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 | Language: English 262p, H280 x W220 (mm)

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Interpreting Medieval Effigies


This innovative study examines and analyses 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 Acknowledgements Conventions 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 Bibliography Index List of Yorkshire's effigies to 1400

Reviews & Quotes

"...the Gittos’ very evident expertise and dedication to these monuments have come together so fruitfully in this comprehensive book."
Aleksandra McClain
Medieval Archaeology (12/10/2021)

"This engaging, authoritative and affordable study, with its additional online components, is indeed worth the wait. It will reinvigorate older debates and undoubtedly encourage new scholarship. "
Trevor Cooper
The Ecclesiological Society (07/09/2021)

"Every medieval monument tells a story, both in its intent and origins, and in its subsequent history. It is clear that the authors realize this, and do their best to convey these stories, and the evidence that allows their recreation, to the reader. Their enthusiasm for this is contagious."
Peter Ryder
Archaeological Journal (12/10/2021)

"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."
Keith A. Dowen
Arms and Armour: The Journal of Royal Armouries (15/03/2021)

"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."
Geoff Braddy
The Local Historian (15/03/2021)

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