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Eleanor's Crosses

Part 3: Three sculptors: Roger of Crundale, Alexander of Abingdon and Richard of Crundale

Being the result of cooperation between architect and a sculptor – Roger of Crundale and Alexander of Abingdon worked on the Waltham cross, and the same Master Alexander collaborated with the senior royal mason Richard of Crundale on the most expensive, marble cross at Charing - their decoration embraces figure sculpture and diaper complemented by architectural forms such as tracery, arches, gables, pinnacles and buttresses rendered on a micro scale.

Brightly coloured, gilded, adorned with glass painted to look like enamel, they resembled more precious, jewelled reliquaries rather than solid stone structures. Sharing a decorative vocabulary with such contemporaneous monuments as the tombs of queen Eleanor herself and that of Edmund Crouchback (both in Westminster Abbey), or small scale sacred interiors like St Stephen’s chapel and the Lady chapel at the residence of the Bishops of Ely, now St Etheldreda, Holborn (c.1284), they exemplified the newly developing English style called the Decorated.

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