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The Cathedrals of England (World of Art) Paperback – 6 Nov 1967
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Top customer reviews
If the topic is a completely new one then some of the terms used can be a little confusing, but the glossary at the back is adequate -- although Church Architecture: A Glossary of Terms (Discovering) is also a useful buy for ecclesiastical architecture in general. Clifton-Taylors writing is highly subjective, but such opinionated views are, I think, quite good in an introductory guide such as this because they inject passion into what could otherwise be a rather dry topic. Furthermore, the text is complemented by a series of wonderful black and white photographs, which, whether the chapter house of Wells or nave of Canterbury, only serve to encourage the reader to visit these monuments to England’s artistic past.
Since reading ‘The Cathedrals of England’ I have bought a number of more specific books relating to the topic. However, each time I visit a new cathedral -- now 16 and counting -- it is Clifton-Taylor I have with me. The cathedrals of England should be cherished, and this is an outstanding introduction to the topic, that no one who is developing an interest in should be without.
As you can see, this book focuses on the large-sweep of styles rather than going through each cathedral on an isolated basis. The book also skips back and forth to the same buildings over various chapters, due to the diverse amount of work from different periods in every English cathedral. This is not jarring at all if you read with the expectation of an overview of the style, rather than an area-by-area analysis of individual buildings.
The book is littered with high quality black and white photographs, at least one per double page, sometimes full-page, and occasionally up to three on a single page. They cover exterior, interior, and a wealth of crisp closeups of carvings and other detail. Floorplan illustrations can be found before the index, accompanied by brief descriptions of the noteworthy factors of each building.
The tone is scholarly, and despite being written in the 1960s, still rather accurate by today's standards - eschewing dubious and romanticised tales. His sheer enthusiasm for the style comes across well, with numerous statements of disappointment at lost original fittings or glass. The chapter on recent cathedrals contain the usual suspects (Westminster, Liverpool x 2, Coventry, Guildford, Truro), and, happily, does not skip past them in a cursory way in just a few pages - 14 gives a suitable impression of their worth.
The difference between this and the previous edition (excluding the different cover) is that this one is printed on higher quality paper. It wasn't a particular problem with the previous one (the photographs still looked good), but better paper is always preferable.
I would have preferred 1 cathedral , one text about it
I don't care for modern ones and fortunately not many are mentionned (at the end mostly)
Not really what i expected but useful nonetheless so i'll keep it all the same