Abbey Dore bosses

Dore Abbey, Herefordshire

The retrochoir of the Cistercian abbey church at Abbey Dore in Herefordshire is filled with architectural fragments gleaned from the ruins of the monastic buildings adjoining. The fragments include these two roof bosses. They date from the fourteenth century and are believed to have come from the vault of the Chapter House. The one above has an image of Our Lady and the Blessed Infant, with an abbot kneeling before them with his pastoral staff.

Dore Abbey, Herefordshire

The second shows the Coronation of our Lady. Both are typically lively and fluid pieces of sculpture. I have to say that I haven’t made a particular study of bosses, but I’m always struck by their inventiveness, particularly within the constraints of the boss form.

2 thoughts on “Abbey Dore bosses

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  1. Collectively, bosses are one of the most important surviving collections of English medieval statuary – the more so in that many of them are still polychromed.


  2. They are often, as these are, very monumental compositions. I should say also that designing in a “tondo” a round composition is always daunting and to think theses sculptors worked so often in that form.


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