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A gilt-bronze belt buckle fragment recently found in Cambridgeshire has its closest parallel in a well-known and better-preserved example now in Stockholm, discovered among the Dune hoard on Gotland. This fourteenth-century deposition contains a wide range of metalwork of mixed date and origin. Scholars have long debated the attributions of many of its constituent pieces, including the belt buckle. The discovery at Soham reinforces the suggestion made sixty years ago by Hanns Swarzenski that the Dune buckle might have come from England rather than Continental Europe. This paper reviews the implications of the recent find for the date and subject matter of the Dune buckle and another buckle from the same period, now in New York.
The relationship between religious or spiritual artworks and the locality where such objects are made and used is the central question this volume addresses. While it is a well-known fact that religious artworks, objects and buildings can have a power or agency of their own (iconoclasm, the violent defacement of an object which paradoxically testifies to the fear and loathing it has generated, being an extreme example), the sources of this power are less well understood. It is this problem which the book seeks to begin to remedy, using East Anglia, an area of Britain with an exceptionally long history of religious diversity, as its prism. Case-studies are taken from prehistory right up to the twenty-first century, and from a variety of media, including wall-paintings, church architecture, and stained glass; famous sites examined include Seahenge and Sutton Hoo. Overall, the book shows how profoundly religious artworks are embedded in local communities, belief systems, histories and landscapes. T.A. Heslop is Professor of Visual Arts, Elizabeth Mellings a Post-doctoral Research Fellow, and Margit Thofner Senior Lecturer, at the School of World Art Studies, University of East Anglia. Contributors: Margit Thofner, T.A. Heslop, Elizabeth de Bièvre, Daphne Nash Briggs, Adrian Marsden, Timothy Pestell, Matthew Champion, Carole Hill, Elizabeth Rutledge, David King, John Peake, Nicola Whyte, Chris King, Francesca Vanke, Stefan Muthesius, Kate Hesketh-Harvey, Karl Bell, Elizabeth Mellings, Robert Wallis, Trevor Ashwin.
Architecture affects us on a number of levels. It can control our movements, change our experience of our own scale, create a particular sense of place, focus memory, and act as a statement of power and taste, to name but a few. Yet the ways in which these effects are brought about are not yet well understood. The aim of this book is to move the discussion forward, to encourage and broaden debate about the ways in which architecture is interpreted, with a view to raising levels of intellectual engagement with the issues in terms of the theory and practice of architectural history. The range of material covered extends from houses constructed from mammoth bones around 15,000 years ago in the present-day Ukraine to a surfer's memorial in Carpinteria, California; other subjects include the young Michelangelo seeking to transcend genre boundaries; medieval masons' tombs; and the mythographies of early modern Netherlandish towns. Taking as their point of departure the ways in which architecture has been, is, and can be written about and otherwise represented, the editors' substantial Introduction provides an historiographical framework for, and draws out the themes and ideas presented in, the individual contributors' essays. Contributors: Christine Stevenson, T. A. Heslop, John Mitchell, Malcolm Thurlby, Richard Fawcett, Jill A. Franklin, Stephen Heywood, Roger Stalley, Veronica Sekules, John Onians, Frank Woodman, Paul Crossley, David Hemsoll, Kerry Downes, Richard Plant, Jenifer Ní Ghrádraigh, Lindy Grant, Elisabeth de Bièvre, Stefan Muthesius, Robert Hillenbrand, Andrew M. Shanken, Peter Guillery.
IN ITS BREADTH OF SUBJECT MATTER, this collection of essays written in honour of Professor Eric Fernie is representative of his own scholarly concerns, which extend well beyond the boundaries of medieval European architecture, a field to which he has contributed with particular brilliance. Even so, the spectrum of topics covered in the book does not aim to encompass the totality of Eric's interests, excluding as it does, perforce, comic-book illustration, or science fiction.
We are grateful, in the first instance, to Eric's family for raising the idea of this collection, whose theme of ‘architecture and interpretation’ was devised by Sandy Heslop, and to Pamela Tudor-Craig for encouraging the project in its very early stages. Our contributors have responded with remarkable patience and good grace to various requests. We would also like to thank Nicola Coldstream, Peter Draper, Karin Kyburz, Zoe Opačić, and Christopher Wilson for their assistance with the book in various ways, as well as Jocelyn Anderson, who prepared the index. Publication has been made possible by generous financial support from the Research Committee of the Courtauld Institute of Art; the School of World Art Studies, University of East Anglia; a Stroud Bursary from the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain; and the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society.
The isle is full of noises, sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not …
(The Tempest, III.ii.140–41)
IT IS READILY OBSERVED that people take their architecture with them. In the process of colonizing North America, unmistakably northern European styles and techniques of building were transported across the Atlantic. Further south, it was the architectural traditions of the Iberian Peninsula that were exported to Latin America. We can interpret this as a desire on the part of the emigrants involved to make a new home by replicating the essentials of their old one, or (less cosily) to imprint their culture on recently acquired territory. The two motives are clearly not mutually exclusive, and though they do not appear to sit very comfortably together it can be argued that familiarity and control are two sides of one coin. That said, it is rarely the case that the architecture of a colony is exactly like that of the homeland, and one purpose of this essay is to explore why that might be so in the case of two major buildings constructed in England in the aftermath of the Norman invasion of 1066: Colchester Castle and Lincoln Cathedral. Two points will emerge, of which one is the possible impact of ‘deep’ history, particularly the Roman past, on Anglo-Norman architecture. The other is that we may understand more about the motivations of the patrons and designers of these monuments by an oblique approach to their decision-making processes than by any that can be directly documented.
OVER THE LAST THREE MILLENNIA our planet has been increasingly covered with buildings. Humans are not the only species to reconfigure their environments, but we are special in the speed and variety of means by which we have done so, and in the deliberation involved in the process. That last point is crucial, for there is no likelihood that snails forming their shells ‘deliberate’, and scant evidence that birds building their nests do. Even beavers constructing dams are likely to be genetically programmed to do so rather than consciously deciding. Although Christopher Wren thought that the ‘Project of Building is as natural to Mankind as to Birds’, people come from a stock, the great apes, with no tradition of this project. As a working hypothesis we might suppose that, though our capacity to build is inherent, our inclination to build is opportunistic and imitative. It involves making the most of available resources and learning from observation, including watching the activities of other animals. Critically, what the process has enabled is our colonization of territory where nature, especially the climate but also dangerous creatures, might otherwise have been too threatening to our safety. Ultimately it has enabled us to format our landscapes, socially and conceptually as well as materially, distinguishing civilization from wilderness, culture from nature.