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Seeing & Being Seen: English Art in the 14th Century - HOA00062I

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  • Department: History of Art
  • Module co-ordinator: Information currently unavailable
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

This course explores the place of the visual and the importance of display in later medieval art and architecture.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

This course explores the place of the visual and the importance of display in later medieval art and architecture. It focuses upon a century that saw many changes in English religion, society and politics, including the peasants’ revolt, the beginning of the Hundred Years’ War with France and the replacement of the ruling Plantagenet dynasty. It also included a cataclysmic epidemic, the Black Death, which wiped out up to a half of the population.

The span will be a ‘long’ fourteenth century, venturing over the limits at either end.

Taking advantage of a rich literature on medieval bodies, visualities and identities, the course will range in scope from academic theories of vision, to the role of seeing in devotional culture and displays of lordship. Issues will include the development of portraiture, and the role of the visual in the fulfilment of spiritual needs and aspirations, both public and personal, for new audiences, especially women. We shall ask whether the Black Death had an effect on artistic representation. At court and on the battlefield, display was a central part of royal and aristocratic life in this ‘age of chivalry’.

The period witnessed the production of such individual wonders as the Luttrell Psalter and the Wilton Diptych, but also the development of complex architectural spaces, in which art was in dialogue with ritual and performance.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should have acquired:

  • Knowledge of a range of works of art and architecture, and of the contexts within which they were made

  • Understanding of approaches to their intepretation

  • Ability to present these works and apply these methods in seminars and written work


Task Length % of module mark
Intermediate Assignment
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Intermediate Assignment
N/A 100

Module feedback

You will receive feedback on assessed work within the timeframes set out by the University - please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.

The purpose of feedback is to help you to improve your future work. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further, you are warmly encouraged to meet your Supervisor during their Office Hours.

Indicative reading

  • Camille, Michael. The Gothic Idol, Ideology and Image Making in Medieval Art. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
  • Coldstream, Nicola. The Decorated Style, Architecture and Ornament, 1240–1360. London: British Museum Press, 1994.
  • Jones, Michael, ed. The New Cambridge Medieval History. Vol. 6, c. 1300-c.1415. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
  • Kessler, Herbert L. Seeing Medieval Art. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2004.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.