An Important Anglo Danish carved sandstone pillar slab , School of Bakewell

An Important Anglo Danish carved sandstone pillar slab , School of Bakewell

1000 to 1200 England

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An Important Anglo Danish carved sandstone pillar slab, School of Bakewell, Derbyshire
10th / 11th Century

Size : 95 cm high, 30 cm wide, 12 cm deep
The dating of these slabs has been made possible by the Normans' use of them as foundation stones in the building of their newly designed churches of the 12th century.
In 1077-1088 AD Abbot Paul of St Albans denouced them as pagan : 'Rudes et Idotae' , thus sanctioning their use as foundation rubble.
Northumbria during the Dark Ages was the origin of much art and craft but in time this original style was greatly modified by various craftsmen as it filtered down through the different regions of the country.
The old Anglian School of carving, foremost in 7th century Northumbria, had a strong 'English' element and this became mixed with the cultural identity of the old established Saxons and of the newly arrived Danish Vikings and eventually led to a new, if somewhat more naive style, mostly executed by local untrained craftsmen. the best of the earlier 'high' Anglian art having been killed off bt the Danish invasions around 867 AD.
The pre-Norman fragments unearthed during 19th century Victorian renovations at Bakewell church in Derbyshire exhibit this Anglo Danish cultural conversion of the original Northumbrian purity of style. There are several stone fragments stacked inside the west door which bear a great similarity to this more complete example and which therefore seems to confirm the existence of a 'School of Bakewell', as put forward by John Ruskin's great friend Collingwood in his extensive survey 'Northumbrian Crosses of the Pre-Norman Age'.
Around 950 AD, local craftsmen centred on the settlement at Bakewell, were carving these stone monuments from the local Derbyshire sandstone. The round shoulders and the nimbus about the head of this example are typical of this modified style practised in the 10th century of the old Northern School of Anglian Carving.
The drill holes in the eyes which are significant in many of these pillar slabs often contained glass or crystal fragments that would sparkle and cause wonder in the darkness of a Dark Age chapel interior.
The round shoulders are an example of this style of carving in the late 10th century. The nimbus around the head shows that the figure represents a Saint - perhaps St Cuthbert?.
cf. Collingwood, Northumbrian Crosses of the Pre-Norman Age
Knighton, Laurence; All Saints Parish Church, Bakewell
Dimensions
Height 95.00 cm (37.40 inches)
Width 30.00 cm (11.81 inches)
Depth 12.00 cm (4.72 inches)
Medium
Sandstone
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