Conference: Commemoration of the Dead (London, 15 November 2014)

Commemoration of the Dead: new approaches, new perspectives, new material
London, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street
Saturday, 15 November 2014, 10am – 5pm


Recent years have witnessed a rapid growth in new research and consideration of commemorative brasses and funerary monuments. This one-day joint meeting, sponsored by the Monumental Brass Society and the Church Monuments Society, will explore these developments and, in particular, research techniques that have led to new insights within the broader context of funerary art. Speakers are primarily doctoral and early post-doctoral students.

9.30 Registration

10.00 Welcome by Christian Steer, Hon. Secretary, Monumental Brass Society

10.05 Richard Marks: ‘Brass and Glass’: the medieval tomb window

10.45 Session 1: Reassessing Workshops

Matthew Ward: Late Medieval Style: the Role of Agency and the Workshop
Michael Carter: The Mysterious Mitre on the Monument

11.45 Tea/coffee

12.15 Session 2: Form and Materials

Sanne Frequin: Tournai Stone: an investigation of materiality
Ann Adams: ‘Revealed and Concealed’: Monumental Brasses on High Relief Tombs – the examples of John I, Duke of Cleves and Catherine of Bourbon

13.15 Lunch (own arrangements)

14.30 Session 3: Contextualising Brasses – Politics, Family and Religion 

Harriette Peel: Women, Children and Guardian Angels in Late Medieval Flemish Funerary Art
Jessica Knowles: ‘Controlling the Past’: the Medieval Brasses of All Saints North Street, York

15.30 Tea/coffee

16.00 Session 4: Lost Brasses

Robert Marcoux: The Social Meaning and Artistic Potential of a Medium: Brass and the Medieval Tombs of the Gaignières Collection
Christian Steer: ‘A Melting Pot of Death’: Burials and Brasses in the London Grey Friars

17.00 Concluding Remarks: Martin Stuchfield, President, M.B.S., and Jean Wilson, President, C.M.S.

It is anticipated that this event will be extremely popular and a pre-booked registration process is necessary for those who would like to attend. There is a strict capacity limit and places will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. Early booking is encouraged. The event is free for members of the Monumental Brass Society and Church Monuments Society but members are required to reserve a place by contacting the Hon. Secretary of the M.B.S. (details below) well in advance. Non-members are warmly welcome and to reserve a place should send a cheque for £15.00, made payable to the Monumental Brass Society, to the Hon. Secretary (see below). A special rate of £5.00 is available for student non-members. All delegates must pre-book in advance.

There will be a morning and afternoon tea and coffee break available for delegates but lunch is not included. This area of Bloomsbury is well served with cafes, restaurants and pubs where lunch can be obtained.

To book: 
To book a place, please write/email the Hon. Secretary of the Monumental Brass Society:

Dr Christian Steer
8 Shefford Lodge Newbury, Berkshire RG14 7LR

Please indicate whether you are a member of the M.B.S. or CMS at booking.
Non-members should enclose a cheque for £15.00 (£5.00 for students) made payable to the Monumental Brass Society.

It is intended to publish a list of delegate names and email addresses. Please indicate at the time of booking whether you do not wish your email address to be included. 

Call for papers: Commemoration of the Dead: New Approaches, New Perspectives, New Material; London


Call for Papers for Commemoration of the Dead: New Approaches, New Perspectives, New Material conference to be held 10.00- 17.00, Saturday 15 November 2014 at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Proposals are invited for papers to be presented at a one-day conference, jointly sponsored by the Monumental Brass Society and the Church Monuments Society. The aim of this event is to showcase the developments in research techniques and approaches that have led to new insights into monumental brasses.

This follows a conference, ‘Fifty Years after Panofsky’s Tomb Sculpture: New Approaches, New Perspectives, New Materials’ to be held at the Courtauld Institute of Art on 21 June 2014. Panofsky, in his lavishly illustrated Tomb Sculpture, included the illustration of only a single brass (Pl. 212), that of the hand-holding Sir Edward Cerne and Lady Elyne Cerne, Draycott Cerne, Wilts. The ‘Commemoration of the Dead’ conference will address this imbalance by examining the significance of monumental brasses within the broader context of funerary art, especially the connections and divergences between brasses and other forms of tomb sculpture.

The core period covered by the conference will be Medieval to Early Modern, but papers up to the current day will be considered. The core geographic focus will be Europe.

Papers are invited on a wider range of topics arising from the study of monumental brasses, and could include:

• Individual brasses – style, location, patronage, production

• Groups of brasses united by a common theme

• Materials and their symbolic importance

• Function of brasses- prospective/retrospective, devotional, legal, etc.

• Audience and reception

• Brasses and the liturgy

• Inscriptions, epitaphs, heraldry

• Technical investigation


• Length of paper: 20 minutes

• Expenses: limited funds are available to cover speakers’ expenses

This is an opportunity for doctoral and early post-doctoral students to share their research. It is intended (subject to quality and peer review) to publish a joint collection of edited essays from the two conferences.

Please send proposals of no more than 250 words and a brief biography to by 18 May.

Organised by: Christian Steer, Hon. Secretary, Monumental Brass Society, Ann Adams & Jessica Barker, PhD Candidates, The Courtauld Institute of Art.