CRSBI’s at the International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds (2-5 July)! The Corpus will contribute papers by six speakers in two academic sessions on 4 July. The Special Focus of this year’s Congress is Memory.
Mainland Europe’s connection with Britain and Ireland became arterial during the art-historical period dubbed Romanesque, a pejorative term coined by antiquaries, dismissing the pan-European architectural styles of the 11th and 12th centuries as ‘sub-Roman.’ Though adumbrated by classical forms, Romanesque architecture was innovative, notably as a matrix for carved ornament. A post-conquest building boom in Britain combined with a shift in liturgical practice to produce a skilled workforce and an increasingly articulated and perforate masonry architecture: columnar and arcuated, its inter-connecting nodes of focal interest— arcades, capitals, imposts, voussoirs, doorways—called for distinctive carved embellishment. What survives, be it figural, foliate or geometric, on buildings and on furniture, ranges from the unsophisticated to the exquisite, the finest rendered with the delicacy of carved ivory and metalwork. The Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland (CRSBI) is using interactive digital technology to construct a scholarly database of the stone carving created during the century following the Norman Conquest. Launched with British Academy support, CRSBI, an illustrated online record of the Romanesque sculpture surviving at over 5000 sites, is both searchable and free to use. These papers, by contributors to the database, demonstrate its research potential.
Chair: Ron Baxter, Research Director, CRSBI, UK.
Organiser: Jill A Franklin, CRSBI, UK.
Paper a. Speaker: Toby J. Huitson, School of History, University of Kent, UK.
'Architecture and Memory: the Re-use of Romanesque Sculptural Fragments'.
Romanesque sculptural material was often re-cycled in later centuries, both consciously and unconsciously, in whole and in part. How did this take place, and what can it tell us about wider cultural memory of the Romanesque? This paper will draw on examples including several parish churches in eastern and south-eastern England.
Paper b. Speaker: James Alexander Cameron, CRSBI, UK.
‘Spot the altar: locating the liturgy in the Romanesque parish church.’
In the 12th century many village churches were rebuilt in stone, and had their east ends extended with apses, only to have them replaced in the 13th century by a square-ended chancel. This architectural change is often explained as a consequence of an "eastward drift" of the altar, but with reference to a wide range of churches and the evidence of liturgical fittings such as pillar piscinas and sedilia, this paper will show that the reality was much more complicated.
Paper c. Speaker: Jill A Franklin, CRSBI, UK.
‘Baptismal Fonts (I): Ornament as Monument - A Family of Elaborately Decorated Romanesque Fonts in Victorian churches in Norfolk.’
A group of distinctive fonts—undocumented but datable from their style to the 12th century and clearly carved by a single workshop—survives in a cluster of 19th-century north Norfolk parish churches that replaced much earlier structures. Sole relics of the ancient buildings that once housed them, the fonts are telling memorials to those lost institutions.
Chair: Eric C. Fernie, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, UK.
Organiser: Karen Impey, CRSBI, UK.
Paper a. Speaker: Thomas E. Russo, Dept of Art History, Drury University, Missouri, US.
‘Baptismal Fonts (II): The Romanesque Coleby Font Group: A Design, Distribution and Iconographic Analysis.’
The baptismal font in the parish church of Coleby (Lincolnshire) is a superb example of a 12th-century family of fonts that was manufactured locally, most probably at Ancaster. This paper will explore the distribution of these fonts, their common characteristics as a group, their unique features within the group and the iconography of both their form and imagery.
Paper b. Speaker: David Robinson, Independent Scholar, London, UK.
‘For the Record: Putting the Romanesque Sculpture of Wales online.’
The Norman invasion of Wales in the late 11th and 12th centuries constituted a widespread cultural incursion from Continental Europe. Romanesque architecture and sculpture was first introduced by the Norman elite in an outburst of new stone building, spearheaded by castles, cathedrals and monasteries. Equally important, however, was the way that the Romanesque style was early adopted by Welsh princes.
Paper c. Susan Nettle, Independent Scholar, Teddington, UK.
‘Baptismal Fonts (III): Magnates in the Midlands.’
Three Romanesque fonts in later parish churches provide the background to an exploration of the possible motivations for three Anglo-Norman adventurers to establish monasteries. This paper will consider what might be learnt from looking at Lenton, Coleshill and West Haddon in a different light.