Dugdale and Hollar: History Illustrated

Dugdale and Hollar: History Illustrated

Dugdale and Hollar: History Illustrated

Dugdale and Hollar: History Illustrated

Synopsis

Sir William Dugdale's three great works, The Antiquities of Warwickshire (1656), the Monasticum Anglicanum (1655-73), and The History of St. Paul's in London (1658), were lavishly illustrated. This inquiry, which contains sixty-five black-and-white reproductions, focuses on the illustrations. It discusses the high value Dugdale came to place on them, their sources and production, and particularly their meaning in relation to the text.

Excerpt

William Dugdale’s place in the antiquarian movement in England is secure; he is regarded as a founding father. Hollar is more appreciated today than he was in his own time. Dugdale and Hollar meshed well—Dugdale’s view of history and Hollar’s artistic approach to architectural drawing were both oldfashioned. Dugdale was a traditionalist: his passion was to preserve social and religious continuity. the changes underway in his own time existed for him more as threat than possibility. His approach to history was to preserve the record in the most exacting and accurate way possible, without questioning overmuch the content of that record, which had, after all, been kept by venerable authorities. Already in Dugdale’s time antiquarian studies were taking a significant turn away from the past. Dugdale’s younger contemporary, John Aubrey, an avid lover of antiquities as disorganized and unpublished as Dodsworth had been, was working in his chaotic way upon a new methodology, “a new vision of the past, and a new scientific discipline of the future.” Aubrey possessed a great curiosity to understand how a ruin had once been, and his method included careful observation of details and comparison of similar details from different sites. Future antiquarian research lay in this direction. the reliability of a document needed to be questioned, the form of a building needed to be puzzled out from fragmentary remains. the future of illustration in service to antiquaries lay in the direction of increased accuracy in rendering objects, more precise training for architectural draughtsmen, growing awareness of changes in style as an aid to analysis and establishing chronology, all of this coupled with a developing vocabulary to describe medieval buildings and sepulchral monuments in the greater detail required. Changes came about very slowly. Detailed architectural renderings of medieval cathedrals did not appear until the last quarter of the eighteenth century, and it was early in the nineteenth century that the new chronological organization and stylistic clarity predicted by the work of John Aubrey came into being.

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