Canterbury Tales and the Arts of Pilgrimage by Tom Nickson

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Canterbury Tales and the Arts of Pilgrimage 
By Tom Nickson 
21st April 2021 6pm 
This summer the British Museum will open a major new exhibition on Thomas Becket, 850 years after his dramatic assassination in Canterbury cathedral. This lecture will consider St Thomas’ cult and its artistic consequences within the wider visual culture of pilgrimage in medieval Europe and the Mediterranean, covering precious metalwork, sumptuous manuscripts, vivid wall paintings, glowing stained glass windows and sophisticated architecture. Thomas’ cult attracted princes and paupers alike, and its study offers a unique opportunity to think about art production at all levels, from cheap pilgrims’ badges to bejewelled reliquaries. I will also consider the phenomenon of ‘virtual’ pilgrimage, a form of mental pilgrimage for those enclosed in convents and monasteries or otherwise unable to travel. Like them, we will use images to travel in our imaginations, exploring some of the most spectacular sites and objects from medieval Europe and beyond.
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120 mins