The Creation of Gothic Architecture, an Illustrated Thesaurus: The Ark of God

Part B - The Evolution of Foliate Capitals in the Paris Basin before 1130.


One volume 736 pages
4,000 photographs,

Cost £395 or $895

Pre-publication cost £349 or $795 Australian(to 30 June 2006).

ISBN 0 959600590

For Boydel & Brewer brochure (very well done) click here

Volume 3 offers a complete collection of all the capitals carved in the Paris Basin before 1130, few of which have ever been published before. They are magnificent, most taken with the best digital equipment, and many are illustrated in half-page format.

The text includes a profoundly significant analysis: That these carvers pursued what might be called a Quest for Order, a quest that grew into an obsession over the next two generations. By following each step in this quest in the dateable buildings in the rest of Europe, James has dated nearly every campaign in the Paris Basin to within ±5 years - a unique achievement possible only because every one of the 147 remaining works have been included and analysed.

An holistic approach that provides the evidence that pointed arches and rib vaults were both being employed in the Paris Basin from the mid-1080s - not twenty to forty years later as current theories would have it.

This is backed up by a full documentary analysis by Dr Chris Henige and a discussion of the academic literature on the dating of this period by Sarah Dillane.

This volume provides valuable insights into the development of Early Romanesque carving and architecture prior to the seminal work at Chartres and Saint-Denis. It complements Part A and, with the later volumes, aims to establish from all the evidence a comprehensive chronology for the Creation of Gothic Architecture

Capitals from the ruins of Mont-Notre-Dame crypt (1085) and Saint-Genèviève in Paris (1120), and from the Lesges apse (1095).



To read a review of the earlier volumes by
Paul Crossley in the Burlington Magazine


Planned Five Part series for THE ARK OF GOD:

Part A, Vols 1 and 2 Foliate capitals 1170 to 1250.
Over 9,000 photos of the capitals with an analysis. The capitals of this period are more natural in style than those that went before, and follow Viollet-le-Duc's observation that the mode of carving gradually evolved from spring to summer. This is confirmed in those buildings for which we have documentary dates, which may then be used to establish a chronology for other works from these times.

Part B, Vol 3 Archaic capitals in the Paris Basin before 1130
This exiting and unique collection will be available in March 2006.
This is the only time most of these archaic capitals have ever been published. Includes many photographs of the buildings themselvs.
It also offers a COMPREHENSIVE CHRONOLOGY for the pre-1130s.

Part B, Vols 4, 5 and 6 Formal capitals 1130 to 1180.
Over 13,000 photos of nearly all the capitals carved during these years. They are formal-abstract in style. The analysis of the foliate carving in vol. 6 will include the great carvedportals, and through the identification of individual carvers will estabish a way to date the more important buildings.

Part C, Volume 7 The evolution of the rib vault in Europe.
In over 550 building campaigns throughout Europe rib vaulting was developed and construction techniques evolved that culminated in the great vaulted spaces of medieval times.

Part D, Volume 8 The inventions that created Gothic.
The documents, foliate styles and techniques in vaulting compiled in the earlier volumes show when and where most of the key inventions appeared, how they evolved and changed, and the manner in which they were integrated into the new style. Includes and economic analysis of the building industry.

Part E, Volumes 9 and 10 Corpus of early Gothic churches.
Includes the plans, capitals, profiles and elements not in earlier volumes, with the construction sequences of all the 650 more significant buildings in the Paris basin, with drawings, locations and maps.


Southern Hemisphere Distributor


West Grinstead Publications

Australia and New Zealand

Click to contact us


Recommended Retail Prices
(March 2006)


 Vols 1-2

Vol. 3



pre-pub 650



pre-pub 349



pre-pub 500



pre-pub 795

Pre-publication prices until June 30, '06


Northern Hemisphere Distributor


Boydell and Brewer
England and USA




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