Book Series Corpus of Medieval Misericords, vol. 1

Corpus of Medieval Misericords. France

Elaine C. Block

  • Pages: 452 p.
  • Size:215 x 280 mm
  • Illustrations:921 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2003

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-51239-6
  • Hardback
  • Available


"A mammoth undertaking by any stand, and one that clearly sets out to be a standard reference work for future generations: the author deserves to be congratulated on this huge undertaking. It is a feast for the medievalist and iconographer, and is hopefully destined to bring these carvings into the mainstream of research."    (C. Hourihane in Visual Resources, vol XX, March 2004)

"Blocks Corpus ist ebenso relevant für die Theologiegeschichte, die Volkskunde oder die Motivforschung in der Buchmalerei wie für die Kunstgeschichte mittelalterlicher Skulptur." (S. Wartena in Sehepunkte, 5 (2005), nr. 12, 15.12.2005)


The Corpus of Medieval Misericords (XIII-XXVI) consists of five volumes; the first four focus on the misericords and related choir stall carvings in specific regions of Europe. The fifth includes an extensive iconographic index of themes common to various countries as well as themes that are unique to a single country.

Volume I of this series, Medieval Misericords in France, covers approximately 300 churches that still contain gothic misericords with carved figures and narratives inspired by oral traditions suh as proverbs and folk tales, as well as by manuscript marginalia, romanesque capitals, illustrated bibles, engravings, playing cards... A vast portrayal of medieval life - rural activities, urban occupations, conjugal relationships, monastic life -- is displayed in these carvings under the seats of choir stalls along with costumes of the times, town and collegiate architecture, mechanical devices. Puns and rebuses are often intertwined with these themes to produce comic and, to twenty-first century eyes, mysterious puzzles. The global view of misericord carvings, generally ignored in studies of medieval art, is here presented as a multidisciplinary basis for further research by sociologists, historians, archeologists and other medieval scholars.

Following volumes include misericords in Iberia, Flemish and borthen Europe, Great Britain.