The iconography of St John the Baptist in medieval England, c. 1300-1550
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This thesis shows the importance of St John the Baptist in medieval England, especially in relation to the veneration of him through imagery. Noticeably absent from modern academic work, St John was a highly important saint in the church of the later Middle Ages. Focusing primarily on imagery from the years 1300 to 1550, or the late medieval period, I examine a collection of works of art which best highlight the devotional, didactic and intercessory roles that St John played in the lives of the medieval people. This thesis is broken down into two main chapters. Firstly, the ‘historic’ St John the Baptist is examined. A collection of documentary sources is used to form a context within which images of St John were viewed in the later Middle Ages. Scriptural and patristic sources help to illustrate the early history of the saint, while hagiographic sources further expanded upon the narratives. Liturgical, devotional and medieval documentary sources help us to understand the devotional feelings and practices of the people towards the saint. The second chapter focuses on the iconographical representation of the Baptist in English imagery of the later Middle Ages. Broken down by medium, I examine the representations of the Baptist in manuscript illuminations, monumental paintings, stained glass, sculpture, metalwork and textiles.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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