Tag Archives: England

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.


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.


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).

Book roundup: New art history books from Brepols

Here are some new medieval art history books on manuscripts, architecture and sculpture from publisher Brepols that we have been alerted to, and we think will prove very exciting to a number of our readers.

HMSAH_75_3DKing’s College Chapel 1515-2015: Music, Art and Religion in Cambridge, edited by J. M. Massing, N. Zeeman

This lavishly illustrated, interdisciplinary volume encompasses many aspects of the Chapel’s history from its foundation to the present day. The essays all represent new research, with a particular emphasis on areas that have not been investigated before: Chapel furnishings and art; the architectural engineering of the building and current state of the glass; the history of the Choir and the life of the Chapel, not least in recent centuries. Essays will engage with politics, drama, music, iconoclasm and aesthetics. This will be a serious academic book, but also a visually stimulating and beautiful one. It will contain two hundred and fifty colour reproductions of images of the Chapel – prints, watercolours, oil paintings, photographs, architectural drawings, plans, maps and even postcards, reflecting the many and varied responses that the Chapel has elicited over time.

HMSAH_59 Jean Pucelle: Innovation and Collaboration in Manuscript Painting, edited by K. Pyun, A. Russakoff
This book focuses on the works and legacy of Jean Pucelle, a French 14th-century artist.
Jean Pucelle (fl. ca. 1319-d. 1334) was one of the most prominent artists of the first half of the fourteenth century, an influential illuminator who worked closely with a number of collaborators both known and anonymous. A large number of lavishly-illuminated manuscripts have been attributed to him based on stylistic analysis.

Scholarly essays in this book explore issues crucial to the establishment of his distinctinve style: originality, technique, color palette, influence, levels of resemblance, the relationships between artistic media, and patronage. The contributors to this volume analyze the major works associated with Pucelle or the Pucellian style, and interpret pictorial elements in the tradition of artistic collaboration. This is the first collective work devoted entirely to Jean Pucelle and his legacy.

With contributions by Barbara Drake Boehm, Pascale Charron, Marc Gil, Joan A. Holladay, Marguerite A. Keane, Mie Kuroiwa, Domenic Leo, Kyunghee Pyun, Anna D. Russakoff and Roger S. Wieck.

097728-RogierVanDerWeydenstofwikkel.inddRogier Van der Weyden and Stone Sculpture in Brussels by B. Fransen
The activities of Rogier van der Weyden (1399/1400-1464) were much wider in scope than the well-known painted oeuvre that has been the subject of so many publications. This book, with its focus on stone sculpture in Brussels at the time that Rogier was established there, an area of art history that to date has been little explored, offers a fresh and fascinating look at the context in which Brussels’s famous city painter operated. Bart Fransen leads you through a network of stoneworkers and craftsmen, from the stone quarry to the sculptor’s workshop, to discover a number of remarkable but unknown or misjudged sculptures now in churches, an abbey, a béguinage, a museum’s reserve collection and a castle chapel. With the various case studies in mind he goes on to examine Rogier van der Weyden’s direct involvement in sculptural projects, turning to the evidence revealed by archival documents, drawings and sculpture itself. The result is a highly readable and plentifully illustrated book that re-establishes the close relationship between the various art forms that existed in the fifteenth century.

MEF_07The Making of Hispano-Flemish Style: Art, Commerce, and Politics in Fifteenth-Century Castile by R. Kasl
This book examines the phenomenon of “Hispano-Flemish” style in fifteenth-century Castile, providing an account of its most important monuments and describing the ways in which it is embedded in specific social and cultural settings. Trade, diplomacy, and immigration account for the widespread presence of art and artists from northern Europe in Castile during the period and these mechanisms of international contact and exchange are the starting point for this inquiry. Chapter one details commercial relations between Castile and the art-producing centers of northern Europe, stressing the dominant role of merchants from Burgos and documenting the prevalence of imported luxuries like tapestries, paintings, and sculpture. The presence of imported artworks in Castile was paralleled by a similarly robust number of immigrant artists, some itinerant and others attached to permanent workshops. Their influence is discussed in chapter two, with emphasis on the establishment of multi-generational family workshops under the direction of immigrant masters. Such workshops rooted foreign styles on Castilian soil and decisively influenced the ways in which visual conventions were learned, transformed, and transferred. The receptivity of patrons to the visual qualities of the imported style is analyzed in relation to its capacity to assert emerging social, political, and spiritual values.

The adoption of northern forms in Castile, first detected in the sculptural decoration of funerary chapels of the mid-1430s, was sustained for the rest of the century, culminating in the completion of the monastery of Miraflores under the patronage of Isabel of Castile. Chapter three outlines the religious, commemorative, and political motives that informed the foundation of the monastery by Juan II and those that animated his daughter’s efforts to complete it. It establishes the chronology of works in relation to historical events and details the intervention of Juan and Simón de Colonia, Gil de Siloe, Juan de Flandes, and others. The reelaboration of Siloe’s northern European sculptural idiom at Miraflores was a distinctive process, stimulated by the demands of his royal patron, conditioned by the practices of a heterogeneous workshop, and obliged to visualize a new concept of royal sovereignty.

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PhD studentship: The Identities and Networks of bishops in the late medieval North Atlantic

Bishop Hugh Northwold of Ely, d.1254

Bishop Hugh Northwold of Ely, d.1254

AHRC-funded PhD studentship in conjunction with the project “A prosopographical study of bishops’ careers in northern Europe”


 Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship to undertake research on selected bishoprics in the archdiocese of Nidaros between 1250 and the Reformation. The Studentship will be held at the University of Aberdeen, beginning on the 1st of October 2014.

The PhD student will be attached to The Centre for Scandinavian Studies, School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, College of Arts and Social Sciences at The University of Aberdeen.

The Studentship forms part of a three-year research project A prosopographical study of bishops’ careers in northern Europe, funded by the AHRC and directed by Dr Sarah Thomas (University of Hull) and Professor Stefan Brink (University of Aberdeen). The holder of the PhD studentship will join a project team made of Thomas and Brink, and will be a member of the research community of the Centre for Scandinavian Studies.


Duration: 3 years

Value: a stipend £13,726 per year (and the AHRC also pays for the fees)

Start of studentship1 October 2014    



Summary of the research project:

A prosopographical study of bishops’ careers in northern Europe examines the familial, social and educational networks of clerics who became bishops in late medieval Scotland, England and Scandinavia.


In the modern world, we often talk about a person being ‘well-connected’, whether it be as a result of family, schooling, business contacts or a combination of factors. This project will examine how well-connected medieval bishops in Britain and Scandinavia were.  Effectively, we shall be asking who you needed to know to become a bishop and how the connections gained throughout their lives impacted on their activities as bishops both within their diocese and on the wider international stage. Why did this matter? Bishops were not just religious leaders; they were important men who served kings and other great lords as advisers and even diplomats. They also controlled large territories and had significant incomes and people at their command. To be a bishop was to be a leader who might crown kings or foment rebellion. They were also players on an increasingly international stage: the period of study, from 1250 to the Reformation, saw the centralisation of the Church under the Papacy. From the early fourteenth century, candidates for bishoprics usually had to travel to Rome or Avignon in order to be appointed. Yet, at the same time, national or state structures were increasingly important with kings wanting to control who became bishops. The very nature of the international Church meant that such men travelled and had connections well beyond their home countries. That, combined with university education, meant that bishops were key conduits for the transfer of ideas. The key question the project seeks to answer is how internationalised were the bishops in northern Europe.


In order to address this, we will undertake a prosopographical study of the bishops in the following dioceses: Sodor, Dunkeld, Galloway, York, Orkney, the Faroes, Skalholt and Holar in Iceland, Greenland, Bergen, Stavanger, Uppsala and the archdeacons of Jämtland. We will examine the familial, social origins and connections of the bishops and archdeacons. To allow us to consider the pressures of national and papal institutions, we have selected dioceses in four Church provinces – York, Scotland, Nidaros and Uppsala – which lay within the four kingdoms of England, Scotland, Norway and Sweden. This selection also means we can study core and peripheral dioceses within the same Church province, across Church provinces and across national boundaries. The analysis will seek to answer a number of questions which include: did the bishops have similar social origins which meant they had the right connections to lobby the diocesan patrons or chapter for their promotion? We shall also assess the evidence for our bishops having attended university, and if so, where and whether they achieved a degree and the implications of this. Were there particular dioceses with higher levels of university attendance? Can we find evidence of either direct or indirect international contact as a result of university attendance?

The project will then assess whether the bishops, once appointed, were able to introduce new ideas and reforms in their dioceses. They attended international Church councils which agreed policies that the bishops were then expected to introduce in their own dioceses. We will examine whether they were able to enforce rules like clerical celibacy and the payment of tithes. The dioceses in question might be seen as remote from Rome and the centres of Christendom, but they were not necessarily isolated from ideas developed at the supposed ‘core’.

Research topic within the studentship:

The PhD candidate will conduct original research on aspects of the medieval ecclesiastical history (preferably discussing the role of bishops) of the North Atlantic and Norwegian dioceses. Applicants are invited to contact Dr Sarah Thomas (S.E.Thomas@hull.ac.uk) or Prof. Stefan Brink (s.brink@abdn.ac.uk) to discuss potential topics prior to applying.

Supervision and support:

The PhD candidate will be supervised by Dr Sarah Thomas and Prof. Stefan Brink. As a member of the project team the candidate will be expected to contribute to project meetings, activities, and events, and will have some organizational responsibilities. In addition to having access to postgraduate training and support provided by the Centre for Scandinavian Studies and the College of Arts and Social Sciences, the candidate will have specific opportunities within the project to develop research skills, present at conferences, and publish papers.


Applications are invited from candidates who have a first-class or good upper second-class degree in History or a related discipline or a relevant area of study, and preferably have completed a Postgraduate Research Masters degree + AHRC conditions of eligibility; or an equivalent exam from a non-UK University. Prior knowledge of Old Norse, Latin and a modern Scandinavian language would be advantageous.


Normally only those students who have been resident in the UK, for purposes other than education, for the preceding three years are eligible for a full award. For some awards candidates who are nationals of a member state of the EU and are resident in the UK may also be eligible for fees only awards.

Deadline for application29 August 2014

 Send application to:
The Post Graduate Secretary
School of Divinity, History and Philosophy
University of Aberdeen
Aberdeen  AB24 3DS

For enquiries regarding the project contact:

Dr Sarah Thomas (S.E.Thomas@hull.ac.uk) or Prof. Stefan Brink (s.brink@abdn.ac.uk)

For general enquiries regarding postgraduate studies at the University and the School and the conversion of non-UK exams and degrees etc., contact:

Kiran Uppal (k.uppal@abdn.ac.uk)

Resources: Images of English Cathedrals before 1850

Gloucester Lady chapel (Britton 1828)

I have been recently working on sedilia in cathedrals and as an art historian, I enjoy little more than a game of spot-the-difference. Here are some resources I have found very useful for a glimpse of that state of our greatest medieval buildings before the Gilbert Scott-led frenzy of restoration mania. They are available copyright-free on archive.org so I could not help sharing them.

Browne Willis – A survey of the cathedrals of York, Durham, Carlisle, Chester, Man, Litchfield, Hereford, Worcester, Gloucester, Bristol, Lincoln, Ely, Oxford, Peterborough, Canterbury, Rochester, London, Winchester, Chichester, Norwich, Salisbury, Wells, Exeter, St. Davids, Landaff, Bangor, and St. Asaph : containing an history of their foundations, builders, antient monuments, and inscriptions, endowments, alienations, sales of lands, patronages … : with an exact account of all the churches and chapels in each diocese, distinguished under their proper archdeaconries and deanries, to what saints dedicated, who patrons of them, and to what religious houses appropriated : the whole extracted from numerous collections out of the registers of every particular see … : and illustrated with thirty-two curious draughts … : in three volumes (1742)

Browne Willis YorkBrowne Willis is the sort of Antiquarian mega-achievement that puts the fear of death into you. The title alone is long enough. It is mostly the names of every holder of every stall in the Cathedral, but there are also short descriptions of the fabric, monuments, as well as a plan and at least a side view of every cathedral. A few have extra views, such as the now sadly collapsed west front of Hereford. They are remarkably detailed for their time.

Volume 1 York, Durham, Carlisle, Chester, Isle of Man (!), Lichfield, Hereford
Volume 2 Worcester, Gloucester, Bristol, Lincoln
Volume 3: Ely, Oxford, Peterborough

James Storer – History and antiquities of the cathedral churches of Great Britain : illustrated with a series of highly-finished engravings, exhibiting general and particular views, ground plans, and all the architectural features and ornaments in the various styles of building used in our ecclesiastical edifices (1814)

Storer Lincoln RemingusWith Storer we are in a different world. The interior views are much more picturesque, and one might assume, cleared of excess clutter. Except, unlike modern-day photographers, antiquarian engravers actually prefered people in their images, to give a sense of scale, grandeur, and also perhaps, a Romantic sense of audience and perception. The accounts of the buildings now attempt to place the structure more firmly in a historical framework, and its construction history, rather than the more topographical and ancestral approach of the antiquarians. archive.org has all the cathedrals in alphabetical order in its descriptive contents, but such is the inconvenience of using this resource. The actual contents of the volumes are as shown below.
v. 1: Canterbury, Chichester, Lincoln, Oxford, Peterborough, Winchester
v. 2: Chester, Gloucester, Hereford, Salisbury, Lichfield, Rochester, Worcester
v. 3: St David’s, London, Ely, Llandaff, Bath, Bristol, Carlisle
v. 4: Wells, Norwich, Durham, Bangor, Exeter, St Asaph, York

John Britton – Cathedral antiquities (1821)

Britton canterburyBritton again, gives us a whole different view on the cathedral – measured cross-sections, details, specimens and elevations, startlingly accurate and rather ahead of their time. There is also a suitably more rigid text, a historical account followed by a topographical tour of the major features.

v. 1. Canterbury. 1821. York. 1819
v. 2. Salisbury. 1814. Norwich. 1816. Oxford. 1821
v. 3. Winchester. 1817. Litchfield. 1820. Hereford. 1831
v. 4. Wells. 1824. Exeter. 1826. Worcester. 1835
v. 5. Peterborough. 1828. Gloucester. 1829. Bristol. 1830
v. 6. Bath, St Mary Redcliffe Bristol.

Winkles’s Architectural and picturesque illustrations of the cathedral churches of England and Wales (1851)
Lincoln - Judgement porchWinkles is full of uncomprimisingly Romantic views: many so distant to be completely useless for assessing the fabric. However, the interiors are full of charming incident and also a more palpable sense of decay, as well as the sense of the grand vistas into which these buildings had been often opened up to, to the expense of medieval screens and furnishings. The text is also has rather more of a tendency to dwell on his own aesthetic opinion than the others and submit us to rather purple passages at times: not always a bad thing.

Vol. 1: Salisbury, Canterbury, York, St. Paul’s, Wells, Rochester, Winchester

Vol. 2: Lincoln, Chichester, Ely, Peterborough, Norwich, Exeter, Bristol, Oxford

Vol. 3: Lichfield, Gloucester, Hereford, Worcester, Durham, Carlisle, Manchester

The great thing about archive.org is that you can download and save individual images as well as full PDFs as much as you wish, and the text is even OCR’d so you can search it. Marvellous.

Current Exhibition: Canterbury and St. Albans: Treasures from Church and Cloister

albans01bCurrent Exhibition: Canterbury and St. Albans: Treasures from Church and Cloister

Getty Museum of Art, (September 20, 2013–February 2, 2014)

This exhibition brings together two masterpieces of medieval English art: stained glass from Canterbury Cathedral and the St. Albans Psalter, a splendidly illuminated Book of Psalms. Uniting the intimate art of book illumination with monumental glass painting, this exhibition explores how specific texts, prayers, and environments shaped medieval viewers’ understanding of pictures in the era of artistic renewal following the Norman Conquest of England. Life-size paintings on glass depict the ancestors of Christ, and richly ornamented illuminations translate biblical texts into luminous pictures.

The panels of glass have been temporarily de-installed and pages from the St. Albans Psalter, unbound—allowing visitors to experience these works at a proximity enjoyed by few in their long and storied histories. The windows would have been visible to monks sitting in the communal space of the cathedral’s choir, and the psalter was meant to be held in one’s hands as an object of personal devotion.

The early 12th-century manuscript’s graceful, powerfully drawn figures and saturated colors mark the arrival of the Romanesque style of painting in England. The windows from Canterbury, made toward the end of the century, represent this style at its apex and are the finest examples of English Romanesque glass that survive.

For additional information see http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/canterbury/

Call for Participants: Summer School: Arts, Architecture and Devotional Interaction in England 1200-1600 (York 2014)

Call for Participants:
Arts, Architecture and Devotional Interaction in England, 1200-1600
NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) Summer School
York, 8 June – 4 July 2014

The medieval-themed National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminars
and Institutes for College and University Teachers offer opportunities to conduct research in Europe (Rome, Florence,York). While most participants will hold faculty positions, directors may admit up to two graduate students in each seminar.

yorkThe NEH Summer Seminar on Arts, Architecture, and Devotional Interaction, 1200-1600 will be held in York, England from June 8 to July 4, 2014. The seminar is designed to provide college and university teachers with an extraordinary opportunity to explore how and why artwork and architecture produced between 1200-1600 engaged devotees in dramatic new forms of physical and emotional interaction. Building on the work of scholars over the past decade, we will examine the role of performativity, sensual engagement, dynamic kinetic action as well as emotional and imaginative interaction within the arts.

The seminar will take full advantage of its spectacular locale. Most seminar meetings will be held in churches or museums and we will be accompanied by visiting scholars who are specialists in the daily topics. The seminar is designed for all kinds of teachers in the humanities, not just art historians. You do not need a specialist’s knowledge of English Gothic art and architecture, but we expect that participants will have some scholarly engagement with European history, art history, theology, theater, music, or some other appropriate field. For further details, visit http://www.usu.edu/NEHseminar2014/

For additional information, please consult www.utc.edu/NEH or email Irven-Resnick@utc.edu