Arts and Crafts in the Middle Ages eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 318 pages of information about Arts and Crafts in the Middle Ages.

The great clock at Nuremberg shows a procession of the Seven Electors, who come out of one door, pass in front of the throne, each turning and doing obeisance, and pass on through another door.  It is quite imposing, at noon, to watch this procession repeated twelve times.  The clock is called the Mannleinlauffen.

In the Statutes of Francis I., there is a clause stating that clockmakers as well as goldsmiths were authorized to employ in their work gold, silver, and all other materials.

In Wells Cathedral is a curious clock, on which is a figure of a monarch, like Charles I., seated above the bell, which he kicks with his heels when the hour comes round.  He is popularly known as “Jack Blandiver.”  This clock came originally from Glastonbury.  On the hour a little tournament takes place, a race of little mounted knights rushing out in circles and charging each other vigorously.

Pugin regrets the meaningless designs used by early Victorian clock makers.  He calls attention to the fact that “it is not unusual to cast a Roman warrior in a flying chariot, round one of the wheels of which on close inspection the hours may be descried; or the whole front of a cathedral church reduced to a few inches in height, with the clock face occupying the position of a magnificent rose window!” This is not overdrawn; taste has suffered many vicissitudes in the course of time, but we hope that the future will hold more beauty for us in the familiar articles of the household than have prevailed at some periods in the past.



A study of textiles is often subdivided into tapestry, carpet-weaving, mechanical weaving of fabrics of a lighter weight, and embroidery.  These headings are useful to observe in our researches in the mediaeval processes connected with the loom and the needle.

Tapestry, as we popularly think of it, in great rectangular wall-hangings with rather florid figures from Scriptural scenes, commonly dates from the sixteenth century or later, so that it is out of our scope to study its manufacture on an extensive scale.  But there are earlier tapestries, much more restrained in design, and more interesting and frequently more beautiful.  Of these earlier works there is less profusion, for the examples are rare and precious, and seldom come into the market nowadays.  The later looms were of course more prolific as the technical facilities increased.  But a study of the craft as it began gives one all that is necessary for a proper appreciation of the art of tapestry weaving.

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Arts and Crafts in the Middle Ages from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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