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English Cathedrals

Overview

Trained as an architect, Edwin Smith had a special feeling for church architecture, and over a long period he photographed extensively all of England's cathedrals. The cathedral photographs, which include some of his finest works, have not previously been assembled in a single volume, and many of the 200 selected for this book have not been reproduced before. The arrangement is chronological rather than by cathedral, showing the development of cathedral design for over 900 years, and Olive Cook's text is not only...
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Overview

Trained as an architect, Edwin Smith had a special feeling for church architecture, and over a long period he photographed extensively all of England's cathedrals. The cathedral photographs, which include some of his finest works, have not previously been assembled in a single volume, and many of the 200 selected for this book have not been reproduced before. The arrangement is chronological rather than by cathedral, showing the development of cathedral design for over 900 years, and Olive Cook's text is not only a commentary on the features illustrated but an original and scholarly account of the historical background and the changing. liturgical rites bound up with this development. This is not a conventional guidebook but a celebration of some of the world's great architectural masterpieces, yielding many new and revealing glimpses of exquisite details and extraordinary architectural conceits.
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Editorial Reviews

The Book Reader
Impressive.
Tablet
A cathedral guide without clichés…striking.
Library Journal
Originally published in France in 1988, The World of Chartres is an attractive and well-appointed work that balances scholarship with visual splendor. The 217 photographs, in color and black and white, are crisp and radiant. The cathedral's intriguing history and architectural development are simply yet effectively told, with chapters on the town, pilgrims, cathedral school, and the cathedral's organ placing Chartres in its larger cultural setting. Appendixes give architectural plans, a chronology, details on masons and craftsmen, and a summary of archaeological research and conservation work. Recommended for academic, special, and public libraries. The scope of van der Meulen's bibliography and research guide to Chartres, one of the largest in G.K. Hall's outstanding ``Reference Publications in Art History,'' is staggering. More than 800 years of Chartrian manuscripts, publications, and research are classified and described in 3,464 citations and a 19-page addendum. Research and writings on Chartres go back well beyond the inception of art history as a profession. Sources cover not only all building and embellishment at the site until modern times but also its popular image. After a laborious introduction, the cathedral's archaeological record is examined, followed by ecclesiastical, historical, and iconographic studies. Annotations vary from a terse sentence to several pages. Section introductions and editorial notes serve as much-needed signposts. This monumental undertaking is recommended for its organization, scope, and methodology. One yearns for a splash of color in English Cathedrals , a drab work that traces the development of English cathedral design for 900 years, beginning with the Norman invasion. The arrangement is chronological rather than by cathedral, so information on a specific building requires thumbing around. Besides architectural changes, a good dose of local history and lore is included. Corresponding changes in liturgical rites are also discussed, an element often overlooked in cathedral histories. The real disappointment is the photography--200 black-and-white images taken between 1949 and 1971. They are unevenly exposed and poorly contrasted, and the muddier shots give the book a dated look. A lengthy bibliography with only ten works printed in the last decade adds to that impression. The absence of maps, plans, and diagrams is another unfortunate aspect of this work. Architecture that embodies the celestial vision is also the focus of the more satisfying work by Wilson, The Gothic Cathedral. Monasteries, urban parish churches, and college chapels are included in this discussion of four centuries of Gothic church architecture (1130-1530). A host of styles is represented: meticulous French Early Gothic, brittle glass-walled Rayonnant, eclectic and densely inventive English Decorative, towering Perpendicular, jaggedly fantastical German Late Gothic, and blandly decorous Tuscan. The photographs and diagrams are adequate and the text is specialized and detailed. A glossary and a select bibliography by chapter are also useful. A fine synthesis of Gothic scholarship.-- Russell T. Clement, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo, Ut.
Booknews
Some 200 of noted architectural photographer Smith's (d. 1971) finest works are arranged chronologically, showing the development of English cathedral design for over 900 years (and showing, by-the-by, the glory of b&w photography). The splendid text is by Smith's widow and frequent collaborator. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780906969625
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 1/25/1990
  • Pages: 285
  • Product dimensions: 7.96 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

Edwin Smith, who died in 1971, was one of the most brilliant architectural photographers of his generation. Many books of his work have been published, covering a wide variety of subjects from parish churches to country cottages and gardens, mostly in collaboration with his wife Olive Cook. John Hadfield has also edited Victorian Delights: Reflections of Taste in the Nineteenth Century, available from New Amsterdam Books.
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