Church Monuments Society

CMS Members Prizes Monument of the Month CMS Publications Events Monuments Bibliography Resources Links Noticeboard Search this site

The Society is a registered charity. No.279597 Registered Office: The Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London. W1V 0HS Copyright (c) 2016 CMS. All rights reserved.


The latest journal, vol. 31 for 2016, is now out.

Members should have received their copies but there has been a hiccup with distribution. If your copy has not arrived, please contact the Editor (email address at

Volume 31 is another bumper number, 272 pages, with plenty of colour illustrations and a redesigned cover.

Abstracts of articles:


The rise to popularity of alabaster for memorialisation in England


Of the 339 known and recorded alabaster effigies in England and Wales belonging to the

period to 1500, only thirty-four effigies (from twenty-eight monuments) probably date

from before c. 1370.1 We have undoubtedly lost many more examples which were set up in

monastic and friary churches and were subsequently destroyed during the serial monastic

Dissolutions. Nonetheless, much can be learnt about the early patronage of this material for

monuments from an examination of those individuals memorialised by surviving effigies,

together with a handful of other figures recorded in wills or antiquarian sources. Royalty

and churchmen were the first to see the attractions of this material. Most of the magnates

and knights who emulated them were veterans of the Crécy/Calais campaign.

The tabulae: Ephemeral epigraphy in the surroundings of medieval tombs


One of the most important aspects of the study of church monuments is epigraphy, including much lost as well as surviving material. Epitaphs provide information about the identity of the deceased, their family, the date of death and, occasionally, they include personalised aspects of devotion. A considerable body of medieval epigraphy has been lost, due to renovations within buildings, the expropriation of the church, wars, and liturgical reforms. Furthermore, there is one type of epigraphy which has been almost forgotten: the tabulae or tablets, that is, epitaphs written on vellum or paper and fixed to boards and wooden structures which were placed in close proximity to certain tombs. This kind of epigraphy, scarcely preserved, is known nowadays chiefly through the texts of early historians and chroniclers of monasteries and cathedrals. While recent work on English sites has begun to consider such material, elsewhere, as is the case in Spain, these inscriptions remain largely unnoticed. This article, therefore, attempts to understand and contextualise the existence of the Iberian tabulae as they relate to similar examples in England and France.

First-rate and second-hand: Tombstones produced by Vincent Lucas in sixteenth-century Friesland (Netherlands)

Winner of the CMS Essay Prize Competition 2016


Tombstones are rarely signed by their maker yet this practice was apparently not so

uncommon in the northern Dutch province of Friesland. One sculptor who often signed his

work was Vincent Lucas, who was active in the mid sixteenth century. Curiously, one of his

tombstones in Franeker which commemorates Gerardus Agricola is signed 1555, whereas

Agricola died in 1598, an unusual discrepancy of forty-three years that documents in the

local archives can help explain. This article will discuss the commemorative output of Lucas

and his teacher Benedictus Gerbrandts, along with workshop practices, from producing

monuments ‘on spec’ and custom-made memorials commissioned by patrons in their

lifetime, to re-use of older tombstones.

Two contrasting seventeenth-century church monuments in the Province of Ulster


This paper describes two little-known early-seventeenth-century funerary monuments to Englishmen and their families in two Ulster churches: one in Co. Donegal, and one in Co. Antrim. The Donegal exemplar is somewhat unsophisticated, but the Antrim one is very grand, standing comparison with some of the better contemporary work in England. Drawing on a wide range of sources, the author considers both in the contexts of the ‘Plantation’ or colonisation of Ulster under King James VI and I, of Ireland generally, and within the wider aspect of other funerary monuments in Northern Europe.

Painted remembrance: The drawings and paintings of the Dutch seventeenth-century Ter Borch family


This article discusses quintessentially personal expressions of commemoration, viz. in painting and poetry, thereby offering a more nuanced notion of remembrance than is implied by the conventional narrow scholarly focus on funerary monuments. The collection of poems and drawings by the Dutch seventeenth-century Ter Borch family was discovered in 1882 and subsequently acquired for the largest part by the Rijksprentenkabinet in Amsterdam. It offers us an insight into the varied interests among this artistic family in Zwolle, in particular the sometimes morbid drawings by the unmarried daughter Gesina ter Borch (1631–90). These may be explained in part by the many losses in her family, especially the early death in battle of her youngest brother Moses near Felixstowe in 1667: he was buried in Harwich instead of his home town of Zwolle (Overijssel). To commemorate him, Gesina collaborated with her famous half-brother Gerard ter Borch (1617–81) on an allegorical posthumous oil portrait of Moses, which was acquired by the Rijksmuseum in 1995.

‘Defunctus adhoc loquitur’. The monument to Archbishop Isaak Isakowicz in the Armenian Cathedral in Lvov

Runner-up in the CMS Essay Prize Competition 2016


The mural monument to Archbishop Isakowicz (1824–1901) is one of three surviving figurative memorials in the medieval cathedral of Lvov and was erected in 1905, during a period when both the Armenian cathedral and the Armenian community of the city were undergoing major transformations aimed at re-shaping the church’s building and re-defining the Armenian identity (the former being a means to achieve the latter). It is argued that the monument could be understood both as a means of this transformation and as a telling testimony to the self-awareness of the Armenians of Lvov with respect to their history and culture at the beginning of the twentieth century. Furthermore, the unparalleled quality of the work made it an attractive and persuasive tool in a campaign for the re-Armenisation of the cathedral and the first ‘truly Armenian’ element in the church’s interior. The almost palpable presence of the first defender of the Armenian rite, shown in a niche with matching Armenian surround, legitimated the efforts aimed at stripping the cathedral walls bare of their Baroque décor, revealing their original (i.e. Armenian) decoration carved in stone. Apart from the ideological message it carries, the monument is an exquisite work of art, probably the best portrait sculpture by the Lvov artist Juliusz Bełtowski, and one that stands comparison with the best examples of Berninesque portrait busts.

Humphrey Llwyd of Denbigh: A musical monument


The hitherto unidentified musical ‘epytaph’ of Humphrey Llwyd of Denbigh (d. 1568) has been shown to be a psalm-tune from the Geneva Psalter, and a theory is advanced as to its contemporary significance.


At 240 pages it is the largest volume to date and also contains the longest article in its history, viz. an overview paper of medieval monuments in precious metal (copper alloy or 'bronze', Limoges enamel, silver and gilt) across Europe.

The list of contents is as follows:

pp. 7-104. Sally Badham and Sophie Oosterwijk, '"Monumentum aere perennius"? Precious-metal effigial tomb monuments in Europe 1080-1430.

Probably the most prestigious monuments produced in the Middle Ages were those constructed from (semi-)precious metals, sometimes enamelled or inlaid with real or fictive jewels. Some survive, especially in England and Germany. However, many more have been destroyed, especially in France, and are known of only through antiquarian sources. This preliminary materiality-based survey comprises 119 extant and lost examples throughout Europe in the 350-year period to 1430, starting with the monument to Rudolph of Swabia (d. 1080). It shows how magnificent such monuments could be, how widespread this type of monument once was and how it was favoured within certain families and locations, but also how much we have lost. To demonstrate the splendour of such memorials and the techniques involved, a case study is provided of the virtually unknown, but internationally important monument of Prince Afonso (d. 1400) in Braga Cathedral in northern Portugal, which has recently been the subject of detailed technical analysis.

pp. 105-122. David Green, 'The tomb of the Black Prince. Contexts and Incongruities'.

In order to resolve a number of apparent incongruities, this paper explores the exequies and funerary monument of Edward the Black Prince (1330-76) in a variety of contexts. It explains the choice of materials for the prince’s militaristic effigy (copper-gilt, not alabaster) and its unusual location (at Canterbury Cathedral, not the Plantagenet mausoleum at Westminster Abbey), which features stand in seeming contrast to the religious implications of his epitaph. This explicit denigration of the earthly body, set upon the tomb-chest designed by Henry Yevele, was based on Petrus Alphonsi’s De Disciplina Clericalis. It offers a striking contrast to the socio-political implications of other aspects of the monument which are a tribute to chivalric achievement and worldly glory. The apparent incongruities, however, reflect a range of socio-political and religious trends evident in the later years of the fourteenth century.

pp. 123-166. Jean L. Wilson, 'Speaking stones. The use of text in the design of Early Modern funerary monuments'.

The viewer of early modern funerary monuments is expected to read a series of texts, some visual, some literary and some symbolic, which are interdependent and together make up the whole of the monumental commemoration. This paper examines the verbal element of these monuments and shows how the incorporation of text into the design means that it itself becomes part of the viewer/reader's visual experience of the memorial.

pp. 167-190. Meredith Crosbie, 'Giusto Le Court's seventeenth-century Venetian naval funerary monuments'.

This essay focuses on the sculptor Giusto Le Court and four funerary monuments he worked on in seventeenth-century Venice. They are dedicated to Venetian naval officers and feature both portrait sculptures and allegorical figures. They have never been studied together from a sculptural perspective, so this essay highlights Le Court’s unique style and personalised approach to each of these memorials, which have both commemorative and art-historical significance. A chronological and stylistic analysis (with some new interpretations) of each monument is presented, in order to re-contextualise and illuminate these works by a largely unstudied sculptor.

pp. 191-200. Rebecca Senior, 'Sculpting Heroes. David d'Angers's Le Jeune Barra (1838) and Edward Onslow Ford's monument to Percy Bysshe Shelley (1893)'.

This article relates Edward Onslow Ford’s monument to Percy Bysshe Shelley (1893) to David d’Angers’s sculpture Le Jeune Barra (1838), arguing that biographic and artistic affinities between the subjects and sculptors form the basis for a re-interpretation of Ford’s monument and its position within nineteenth-century sculpture. Both Bara’s and Shelley’s radical political views are assessed, as well as the respective positions of d’Angers within the French school of sculpture and Ford within the English New Sculpture movement, to suggest a cross-continental visual language that broached the early- and late-nineteenth-century genres of military and poetic memorialisation.

pp. 201-237. Book Reviews include:

- Nicole Marafioti, The King’s Body : Burial and Succession in Late Anglo-Saxon England (University of Toronto Press, 2014)

- Martin Heale (ed), The Prelate in England and Europe, 1300-1560 (York Medieval Press, 2014)

- Ronda Kasl, The Making of Hispano-Flemish Style: Art, Commerce, and Politics in Fifteenth-Century Castile (Brepols, 2014)

- James Ayres, Art, Artisans and Apprentices: Apprentice Painters & Sculptors in the Early Modern British Tradition (Oxbow, 2014)

- Knut Görich & Romedio Schmitz-Esser (eds), BarbarossaBilder. Entstehungskontexte, Erwartungshorizonte und Verwendungszusammenhänge (Schnell & Steiner, 2014)

- Sebastian Schulze, Mitteldeutsche Bildhauer der Renaissance und des Frühbarock (Schnell & Steiner, 2014)

- Rainer Hugener, Buchführung für die Ewigkeit Totengedenken, Verschriftlichung und Traditionsbildung im Spätmittelalter (Chronos Verlag, 2014)

- A-M. van Egmond and C. Chavannes, Medieval Art in the Northern Netherlands before Van Eyck (Clavis, 2014)

- Minou Schraven, Festive funerals in Early Modern Italy. The Art and Culture of Conspicuous Commemoration (Ashgate, 2014)

- Anne Markham Schulz, The Sculpture of Tullio Lombardo (Harvey Miller/Brepols 2014)

- Jan Chlibec and Jiri Rohacek, Figure & Lettering: Sepulchral Sculpture of the Jagiellonian Period in Bohemia (Artefactum, 2014)

- Jerome Bertram, Iconography and Epigraphy. The Meaning of European Brasses and Slabs, 2 vols (lulu, 2015)

- George Nash (ed.), An Anatomy of a Priory Church: The Archaeology, History and Conservation of St Mary's Priory Church, Abergavenny (Archaeopress, 2015).