The Baptismal Font Canopy of St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich

Studies of a Medieval Monument over Four Centuries


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The early 16th-century baptismal font canopy of the church of St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich, is one of only three such structures to survive anywhere in the British Isles. This study, inspired by the recent rediscovery of four attributable panels at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, offers a trans-temporal account of the canopy’s initial creation and subsequent use, mutilation, and modification. Written by a team of scholars in art/architectural history, art conservation, heritage documentation, literary studies, and museum curation, it explores the installation’s multiple artistic, ritual, and cultural contexts, from late medieval and early modern Europe to modern-day North America. Contributors are Benjamin Baaske, Sarah Blick, Kate Duffy, Brent R. Fortenberry, Amy Gillette, Jack Hinton, Lesley Milner, Peggy Olley, Ellen K. Rentz, Behrooz Salimnejad, Zachary Stewart, Achim Timmermann, Charles Tracy, Kim Woods, and Lucy Wrapson.

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Amy Gillette (Ph.D., Temple University, 2016) is a research associate at the Barnes Foundation. She has published on pre-modern and modern objects in the Barnes collection, and on images of angels in medieval and Byzantine visual culture.
Zachary Stewart (Ph.D., Columbia University, 2015) is Associate Professor of Architectural History and Theory and James M. Singleton IV ’66, FAIA, Endowed Professor at Texas A&M University. He has published widely on the art and architecture of medieval Britain.
List of Tables, Plates, and Figures

Introduction: A Meditation on the Art-Historical Fragment
Amy Gillette and Zachary Stewart

Part 1: Settings

1 A “Parish Church Par Excellence”: The Architecture and Arts of St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich, from the Conquest to the Reformation
Zachary Stewart

2 The Treasure House of the Church of St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich: What Factors Best Explain Its Position and Design?
Lesley Milner

Part 2: Analyses

3 A Technical Study of the Font and Font Canopy at St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich, in the East Anglian Context
Lucy Wrapson

4 Four English Carved Panels at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Associated with the Church of St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich: A Technical Analysis
Kate Duffy, Jack Hinton, Peggy Olley and Behrooz Salimnejad

5 The Challenges of Visualizing Fixed Monuments in Medieval Art and Architectural History
Brent R. Fortenberry and Benjamin Baaske

6 Toward a Reconstruction of the Mancroft Font Canopy
Zachary Stewart

Part 3: Contexts

7 English Medieval Timber Church Furniture c.1300–1540
Charles Tracy

8 Thinking with the Font: Ritual and Drama
Ellen K. Rentz

9 The Microarchitectural Mise-en-Scène of Baptism, c.1200–c.1700: A Short History
Achim Timmermann

10 Hidden in Plain Sight: How the Complex Iconography of Late-Medieval English Font Covers Saved Some
Sarah Blick

11 “Gloriously Appareled”: The Ornament of the St. Peter Mancroft Canopy
Amy Gillette

Part 4: Afterlives

12 The Afterlife of Late Gothic Furnishings in British Churches and Collections
Kim Woods

13 “A Study Close at Hand of These Fine Examples of Gothic Decoration”: The Collecting of English Medieval Woodcarvings in American Museums
Jack Hinton

Appendix: Technical and Analytical Terminology
University libraries, art museum libraries, and art conservation studios serving academics, professionals, and students in the fields of art history, art conservation, heritage documentation, religious studies, and museum studies—particularly sub-fields focused on Britain and/or the late medieval/early modern periods.
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