By Peter Coss, Maurice Keen
Medieval tradition was once intensely visible. even supposing this has lengthy been acknowledged by means of paintings historians and by means of fans for specific media, there was little try to examine social exhibit as a topic in its personal correct. And but, reveal takes us without delay into the values, aspirations and, certainly, anxieties of prior societies. during this illustrated quantity a gaggle of specialists tackle a sequence of interrelated topics round the factor of show. one of the subject matters are kinfolk and lineage, social contrast and aspiration, rite and social bonding, and the expression of strength and authority. The items studied contain huge effigies, brasses, stained glass, rolls of hands, manuscripts, jewels, plate, seals and cash. PETER COSS is Professor of Medieval historical past, Cardiff college. MAURICE willing is Emeritus Fellow of Balliol university, Oxford. members: MAURICE prepared, DAVID CROUCH, PETER COSS, CAROLINE SHENTON, ADRIAN AILES, FRÉDÉRIQUE LACHAUD, MARIAN CAMPBELL, BRIAN AND MOIRA GITTOS, NIGEL SAUL, FIONN PILBROW, CAROLINE BARRON, JOHN WATTS.
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Extra info for Heraldry, pageantry, and social display in medieval England
2 But it was not only in churches and on sepulchral monuments that heraldry was increasingly found. It was prominent on buildings, on seals, and in manuscripts. It was to be found on dress, on domestic plate, on caskets and chests, on wall paintings and on tiled pavements. 3 It was in Edwardian England, however, that they coalesced to form a remarkably coherent and extraordinarily inventive display of heraldic art; one which reached an increasingly wide spectrum of the elite. Scholars of the visual image are coming more and more to appreciate the stylistic interaction between media, the co-operation amongst the various artists and craftsmen, and the multiple stimuli that helped to * I am most grateful to Dr Michael Siddons, Wales Herald Extraordinary, for his kindness in reading this essay and saving me from several errors in blazonry.
The decade of the 1130s was one in which the mutationist thesis suggests that the emergence of lineage and the agnatic stem family would be far advanced. 38 But in fact what the Beaumont evidence appears to show is a complex attitude to family; it betrays an ambiguity on questions of family descent which confirms what has already been said about the pluralism of contemporary attitudes. It is not Roger de Beaumont, but Isabel of Vermandois who is the focus of the lines of descent which show the checker shield.
It is with these observations in mind that I wish to examine some of the visual manifestations of chivalric culture in Edwardian England. My intention is to try to understand, as far as one can, what it was that gentle men and women saw when they contemplated their own heraldry and memorials, and indeed those of others. Only then can we begin to understand their historical significance. 5 Indeed, the rather esoteric nature of heraldic display seems to have been valued in its own right as a matter only for the gentle.