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Creation of Gothic Architecture: Ark of God

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The Contractors of Chartres
John's Books


Books on gothic architecture and on transcendence by John James.

These are published by WEST GRINSTEAD PUBLISHING

All prices are in $AUD, and include postage within Australia. There is no GST at this stage.
Chapter headings and a few selected quotes are including in the web pages for each book.

The Ark of God - The Creation of Gothic Architecture, an Illustrated Thesaurus 2002, 2006 and 2008

Five volumes NOW AVAILABLE

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

THE ARK OF GOD is a comprehensive pictorial history of Early Gothic churches in the limestone region of
northern France known as the Paris Basin.

The Paris Basin contains 1,420 churches with work from these years. Most have never been published.

The photographs will illustrate over half of these which significantly contributed to the creation of the
new architecture with the aim of using the evolution of foliate carving to date them, and from this
creating a comprehensive history of this most creative period.

Part A, Volumes 1 and 2, The Evolution of Foliate Capitals 1170 to 1250. (published 2002)
1,632 pages, 10,000 photographs, ISBN 0 9596005 8 2
The first part, in volumes 1 and 2, presents the carved foliate capitals from 1170 to 1250.
Click for a description of vols 1-2
and for reviews

Part B, Volume 3, Archaic capitals in the Paris Basin before 1130. (published March 2006)
736 pages, 4,000 photographs, ISBN 0 959600590
Click for a description of vol 3
and for reviews

Volumes 4 and 5, The Formal capitals 1130-1170. (published 2008)
1778 pages, 9,000 photographs, ISBN 9780975742525
Click for a description of vols 4-5 and for reviews.

In Search of the Unknown in Medieval Architecture, 2007
686 pages, 280 illustrations, Pindar Press, London, ISBN 1 904597 36 X

John James has devised coherent techniques for analysing the detailed construction history of existing stone structures. This he has called toichology. To further his research he made a three-year survey of all the Early Gothic churches in the Paris region, visiting some 3,500 buildings. His most important discovery has been that all churches of this period were constructed in many short campaigns by mobile building teams, and that major innovation was more likely to occur in the smaller buildings than in the larger. This volume includes 42 of the author‘s studies on the development of Gothic architecture in France and England, often reprinted from hard-to-find journals.

Notes to Transformation, 1994

112 pages, cost $25, ISBN 0646164074.
A guide for the inner journey to the Self - a goal that John believes can be achieved in this lifetime. This book should be a constant reference for those who wish to clear their personal issues in the search for spiritual transformation and inner truth. "May this be a sounding board for  for your own experiences and concepts of the journey, and may it stimulate you to keep on exploring in your own way." John James

The Template-Makers of the Paris Basin, 1989

248 pages, 283 illustrations, cost $100, ISBN 0731645200.
Toichological techniques for identifying the pioneers of the Gothic movement with an examination of art-historical methodology. Toichology means a 'standing wall' and is to standing structures what archaeology is to below ground remains. This book describes medieval construction methods around 1200, and that every church in the Paris area, without exception, was constructed in many small and interrupted campaigns with the master masons, or builder-architects, changing each time.

The Master Masons of Chartres, 1985

200 pages, 116 illustrations, cost $55, ISBN 0646008056
Chartres is one of the most impressive and exciting buildings from the Middle Ages, and is preserved almost intact. Yet we know nothing of the men who created it. In this masterpiece of detection, James shows how he came to identify the master masons from the stones themselves.

His meticulous "reading" of the cathedral tells us much about these men, how they solved problems of engineering and design, how they raised two-ton stones 40 meters into the air, how one mason without telephone or printer controlled over 300 men on this gigantic workshop, He even extracts something of their artistic personalities.

The Contractors of Chartres, 1979-81

578 pages, 2 volumes, 802 illustrations, cost $260, ISBN 0959600531
The basic analysis of the cathedral, how it was built, the identification of the master who did it, and over 30 full-page isometric drawings that who each stage of the construction. Discusses the geometry in detail, and the symbolic meaning attached to many of the construction processes.



Northern Hemisphere Distributor: Boydell and Brewer - contact:

Southern Hemisphere Distributor: West Grinstead Publications - contact:


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