New Book | Country Church Monuments

Posted in books by Editor on October 31, 2022

From Penguin Books:

C. B. Newham, Country Church Monuments (London: Particular Books, 2022), 728 pages, ISBN: 978-0241488331, £40.

A landmark illustrated history of rural church monuments, the forgotten national treasures of England and Wales

Deep in the countryside, away from metropolitan abbeys and cathedrals, thousands of funerary monuments are hidden in parish churches. These artworks—medieval brasses and elegant marble effigies, stone tomb chests, and grand mausoleums—are of great historical and cultural significance, but have, due to their relative inaccessibility, faded from accounts of our art history.

Over twenty-five years, C. B. Newham has visited and photographed more than eight thousand rural churches, cataloguing the monumental sculptures encountered on his quest. In Country Church Monuments, he presents 365 of the very best, each accompanied by detailed photographs, biographies of both the deceased and their sculptors, and a wealth of contextual material. Many of these works commemorate famous historical figures, from scheming Tudor courtier Richard Rich to Victorian prime minister William Ewart Gladstone. But more moving are the countless others—minor aristocrats, small-time industrialists, much-loved mothers, fathers, and children—who, if not for their memorials, would wholly be lost to time. As Newham blows the dust off these artworks and breathes life into the stories they tell, a new aesthetic history of rural England and Wales emerges. Country Church Monuments is a poignant record of the art we make at the borders of life and death, of our ceaseless human striving for eternity.

C. B. Newham lives in Yorkshire, England. A fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, he is Director of The Digital Atlas of England, a complete photographic record of English’s parish churches.

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