Filed Under PhD

2015 - PhD, History (Medieval and Early Modern Studies)

University of Western Australia. Supervisors: Profs Philippa Maddern and Andrew Lynch.

Funded by an Australian Research Council Postgraduate Fellowship (fees and stipend) and a competitive University of Western Australia Top-Up Scholarship (6 months)

In this thesis, the imagery of water serves as a point of focus for an inquiry into the composition of medieval abstract space. As a ubiquitous element of human life with distinct properties and connotations across time, water touches, and has ever touched upon, both what is historically and culturally unique and what is ongoing within environmental imagination. This study examines the significance and the deployment of environmental imagery in the composition, narration, and recollection of organised thought in the Middle Ages.


Inset of The Flood of Noah (Genesis 7:11-24) This page from Walters manuscript W.106 depicts a scene from the story of Noah's ark. Here, the ark is nowhere to be found. The fountains of the great deep have broken up, and the windows of heaven have been opened. Five great plumes of water tumble from a red heaven into a broiling ocean. It has already rained for many of the forty days, and the beasts, birds, and people of the earth ate laid to rest in ordered strata, like sediment, on the ocean floor. The people are the last to drown. The great flood will prevail upon the earth for a hundred and fifty days. H: 5 3/16 x W: 3 3/4 in. (13.2 x 9.5 cm). Source: Walters manuscript W.106.3R. Creator: William de Brailes (English, active ca. 1230) (Artist); William de Brailes (English, active ca. 1230) (Scribe)
Date: 1230
Leaf from Bible Pictures by William de Brailes: The Animals Enter Noah's Ark This page from Walters manuscript W.106 depicts a scene from the story of Noah's ark. God commanded Noah to build an ark of gopher wood, with a roof and three decks. Into the ark Noah brought two of every animal, make and female. On the lower deck are the animals, on the middle, the birds, and on the upper deck, Noah and his family. The last birds are flying into the ark, and the last animals are being escorted by an angel. The flood has already started, and the ark, with its beast-headed prow and stern, floats upon its waters, pennant flying. This manuscript comprises twenty-four leaves of Bible pictures by W. de Brailes, a highly creative and distinctive English artist active in Oxford in the middle of the thirteenth century. Seven leaves from the same set of images are now in the Musée Marmottan in Paris. These thirty-one leaves are all that remain of an image cycle that once contained at least ninety-eight miniatures, and which was the longest cycle of Bible miniatures surviving from the thirteenth century in England. In all probability these Bible pictures were actually prefatory matter to a Psalter, now Stockholm, National Museum Ms. B.2010. De Brailes also composed and wrote the captions that accompany many of the images, a pattern of production observable in other manuscripts made by him, including London, British Library Ms. Add. 49999, a richly illuminated Book of Hours apparently intended for a female owner. W. de Brailes is one of only two English artists of the thirteenth century whose name we can associate with surviving works. Eleven manuscripts have been identified that contain miniatures in his hand. Source: Walters manuscript W.106.2R. Creator: William de Brailes (English, active ca. 1230) (Artist); William de Brailes (English, active ca. 1230) (Scribe) Date: 1230


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