Issue 5 of British Art Studies features a One Object study of the Gothic Revival Hereford Screen. The 8 tonne metalwork structure was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and manufactured by the firm of Francis Skidmore in 1862. The collection of essays fosters discussion of the screen’s medieval models as well as its Victorian genesis.
The Hereford Screen in Hereford Cathedral, view from North Transept, 19th century. (Image from the V&A website)
As a new and exclusively digital journal, British Art Studies’ virtual platform is celebrated through abundant interplay of text, image and audio-visual material. It brings together seven scholars who present technical and theoretical perspectives on a single object by means of ‘traditional’ essays and short films. This brief blog-post aims to draw attention to the medieval content of the study, notwithstanding the overall interest and coherence of all the constituent articles.
The One Object discussion is introduced by Ayla Lepine, in an essay entitled Resurrection, Re-Imagination, Reconstruction:
New Viewpoints on the Hereford Screen.
Essays in the discussion that focus on medieval material are:
The Hereford Screen: A Prehistory, by medievalist Matthew Reeve, guides the reader through a history of the medieval predecessors of the Hereford screen and places its production in the context of the Cathedral space and the architect’s work at Lichfield and Salisbury.
Jacqueline Jung’s contribution, a video essay entitled, The Medieval Choir Screen in Sacred Space, considers the sight-lines and sculptural relationships created by the strategically designed perforations and interior figural programmes of medieval screens and their host churches, focusing on two examples from 13th-century Italy and 15th-century Germany.
The oddly fragile, contentious choir screen, in its many historical manifestations, receives a colourful and polyphonic tribute in this One Object study. As a medieval art blog, links to the most relevant essays are given above but are, for best results, to be enjoyed with their Gothic Revival companions.