Tag Archives: England

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.)

Nearness|Rift: Art and Time in the Textiles of Medieval Britain (16 April 2016)

Opus-AnglicanumNearness | Rift: Art and Time in the Textiles of Medieval Britain will gather a multidisciplinary group of scholars to address a range of historiographical and methodological problems implicit in the study of textiles, and to discuss new case studies from medieval Britain.

The colloquium will take place during the morning and afternoon of April 16, 2016 in Cochrane-Woods 157 on the University of Chicago campus. (Please enter the building through the north doors rather than through the Smart Museum courtyard.)

9:30 – 10:00 AM: Coffee.

10:00 – 10:15 AM: Introduction by Luke A. Fidler (Doctoral Student, Department of Art History, University of Chicago).

10:1511:15 AM: Keynote lecture by Thomas E. A. Dale (Professor of Art History, University of Wisconsin-Madison): “Materiality, Metaphor and the Senses: Elite Textile Cultures of Medieval England in their Global Contexts.”

11:30 AM12:15 PM: Valerie Garver (Associate Professor of History, Northern Illinois University): “Garments as Means of Communication Between Anglo-Saxon England and the Carolingian World.”

Respondent: Tristan Sharp (Doctoral Student, Department of History, University of Chicago).

12:15 – 1:30 PM: Lunch.

1:30 – 2:15 PM: Christina Normore (Assistant Professor of Art History, Northwestern University): “The Outlier as Exemplar: The ‘Bayeux Tapestry’ in English Textile History.”

Respondent: Carly B. Boxer (Doctoral Student, Department of Art History, University of Chicago).

2:30 – 3:15 PM: Claire Jenson (Doctoral Candidate, Department of Art History, University of Chicago): “Exeter’s Vesture: John Grandisson on Vestments in the Liturgy.”

Respondent: Karin Krause (Assistant Professor of Byzantine Theology and Visual Culture, University of Chicago).

3:15 – 3:30 PM: Coffee.

3:45 – 4:15 PM: Nancy Feldman (Lecturer in Art History, Theory, and Criticism, School of the Art Institute of Chicago): “Cultural Politics and the Term Opus Anglicanum in Late Medieval England.”

Respondent: Julie Orlemanski (Assistant Professor of English Language and Literature, University of Chicago).

4:15 – 5:00 PM: Closing remarks by Aden Kumler (Associate Professor of Art History, University of Chicago) and final discussion.

 

Murray Seminars on Medieval and Renaissance Art at Birkbeck, Summer 2016

bern_muensterAll seminars are held at 5pm in the Keynes Library at Birkbeck’s School of Arts (Room 114, 43, Gordon Sq., London, WC1H OPD). A break at 5.50pm is followed by discussion and refreshments.

22 April
Bernd Nicolai: Modes of Artistic Expression and Representation. The facade of Bern Minster and fifteenth-century church building programmes in imperial cities

Bernd Nicolai examines the late-gothic west facade of Bern Minster and its extraordinary sculpted portal featuring scenes of the Last Judgement, considering the power of change in this and other church-building programmes in imperial cities during the fifteenth century.

1 June
Clare Vernon: Pseudo-Arabic in Medieval Southern Italy
Pseudo-Arabic script appears in both Islamic and Christian Mediterranean art in the central Middle Ages. Clare Vernon examines the use of pseudo-Arabic motifs in the region of Puglia in southeast Italy over the course of the eleventh century. Focussing attention on the mysterious pavement in the basilica of San Nicola in Bari she explores how the script-like motif relates to Bari’s role as capital of the Byzantine provinces in Italy.

29 June
Laura Slater: Talking Back to Power? Art and Political Opinion in Early Fourteenth-Century England.

‘Spin’ and reputation management were an established part of medieval politics. Laura Slater explores the role of art and architecture in challenging political ideas and opinions in early fourteenth-century England, focussing on the activities of Queen Isabella of France during the 1320s. Successful in invading England, deposing her husband Edward II and establishing herself as de facto regent in place of her teenaged son, Edward III, Isabella managed to use art and architecture to present herself as a loving, loyal and virtuous wife. Yet the queen’s subjects may still have ‘talked back to her’ responding to these PR efforts in a similarly public and permanent setting.

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.

Taking architectural history to the bridge: International Bridges Group inaugural meeting report

The study of architecture largely focuses on the study of buildings: constructions with their most essential function as shelter for the human body. But architectural history can forget that constructions with other functions are also ripe for interpretation of their structure and ideologies. This is what the ambitiously-named International Bridges Group intends to promote for crossings of all kinds, but beginning with a focus upon the medieval. Hence we at MedievalArtResearch.com were invited to their inaugural meeting at Westminster Hall on the banks of the Thames, followed by a day of in-depth (hopefully not literally) investigation of medieval bridges in the Nene and Great Ouse valleys. It as an opportunity to experience the fledgling sub-discipline of gephyrology: a neologism which currently only returns fifty results on Google.

Delegates assembled under the flying buttress of Westminster Hall

As the current writer specialises on ecclesiastical architecture, one thing that emerged in the day in Westminster Hall was how similar working on the English bridge is to studying English parish church. Opening lectures from John Blair and John Chandler established thinking about English bridges is closely linked to unravelling the origins and operation of the English parochial system. Many current bridges can be traced back to the increasing importance of kingdoms in the late eighth century, and the establishment of centres of power. Just like churches, sometimes the opportunity to build a bridge was seized upon by institutions, monastic, parochial or secular to make a powerful architectural statement. Equally, institutions could be less responsible: maintenance neglected and pontage tolls embezzled.

P2060031

David Harrison addresses delegates

Also like English churches, English bridges are uniquely weird and wonderful in equal measure. John P. Allan showed us, via the Exe bridge at Exeter, how independent masons may have been happy to meet in the middle with rounded and pointed arches; while Peter Cross Rudkin showed the English fondness for soffit ribs under the arches, akin to the complicated mouldings of English churches. The rib may have originally had a functional purpose centring the arch before it was built up: especially important for a rounded arch that cannot support itself. But since the ribs are often spaced wider than the length of the stones on top, it would appear that they have assumed the status of a skeuomorph: a decorative form derived from a practical necessity. Having a bridge that had distinctively bridge-like forms was clearly as essential as its structural practicality.

Jana Gajdošová and the tower of the Charles Bridge, Prague

Jana Gajdošová and the tower of the Charles Bridge, Prague

Just as a church spire provided an opportunity to dominate the sky, a bridge provided a powerful opportunity to assert ideology through these unique architectural semiotics. Susan Irvine used Anglo-Saxon literature to consider the bridge as a liminal space: a meeting point between two places. The potential of using this category of space was explored by Jana Gajdošová and Gerrit Jasper Schenk, both presenting papers on bridges rebuilt after disaster. The Gothic Charles Bridge in Prague, with its enormous bridge-tower and scheme of regal architectural sculpture, Jana showed to be a powerful expression of the megalomaniacal ambition of the Holy Roman Emperor. Gerrit compared the rebuilt Ponte Vecchio to the Florentine Bapistery: a pagan monument to Mars reclaimed for John the Baptist, expressed through inscriptions that speak of the enlightened commune of the city.

The final session brought us to how the established concept of a bridge worked in larger societal concepts: Jacopo Turchetto took us to medieval Anatolia, demonstrating how magnificent Ottoman bridges represented much older meeting places of travelling caravans. Roberta Magnusson and David Harrison both gave rich lectures about the bridge in the frameworks of English urban infrastructure and society that proved vital for enlightened conversation on the group’s trip out the Nene and Great Ouse Valleys the next day.

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Great Barford, Bedfordshire

Great Barford (Bedfordshire), c.1428

After an early Sunday-morning start, the first bridge the delegates encountered was Great Barford in Bedfordshire, dated by a major bequest of 1428. Much of the problem of looking at bridges is that, unlike a building, it faces not just the usual climatic elements, but also heavy traffic, perpetually flowing water, and wandering boats. Therefore it is inevitable that they fail and are rebuilt. Great Barford was also slightly spoiled by the 1874 widening – a common solution to the problem of increasing road traffic in the Modern age – here achieved by building out the bridge on the west side with a brick refacing.

Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire

Irthlingborough (Northamptonshire), 13th or 14th century

Many medieval bridges are isolated from the main traffic flow: Irthlingborough now has a rather precarious-looking 1930s concrete Art-Deco bypass running alongside it. But in the Middle Ages it was a main road: therefore it was an inevitable structure unlike the grand statement at Great Barford, and probably with much earlier origins. Ditchford, on the other hand, had no such modern rerouting and was very much in use, with signal lights controlling the two-way traffic not used to a group of architectural historians examining its structure (see featured image). This bridge, made largely of attractively-tinged ironstone, was funded by the two parishes of which it lay on the boundary line: charmingly expressed on the central cutwater by the symbols of churches’ dedicatees, St Peter and St Catherine.

Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire

Huntingdon to Godmanchester bridge, corbel table, c.1300-20

Two major urban bridges finished the trip. The very handsome bridge over the Great Ouse outside Huntingdon, called ‘lately built’ in 1322, reveals at close inspection its English eccentricities: different mouldings, designs and widths for every arch. It has the most attractive feature of a trefoil-arched corbel table, very much confirming the early-fourteenth-century date, which may have marked the place of a bridge chapel. Very few of these survived the Reformation: Wakefield, Rotherham, Bradford-upon-Avon and St Ives being the exception. However, we found the chapel over the Great Ouse locked, but had plenty to admire in the St Ives bridge itself: built in the 1420s at the behest of some generous Benedictines.

St Ives, Huntingdonshire

St Ives bridge and chapel, 1420s

While very rich and informative, this meeting established only mere stepping stones to the establishment of gephyrology as an active discipline. If you are a budding gephyrologist, especially of the medieval period (or at least, initially, hanging around with a bunch of medievalists) and would be interested in attending future meetings of this research group, then email Jana Gajdošová with your name, institutional affiliation and a brief description of your studies.

For the full resumé of pictures of the day (including cheeky opportunistic solo church visits) see the Flickr set.

Reading, Scholarship and the Art of the Book at Reading Abbey (Reading University, 17 April 2015)

K151514[1]Reading University, Henley Business School, Whiteknights Campus, Room G10

17 April 2015, from 10am
Cost: £15 (including coffee, lunch, tea and wine); £10 for students and unwaged. Please register by contacting GCMS@reading.ac.uk.

Programme

10.00 registration and welcome

10.15-11.15 – Session 1:

Lindy Grant (Reading); ‘Reading Abbey in a cultural and intellectual, international context’.

Tessa Webber (Cambridge); ‘Reading in the Refectory at Reading Abbey’.

11.15-11.45 – coffee

11.45-13.15 – Session 2:

Michael Gullick (independent scholar); ‘Reflections on the Reading Abbey Romanesque Book

Collections and Documents’.

Laura Cleaver (Dublin); ‘History Books at Reading and Bec’.

Anne Lawrence (Reading); ‘The Reading Abbey computus manuscript and its context’.

13.15-14.30 – lunch

14.30-15.30 – Session 3:

Nigel Morgan (Cambridge); ‘The Calendar and Litany of Reading Abbey’.

Cyndy Johnston (London); ‘“In the custom of this country”: The Transmigration of Bolognese

Decorative Style in Thirteenth-Century Oxford and Reading Abbey Manuscripts’.

15.30-16.00 – tea

16.00-17.00 – Session 4:

Catherine Leglu (Reading); ‘An Anglo-Norman translation of the Bible at Reading Abbey: London BL Royal 1 C III’.

Brian Kemp (Reading); ‘The Reading Abbey Formulary’.

17.00 – closing remarks and update on the Reading Abbey ruins; followed by wine reception.

Study day: Monumental Brass Society at Battle, East Sussex (28 March 2015)

John Wythines, S.T.D., born at Chester, fellow of Brasenose College, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford, Dean of Battle for 42 years, 1615, aged 84, in cap, gown and scarf holding a book. Reproduced by permission of the Monumental Brass Society

John Wythines, S.T.D., born at Chester, fellow of Brasenose College, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford, Dean of Battle for 42 years, 1615, aged 84, in cap, gown and scarf holding a book. Reproduced by permission of the Monumental Brass Society

The church of St Mary the Virgin, Battle, was established by Abbot Ralph c. 1115 on the battlefield of 1066. The church includes a magnificent transitional nave, a rare wall painting of St Margaret of Antioch of c.1300 and the gilded and painted alabaster tomb of Sir Anthony Browne (1548) who acquired the abbey at the Dissolution. The earliest surviving brass is for Sir John Lowe (1426) with a distinctive memento mori inscription

Brasses for the deans of Battle; Robert Clere, engraved c.1430, and John Wythines, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, and Dean of Battle for 42 years, who died in 1615 are to be found north and south area of the sanctuary respectively.

This meeting, on Saturday 28th March 2015, is free for members and non-members of the Society.

Programme:

2.00p.m. Welcome
by Martin Stuchfield, President of the Monumental Brass Society

2.05p.m. St Mary’s Church Battle
by Clifford Braybrooke

2.30p.m. The Brasses of Battle Church
by Robert Hutchinson

3.00p.m. The Monument to Sir Anthony Browne and his wife, Alice Gage
by Nigel Llewellyn

3.30p.m. Tour of the church and viewing of the brasses and monuments led by Pat Roberts

4.15 Tea

The Church will be open prior to the meeting.

St Mary’s Church is located in Upper Lake in the centre of Battle with ample parking in the vicinity. The postcode for satellite navigation is TN33 0AN. The nearest station is Battle (served from London: London Bridge).