Interpreting Medieval Effigies: The Evidence from Yorkshire to 1400 [Paperback]

Brian Gittos(Author); Moira Gittos(Author)

ISBN: 9781789256857 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2021 | 262p, H11 x W8.7,
Status: In Stock - Available

Other Formats

Hardback - ISBN: 9781789251289

Interpreting Medieval Effigies


This innovative study examines and analyzes the wealth of evidence provided by the monumental effigies of Yorkshire, from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, including some of very high sculptural merit. More than 200 examples survive from the historic county in varying states of preservation. Together, they present a picture of the people able to afford them, at a time when the county was frequently at the forefront of national politics and administration, during the Scottish wars.

Many monuments display remarkable realism, depicting people as they themselves wished to be remembered, and are accompanied by a great volume of contemporary sculptural and architectural detail. Stylistic analysis of the effigies themselves has been employed, better to understand how they relate to one another and give a firmer basis for their dating and production patterns. They are considered in relation to the history and material culture of the area at the time they were produced. A more soundly based appreciation of the sculptor's intentions and the aspirations of patrons is sought through close attention to the full extent of the visible evidence afforded by the monuments and their surroundings.

The corpus is of sufficient size to permit meaningful analysis to shed light on aspects such as personal aspiration, social networks, patterns of supply and production, piety and wealth. It demonstrates the value of funerary monuments to the wider understanding of medieval society.

The text will be accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue, making available a substantial body of research for the first time. The study considers the relationship between the monuments and related sculpture, architecture, painting, glass etc, together with contemporary documentary evidence, where it is available. This material and the underlying methodology are now available to illuminate monuments of the medieval period across the whole country. Its methods and messages extend understanding of all monuments, broadening its potential audience from the purely local to everyone concerned with medieval sculpture and church archaeology.

Table of Contents

List of figures
List of colour plates
1 Introduction
2 The effigies
2a Description of the corpus
2b Aspects of design
2c Fate and fortune
2d Conclusions
3 Monuments in context
3a Introduction
3b Freestanding monuments
3c Canopied recesses
3d Tomb chests
3e Glass and painting
3f Armour and hearses
3g Dedicated locations
3h The churchyard
3i Conclusions
4 Makers and making
4a Fundamentals
4b Techniques
4c Relationships and series
4d Conclusions
5 Patrons and patronage
5a Historical context and Yorkshire society
5b The commemorated, their families and networks
5c Symbolism
6 Complexity and conclusions
6a The enigmatic priest’s monument at Welwick
6b Concluding remarks
List of Yorkshire's effigies to 1400

Reviews & Quotes

""To sum up, this is a rich and rewarding book which uses close observational study to shed new light on the construction, decoration and interpretation of Yorkshire’s collection of pre-fifteenth-century effigial monuments. The book is extensively illustrated, and its arguments are supported by a wealth of online appendices [...] This is a landmark book, and no one with any interest in English medieval monuments can afford to ignore it.""

Church Monuments ()

""The volume is a complex yet lucid synthesis of their many decades of research, it is multi-disciplinary, breaking new ground that should benefit all students of church monuments. […] this is a highly important and rich study, superbly researched by the authors and finely produced in a fitting manner by the publishers. It certainly deserves to be on the shelves of all those interested in the monumental effigies of Yorkshire and beyond, a worthy and essential addition to any library of medieval subjects.""

Northern History ()

""Overall this a superbly researched and well-presented book which will doubtless become one of the great publications on medieval effigies and a much sought after addition to any bookshelf. For those interested in medieval arms and armour of the 13th and 14th centuries, this work is essential.""

Arms and Armoury ()

""The observational skills and contextual awareness of the authors, their breadth of scholarship and indomitable persistence are apparent throughout. […] While the effigies perpetuate the memories of the dead, this study if a worthy monument to the craftsmen who created them.""

The Local Historian ()

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