Decoding the secret language of the churches of England through medieval carved markings and personal etchings on the church walls. For centuries carved writings and artworks in churches lay largely unnoticed. So archaeologist Matthew Champion started a nationwide survey to gather the best examples. In this book he shines a spotlight on a forgotten world of ships, prayers for good fortune, satirical cartoons, charms, curses, windmills, word puzzles, architectural plans and heraldic designs. Drawing on examples from surviving medieval churches in England, the author gives a voice to the secret graffiti artists: from the lord of the manor and the parish priest to the people who built the church itself. Here are strange medieval beasts, knights battling unseen dragons, ships sailing across lime-washed oceans and demons who stalk the walls. Latin prayers for the dead jostle with medieval curses, builders' accounts and slanderous comments concerning a long-dead archdeacon. Strange and complex geometric designs, created to ward off the 'evil eye' and thwart the works of the devil, share church pillars with the heraldic shields of England's medieval nobility.
The profusion of medieval churches in Norfolk not only provides examples of beautiful church architecture, but also records life in their communities and offers an insight into the history of medieval England. Previously published as a three-volume series, this invaluable and straightforward guide to the living medieval churches of Norfolk has been re-written to help the visitor to understand both the general features and the unique of those in different areas. The guide is generously illustrated with new photographs, line drawings and a detailed map to aid in locating each church within the county. It also includes a substantial reference section in encyclopaedic form, designed to answer a host of questions which may tease the church visitor. For example, what symbols are used to represent particular saints? Why do so many Norfolk churches stand isolated from their villages? And why does the pagan Green Man find a place in our Christian churches? This book provides the answers to these and other questions. Written by enthusiasts for both the churches and the county in which they stand, the great appeal of this guide is that, once the code of church architecture has been broken and the language learned every church, be it ever so humble, is shown to be unique, with its own story to offer. This guide provides the key. With a foreword by the Countess of Leicester.
Over the course of the fifteenth century, the Low Countries transformed Europe's economic, political and cultural life. Innovative and influential cultural practices emerged across the region in flourishing courts, towns, religious houses, guilds and confraternities. Whether in visual culture, music, devotional practice, or communal rituals, the thriving cultures of the Low Countries wrestled with time, both through explicit measurement and reflection, and in the rhythms of social and religious life. This book offers a deeper understanding of how time was structured and experienced by different constituencies through a series of detailed readings of diverse cultural objects and practices, ranging from woodcuts and painted altarpieces, to early print books, and to the use of polyphony in the liturgy. Individual chapters are devoted to life in the university towns of Louvain and Ghent, the liturgical rituals at Cambrai Cathedral, and the rich pageantry that marked the courts of Philip the Good and the new Burgundian rulers. What emerges is a complex temporal landscape in which devotional and secular practices and experiences merged into a new "fullness of time."
The first major illustrated study of this unique medieval art form for almost half a century, surveying the images and iconography that made the medieval church a riot of colour.
The churches of the British Isles offer an intriguing glimpse into craftsmanship, culture, and Christianity down the centuries. Some are celebrated landmarks while others are well-hidden, but every church harbors its own, fascinating story. More than 250 structures from around the Isles are highlighted in this unique guide, include the 6th-century Irish monastery of Clonmacnois in Offaly, the remote Romney Marsh churches, and St. Anthony's Chapel in Edinburgh. Some structures keep their secrets close—including the Rosslyn Chapel with its intricate, 15th-century carvings—while others are more overt, such as the chapel on Orkney Island decorated with elaborate frescos by Italian POWs. Beautifully presented with stunning color photographs as well as maps and an illustrated glossary, this is a lavish look at the best of the Isles’ churches.
This book explains in detail the practice of masoncraft in the Middle Ages, using evidence from a number of sources. Monastic chronicles, building contracts and other contemporary documents have already revealed a good deal of information on the subject but less attention has, until now, been paid to archaeological evidence preserved in numerous surviving medieval buildings. Dr. Hislop investigates how a study of certain features in these buildings such as the stonework and building joints can contribute to our knowledge of working practices of masons in medieval England. By focusing on how to interpret clues in the building structure, this account provides a practical guide to pursuing the study of masonry, and helps the reader to understand and identify the medieval mason's approach to design and constructional techniques.
Images in the Margins is the third in the popular Medieval Imagination series of small, affordable books drawing on manuscript illumination in the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum and the British Library. Each volume focuses on a particular theme and provides an accessible, delightful introduction to the imagination of the medieval world. An astonishing mix of mundane, playful, absurd, and monstrous beings are found in the borders of English, French, and Italian manuscripts from the Gothic era. Unpredictable, topical, often irreverent, like the New Yorker cartoons of today, marginalia were a source of satire, serious social observation, and amusement for medieval readers. Through enlarged, full-color details and a lively narrative, this volume brings these intimately scaled, fascinating images to a wider audience. It accompanies an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum from September 1 through November 8, 2009.
Recreating lay people's experience of the religion of the pre-Reformation church, this text argues that late-medieval Catholicism was neither decadent nor decayed, but was a strong & vigorous tradition, & that the Reformation represented a violent rupture from a popular & thoroughly respectable religious system. Previous ed.: 1992.
Dispelling the conventional wisdom that French Gothic architectural flourishes were born of despair or gloom, Bridaham reveals the whimsical nature of these creations and the ingenious artisans who made them. 572 illustrations.
Churches contain much of the most interesting medieval sculpture in Britain. Magnificent effigies, whether of cast copper-alloy or stone, never cease to provoke awe and wonder, conjuring up glamorous images of an age of chivalry. Among the many joys of visiting churches is the experience of discovering sculptural treasures; monuments open doors to the past and introduce us to the characters from our history books that inhabited that lost world. Yet in their intended setting such monuments are often little known to non-specialists. Lavishly illustrated with high-quality color photographs, this book uncovers monuments as a rich source of information for anyone interested not only in church history but also in costume, armor, heraldry, sculpture and genealogy.
"It has been estimated that over 90% of England's figurative medieval art was obliterated in the image destruction of the Reformation. Medieval angel roofs, timber structures with spectacular and ornate carvings of angels, with a peculiar preponderance in East Anglia, were simply too difficult for Reformation iconoclasts to reach. Angel roof carvings comprise the largest surviving body of major English medieval wood sculpture. Though they are both masterpieces of sculpture and engineering, angel roofs have been almost completely neglected by academics and art historians, because they are inaccessible, fixed and challenging to photograph. 'The Angel Roofs of East Anglia' is the first detailed historical and photographic study of the region's many medieval angel roofs. It shows the artistry and architecture of these inaccessible and little-studied medieval artworks in more detail and clarity than ever before, and explains how they were made, by whom, and why. Michael Rimmer redresses the scholarly neglect and brings the beauty, craftsmanship and history of these astonishing medieval creations to the reader. The book also offers a fascinating new answer to the question of why angel roofs are so overwhelmingly an East Anglian phenomenon, but relatively rare elsewhere in the country."
From satyrs and sea creatures to griffins and dragons, monsters lay at the heart of the medieval world. Believed to dwell in exotic, remote areas, these inexplicable parts of God's creation aroused fear, curiosity and wonder in equal measure. Powerfully captured in the illustrations of manuscripts, such as bestiaries, travel books and devotional works, they continue to delight audiences today with their vitality and humour. Medieval Monsters shows how strange creatures sparked artists' imaginations to remarkable heights. Half-human hybrids of land and sea mingle with bewitching demons, blemmyae, cyclops and multi-headed beasts of nightmare and comic grotesques. Over 100 wondrous and terrifying images offer a fascinating insight into the medieval mind.
The child of an alcoholic father and an eccentric artist mother discusses her family's nomadic upbringing, during which she and her siblings fended for themselves while their parents outmaneuvered bill collectors and the authorities.
This charming book takes you through the counties of England, exploring Saxon churches, reflective of simple faith; Norman churches with rugged arches and powerful pillars, stamping their authority, gothic churches with their soaring arches; Decorated and Perpendicular churches made glorious with Early English style and craftsmanship; Victorian churches, resplendent with imperial pomp; eccentric Arts and Crafts churches. Every one of them has a remarkable tale to tell, that will move you to exclaim, again and again: ‘I never knew that!’.
Drawing on intensive research in the local records of Norfolk and Suffolk, this detailed study identifies and examines the three most serious crimes of protest--arson, animal maiming, and poaching--in nineteenth-century East Anglia. Showing that this rural society was shaped by terror and oppression, Archer analyzes the climate of unrest, discontent, and desperation, and offers an important contribution to our understanding of life in the nineteenth-century countryside.
The Anglo-Saxon period stretches from the arrival of Germanic groups on British shores in the early 5th century to the Norman Conquest of 1066. During these centuries, the English language was used and written down for the first time, pagan populations were converted to Christianity, and the foundations of the kingdom of England were laid. This richly illustrated new book - which accompanies a landmark British Library exhibition - presents Anglo-Saxon England as the home of a highly sophisticated artistic and political culture, deeply connected with its continental neighbours. Leading specialists in early medieval history, literature and culture engage with the unique, original evidence from which we can piece together the story of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, examining outstanding and beautiful objects such as highlights from the Staffordshire hoard and the Sutton Hoo burial. At the heart of the book is the British Library's outstanding collection of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, the richest source of evidence about Old English language and literature, including Beowulf and other poetry; the Lindisfarne Gospels, one of Britain's greatest artistic and religious treasures; the St Cuthbert Gospel, the earliest intact European book; and historical manuscripts such as Bede's Ecclesiastical History and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. These national treasures are discussed alongside other, internationally important literary and historical manuscripts held in major collections in Britain and Europe. This book, and the exhibition it accompanies, chart a fascinating and dynamic period in early medieval history, and will bring to life our understanding of these formative centuries.
Gargoyles are an architectural feature designed to throw rainwater clear of the walls of a building. Widely used on medieval churches, these water spouts were often richly decorated, and fashioned as serpents' heads and other fanciful shapes. Today, the term gargoyle is also popularly applied to any carved decorative head or creature high up on a building and this book is an exploration of all of these enchanting features. Written by an academic and stonecarver, it is the perfect introduction to this fascinating subject. Gargoyles aims to provide a concise introduction to the stone carvings often found on religious and secular buildings in Britain from the medieval period to the modern. It will explore the typical imagery, some of the theories put forward to explain them, as well as consider the carvings within their architectural and social contexts. Incorporating recent and current research, the book will nevertheless be accessible to the general reader.
An extraordinary and beautifully illustrated exploration of the medieval world through twelve manuscripts, from one of the world's leading experts. Winner of The Wolfson History Prize and The Duff Cooper Prize. A San Francisco Chronicle Holiday Book Gift Guide Pick! Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts is a captivating examination of twelve illuminated manuscripts from the medieval period. Noted authority Christopher de Hamel invites the reader into intimate conversations with these texts to explore what they tell us about nearly a thousand years of medieval history - and about the modern world, too. In so doing, de Hamel introduces us to kings, queens, saints, scribes, artists, librarians, thieves, dealers, and collectors. He traces the elaborate journeys that these exceptionally precious artifacts have made through time and shows us how they have been copied, how they have been embroiled in politics, how they have been regarded as objects of supreme beauty and as symbols of national identity, and who has owned them or lusted after them (and how we can tell). From the earliest book in medieval England to the incomparable Book of Kells to the oldest manuscript of the Canterbury Tales, these encounters tell a narrative of intellectual culture and art over the course of a millennium. Two of the manuscripts visited are now in libraries of North America, the Morgan Library in New York and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Part travel book, part detective story, part conversation with the reader, Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts allows us to experience some of the greatest works of art in our culture to give us a different perspective on history and on how we come by knowledge.
Explains how medieval tilers worked, discusses materials and methods of manufacture, and shows a variety of monochrome and two-color decorated tiles
Analyzes and illuminates Tolkien's lesser-known achievements as an artist and collects the complete artwork created for "The Hobbit," including over one hundred sketches, paintings, maps, and plans.

Best Books