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The Wyvern Collection: Medieval and Renaissance Sculpture and Metalwork (The Wyvern Collection)

Paul Williamson


The definitive catalogue of one of the most important collections of medieval art in private hands

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This is the first in a series of definitive catalogues of one of the world’s most important, yet rarely seen, private collections of medieval art. Composed of outstanding European sculptures of the Medieval period, as well as some Late Antique and Byzantine pieces and related works of the post-Medieval era, the collection comprises more than 200 objects, almost all from the period 300–1550, made from wood, stone (including alabaster and marble) and terracotta. There are also medieval works of art in metal, mostly consisting of crucifix figures (corpora), and other functional metalware such as aquamanilia (water vessels for the washing of hands) and candlesticks. The earliest object is a Celto-Roman stone head, probably made as a cult object; there are also important Romanesque and Gothic pieces from northern France, Germany, England, Spain and Italy. Other religious objects such as reliquaries and statues display exquisite craftsmanship and hint at the taste of some of the most discerning, wealthy and pious patrons of their times. Each entry includes a full discussion of related pieces and provenance. The book concludes with a useful detailed bibliography.

Many of these pieces would be cherished in any of the world’s great museum collections of medieval art, and even the less celebrated pieces open up wider areas of study. This book will enthral all who are intrigued by the material culture of the Middle Ages, and those interested in sculpture and metalwork more broadly.

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'There could be few more qualified guides to an important private collection of medieval art than Paul Williamson'

'The combination of the unfaltering taste of the collector, who has, as he acknowledges in his foreword, been advised by some of the best medieval curators of our time, and Williamson’s erudition and deep understanding of sculpture make this volume a landmark. … this volume is also a useful primary source in the history of taste. After reading it, one can only impatiently await the publication of the next'
Burlington magazine

'Of the right calibre and breadth to guide us confidently through the salient moments of the history of European medieval sculpting and casting'
The Art Newspaper

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 27.6 x 21.9 cm

Extent: 384 pp

Illustrations: 228

Publication date: 14 June 2018

ISBN: 9780500021774

Contents List

Foreword • Introduction • I. Late Antique and Byzantine (cat. 1–8) • II. Romanesque and Early Gothic 1050-1200 (cat. 9–44) • III. Europe in the 13th Century (cat. 45–68) • IV. Europe in the 14th Century (cat. 69–92) • V. Europe in the First Half of the 15th Century (cat. 93–126) • VI. Europe in the Second Half of the 15th Century (cat. 127–164) • VII. Europe in the First Half of the 16th Century (cat. 165–179) • VIII. Post-Medieval (cat. 180–187)

About the Author

Paul Williamson was until January 2016 Keeper of the Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics and Glass department at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where he worked for thirty-seven years. He has written and lectured extensively on medieval sculpture and ivory carvings. His many books include volume 1 of the Wyvern Collection catalogues, Medieval and Renaissance Sculpture and Metalwork; Gothic Sculpture 1140–1300; Netherlandish Sculpture; and Medieval Ivory Carvings 1200–1550.