This year signals a new departure for the Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture In Britain and Ireland, with the award of an AHRB grant of more than £300,000 over three years.


Romanesque Sculpture

The Corpus was launched in 1987 by a group of scholars headed by George Zarnecki and Neil Stratford, who were keen to establish an archive of all the Romanesque sculpture in these islands. They negotiated an award of £8000 from the British Academy and set about recruiting fieldworkers who would take photographs and write site reports in their spare time. Significantly no decision was made in these early days about the form the archive would take. Within a couple of years, however, it became clear that only an electronic archive would provide the kind of flexible research capability that a project covering 6000 sites and containing more than 100,000 photographs required. Initially publication on CDs was visualised, but the growth of the World Wide Web provided precisely the kind of infrastructure we needed.

The award of major AHRB funding will allow me to devote myself entirely to the management of the project for three years. The Corpus will be relaunched later this year with fanfares of trumpets, and by a happy coincidence these celebrations will also mark ten years of Courtauld hosting of the project. By 2006 we expect to have substantially completed the fieldwork and added the site entries and photographs to our website, and to be in a position to hand over a working archive to the Conway Library.

The Corpus relies for its success on the support of the Courtauld and its friends and alumni. If you would like to help by carrying out some fieldwork for us, or if you know of neglected Romanesque carved stones built into walls or used in rockeries, please contact us. We have found beakheads decorating gateposts and chevron voussoirs being used to make Easter sepulchres, so we know there is still plenty left for us to find.

Contact us through our wesite at http:/crsbi.ac.uk or write to Ron Baxter at the Courtauld Institute.

RON BAXTERLibrarian, Slide Library