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M. Carter
The Art and Architecture of the Cistercians in Northern England, c.1300-1540

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XLVII+328 p., 110 b/w ill. + 8 colour ill., 4 b/w tables, 156 x 234 mm, 2019
ISBN: 978-2-503-58193-4
Languages: English
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Retail price: EUR 100,00 excl. tax
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A major reappraisal of the art and architecture of the Cistercians in the late Middle Ages

The Cistercian abbeys of northern England provide some of the finest monastic remains in all of Europe, and much has been written on their twelfth- and thirteenth-century architecture. The present study is the first in-depth analysis of the art and architecture of these northern houses and nunneries in the late Middle Ages, and questions many long-held opinions about the Order’s perceived decline during the period c.1300–1540. Extensive building works were conducted between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries at well-known abbeys such as Byland, Fountains, Kirkstall, and Rievaulx, and also at lesser-known houses including Calder and Holm Cultram, and at many convents of Cistercian nuns. This study examines the motives of Cistercian patrons and the extent to which the Order continued to enjoy the benefaction of lay society.

Featuring over a hundred illustrations and eight colour plates, this book demonstrates that the Cistercians remained at the forefront of late medieval artistic developments, and also shows how the Order expressed its identity in its visual and material cultures until the end of the Middle Ages.

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations


Colour Plates

Introduction: Debates and Definitions

Chapter 1: The Evidence

Chapter 2: Patronage

Chapter 3: Religious Art

Chapter 4: Death and Commemoration

Chapter 5: The Art and Architecture of Cistercian Nuns

Chapter 6: Suppression and Survival





"Das Buch von Carter bleibt (...) ein äußerst materialreicher und fundierter Beitrag zur spätmittelalterlichen Architektur und Kunst der Zisterzienser." (Jens Rüffer, in Sehepunkte, 19.12, 2019)

“Carter has assembled much fresh material on the later history of the order in the north of England has been assembled in this study, and he deserves particular praise for elucidating the Cistercian spirituality that underlaid their art and architecture until the very end. In addition to eight color plates, the volume contains a wealth of black-and-white illustrations, a very detailed bibliography, and a full index.” (Claire Cross, in Journal of British Studies, 59/3, 2020, p. 653)

“Carter displays a sharp eye for the detail of architecture and artefacts – which he reinforces with a fine selection of photographs of subjects that are not all of them well-known”. (James G. Clark, Journal of Ecclesiastical HIstory, 72, 2021, p. 164)

The Art and Architecture of the Cistercians in Northern England, c. 1300-540 succeeds in its goal of illustrating that late medieval Cistercian art and architecture is just as worthy of study as is that of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and deserves further attention. Author Michael Carter has written a book that will appeal to a wide variety of scholars, both historians and art historians.” (Katherine A. Rush, in The Medieval Review, 09/05/2021)

“It is essential reading for those interested in the English Cistercians in the later Middle Ages. It is a major piece of original research and study which has greatly advanced our knowledge and understanding of the late Cistercians in the north, and, for that matter, in England generally.” (Stuart Harrison, in Cîteaux, 70/3-4, 2019, p. 390)



Interest Classification:
Religion (including History of Religion) & Theology
Christian Church : religious orders
Fine Arts & Performing Arts
Art History (general)
Medieval art history
Medieval architecture
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : local & regional history
British Isles

This publication is also distributed by: Proquest e-books, ISD, Marston
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