Depiction of Architecture and Furniture in Medieval French Manuscript Illumination

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The architecture and furniture of the Middle Ages in France reflects the society of the time. Carolingian, Romanesque and Gothic styles will be shown in the illuminations on the manuscripts. There are illustrations on bibles, books of hours, gospel books and later on, romances of chivalry, chronicles and encyclopedic works. There will even be architectural frames around the miniatures. Included here is a consideration of homes, castles and palaces, studios, churches, monasteries and towns. The author describes and the reader will see interiors of main rooms, banquet halls and bedchambers. In regard to furniture, various pieces will be described and depicted in the manuscript paintings: footstools, chairs, thrones, tables, buffets, desks, chests and beds. The architectural styles of the period will influence the making of furniture. That is the reason why both architecture and furniture are viewed here together. There is a wealth of material available which is valuable to note for the history of mankind. Medieval scholars and people in general will find the book interesting and different. The book contains thirty-five illustrations, coming from manuscripts found in libraries of diverse parts of the world.


“Again Dr. Gathercole has contributed to our knowledge concerning how people lived during the Middle Ages in France. The very title of this new work gives the broad scope of the study included … The treatment of actual furniture as shown in the manuscripts of the period is extensive, leaving the reader with a well-founded and wide range of necessities and comforts, more than many readers would expect to see ...” – John E. Keller, Professor Emeritus, University of Kentucky

“In her latest work, Dr. Patricia Gathercole navigates the reader on an amazing voyage through Medieval France via illuminated manuscripts. Her descriptive analysis of a wide variety of manuscript art demonstrates her extraordinary attention to detail and makes this impressive book an especially informative journey ... It is fortunate that manuscript illuminations have survived throughout the ages because most of the settings and furnishings of the Middle Ages have long disappeared. It is through works such as Dr. Gathercole’s that the reader today is able to view the studios of manuscript writers, to explore the elaborate throne rooms and banquet tables of French royalty, and to examine the household furnishings of the common folk. Indeed, a reading of this fascinating book will illuminate and excite the imagination.” – Professor Patricia Jordahl, Roanoke College

Table of Contents

Preface by John E. Keller
Part I. Architecture
Part II. Individual Rooms
Part III. Furniture
Part IV. General Conclusion
Selected Bibliography

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