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Funerary Monuments and Memorials in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh

Author : James Stevens Curl

Publisher : Whitstable: Historical Publications Ltd., 2013
ISBN: 978-1-905286-49-2 (hbk)
ISBN: 978-1-905286-48-5 (pbk)

The funerary monuments and memorials in the Church of Ireland (Anglican) Cathedral Church of St Patrick, Armagh, include fine works by celebrated sculptors including Bacon, Chantrey, Farrell, Marochetti, Nollekens, Roubiliac, Rysbrack, and others, yet are not widely known. This comprehensively illustrated book describes and shows all of them, as well as giving details of the artists and their subjects, thereby filling an unaccountable gap in the literature.

Reviews

‘Curl is, as always, good company. His style is urbane and leisurely. He is widely read: it is nice to find Microcosmographia Academica cited in the splendidly combative Preface and he makes good use of early writers on funerary monuments as well as giving the dismal societies, such as the Church Monuments Society, their due … There are some particularly good features: dates are given for the excellent photographs, and there is a full account of the heraldry in the form of both footnotes and an illustrated appendix … No one using this book would be able to leave St Patrick’s without being thoroughly informed about all aspects of its rich sculptural possessions. In this pioneering work Professor Curl has produced a model for others to follow, and a standard for them to aspire to.’

Jean Wilson in The Antiquaries Journal xciv (2014) 404-5

‘…a very welcome contribution to a worthy, if neglected place… Throughout, Professor Curl’s scholarly text is lively and deeply engaging.’

Kevin V. Mulligan in Irish Arts Review (March-May 2014) 136-7

‘It is a great pleasure to have available an authoritative guide, … a worthy memorial for the rich gallery of monumental art in St Patrick’s, which deserves to be better known.’

The Ven David Meara in The Times (24 August 2013) 84

‘a beautiful record of quality artworks. Blessed with a receptive eye, the author, in this honourable tribute to his long-dead father, has given us a scholarly feast in which refined text and splendid illustration celebrate largely unsung art on free display.'

Susan Wilson in THE (Times Higher Education) 2107 (27 June-3 July 2013) 47

‘Curl is, as always, good company. His style is urbane and leisurely. He is widely read: it is nice to find Microcosmographia Academica cited in the splendidly combative Preface and he makes good use of early writers on funerary monuments as well as giving the dismal societies, such as the Church Monuments Society, their due … There are some particularly good features: dates are given for the excellent photographs, and there is a full account of the heraldry in the form of both footnotes and an illustrated appendix … No one using this book would be able to leave St Patrick’s without being thoroughly informed about all aspects of its rich sculptural possessions. In this pioneering work Professor Curl has produced a model for others to follow, and a standard for them to aspire to.’

Jean Wilson in The Antiquaries Journal xciv (2014) 404-5

‘Curl’s book begins with a short history of the building’s fabric, a clear plan showing the locations of the monuments discussed, and then a series of chapters that guide us round the parts of the cathedral, with full accounts of each monument, its inscription, biographies of the deceased, a discussion of the design and its sculptural authorship and, best of all, the sort of witty Johnsonian asides that we have come to expect from Professor Curl’s books (such as his entertaining Oxford Dictionary of Architecture)…  [He encourages] us to look with fresh eyes on the funerary art of the past…’

Christopher Catling in SALON (Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter) 300 (17 June 2013) Books by Fellows

‘This is in many respects a trail-blazing book, not only within the province of Northern Ireland, but equally as an account of funeral monuments which nearly all date from the eighteenth century and later. It manifests a profound scholarship, a confident erudition, and is packed full of information…Available in both hard and softback editions, the production quality of both is exceptional, and along with the author, the designer and printer should also be congratulated on this splendid book.’

Paul Cockerham in Church Monuments: Journal of the Church Monuments Society xxviii (2013) 161-3
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