Late-Medieval British Carved Cadavers

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Late-medieval British carved cadavers

Carved cadavers date to the late-medieval period, and this site largely explores those found in England, Wales, and Scotland. These date from c1425 to 1558. The site also includes carved cadavers found in Ireland.

Carved cadavers come in two main styles; isolated and tiered. Isolated carved cadavers show are recumbent (lying down) sculptures of an emaciated corpse, typically lying in an open burial shroud. Tiered ones have an upper sculpture of the same individual, but as if in live (en vie). Below is a photograph showing the head, neck and upper torso of a late-medieval carved cadaver. This is from the tiered monument to Archbishop Henry Chichele (c1363-1443) at Canterbury Cathedral. The memorial with both sculptures were commissioned by Chichele and in place by 1425.

Go to Locations and you can click on each place that has a late-medieval carved cadaver to find out more.


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kind words

Many thanks to those at each church and cathedral for allowing me access to these unusual sculptures, and to all those who have helped me in my research.

Christina Welch