University of Leicester eBulletin

University of Leicester Launches English Parish Churches Series on CD ROM

March 2002

No 67

pic of church from cdrom  


The University of Leicester is using the latest technology to guide people around the nation’s parish churches

The first in a fascinating new series of CD-ROMs, produced by Dr Phillip Lindley (of the History of Art Department) and Mr Alex Moseley (Principal Computer Officer of the Faculty of Arts), has recently been released. It focuses on churches in Southern East Anglia.

The CD forms the first volume in a projected series of CD-ROMs on English parish churches and their craftsmanship, based around a collection of photographs taken by Dr. Donna Chaproniere since the early 1950s and donated by her in 1993 to the History of Art department.

The photographs reflect directly Dr Chaproniere’s own interests and range from general views of churches in the landscape, to exteriors and interiors of churches, details of rooves, benchends, fonts, pulpits, screens, monuments and stained glass. They cover both medieval and post-medieval works and show the enormous range of objects, styles and media to be found inside and outside English parish churches.

Dr Lindley said: “Each CD will present a very large collection of high quality photographs (there are around 1,500 on this first CD). In addition to the images, the texts, which inform the viewer about the subject, provide a good deal of information. On this CD the texts have been written by Glayne Beasley, a former graduate of the department. Cumulatively, this will be a fascinating resource, enormously interesting to browse through...It provides a fascinating means of touring historic churches from the comfort of one’s desk, or of planning future visits.”

Mr Moseley added: “The collection continues to grow, and it is estimated that most areas of England will be covered. We estimate producing at least 10 CD-ROMs. The photographs are unique in their approach to the subject, both in visual angle and in the choice of detail. The majority of the collection is in black and white, which (when combined with the choice of subject matter and angle) provides dramatic contrast.

“The collection is unique in its scope and scale: the photographs have been taken over a period of 50 years by Dr Chaproniere, who has toured the sites at first by bicycle, and more recently by car.”

Each photograph is accompanied by an explanatory caption, making the collection an instructive and fascinating visual resource for the general public and local historians alike. Photographs can be viewed by location, through a number of geographical tours, and via a map; a limited search facility is also provided. Additionally, a comprehensive architectural and art historical glossary is incorporated.

With a development team including alumni from the History of Art department, the CD-ROM represents the first major electronic publication from the Faculty of Arts, and will prove an invaluable resource for those who are interested in parish church architecture, sculpture, carpentry or monuments.

The Faculty of Arts hopes the technology will be used by more departments to release image collections.

See for more details.
Published by BREPOLS (ISBN 2-503-51047-7). PC/Mac.

NOTES TO NEWSDESK: For more information, please contact:
Dr Phillip Lindley - 0116 252 2840

Mr Alex Moseley - 0116 252 5317

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Last updated: March 2002
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