HENRY, Françoise. La Sculpture Irlandaise pendant Les Douze Premiers Siècles de l’ère Chrétienne. Illustrated with one hundred and seventy one plates. Two volumes in one. Paris: Leroux, 1933. Large quarto. pp. (1) 234, 1, (2) 11, 171 (plates). Modern half black morocco on cloth boards. A fine copy. Rare.
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The tall stone crosses of Ireland were described by the American art-historian Kingsley Porter, in 1931, as being “among the remarkable manifestations of medieval art”. It is difficult to write in a calm and restrained manner about this supremely excellent tome. Since Petrie’s ‘Round Towers’, since Dunraven’s ‘Notes on Irish Architecture’, no such worthy contribution has been made to the scientific study of Irish Christian Archaeology. Françoise Henry’s work was one of the most comprehensive studies ever carried out on the high crosses of Ireland. Speaking of which, Dr. Peter Harbison states: “it provides us not only with a detailed discussion on the sculpture and ornament of the crosses, but with a formidable array of photographs and attentive chronology as well, ranging from the 7th century, for the monuments at Fahan and Carndonagh to the 12th century crosses in Munster and Connacht”.
The French had developed in the 1930’s a very high standard of photographic reproduction. The plates are of an excellent quality, depicting the minutest details of the carved stonework on these crosses, some of which have since deteriorated.
Francoise Henry having been for a number of years on the staff of the Musée des Antiquités Nationales, St. Germain-en-Laye, made Irish Archaeology her special study and was attached to the National University of Ireland. She has published many studies in Irish art, both in French and English.