Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1952. First edition. Quarto, original blue cloth, original dust jacket. Faint tanning to flyleaves, minor edge-wear to price-clipped dust jacket. A nearly-fine copy. Item #312
"THE GENIUS FOR ORDER AND BEAUTY OF THE TWELFTH AND THIRTEENTH CENTURIES" First edition of this photographic survey of the sites and local architecture of the religious houses in England, Scotland, and Wales, providing modern witness to the destruction wrought by the dissolution of the monasteries (1536-1541). Based on the collections of the Royal Air Force and Cambridge University, Monastic Sites presents 138 photographs, including many full-page plates, supplemented with plans and a map. Dom David Knowles (an exclaustrated Benedictine monk and Cambridge historian) supplied a short Preface (dated "Cambridge/26 October 1951") and a longer, nine-part Introduction. "The preparation of the notes in this book has given a new sense of the genius for order and beauty of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. While much in the public and private life of those times was disorderly, brutal and squalid, it was an epoch when order, symmetry and centralization at the highest levels attained a perfection and a beauty found only at the peak of a culture's development." The monasteries are grouped by order with a preponderance of Benedictine, Cistercian, Premonstratensian, and Augustinian houses. The back matter after the text includes a Catalogue of Air Photographs of Religious Houses in the University Collection, a Distribution Map, and an Index.