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Two statues

30 Dec
Continuing in the vein of stuff that somehow didn’t get posted earlier here are two statues from Beverley Minster. On the left King Æthelstan who, I am informed, came along to Beverley Minster to see the tomb of Saint John of Beverley (shown on the right as a bishop) before going off to kill a few hundred Scots and Danes, which was the style at the time. Both statues are made of lead and painted to match the stone interior, they date from the 18th century. Beverley Minster owes a lot to these two, King Æth. for his “pious munificence” and St J. for his bones which brought in the tourists, erm sorry, pilgrims.

Fancy Font

4 Dec

As vaguely promised a few weeks ago here is the font of Beverley Minster with its elaborate cover dangling above it. The font itself is of marble from County Durham and dates from about 1070 so they say. The baroque carved lid is from 1726  by the Thornton family. Why did they need such an artefact? Why to stop people stealing the holy water, of course, you never know what sacrilegious nonsense they might put it to. It’s a huge hideous object but as it was a gift I suppose the church could hardly turn it down.

Plain Ceiling

3 Dec

When I was posting about Beverley Minster a few months back I somehow forgot to show you the ceiling which, compared to Holy Trinity’s in Hull, is a rather plain affair. I think on the whole I prefer this simpler decoration.

Step away from the window

3 Oct
Here as promised is the West window of Beverley Minster. I’m told it depicts figures and events in early Christianity in Northumbria. Though this is fine late Gothic perpendicular style the glazing dates from restoration work carried out in the mid 19th century by a company called Hardman’s of Birmingham formed at the behest of Gothic revival fruitcake A. W. N. Pugin. English Heritage (bless them) describes this as a “ 9-light sub-arcuated west window”, I suppose brevity is next to godliness…

John, Luke, Mark and Matthew

2 Oct

Somehow this massive 18th century carved oak door survived the ravages of the Gilbert Scott’s ‘restoration’ of Beverley Minster. The door depicts from right to left the four evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John with their respective symbols. A family of craftsmen by the name of Thornton is responsible for this door and the baptismal font cover which I’ll show some time soon. The same Thorntons also saved the North transept from collapsing.
In reality the door is a very dark brown  but my camera failed me (or I failed it) and underexposed it; so to make an anywhere decent image I’ve had to play around ending up with this black and white image, it’s a bit clearer if you click on it for the bigger version. Below shows the impressive door surround (they did like their statues back then) and the base of the West window which I’ll show tomorrow.
The Weekend in Black and White is here.

Goths, Vandals and so on

2 Oct

Strange how the term Gothic was originally one of abuse and denigration (and has become so again when applied to the youthful urge to wear black and look as if  death would be a blessed relief from the toils of the world!). This was, as Vasari commented, a barbarous German style of building. Christopher Wren, no doubt with a view to his own line of business, also piled on the bad vibes. This was the style of the Goths who had, it was supposed, destroyed all that was good in classical Rome. Well, hmmm. If you’re trying to sell a new product you don’t exactly want to praise the old competition now do you?
This top view is through the canopy of the Percy Tomb in Beverley Minster. I’m guessing it would, when new, have been brightly painted and gilded. It’s thought to be no later than around 1340 in construction and was one of the last pieces of original building in the Minster. After this the building gradually decayed, it survived the dissolution of the monasteries because it was a parish church otherwise we would now be looking at a picturesque ruin (that would cost a whole lot less to maintain). The North transept almost collapsed in the 18th century and was saved and repaired. However much of what we see now in here has been cleaned up, marble floors and columns polished and walls scrubbed by George Gilbert Scott (yup him again) one of those Victorian Gothic revivalist maniacs. He did such a thorough job that the place now looks like a giant shiny polished museum, sterile, pickled and most definitely dead, others call it a Gothic masterpiece.

I spy with my little eye something beginning with M …

23 Jun

Well here’s a pleasant enough old wall on Eastgate with an ancient gateway and all, must have been there for hundreds of years. Well no, not quite, maybe fifty or so. This was part of Beverley Priory situated behind where I took this photo and it was all cleared away to make room for housing. The gateway, from the 16th century, was moved across the street in 1964 to “ensure permanent preservation” in the words of a nearby green plaque. The keen eyed amongst you might have noticed the Minster poking up in the background I don’t think that has been moved recently.