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Art & Imagery in York Minster - MST00024M

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  • Department: Centre for Medieval Studies
  • Module co-ordinator: Information currently unavailable
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2021-22

Module aims

York Minster is the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe. It preserves the most extensive collection ofmedieval stained glass in Britain, dating from the late twelfth to the early sixteenth century. Its architectural sculpture is of great variety and importance. In its thirteenth-century chapter house it boasts one of Europes most remarkable feats of structural engineering, designed to showcase a decorative display of exceptional richness manifest in several media. By the end of the Middle Ages its choir housed the largest late-medieval
shrine base in England, while an earlier cult site remained a focus for pilgrim interest. Much of this medieval imagery has survived and further light is shed by the antiquarian record, which is exceptionally rich.

This course will examine some of the surviving iconographic schemes in the Minster, looking not just at the stained glass, but also at the remaining medieval sculpture and monumental paintings so as to give as comprehensive a view as possible of the imagery in the Minster. We will start with the earliest standing part of the building, viz the transepts and chapter house. While following a broad chronological outline, so as to situate the works of art within the architectural development of the building, we shall focus on material which exemplifies the great variety of imagery, both theological and religious, and secular and humorous, within the Minster; and we shall be able to draw on literature which ranges from early antiquarian sources up to a number of very recent studies.

The art and imagery of the Minster will also be considered in relation to other contemporary schemes both at home and abroad. Seminars will be conducted both in the building and in the class-room and we will take full advantage of current conservation projects in order to gain privileged access to some of the Minsters most extraordinary treasures.

Module learning outcomes

Information currently unavailable


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

Written and/or verbal feedback on draft essay; written report on final assessment within six weeks of submission and within two weeks of re-submission.

Indicative reading

  • S. Brown, Stained Glass at York Minster (London: Scala, 1999)
  • S. Brown, Our Magnificent Fabrick: York Minster, An Architectural History c. 1220-1500 (Swindon: English Heritage, 2003)
  • C. Norton, Richard Scrope and York Minster, in P.J.P. Goldberg, ed, Richard Scrope, Archbishop, Rebel, Martyr (Donington: Shaun Tyas, 2007), pp.138-213.

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.