English Church Brasses from the 13th to the 17th Century by Ernest R. Suffling; xii + 456 pp.; Hardcover; Published: 1910, Reprinted: 1970; ISBN: 9780806304373, Item # CF5660D
The study of monumental brasses is a fascinating means of delving into history and it is a technique much used by historians, art and otherwise, and by genealogists. This book, written by a man with an extensive background in ecclesiastical art, has hardly been superseded as a handbook of the subject.
"The purpose of the book," Suffling said, "is to point out the various periods of armour, to note every component part in the different periods, to particularize each item of ecclesiastical vestment, to review the successive styles of civilian costume, both male and female, to deal with the history of brasses in general, to show how copies may be made of the four thousand and more examples still extant and to place before the public a much longer list of churches containing brasses than any hitherto published."
Beginning with a short history of brasses, he discusses the factors responsible for the destruction of so many of them, and goes on to treat the armor depicted, from the 13th century to the time it fell into disuse during the Tudor and Stuart periods. He deals extensively with the costumes shown on the brasses and supplements this with material on the chalices, canopies, borders, crosses, and brackets depicted on the brasses. Also provided is a dictionary of terms relating to armor, and a chapter on the inscriptions and their translations. In addition, he discusses means of making and preserving rubbings and, most important, concludes with an extensive list of the locations of the monumental brasses.
The use of this work is facilitated by a lengthy index, containing, among other matters, the names of over 500 men and women shown on the brasses. Of this number, 237 appear as fine reproductions of the rubbings.