[The University of Leicester]

Seven Deadly Sins

Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Corporal Works of Mercy:

More about the project

This project has been established under the Seed Corn initiative of the University of Leicester.

Its purpose is to produce a searchable database as a resource for further research, undergraduate teaching (HA 112 and HA 223) and for those involved in the newly-established Medieval Research Centre.

The database and accompanying notes constitute a self-contained work, of potential interest to those working in a range of disciplines, such as social history, Middle English Literature, ecclesiastical history and gender studies. For this reason, efforts have been made to integrate textual material, in particular diocesan records, didactic literature and sermons, with the visual evidence.

The project is a pilot to formulate and test the efficacy of such a database as a means of systematically recording and presenting murals. The intention is to make the information susceptible to interrogation and interpretation, and to store and present these images of wall paintings to a wider audience. This project is the first systematic study of wall paintings at an English University other than the Courtauld Institute and the only project in England to explore the potential of Information Technology as a tool for studying widely distributed medieval art works. It draws inspiration from the magnificent web-accesible database and iconographic index of Danish wall paintings, constructed by Professor Axel Bolvig of the Institute of History at the University of Copenhagen.

The database draws on the standard works of reference for late medieval painting and new material gathered by Miriam Gill in her doctoral work. This is augmented by the excellent holdings of Leicester University Library. The database combines some recent photographs with nineteenth-century records, an invaluable source for wall paintings, at present dispersed in a wide variety of journals.

The expertise of the Department of History of Art of the University of Leicester in the construction of databases is demonstrated by the Lincoln Cathedral and Suffolk Churches CD ROMs. The project builds on the specialisms of Dr Phillip Lindley, Head of the Department, in the study of late medieval sculpture and renaissance sculpture and Professor Greg Walker, director of the Medieval Research Centre in the drama and spectacle of the same period. The project has also received the interdisciplinary support of colleagues in other departments. In particular it complements the work of Dr David Parsons of Archaeology on church architecture, Dr Elaine Treharne of English on the presentation of women, George Ferzoco of Modern Languages on preaching and of English Local History on the cult of saints (Dr Graham Jones) and the nature of late medieval parish life (Dr David Postles).

The researcher, Miriam Gill, is a doctoral student of late medieval English wall painting at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She is attached to the Department of Conservation of Wall Painting, whose Director, David Park, is also responsible for a long-running and comprehensive survey of English wall paintings. She is also grateful to Dr. Maddy Gray of the University of Wales for her help with the paintings at Ruabon.

This project would not have been possible without the unfailing support and advice of Alex Moseley and the Learning Technology Group, who have been instrumental in its design and presentation.

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Last updated: 20/12/2001
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