Interpretation Of Architectural Fragments

Different models of assessment may be provided for the client, from the detailed recording of key items, to overall quantification of entire collections. It may then be possible to re-assemble fragments for display. For instance, in 2001, Dr Samuel re-assembled part of a cloister from Merton Priory, using fragments that had sat unused in the Museum of London’s storage for 40 years. It was subsequently displayed in the Museum’s Medieval Gallery, as shown to the right in the photo below.

Window from Merton Priory
A window from Merton Priory, excavated in 1959, now on display at the Museum of London

Two fragments in the lapidary collection of St Paul’s Cathedral are all that survive of the vast east rose window of the pre-fire cathedral. Dr Samuel created a design of the window, which can now be accurately understood and discussed for the first time since the Great Fire. This was achieved by combining the data encapsulated in the stones with other historical records, such as Wenceslaus Hollar’s 17th century etching of the old cathedral’s eastern arm. The reconstruction of the rose window was carried out for English Heritage’s seminal 2012 publication on Old St Paul’s Cathedral.

East Rose window
Detail of the East Rose window of Old St Paul's

Below is a reconstruction of a window at the ruined Torre Abbey in Torquay. The fragments were excavated in the 1980s, but only reconstructed 30 years later by Dr Samuel.

Traceried window
A priory window excavated in the 1980s is belatedly pieced together with the aid of CAD