Church Monuments Society

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The Society is a registered charity. No.279597 Registered Office: The Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London. W1V 0HS Copyright (c) 2016 CMS. All rights reserved.


Any queries about any aspects of church monuments - and the reply if possible - will be posted here for about six months. If you would rather not have your name or replies posted please let me know and a private reply only will be given.

Query from Jessica Rosenthal McGrath of the National Portrait Gallery and Swansea University:

'I am a Collaborative Doctoral Award student at the National Portrait Gallery and Swansea University under the supervision of Tarnya Cooper and Regina Poertner. My PhD thesis is entitled 'Redeeming Death: Mortality, Portraiture and the Quest for Salvation in Tudor England and Wales,' and my focus is on post-Reformation painted portraits commissioned for, or displayed in, churches and chapels. Many of the examples that I have found so far are commemorative in nature, such as the wonderful St John polyptych at St Mary’s, Lydiard Tregoze and the Stradling memorial paintings, now in the National Museum, Cardiff, but originally from St Donat's, Glamorgan.

I am currently trying to track down as many of these portraits as possible and, as such, I was wondering if the Church Monuments Society might operate some kind of message board or newsletter where I would be able to post a request for information? I would be delighted and most grateful to hear from your members if they have any leads and I hope that this might lead to fruitful discussion.'

Please reply to the Society's Secretary (address under CMS Members - Council Members)

  March 2017

The photograph shows the tomb of Anthony Forster (ob. 1572), of Walter Scott's Kenilworth fame, and his wife Ann (ob 1599), in the chancel of St Michael's Church, Cumnor, Oxfordshire (formerly Berkshire). Dr Impey of English Heritage would be very interested in any views or advice on the following:

1. Could this have been made for or by Forster in or around 1572, or it likely to be early, made in preparation for his decease? (if the latter it can't really be before 1558 when he came to Cumnor)

2. The inscription is clear that Ann Forster is buried in or near it. Given the style of the thing, which I take to be more or less inconceivable in or after 1599, is it probably that the inscription which tells us about Forster (the same piece of metal in the same hand) was prepared after Forster's death but well before hers?

3. The tomb is fairly standard late-medieval type, as far as I know. Mixing up Renaissance detail with gothic is a normal mid 16th century thing, I suppose, but I would be very interested to know of any other examples of this type of gothic tombs with this sort of detailing.

4. Other examples of the pure gothic version.

It is structurally all of a piece (not adapted) and certainly made new for Forster, as his badges appear all over it.

Any help would be gratefully received and acknowledged, in an eventual publication on the Medieval and Tudor Cumnor Place.

Dr Impey may be contacted:

Dr Edward Impey

Director of Research and Standards

English Heritage

1 Waterhouse Square

138-142 Holborn

London EC1N 2ST

tel: 020 7973 3313

fax: 020 7973 3546

e-mail:   March 2017

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