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HA3594: THE WORK OF ANGELS (2017-2018)

Last modified: 24 May 2018 14:32

Course Overview

This course will examine the exquisite art of northern British Isles from seventh to ninth centuries.  It will show how the introduction of Christianity both from Ireland and Rome, produced a creative cultural melting pot in which artistic designs from Ireland, Pictland and Northumbria fused into the Insular Style. Technology, literary sources, historical and liturgical evidence are all required to interpret this dramatic era of transition form paganism to Christianity. Highlights are the Book of Kells, Lindisfarne Gospels, Tara Brooch, the Pictish stones. Some fieldtrips. Will appeal to students of Archaeology, Celtic, History, English, as well as Art Historians.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Professor Jane Geddes

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • HA3094 The Work of Angels (Studied)
  • HA4594 The Work of Angels (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The course begins with an examination of a range of metalwork, developing a vocabulary of technical terms and understanding of status and function. Art will be used as a tool to explore the political, social and religious context of the 5-9th centuries. Various roles of patronage, secular and religious are examined. The function and design of the great Insular manuscripts are explored: the Lindisfarne Gospels and Book of Kells. The style and development of sculpture, particularly in Pictland and Ruthwell will be analysed. An approach will be made to methods of dating objects in this era.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt:

1 two-hour written examination (40%)

1 one-hour visual-based test (20%)

1 written assignment with formative feedback (3,000 words) (30%)

Class contribution, based on tutorial participation and seminar presentations and participation (10%)

Examination (100%) NB: All coursework must have been submitted.

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


There will be interactive feedback on class participation. Essays will be handed back individually with comment.

Course Learning Outcomes


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