Monday 12 June 2017

A Monument Man Writes

I see that a year ago today, I put up a post about Monken Hadley in Hertfordshire, where I had come across, among other things, a fine wall monument by Nicholas Stone. This was not my first surprise encounter with Stone - the most surprising perhaps was at St Mary, Watford, a couple of years earlier (the Morison monument) - but it was part of a gradual process in which it dawned on me that Stone was a sculptor of real genius, as was his near contemporary Epiphanius Evesham, whose extraordinary work I had come across at Lynsted, Kent, and elsewhere. These two, I came to realise, represented the pinnacle of achievement of what was a golden age of English  monumental sculpture - a golden age that has barely registered on the national consciousness, largely because its best products are not collected together in museums but dispersed across the country's churches, often in obscure and remote parishes. This makes monument hunting fun (if you're that way inclined) and something of an adventure, but it does also mean that this flowering of English art is generally overlooked and under-appreciated.
  As regular readers might have noticed, I've become increasingly obsessed with seeking out church monuments, and I've quite often written about them on this blog. In recent months I've been developing a parallel project - to put together a book of loosely thematic essays built around my encounters with English church monuments - not a guide book, history or scholarly study, but something more subjective, wider-ranging, indeed more blog-like. It's in its early stages - and, happily, I have many more monuments to visit - but I'm vaguely hopeful of having it in some kind of finished form in a couple of years. If it ever appears (and Im pretty sure it will), it will be in online form, or print on demand.  I'll let you know.
 Meanwhile I'll keep plugging away...

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