Archaeovision recently completed a rather lovely piece of work which now forms part of the new Magna Carta exhibition at Salisbury Cathedral. This involved the photographic recording of a section of the frieze in the Chapter House which was then used to generate a 3D model which was in turn printed in 3D to provide a scale replica which visitors can get up close to. The model now sits in the exhibition accompanied by information boards explaining the frieze in more detail. James Miles undertook the photographic survey and produced the 3D model.
The new exhibition makes much better use of the space in the Chapter House, importantly making more of the structure itself including the frieze which before the revamp was largely hidden by clutter and overlooked by visitors. The frieze itself depicts stories from the bible and is an intricate and beautifully crafted piece of stonework, really demonstrating the skill of the medieval stonemasons who made it. A less well known aspect of English religious architecture is that, prior to later more puritanical perspectives, churches and cathedrals were often highly decorated places as a means of glorification, expressing the wonders of Christianity through artistry; it was only later that paintings, frescos and in some cases decorated stonework were seen as an abomination and removed, covered, defaced or destroyed to leave the austere, bare structures we have today. The production of the 3D physical model allowed the cathedral experts to recreate the type of decoration that would have originally been applied; to this end the printed model has been coloured by hand to illustrate this, something that would obviously not be possible to do to the original stonework.
For more information on the project, the frieze and the new Magna Carta exhibition, see the Archaeovision blog.
For more photos from the project, see the Flickr gallery.
See also the Salisbury Project by Marion E Roberts for a wealth of information on the city of Salisbury including the cathedral. Of particular interest is a monograph by Pamela Z Blum entitled “The Salisbury Chapter House and Its Sixty Old Testament Scenes” concerning the frieze (local copy available here).
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