Roger Stalley's work provides a useful introduction to Western European architecture c. 300 - 1200. Of necessity, given what survives, mostly it covers churches and monasteries, but there is a single chapter on castles too. It's a largely thematic rather than chronological account, though the first couple of chapters concern themselves with the early form of the Christian basilica and its later transformation under the Carolingians. The rest of the chapters consider symbolism, the roles of patron and builder, art & engineering, the relationship of form to monastic use and visiting pilgrims respectively, architectural language and the diversity of style.
The thematic approach means a lot of flicking back and forth right throughout the book to refer to the illustrations. Many photographs are in colour but not all, some filling a whole page but others are on the small side. The language is mostly accessible but there is usage of architectural vocabulary at times which is not explained (there is no glossary). The bibliography is large but consists of specialist publications - it would have been nice to have a less specialist further reading list.
Other works suitable for an introductory level are Romanesque: Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, and The Romanesque: Cathedrales, Monasteries and Cities. Both are larger format works and thus tend to have larger photographs (and all colour too). The first mentioned as the name suggests also covers sculpture and painting in roughly equal measure to the architecture. The second of these appears to be sadly out of print (I can't obviously see a newer edition anywhere), though second-hand copies are available at the time of writing.
- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press UK (1 January 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0192842234
- ISBN-13: 978-0192842237
- Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 1.5 x 16.5 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 680 g
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- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 325,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)