King’s College Chapel 1515–2015: Art, Music and Religion in Cambridge
A new book will be published early next month, marking the 500th anniversary of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, in 1446 by Henry VI. This book commemorates the anniversary and pays tribute to the artistic, musical, religious and cultural history of the building, from foundation to the present. The interdisciplinary volume contains essays on new research by eminent scholars, encompassing many aspects of the chapel’s history. The essays engage with politics, drama, iconoclasm, as well as the structure and aesthetics of the building, an outstanding example of Perpendicular architecture. The book is organized into three main sections; ‘Fabric and Furnishings’, ‘Life and Visiting’ and ‘Music and Performance’. Despite generous donations by subsequent monarchs, the distractions of civil war meant that it was not until the reign of the first Tudor king, Henry VII, that the bulk of work was done, and only in the summer of 1515 was the chapel’s stonework finally completed, with the installation of its spectacular fan vault, under the patronage of Henry VIII. The effects of the change in service ritual, religious practice and musicological values on the chapel’s life and existence are explored in this volume.
Amongst chapters on the engineering of the vaulting, the chapel’s altar pieces, the establishment’s musical culture, and the personalities who had an impact on the chapel and the college, are chapters dedicated to the stained-glass windows. The painted and stained glass of King’s College Chapel remains one of the glories of sixteenth-century northern European art and showcases the skill of European glaziers Barnard Flower, Galyon Hone and James Nicholson. The sections ‘Glassy Temporalities: The Chapel Windows of King’s College, Cambridge’ by James Simpson, and ‘The Great Glass Vista: A Condition Survey of the Stained Glass in King’s College Chapel’ by Stephen Clare are bound to be of particular interest to Vidimus readers. For images of the stained glass, visit the CVMA Picture Archive. The first volume to be produced by the British CVMA was its supplementary volume on King’s College Chapel, by Hilary Wayment. The genesis of this volume is discussed in detail in the history of the British CVMA’s establishment under the auspices of the British Academy.
The essays are accompanied by over 240 illustrations, most of which are produced in colour. The images show the chapel, its furnishings, documents and objects, as well as pictures of those who have made an impact on the college, and include prints, watercolours, oil paintings, photographs, architectural drawings, plans, maps and postcards.apt
The chapters are as follows:
Fabric and Furnishings
King’s College Chapel: Aesthetic and Architectural Responses
The Structure and Construction of the Chapel
John Ochsendorf and Matthew De Jong
Glassy Temporalities: The Chapel Windows of King’s College, Cambridge
Provost Robert Hacumblen and his Chantry Chapel
The Altarpieces in the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge
Jean Michel Massing
The Great Glass Vista: A Condition Survey of the Stained Glass in King’s College Chapel
Life and Visiting
The College and the Chapel
Peter Murray Jones
A Spanish Choirbook and Some Elizabethan Book Thieves
The Chapel Imagined, 1540–1830
The Start and Stop of Simeon
Drama in King’s College Chapel
Music and Performance
Chapel and Choir, Liturgy and Music, 1444–1644
The Chapel Organ – A Harmonious Anachronism?
‘As England knows it’: ‘Daddy’ Mann and King’s College Choir, 1876–1929
‘A Right Prelude To Christmas’: A History of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
‘The Most Famous Choir in the World?’ The Choir since 1929
Epilogue: The Sound of the Chapel
Stephen Cleobury and Nicolette Zeeman
The book is edited by King’s College fellows Jean Michel Massing (KC 1981) and Nicolette Zeeman (KC 1995) and is published by Harvey Miller. It costs £29.95 (plus P&P) and is available for pre-order from The Shop at King’s.
For more information download the flyer.