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  • Perspectives for an Architecture of Solitude: Essays on Cistercians, Art and Architecture in Honour of Peter Fergusson
  • Elizabeth Freeman
Kinder, Terryl N. , ed., Perspectives for an Architecture of Solitude: Essays on Cistercians, Art and Architecture in Honour of Peter Fergusson ( Medieval Church Studies 11; Cîteaux Studia et Documenta 13); Turnhout and Cîteaux, Brepols and Cîteaux, Commentarii Cistercienses, 2004; paper; pp. xii, 409; 232 b/w figures, 2 colour plates; R.R.P. not known; ISBN 2503516920.

This book contains thirty-four essays, all prompted by an appreciation of Peter Fergusson's research, particularly his 1984 study of Cistercian architecture. Architecture of Solitude: Cistercian Abbeys in Twelfth-Century England (Princeton, 1984) identified a specifically Cistercian church architecture in England, one heavily dependent on influences from Cîteaux. Twenty years later, some of the contributors address Fergusson's thesis directly (and in fact expand the discussion by examining buildings beyond the church, such as infirmaries and grange buildings), some of them provide more general architectural and archaeological studies, and some of them discuss Cistercians but with no reference to architecture or archaeology. Hence, it is a broad collection. Most, but not all, of the essays relate to the Cistercians, and the areas covered include England, France, Scotland, the Holy Land, Wales, Ireland, the Low Countries, Germany, and Spain.

Conrad Rudolph opens the collection with a study of the earliest Christian legislation on art, namely canon 36 from the early fourth-century Synod of Elvira. Then Christopher Norton provides a handy survey of scholarship regarding Thurstan of York's letter concerning the origins of Fountains abbey, before then untangling the two original texts from which the letter comes. Glyn Coppack surveys the earliest Cistercian churches in England, pointing out that in the early period there were no cloisters or chapter house buildings. Janet Burton suggests that the twelfth-century rise to prominence of Rievaulx was less rapid than we have imagined. Rather than remain in the thrall of Aelred, we should instead look to Durham and King David of Scotland as two supporters who facilitated Rievaulx's rise. Jens Rüffer also examines Rievaulx, arguing that Aelred's ideas about friendship were utopian and impractial in such a large monastery, but that they were nonetheless still admired. Emilia Jamroziak provides case studies of some Yorkshire Cistercian abbeys and gift-giving, and thereby demonstrates the social ties linking Cistercians with their neighbours.

The later essays are more strictly architectural or archaeological. Alexandra Gajewski examines the third Clairvaux church, which dates from the 1150s. The nine radiating chapels were unusual at the time, and may even have [End Page 150] seemed ostentatious, but it is suggested that they made sense in the context of Clairvaux's role as both cult centre for Bernard and increasingly influential leader of reformed monasticism. Richard Fawcett surveys the history of the little known monks' abbey of Culross, the only Cistercian church in Scotland still in use. Nicola Coldstream analyses the dissemination throughout Europe and the Crusader East of the architectural style of the cenacle (the upper room of the Last Supper), while Lindy Grant analyses the links between the church building, the housing of relics, and the literary productions that all occurred at Savigny in the late twelfth and mid-thirteenth centuries. Next Lawrence Butler investigates three Welsh Cistercian abbeys, particularly the matter of the east end choir. Stuart Harrison and Malcolm Thurlby both extend Fergusson's research into the Cistercian crossing tower. Harrison reevaluates evidence for Britain and Ireland and provides a survey of developments since Fergusson's research, while Thurlby examines the Fountains crossing tower in tandem with continental examples. Ellen M. Shortell, inspired by Fergusson's study of Cistercian gatehouses, examines the tower of the collegiate church of Saint-Quentin in Picardy, a romanesque survivor in a Gothic period. Nigel Hiscock then studies the thirteenth-century portfolio of church plans by Villard de Honnecourt, of which two plans relate to Cistercian churches. Sheila Bonde and Clark Maines conduct a spatial analysis of the Augustinian abbey of Saint-Jean-des-Vignes, Soissons, examining the potential movement of the canons, lay visitors, conversi, and women.

The next set of Cistercian essays extend the...


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