Gothic Art for England 1400-1547, edited by Richard Marks and Paul Williamson, published by V&A Publications. ISBN 1851774017. £45 hb
PUBLISHED alongside a major exhibition at the V&A celebrating the glories of European art that dominated the Middle Ages and continued to offer architects and craftsmen a powerful alternative to classical styles and ideals, this book and the exhibition offer a moving and fascinating glimpse into the manifestation of that Europe-wide phenomenon in England until the end of the reign of Henry VIII in 1547.
A huge volume of treasures has been irretrievably lost as only about half a per cent of the art from this period survived the colossal act of destruction caused by Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries.
Since the majority of art in this period was religious, the result was an almost complete eradication of a marvellously rich culture.
Fascinating is what remains, and this book covers the stunning woodwork, ecclesiastical objects, including a heavily bejewelled portable altar, sculpture, wall paintings, magnificent armour, which includes the suit that Henry VIII wore to frighten the King of France, illuminated manuscripts and stained glass, tapestries and plate, books and jewels, beautifully photographed, provenanced and written by specialists.