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Illuminating Narrative: An Interdisciplinary Investigation of the Fifteenth-century St Cuthbert Window, York Minster

Harrison, Katharine (2019) Illuminating Narrative: An Interdisciplinary Investigation of the Fifteenth-century St Cuthbert Window, York Minster. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

The fifteenth-century St Cuthbert Window, which is one of three vast windows in the east end of York Minster, is an internationally significant monumental narrative and the only extant Cuthbertine cycle in stained glass. Despite the rarity of its survival in situ, as well as the survival of both a known pictorial source and the wider monumental glazing scheme within which it was designed, few studies of the window have been undertaken. This thesis addresses the challenges posed by the window’s current condition by bringing together methodological developments in both hagiographic narrative analysis and stained glass studies to undertake an interdisciplinary investigation of the St Cuthbert Window. This interdisciplinary methodology is of value to the wider study of late medieval monumental narratives. The methodology adopted prioritises examination of the window and past interventions, using this as the foundation for broader exploration of the window’s hagiographic and socio-political contexts. As a result, this thesis provides an authoritative reconstruction of the original narrative, drawing upon multiple strands of evidence. The hagiographic context is established through a new reassessment of Cuthbertine narratives in the fifteenth century, which considers all of the diverse textual and pictorial cycles together for the first time. Exploration of the patterns of patronage in York Minster’s choir glazing, alongside the political and personal connections of the window’s donor, reveals new insights into the commissioning of the window and the wider scheme. These diverse strands of investigation are drawn together to provide, for the first time, a detailed analysis of the St Cuthbert Window’s narrative and iconographic themes. This thesis therefore presents a new reading of the St Cuthbert Window, within its wider hagiographic and socio-political contexts, which demonstrates the creativity and complexity of late medieval narrative design, and the dynamic nature of pictorial hagiographic narratives.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > History of Art (York)
The University of York > Centre for Medieval Studies (York)
Depositing User: Dr Katharine Harrison
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2019 09:45
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2019 09:45
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/25361

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