The Dalrymple Lecture Series 2016/2017

The 2016/17 Dalrymple Lecture Series will be delivered by

Professor Roger Stalley, Fellow Emeritus of Trinity College, Dublin

Until his retirement in 2010, Roger Stalley was Professor of the History of Art at Trinity College, Dublin. The author of seven books and over one hundred articles, he is a medievalist with a broad range of interests in art and architecture. His publications include The Cistercian Monasteries of Ireland (1987), Early Medieval Architecture (1999) and, as co-author, Irish Gothic Architecture (2014). He has given invited lectures to audiences in many different countries, both in Europe and the USA. As well as architecture, his interests encompass early sculpture in Britain and Ireland, along with the painting of the Book of Kells. In 2000 he was elected a member of Academia Europaea; he is currently serving as Vice-President of the Royal Irish Academy.

14-17 November 2016

Ireland and the art of stone carving in early medieval Europe

MonasterboiceThe art of stone carving was largely forgotten during the early medieval ages: only in Britain and Ireland was there sustained production of sculptured monuments. By the tenth century Irish craftsmen were producing remarkably ambitious crosses, embellished with panels of sophisticated figure sculpture and intricate ornament; these were the so-called ‘Celtic crosses’, later to become prime emblems of Irish national identity. In many ways it is surprising that Irish sculpture followed a very different path from contemporary carving in England and Scotland, the reasons for which have never been adequately explained. In recent decades attention has focussed on iconography and questions of meaning, but other intriguing issues are still to be explored. The ambitious engineering of the crosses, for example, deserves to be better known, so too the identity of the patrons who commissioned the crosses, as well as the sculptors who made them. Although recognised as great works of art, the significance of the Irish monuments in the history of European sculpture is yet to be fully defined.

6.30pm 14 November – 1. The sculptor and his craft: the major crosses of Ireland were remarkable pieces of engineering, something that has an important bearing on their function and the nature of their patronage. This talk will for the first time investigate how they made, tracking progress from quarry to finished product, a journey involving quarrying techniques, tools, transport, cranes and scaffolds.

6.30pm 15 November – 2. The search for meaning: the crosses were major investments but who commissioned them and why? The panels of figure sculpture offer some clues, but the iconographies can be difficult to interpret and their meanings likewise obscure. This talk will offer a critique of past approaches and suggest some new avenues of investigation.

6.30pm 16 November – 3. Artistic Identity: sharp distinctions in style are to be found amongst the sculptors, reflecting individual personalities and diverse experience; this talk will show that major craftsmen were clearly individuals of status, men like the so-called ‘Muiredach Master’, pre-eminent amongst the sculptors of early medieval Europe.

7.30pm 17 November – 4. Stone carving in the early medieval world. In the nineteenth century the high crosses were regarded as a spectacular proof of the civilization of ancient Ireland; but were they an indigenous development or dependent on models introduced from abroad from late Antiquity or Carolingian Europe? This talk will demonstrate that, when it comes to artistic expression, the importance of the local environment must never be underestimated.


Lectures take place in the Sir Charles Wilson Lecture Theatre, University of Glasgow (corner of Gibson Street and University Avenue)



About The Dalrymple Lecture Series

This prestigious lecture series was instituted by James Dalrymple Gray of Dalrymple. James Dalrymple was born in July 1852 in Newcastle-upon Tyne to the Reverend Thomas Gray and his wife Mary Dalrymple. He later assumed his mother’s family name when, on the death of his uncle, he succeeded to the estates belonging to her family. He studied law at both Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities, and subsequently practised in Glasgow.

In 1877 he became the Honorary Secretary of Glasgow Archaeological Society which was in decline at the time. With the help of others he succeeded in re-invigorating the Society and held the post of Secretary for some 25 years. He introduced the regular monthly meetings on the third Thursday of the month (a practice still in force today) and often presented papers on a range of topics, particularly castles and churches. He became President of Glasgow Archaeological Society in 1904.

Established in the years 1907-1912 by the annual covenant of James Dalrymple to commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Society, and subsequently endowed by his bequest which ensures its continuance today. In 1935 it was decided to appoint a permanent Lecturer and, in alternate years, a Special Lecturer for that year only. The Fund is administered by a Board of Curators, four appointed by the University Court and three by the Council of the Glasgow Archaeological Society.

The subject was to be ‘some branch of European archaeology’ and the Dalrymple lectures have been delivered by many of the most distinguished figures in twentieth and twenty-first century archaeology.

1907 Robert Carr Bosanquet, M.A.
1908 Sir George MacDonald, M.A., LL.D.
1910 Robert Munro M.A., M.D., LL.D.
1911 Robert Alexander Stewart Macalister M.A.

1937 Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler M.C. M.A. D.Litt
1938 Reginald Allender Smith B.A.
1939 Ian Alexander Richmond M.A.

In 1939, the lectureship was associated with duties in the Hunterian Museum:

1940 Anne Strachan Robertson M.A., D.Litt

In 1944 provision was made for a visiting lecturer to give a Dalrymple lecture in alternate years:

1945.46 Gerhardt Bersu
1947.48 Charles Frances Christopher Hawkes M.A.
1950.51 Victor Eric Nash-Williams M.A. D.Litt.
1952.53 William Douglas Simpson D.Litt.
1955.56 John Grahame Douglas Clark M.A., Ph.D., Sc.D., F.B.A.
1956.57 Ian Alexander Richmond M.A., D.Litt., LL.D., F.B.A.
1958.59 Courtenay Arthyr Raleigh Radford M.A., D.Litt., F.B.A.
1960.61 Rupert Leo Scott Bruce-Mittford B.A.
1964.65 Jocelyn Mary Catherine Toynbee, M.A., D.Phil., F.B.A.
1966.67 Stuarty Piggott, B.Litt, D.Litt., F.B.A.
1968.69 Kathleen Mary Kenyon, C.B.E., M.A., D.Litt., F.B.A.
1970.71 David Mackenzie Wison, M. A.
1972 Geoffrey William Dimbleby, B.Sc., M.A., D.Phil
1972.73 Eric Birley, M.B.E., M.A., F.B.A.
1974-75 A.Colin Renfrew M.A., Ph.D.
1976-77 Robert Barron Kerr Stevenson, M.A., F.S.A., F.M.A.
1978.79 Professor M.J. O’Kelly
1981 Professor M.W. Barley
1983 Professor P.R.Giot
1984 Professor Peter S Wells
1985 Dr K Kristiansen
1986 Professor J Sasel
1987.88 Professor Martin Biddle
1988.89 Professor Alexander Fenton
1990.91 Professor Martin Carver
1991.92 Professor Charles Thomas
1992.93 Professor Vassos Karageorghis
1993.94 Professor Rosemary Cramp
1994.95 Professor Emannuel Amati
1995.96 Professor Michael Fulford
1996.97 Professor George Bass
1997.98 Dr John Hume
1999-0 Lord Colin Renfrew
2000-01 Professor Chris Stringer
2001-02 Dr Patrick F Wallace
2002-03 Professor Anders Andren
2003-04 Professor Richard Bradley
2004-05 Dr Philip Freeman
2005-06 Professor Martin Millett
2006-07 Sir Barry Cunliffe
2007-08 Professor Ian Hodder
2008-09 Professor Richard Hodges
2009-10 Professor David Breeze
2010-11 Professor Roberta Gilchrist
2011-12 Professor Ian Ralston
2012-13 Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill
2013-14 Professor Mike Parker Pearson
2014-15 Professor William Hanson
2015-16 Emeritus Professor John C Barrett