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RAE 2008

Rearch Assessment Exercise 2008

Edward Cooper

(retired November 2007)

My research interests include:
Mediaeval fortification in the Iberian peninsula, and related topics; the mining of alum in Spain between the fall of Constantinople and the inauguration of Tolfa; aristocratic factions in Spain; issues in the restoration of mediaeval castles in Spain.


Research Outcomes

Outcome 1 - La Mitra y la Roca - intereses de Alfonso Carrillo, arzobispo de Toledo, en la ribera del Ebro
Combining archival sources and laboratory analysis, this interdisciplinary study examines the sourcing of alum in Spain for the textile trade between the fall of Constantinople and the inauguration of the Papal mines of Tolfa, in the context of political events in the Rioja area of Spain where the resource studied was found.
Alum was crucial in the dyeing of quality woollen cloth, and this interval of supposed dearth has hitherto been completely ignored. Cooper has previously conducted research on mediaeval fortified architecture in the Iberian Peninsula, and related historical events. La Mitra y la Roca deals with an alum mine located in the demesne of a significant castle of the period, and develops the subject in a new direction through interdisciplinary research.

portfolio

Outcome 2 - El Respeto y el Amor a las más Elevadas Esencias Espirituales
This keynote paper reiterates the respective standpoints of Ruskin and Viollet-le-Duc on the conservation of mediaeval buildings, with a preference for the former, and traces the relegation of their criteria in the face of overwhelming present-day degradation of the castles of Spain, regarded as profit-making assets rather than historic documents.
An argument is made for minimal intervention, with a view to maximising the educational value of castles, and avoiding unnecessary cost. The paper is designed to prologue the focus of the other papers: archaeological work in restoration of castles; reassessment of Viollet-le-Duc; building science in castle restoration; architectural education; lobbying for popular interest in historic buildings through television (unheard-of in Spain); the conversion of castles into hotels and political ideology in the restoration of castles.

portfolio



Outcome 3 - El segundo duque de Alba y las Comunidades de Castilla: nuevas aportaciones extremeñas y murcianas
The second duke of Alba inherited in 1488 rivalry for control of the Castilian drovers' roads with the duke of Arévalo, supporter of the king of Portugal in the succession war 1475-9. Through strategic arranged marriages he acquired the castles that gave him a monopoly of pastorage throughout southern León and Extremadura, and extended his chain of fiefs across Andalucía, until he clashed with the alum mining magnate of Murcia, the marquis of los Vélez. They skirmished by proxy, using the popular Revolt of the Comuneros (1520-21) as a smokescreen. The duke ousted the marquis from political control of Murcia, but was unable to divest him of the alum trade.

portfolio

Outcome 4 - Corn Lore at Cogolludo
This article in the book From the Cancionero da Vaticano to the Cancionero General; Studies in Honour of Jane Whetnall, with 11 original illustrations, focusses on the relationship between a group of well-known late Gothic / early Renaissance buildings in the vicinity of Madrid, erected by the maritally related de la Cerda duke of Medinaceli and the Mendoza dukes of el Infantado. The article challenges the standard attribution of one of them, the palace of the first duke of Medinaceli at Cogolludo (Guadalajara) to the in-house Mendoza architect Lorenzo Vázquez, through its lack of resemblance to known Vázquez buildings elsewhere, and the standard misinterpretation of such documentary reference as exists.
The design is what would result from an attempt to mix motifs from diverse manuscript and early printed sources, i.e. eclectic rather than individualistic, certainly not Vázquez’s method.

portfolio

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