The website for the Society for those interested in any aspect of monumental brasses
and incised slabs of all dates in all countries.
In the medieval and early modern periods in particular, monumental brasses and incised
slabs were popular forms of monuments or memorials used to cover the tombs of those
buried inside churches. An incised slab is a flat memorial with an effigy of the
deceased, a cross or other appropriate subject, with epitaph, cut directly into the
stone; they originated before the Norman Conquest. A monumental brass, by contrast,
is engraved on sheets of metal inlaid in matrices cut into the stone; they have been
made in England from the thirteenth century to the present day.
Both brasses and slabs were designed in a range of styles reflecting the general
trends in art of their period. They can be studied from a variety of perspectives,
including the artistic context and iconography of the monuments and the life, self-image
and religious beliefs of those commemorated.
Brasses and incised slabs are an interesting and absorbing study in their own right,
but they also provide rich visual imagery for those interested in a range of other
Brasses and incised slabs act as a picture book illustrating key figures in the British
history. Many monuments show participants in key events, including the 100 Years
War with France, the Wars of the Roses and the Civil War. There are brasses to medieval
royalty, such as that at Westminster Abbey to Eleanor de Bohun, daughter-in-law of
Edward III and aunt of Richard II. Others commemorate descendants of key figures
in our cultural heritage, such as the son and daughter-in-law of the poet, Geoffrey
Chaucer, at Ewelme, Oxfordshire.
The Victorian revival in brass production, led by such influential ecclesiologists
as Augustus Welby Pugin, led to the creation of monuments of great richness, ornament
and colour, which rank among the best products of the art of the Gothic Revival.
Brasses and incised slabs also provide reliable contemporary sources for the study
of many other subjects, including genealogy, heraldry, armour, costume and jewellery.
They are also of interest to art historians, church archaeologists and ecclesiologists.
Please explore our website by using the navigation buttons at the top of most pages
to find out more about the MBS and these fascinating memorials.