English Medieval Harp Research Project

 

Sarah Deere-Jones has over the past 15 years, collected nearly 200 images of harp iconography that originated in Medieval England, from carvings in wood and stone to stained glass and illuminated manuscripts.

She has since been analysing these images to identify patterns in the development of the instrument.

Sarah has lectured on this subject in the USA and Australia as well as all over the UK.

 

Here is a map of England with the locations of harp iconography plotted

 

10th & 11th century

Left: Corpus Christi manuscript 11th century, Worcester.

8 examples were analysed.

This harp is typical of examples from the 10th/11th century

12th century

Left: Ely Cathedral 'sleeper' 12th century

22 examples were analysed.

This harp is typical of examples from the 12th century

 

13th century

Left: Nackington Church Kent, stained glass, 13th century

27 examples were analysed.

This harp is typical of examples from the 13th century

14th Century

The 14th and 15th centuries were the peak of the popularity of the harp in England.

Left: Chichester Cathedral Miserichord 14th century

59 examples were analysed.

This harp is typical of examples from the 14th century

15th century

Left: Manchester cathedral, Roof Angel, 15th century

50 examples were analysed.

This harp is typical of examples from the 15th century

16th Century

Left: Tiverton Waite, 16th century

6 examples were analysed.

This is an example of an English harp from the 16th century

Notes:-

There are many dangers in using iconography in research, books have been written on this subject so I won't elaborate here - suffice is to say that we need to bear in mind many factors when analysing such images, but at the same time, it would be unwise to ignore this wealth of extant iconography.

I have researched the Medieval harp in England alone, for three reasons - 1) I live here and readily have access to England. 2) It is a small enough subject to be able to realistically cover in a part-time basis and within my own finances. 3) Compared to the 'Celtic' areas of Britain the heritage of the harp in England has been comparatively neglected. I would love to include the whole of Britain and or Europe but feel that will have to wait until I am retired - and be fully funded!

I do a one-hour lecture about the Medieval harp in England, plus a study-session on iconography which involves a fascinating live visual-memory experiment. I also offer workshops for harpists examining the finger and hand technique and different postures used during the period. Please see my 'lectures' page or contact me for more information.

If you are interested in news, photos and regular updates on my research, lectures and performances, or would like to comment or contribute, please look up my Facebook page here -

Harp Anglica.

 

Sarah Deere-Jones LRAM LGSM ARAM April 2019

 

Return to Sarah Deere-Jones index page