3 June – Mappa Mundi

My aim from the start of the residency has been to make a work about medieval Mottisfont using a form of visual representation from that period. I originally thought it was going to be a book of hours but now I’ve started to think about medieval maps …


The work needs to include different ‘orders’ of graphic information – just as medieval manuscripts do. In books of hours the most lavish illustrations are used to depict religious imagery whilst simpler graphic forms are used for the margin illustrations of the natural world. There is a constant interplay between images representing the religious mindset of the medieval world and the physical, experienced reality. I want my work to include ‘jewel-like’ illustrations of things of religious significance, marginal illustrations of the natural world, and a map.


I look at a number of medieval maps online I realise this is the perfect vehicle for my work.  Mappa Mundi are not topographically accurate representations of the world as maps are today.  They are a record of the medieval view of the world in spiritual and geographical terms.  In their fullest form Mappa Mundi are minor encylopedias of medieval knowledge containing drawings of scenes of religious significance and objects from the  natural world within a stylised geography.    They use regular geometry to represent the harmonious order of god’s creation and forms, such as circles and triangles, were regarded as religously perfect.    I’m struck by the importance of water and the convention of showing landmasses surrounded by water and all aspects of the map being held within a connecting network of rivers and seas.  I decide to make a Mappa Mundi for Mottisfont and that the centre point ( a good place to start) will be the font.

K9EZD00Z Mappa Mundi 2 mappa-mundi-illo_2324152b rust_pml19921 T-O_Mappa_mundi

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