Posted on 16 May 2018
The thirteenth volume of the British Academy Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture - co-authored by our own Jane Hawkes - is now available. It focuses on the early medieval sculpture of the modern-day counties of Derbyshire and Staffordshire produced between the eighth and elventh centuries. Despite its admittedly unimaginative title it does what it says on the cover - and more. Eleven years in the making, the volume contains over 500 photographs, most taken by Jane, of every single piece of sculpture in the region, in addition to extensive introductory chapters on the historiography of the the monuments, the early medieval history of the region, the iconographic significances of the carvings, and the ways in which they relate to sculptures elsewhere in the Insular world, and the art of early medieval Europe more generally. The material includes probably the greatest number of monuments carved with figural iconography extant from early medieval England so the volume includes extensive discussion of this, much of it for the first time (such as the crosses from Checkley in Staffordshire which were the first such monuments to be illustrated - in 1686 by Robert Plot, Professor of Chymistry [and Alchemy] at Oxford). The sculptures also emerge from a region that marked the inexact 'border' between the Danelaw and Wessex in the tenth and elenth centuries, and so provide interesting insight into transitional iconographies and motifs produced by cultures both Scandinavian and 'Mercian'. Also integral to the volume is the complete account the sculptures and carved stone-work that have emerged from the royal site of Repton in Derbyshire, and a report on their archaeological context/s - something that has been long awaited by Anglo-Saxonists. Overall: a 'must have'.