Bristol Cathedral: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (Autumn Art Lecture)

19 October 2023, 6.30 PM - 19 October 2023, 7.45 PM

Professor Beth Williamson

Bristol Cathedral, College Green, BS1 5TJ

This lecture is part of the 2023 Autumn Art Lecture series: 

Art and the City: Bristol at 650

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About the Autumn Art Lectures

The Autumn Art Lectures are here again and this year we are on the move. To coincide with Bristol 650, the year-long celebration that marks the anniversary of the 1373 royal charter, our new series will focus on some of the historical, cultural and conceptual spaces of Bristol. AAL2023 will be an opportunity not just to talk about Bristol and its (in)visible histories, but also to step into the city itself. Events will be hosted in venues that span Bristol – from the Cathedral at its heart on College Green, to Spike Island in the midst of the river that defines the city’s cosmopolitan past and present. Our speakers include curators, artists, and academics, who together will take us on a journey through both familiar and unfamiliar aspects of the city’s history, including its place in the wider world.  

More information about events in the Autumn Art Lecture 2023 series will follow in due course.

The Autumn Art Lecture series is hosted by the University of Bristol's Faculty of Arts with support from the Centre for Black Humanities and Bristol Ideas.

About this event

Bristol Cathedral was described by the famous architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner as ‘superior to anything else built in England and indeed in Europe at the same time’. It contains sculpture, stained glass, wood carvings, and other glorious architectural features that are astonishing, puzzling, and unique. And yet Bristol Cathedral is a bit of a ‘hidden gem’, less well known than many other English Cathedrals. This lecture will reveal some of the intriguing features of Bristol Cathedral, and will look at its history throughout the 650 years of Bristol’s independent county status. It will look at how the Cathedral took its place through Bristol’s changing identity as a town, county, and city, and will present the Cathedral as a key institution in Bristol then, now, and in the future.

This lecture is dedicated to the memory of Jon Cannon (d. 2023) a much-valued colleague of the History of Art Department and the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Bristol, and formerly a Canon of Bristol Cathedral, its Keeper of the Fabric, and its Cathedral Historian. No one knew Bristol Cathedral and its history better than Jon. His research makes this lecture possible.

About the speaker 

Beth Williamson is Professor of Medieval Culture and Chair in the History of Art at the University of Bristol. She has research interests in the visual culture of western European Christianity, including a particular focus on medieval and early Renaissance Italy. At the University of Bristol, she currently sits on the University’s Heritage and Public Art Committee, and chairs its Public Art Advisory Panel. She is also currently Chair of the Bristol Cathedral Fabric Advisory Committee. In her spare time, she is a choral singer, and particularly enjoys English and Italian Renaissance polyphony.


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