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The hammer-beam roof: tradition, innovation and the carpenter's art in late medieval England

Beech, Robert (2015)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This thesis is about late medieval carpenters, their techniques and their art, and about the structure that became the fusion of their technical virtuosity and artistic creativity: the hammer-beam roof. The structural nature and origin of the hammer-beam roof is discussed, and it is argued that, although invented in the late thirteenth century, during the fourteenth century the hammer-beam roof became a developmental dead-end. In the early fifteenth century the hammer-beam roof suddenly blossomed into hundreds of structures of great technical proficiency and aesthetic acumen. The thesis assesses the role of the hammer-beam roof of Westminster Hall as the catalyst to such renewed enthusiasm. This structure is analysed and discussed in detail. Its place in the milieu of late medieval architecture is assessed, and its influence evaluated. That influence took effect mainly in East Anglia. Thus, early fifteenth-century trends in hammer-beam carpentry in the region are isolated and analysed. A typology of is created, from which arise surprising conclusions regarding the differing priorities late-medieval carpenters ascribed to structure, form and ornament. A chapter is also devoted to a critical review of literature pertaining to the topic.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Hemsoll, David E.
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of Art History, Film and Visual Studies
Subjects:D111 Medieval History
NA Architecture
TH Building construction
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:5863
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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