Redemption and Remembrance: The English Ecclesiastical Tomb in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries

Walden, Catherine Emma, Department of Art and Architectural History, University of Virginia
Roberts, Marion, Department of Art and Architectural History, University of Virginia
Reilly, Lisa, Department of Architectural History, University of Virginia

In England, prominent ecclesiastical leaders during the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries led the way in commissioning funerary monuments that feature a sculptured recumbent effigy of the deceased. Approximately sixty of their tombs form the focus of this dissertation. The effigy, which stands as one of the most innovative aspects of late medieval tombs, exerted a powerful personal presence and raises a number of questions about commemoration and self-representation in the late medieval period. At the heart of this inquiry are questions about how this type of monument met the commemorative needs of the higher clergy. The study situates the development of the effigial tomb within its broader physical and commemorative environment. It provides an analysis of the geography of episcopal burial within the spatial and political complexities of the cathedral church, and highlights the extensive preparations made by the clergy for ongoing intercessory prayer, thus correlating the concern for the soul with the provisions made for the body. An analysis of the form and iconography of the effigy suggests that the representation of 'self' on a funerary monument should be seen within the framework of salvation. While the medieval tomb functions on a number of levels, for example as institutional or dynastic propaganda, the effigial tomb in this study emerges as a visual, tangible result of complex procedures that were thought to benefit the soul.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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