The two-storied Treasury at Christ Church, Canterbury, survives as the least altered building from the extensive modernization of the convent undertaken between 1155 and 1167. It is marked by identical façades facing inward and outward from the monastery. These are adorned with elegant arcades mounting in quickening rhythms over their elevations, and with unusually exuberant and varied late Romanesque detailing. The Treasury was designed to serve newly defined purposes. In the upper story, these included the safekeeping of liturgical objects and vestments, monies from ecclesiastical and secular collection, and documents. The lower story is more enigmatic. This article argues that the dual archways and richly decorated passageway need to be understood in their original context of providing access to the monastic cemetery. As such, they relate to the little-studied typology of memorial arches, which may be traced back to Roman sources. The twofold purpose of the two stories indicates conjoined typologies. Like related buildings from the same period at Canterbury, the Treasury was formed by mnemonic modes of envisioning archetypes prompted by locational association referencing Jerusalem and Rome.
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Research Article| March 01 2006
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Peter Fergusson; Modernization and Mnemonics at Christ Church, Canterbury: The Treasury Building. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 1 March 2006; 65 (1): 50–67. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/25068238
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