate to surviving Gothic additions to Wymondham Abbey and, therefore, almost certainly relates to the monastic buildings or, much more probably, the eastern arm of the abbey church, demolished at the Dissolution: as such, it provides an important insight into the lost parts of the building. Third, and more tentatively, the combination of elements suggests a date before the end of the 13th century and raises the question as to whether—like its sister cell at Binham Priory with its precocious west front design of c.1240—Wymondham was at the forefront of bar tracery design in England in the mid-13th century.

Please note that the incised design is not accessible at present, as it is in the middle of a construction site, but visitors will be able to see it from the new room on the site of the medieval St Margaret’s chapel when this opens in the autumn of 2015.

Text taken from Salon, the Society of Antiquaries newsletter. Sign up here.

Exhibition: Communities in Communication: Languages and Cultures in the Low Countries 1450-1530 (John Rylands Library)

P1930063The John Rylands Library is an extraordinary neo-Gothic building to which no tourist visit to Manchester is complete without. The architectural experience is supplemented by many fine exhibitions making use of its special collections, although due to their small, studious nature, they can often be overlooked. Communities in Communication is one such exhibition taking place in its cloistral vaulted corridors. Drawing on the Rylands’ large collection of books from the late medieval Netherlands, this small show forms part of a larger AHRC-funded project to understand the interplay of literary cultures in the late medieval Low Countries.

P1930065Guided by the excellent little exhibition booklet, the cases are grouped by themes that elucidate how the objects represent a window into the intellectual and linguistic cultures of their age. Trilingual phrase books show that individuals from urban burghers to the nobility were keen to improve their vocabularies. The new technology of printing had begun make written culture more accessible to a world burgeoning with literacy and an appetite for the word, and the majority of books here are printed rather than manuscripts written by hand. The books are beautifully displayed in shallow cases that allow you to appreciate the clarity of the printed text by actually reading the words, appreciating them as works of art and craft in themselves rather than simply vehicles for illumination. Perhaps the most significant object on show here is William Caxton’s Recuyell of the historyes of Troye, the first book printed in English.

P1930097I was fortunate enough to visit the exhibition on the occasion of a study day led by the exhibition curator, Adrian Armstrong. Our group was assigned a wonderful copy of Caxton’s English translation of the Golden Legend. First we studied the book as a physical object: assessing how the paper had been folded into bifolios and bound into quires. A copy that appears mint at first belies a fascinating object history: on close inspection showed how pages had been bookmarked by a neat reader. After a short break we looked at the book in a different way: how we might consider transcribing the text for a modern critical edition. Does one insert modern punctuation and expand contractions, or go the whole way and modernise the often archaic spelling? These are no doubt issues Caxton himself faced when sitting down with English, Latin and French versions of the Legenda Aurea back in Westminster in the 1480s.

The prologue from Caxton''s Golden Legend: the largest woodcut he ever produced

The prologue from Caxton”s Golden Legend: the largest woodcut he ever produced

These dual themes of material codicology and the linguistics of the text helped illuminate the texts on display outside, be it historical writing, poetry or phrasebooks. All these texts are material artefacts that can make manifest the essentially ephemeral speech of daily life in the late medieval Northern Europe: be it in diplomacy, trade, or leisure. This is certainly an exhibition to see if you are interested in the future aims of the project to unravel the interplay of literary cultures in this dynamic environment: both the autumn of the Middle Ages and the springtime of the Northern Renaissance.

Communities in the Communication: Languages and Cultures in the Late Medieval Low Countries is on at the John Rylands Library, Deansgate, Manchester until 21 December 2014. Admission is free.

Twelfth-century Belgian church consumed by serious fire

© André Joose via Twitter.

© André Joose via Twitter.

A fire in the church of Sint-Jan de Doper in Anzegem, Belgian has caused serious damage to the building, some of which is around 800 years old. The cause of the blaze, which broke out on the 16th October was apparently a faulty heating system.

The fire started in the nave (this video captures the collapse of its roof) but unfortunately fire crews could not stop it spreading to the east end of the church (collapse of the spire).

Although many reports have been that the church has been “completely destroyed”, it is clear that this is not the case. The town council are looking for options for its restoration as a centre with more diverse community functions.

Indeed, you can see from the videos that the blaze has completely burnt off the roofs of the building, but the outer aisle walls and arcades are still standing. The biggest concern will be consoldating the most significant part of the building, the twelfth-century Romanesque crossing tower.


Helicopter footage which shows the moment the spire collapses (no audio)


Footage from after the blaze which shows the extent of the damage

Main source: http://www.7sur7.be/7s7/fr/1502/Belgique/article/detail/2093150/2014/10/17/L-incendie-de-l-eglise-d-Anzegem-cause-par-une-installation-de-chauffage.dhtml