Saturday, February 01, 2014

Margaret E Owens, Afterlives of the Royal Funeral Effigies

I don't know if I learn something every day, but when I do it's often a happy experience. Yesterday Margaret Owens of the Department of English Studies at Nipissing University delivered a seminar presentation on how the royal funeral effigies (not the permanent tomb effigies) ended up becoming a permanent part of Westminster Abbey's royal souvenir collection. It was quite an interesting papery, but for me the chief point of interest was a very simple one. I had no idea that royal effigies were made to lie on the coffin of the dead monarch during the funeral procession, that most of them were still around, and that the faces of these figures were clearly taken from death masks, and reflect the actual features of such famous people as Edward III, seen above. (This practice began with Edward II and ended with Cromwell.)

How can I, who have worked fairly extensively in late medieval England, and have visited Westminster Abbey at least twice, been completely unaware of this? Humbling, I call it.

Anyway, if you are interested, you can perhaps go here and poke around. The Abbey doesn't make it particularly easy to find these effigies. I would have a webpage that links to all of them. If there is such a page I haven't found it.

No comments:

Post a comment