Marks, Richard 1945-
Marks, Richard 1945-
Born July 2, 1945. Education: University of London, B.A.; Courtauld Institute, London, M.A., Ph.D.
Office—History of Art Department, Vanbrugh College, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, England. E-mail—[email protected]
Art historian, educator, writer, editor, and art curator. History of Art Department, Vanbrugh College, University of York, York, England, emeritus professor. Curated exhibition titled Gothic, held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, 2003-04.
(Editor, with Ann Payne) British Heraldry from Its Origins to c. 1800, British Museum Publications (London, England), 1978.
(With Brian J.R. Blench) The Warwick Vase, Burrell Collection: Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries (Glasgow, Scotland), 1979.
(With others) The Burrell Collection, introduction by John Julius Norwich, Collins/Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries (London, England), 1983.
Burrell: A Portrait of a Collector: Sir William Burrell, 1861-1958, R. Drew Publishing (Glasgow, Scotland), 1983.
Wing as It Was: The Village, Its Hamlets and Its People in Victorian and Edwardian Times, L.B. Publishing (London, England), 1984, Volume 2, 1990.
The Souvenir Guide to the Burrell Collection, R. Drew Publishing (Glasgow, Scotland), 1985.
Sir William Burrell, 1861-1958, Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries (Glasgow, Scotland), 1985.
(With Rita Marks) Wavendon as It Was: The Village and Its People in Victorian and Edwardian Times, L.B. Publishing (London, England), 1986.
(With David Beevers and John Roles) Sussex Churches and Chapels, Royal Pavilion Art Gallery & Museums (Brighton, England), 1989.
(With Rita Marks) Ivinghoe as It Was: The Village, Its Hamlets, and Its People in Victorian and Edwardian Times, L.B. Publishing (Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, England), 1990.
Stained Glass in England during the Middle Ages, University of Toronto Press (Buffalo, NY), 1993.
The Medieval Stained Glass of Northamptonshire, British Academy/Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1998.
(Editor, with Sarah Rees Jones, and A.J. Minnis) Courts and Regions in Medieval Europe, York Medieval Press (Rochester, NY), 2000.
(Editor and contributor, with Paul Williamson) Gothic: Art for England 1400-1547 (exhibition catalogue), V & A Publications (London, England), 2003.
Image and Devotion in Late Medieval England, Sutton (Stroud, Gloucestershire, England), 2004.
(Editor) Late Gothic England: Art and Display, Shaun Tyas Publishing (Donington, Leistershire, England), 2007.
Contributor to books, including New Offerings, Ancient Treasures Studies in Medieval Art for George Hender-son, edited by P. Binski and W. Noel, Stroud, 2001; and Windsor Medieval Archaeology, Art and Architecture in the Thames Valley, edited by L. Keen and E. Scarff, British Archaeology Association Conference Transcripts XXV, 2002. Contributor to periodicals, including Harlaxton Medieval Studies, Gesta, and the Journal of Stained Glass.
Richard Marks is an art historian whose primary interests include Gothic art (particularly stained glass), manuscript illumination, and sculpture. His interests focus on the function of, and audience for, visual imagery. He is also interested in Byzantine Art, in particular Russian icon painting of the period 1400-1700. He has written, edited, and contributed to numerous books addressing his interests.
In his 1993 book Stained Glass in England during the Middle Ages, the author begins with a historical and sociological look at topics such as donors and iconography of English glass. In the book's second section, Marks provides a chronological look at stylistic periods from 670 A.D. on through the Reformation. Noting the time period and sites covered, Virginia Raguin, writing in the Art Bulletin, commented: "Marks must sacrifice deeper exploration of the reception of imagery and subsequent modifications of glazing programs at a single site to develop across sites and times thematic issues of donor, technique, iconography, and period styles. He makes, however, important connections, especially to popular culture in both literature and visual arts."
Marks considers stained glass in relation to architecture and other art, and uses contemporary documents to examine workshop organization, prices, and patronage. The book includes numerous color plates. "English stained glass is the least appreciated of the medieval pictorial arts," the author writes in the book's introduction. "Some of the reasons for this are practical. Only a minute fraction of all the glazing created between the seventh century and the Reformation survives; what remains is often in poor condition, usually fragmentary and, especially in parish churches, poorly recorded. In addition, problems of authenticity frequently have been created by rearrangement and restorations." The author went on to write later in the introduction: "These difficulties are compounded still further by the fact that what survives, both medieval glazing and related documentation, gives a distorted picture."
Marks goes on to note that with all the obstacles, medieval stained-glass art has a lot to offer art history and art connoisseurs. The author writes in his introduction: "Notwithstanding the losses, considerable quantities still exist and usually in the church or domestic residence for which they were originally intended. Consequently, the medium is important for the study of regional styles, patronage and iconography. Again, the documentation is copious compared with what exists for other forms of medieval pictorial art and sculpture, analysed and evaluated carefully it is extremely valuable."
Virginia Raguin, writing in the Art Bulletin, noted "the breadth of this study" and went on to write in the same review: "Its clarity, comprehensiveness, and wealth of illustration (however restricted the format) make it a standard (to this reviewer, essential) reference book for any course in medieval art or architecture, or medieval history, for that matter."
Marks is the editor, with Sarah Rees Jones and A.J. Minnis, of Courts and Regions in Medieval Europe. The book presents a series of essays examining the question: What is a court? With contributions from experts in such wide-ranging fields as archaeology, art history, and literature, the essays examine the phenomenon of the court and its relationship with the immediate hinterland and other distant areas, in places as far apart as the Carolingian Empire, Lancastrian Normandy, London, York, and Prague. Among specific topics are the Carolingian court as a political hub, Alcuin's courtly poetry, York and London as competing fourteenth-century capitals, and the architecture of Charles IV of Bohemia. Rees Davies, writing in the English Historical Review, noted that the book's "individual parts are generally … impressive."
In 2003-04, the author was the curator of a major exhibition titled Gothic, held at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The author is also the editor, with Paul Williamson, of Gothic: Art for England 1400-1547, a catalogue based on the exhibit. The book celebrates a rich period of English art and architecture and includes photographs of impressive fan vaulting and numerous other architectural marvels, exquisite jewels, and rare gold and silver objects. Other photographs include stonework, woodcarving, stained glass, and arms and armor. Leading medieval scholars contribute essays on a wide range of subject, from architecture to war and politics.
Image and Devotion in Late Medieval England focuses on providing a new perspective on the history of medieval art in England. In his exploration of devotional art, the author chooses not to concentrate on style but rather the art within the context of the society that created them. "In England in the sixteenth century the assault on devotional images was more complete than anywhere else in Reformation Europe," noted Nigel Saul in History Today. "Orders were issued for the removal of images in 1550 and again in 1559." Saul went on in the article to note: "Relatively few medieval images have come down to us. Marks constructs his picture not only from extant images but also from documentary sources such as churchwardens' accounts and wills."
In his book, the author examines the art in terms of function, audience, patronage, and production. Providing a new art-historical methodology, the author also presents a primer on the visual and mental world of the Middle Ages. Marks writes of pictorial images in the form of wall paintings prior to the twelfth century as being designed primarily to impart the Christian message to the illiterate. In the twelfth century, however, image devotion was associated with a more personal piety. In addition, after the mid-twelfth century, according to the author, narrative art telling a specific story were being replaced more and more by lone images of saints. The author also presents his belief that, contrary to the opinion of many, this iconic art was not meant only for the aristocratic but also for the lower-class faithful. The author closes his book with a look at the ultimate decline of image worship beginning in the sixteenth century.
"Image and Devotion in Late Medieval England is the first sustained effort to bring the English devotional image into the broader scholarly conversation on the functions and roles of art in late medieval religion," wrote Kathryn A. Smith in the Art Bulletin. "As such, it stands as a significant achievement."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Marks, Richard, Stained Glass in England during the Middle Ages, University of Toronto Press (Buffalo, NY), 1993.
Art & Antiques, March, 2004, review of Gothic: Art for England 1400-1547, p. 144.
Art Bulletin, June 1, 1995, Virginia Raguin, review of Stained Glass in England during the Middle Ages, p. 321; June 1, 2006, Kathryn A. Smith, review of Image and Devotion in Late Medieval England, p. 396.
Art History, June 1, 1994, John McNeill, review of Stained Glass in England during the Middle Ages, p. 293.
Catholic Historical Review, April 1, 1995, Madeline H. Caviness, review of Stained Glass in England during the Middle Ages, p. 259.
English Historical Review, September 1, 2001, Rees Davies, review of Courts and Regions in Medieval Europe, p. 943; April 1, 2005, Gervase Rosser, review of Image and Devotion in Late Medieval England, p. 448.
History Today, July 1, 2004, Nigel Saul, review of Image and Devotion in Late Medieval England, p. 57.
Journal of Ecclesiastical History, July 1, 1990, Howard Colvin, review of Sussex Churches and Chapels, p. 519.
Library Journal, March 1, 1982, review of The Golden Age of English Manuscript Painting, 1200-1500, p. 542.
Medieval Review, December 1, 2004, Maidie Hilmo, review of Gothic.
Medium Aevum, September 22, 2001, review of Courts and Regions in Medieval Europe, p. 364.
New Statesman, July 10, 1981, review of The Golden Age of English Manuscript Painting, 1200-1500, p. 18.
New York Review of Books, December 18, 2003, James Fenton, "The Last English Style," review of Gothic, p. 81.
Notes and Queries, March 1, 2002, Corinne Saunders, review of Courts and Regions in Medieval Europe, p. 132.
Reference & Research Book News, March 1, 1994, review of Stained Glass in England during the Middle Ages, p. 40.
Sixteenth Century Journal, June 22, 2005, Larry Silver, review of Gothic, p. 465; December 22, 2006, Larry Silver, review of Image and Devotion in Late Medieval England, p. 1206.
Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies, April 1, 2002, review of The Medieval Stained Glass ofNorthamptonshire, p. 597; January 1, 2006, Kathleen Kamerick, review of Image and Devotion in Late Medieval England, p. 236.
Times Literary Supplement, October 31, 2003, Alexander Murray, "Baselard and Spoon: The Reunited Remains of Gothic England," review of Gothic, p. 3.
University of York History of Art Department Web site,http://www.york.ac.uk/depts/histart/ (April 19, 2008), faculty profile of author.