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Marian art and materiality in Gothic England: the West Facade of Wells Cathedral Reconsidered

Matthew Reeve
Queen's University
Watson Hall 517

Although the west façade of Wells Cathedral has been carefully studied and its centrality in studies of Gothic art is unquestioned, a series of problems concerning its date, original form and meaning remain. This paper focuses on the archaeology of its central portal, featuring the Coronation of the Virgin. Working from the archaeological evidence, it offers a reconstruction of the portal which leads to a broader consideration of the place of the imagery in British and European medieval art. This informs an exploration of the meanings of the façade as a whole within the context of then current commentaries on the Song of Songs in France and England and the gendering of form in the Gothic period.

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.