Early Irish Sculpture and the Art of the High Crosses Roger A. Stalley

Publication date:
12 May 2020
Paul Mellon Centre
248 pages: 270 x 216mm
196 color + b-w illus.
Sales territories:


An exciting new account of Irish high crosses

This landmark study of Irish high crosses focuses on the carvings of an unnamed artist, the “Muiredach Master,” whose monuments—completed in the early years of the 10th century—deserve a place alongside the Book of Kells as great works of their time. Drawing on a wealth of recent research, Roger Stalley describes in vivid detail how the crosses were made, where they were carved, and how they were lifted into place. His lively prose situates the works in their context, identifying patrons and exploring their motives, as well as venturing to understand what the crosses may have meant to those who gazed at them a millennium ago. In doing so, Stalley rejects preconceived notions about the imagery of the crosses, including the extent to which they were inspired by images from abroad.

Roger Stalley is a fellow emeritus at Trinity College, Dublin.

“Engagingly and expertly written by Roger Stalley, Early Irish Sculpture and the Art of the High Crosses is the ideal replacement or preparation for a visit to these unparalleled works of art.”—Christopher Howse, The Tablet

“[W]ell written and widely researched… I join with the author in wishing that the book will make high crosses better known outside Ireland.”—Peter Harbison, Irish Arts Review

“Roger Stalley demonstrates yet again his status as one of the pre-eminent art historians of the Middle Ages. Displayed throughout this book is an ability to blend an engaging and readable summary with an encyclopaedic knowledge, where the overall narrative never gets lost in the detail. As such, this volume is destined to become a landmark in the study and understanding of Ireland’s high crosses and medieval art.”—Patrick Gleeson, Journal of Irish Archaeology

“Explores how High Crosses were constructed; how and where the stone was quarried and carved...This approach leads to new insights into the crosses.”—Elizabeth Alexander, The Burlington Magazine