My fascination with the iconography of the Virgin Annunciate spinning was born in the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University. I found myself, amongst the stacks, reading André Grabar’s tomes on early Christian iconography, coupled with everything I could find on late ancient images of the Virgin Mary. Those early inquiries amplified and guided my PhD studies, and have now become this book, a revised version of my doctoral dissertation.
My deepest gratitude goes to Dr. Emma Loosley at The University of Manchester for her fostering patience, generosity, and inspiring academic aptitude during my PhD studies. My PhD advisory panel at Manchester oversaw these inquiries, and I am indebted to Prof. Roger Ling as an invaluable resource of vast art historical knowledge, inquisitive reviews, and masterful editing. I am most thankful to Dr. David O’Connor and Dr. Kate Cooper for their specific insights, scholarship, and personal encouragement. Profs. Liz James and Gale Owen-Crocker were invaluable examiners who helped me untangle the threads of the past and weave them together in new and meaningful ways. Early in my studies I was privileged to have several enlightening conversations with John Peter Wild on textiles, cloth production techniques and artifacts. I am also grateful to the careful guidance of Dr. Mark J. Johnson at BYU for first fostering the love of early Christian and Byzantine art and architecture.
I have a number of colleagues that have consistently supported and assisted with these endeavors. Dr. Kristian Heal and Dr. Carl Griffin from the Neal A. Maxwell Institute have graciously read and edited much of this work. They have offered valuable insights and advice, for which I am enduringly grateful. Any errors or oversights are entirely my own. It was a great honor to receive a postdoctoral fellowship from the Maxwell Institute, which provided me with the funding necessary for many image permissions and the photographs reproduced here. My research assistant, Rachel Huntsman, spear-headed image acquisition and was a wonderful conversation partner in the final stages of the manuscript preparation. Gracious scholars such as Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Jamie Wood, and Leena Mari Peltomaa have also been kind and encouraging as this project has progressed, and have provided invaluable scholarly networking. The life of the mind is a rare and precious thing, and I am indebted to those who have shared their work with me.
I also wish to thank the staff and curators at the many libraries, museums, and institutions that aided in my research. In particular, I would like to mention those affiliated with the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Coptic textile division at the Louvre Museum, the nuns at the Catacombs of Priscilla in Rome, the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology, Dumbarton Oaks Library, John Rylands University Library, and the inter-library loan department at the Harold B. Lee Library. Additionally, it has been a pleasure to explore the collections at the Ashmolean Museum, the Musée National du Moyen Age, and the Cabinet des Médailles for iconographic source material.
Many friends also deserve my thanks for reading sections of this thesis and for believing that this endeavor was something special. Suzanne Christensen and Heather Hardy deserve acknowledgement and high praise for their careful reading and suggestions with regard to organization. I recognize the patient kindness of friends who have listened to my thoughts and theories, and who have cared for my family while I have frequently traveled for research.
Most deservedly, my gratitude, love, and admiration go to my dear family. You have been my true north throughout my studies and academic career. For my children particularly, know that you can achieve anything with faith, honesty, hard work, and a righteous goal. Absque Virtute Nihil