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Saxon and Norman Sculpture in Durham

  • G. Baldwin Brown
Extract

When one phase of decorative art for reasons historical, social, or religious, passes out of existence and is succeeded W by another, there generally occurs what is technically termed an ' overlap '. This is so common that it is often accepted without consideration as universal, and the expression ' Saxo-Norman overlap' is employed with reference to architecture of early twelfth century where it has validity, but also to decorative sculpture where it possesses no solid ground or meaning. Saxon stone carving is on different lines from Norman and the two do not coalesce, the Norman enriched tympanum carrying the Norman art, the free- standing carved cross the Saxon art. The above must be left for the moment as a statement which will later on receive its due explanation and support, but the subject of the present brief paper is germane to it.

It so happens that we possess datable specimens of late Saxon and early Norman sculpture in the shape of carved heads belonging to Saxon crosses that stood on the future site of the Norman Chapter House of Durham Cathedral and may be dated early in the eleventh century, and Norman enriched capitals of columns in the early Castle Chapel that can be placed in date before the year 1100.

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Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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