Lloyd de Beer

Lloyd de Beer is a curator of medieval collections at the British Museum.

In​ 2005, during preparations for a new underground train line in Cologne, a treasure trove of precious stones was uncovered close to the city’s Gothic cathedral: tiny polished cabochons, diamond-shaped pyramids and thousands of fragments of beautiful unworked shards. Archaeologists were quick to identify this hoard of disjecta membra as the offcuts and unused scraps of a 12th-century...

In​ the opening scene of his television series Civilisation (1969), Kenneth Clark admits that while he can’t define exactly what civilisation is, he knows it when he sees it. The camera pans towards Notre Dame Cathedral as if to say ‘this is it.’ For Clark, the artistic achievement of the medieval period was European. The sophisticated cultures flourishing simultaneously in...

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