Mappa Mundi stars in BBC Seven Ages of Britain
Hereford Mappa Mundi stars in ‘The Seven Ages of Britain’ with David Dimbleby
‘The Seven Ages of Britain’ has been described as one of the biggest arts series ever to be commissioned for BBC One, with seven x 1 hour episode in a series co-produced by The Open University to explore the history of Britain's greatest art and artefacts over 2000 years. This hugely ambitious series was written and presented by David Dimbleby began at 9pm on Sunday 31st January on BBC One, with Hereford Cathedral and its famous Mappa Mundi featuring heavily in the second programme broadcast at the same time on February 7th.
David Dimbleby says: "Seven Ages of Britain was proving an exhilarating quest. The television camera offers a spectacular view of some of our most precious national treasures, allowing us to see them in ways beyond the reach of the human eye, as we tell the story of our country's history over two thousand years through the art we have created in good times and bad. It looks at our extraordinary past through the Arts, both as objects that have often played a decisive part in events and as marvels of their age. "
Series Producer Jonty Claypole added “The Hereford Cathedral and Mappa Mundi sequence looks fantastic, using lighting and smoke machines to great dramatic effect. It was a real privilege to get to film so close to such an important artefact and David brings the subject matter alive with his usual journalistic endeavour and a twinkle in his eye”
The Seven Ages of Britain follows on from the success of David Dimbleby's previous two BBC One series, A Picture Of Britain and How We Built Britain, the latter being one of the first Arts programmes to reach 5 million viewers.
In programme 2, subtitled 'Age Of Worship (1170-1400)', David Dimbleby continues to chart the history of Britain's greatest art and artefacts and tell the story of the nation through its treasures, in the second episode of Seven Ages Of Britain, which examines the Age Of Worship. In the Middle Ages, Britain was caught in a power struggle between the Crown and the Church. The two were reconciled in the code of chivalry which ordered devotion to one's King as well as God; a story revealed in the fabulous objects left in Britain's cathedrals and castles, or safeguarded in museums.
This programme can still be seen on the BBC iPlayer
Dimbleby also re-assesses the reign of Richard II, arguing that under his rule, England experienced a superb cultural renaissance, and travels to Munich in search of Britain's only preserved medieval crown.
As well as the Hereford Mappa Mundi, other items tracked down (and places visited) include: Thomas Becket pilgrim badges (Museum of London); Becket Miracle Windows (Canterbury Cathedral); the Coventry Doom (Holy Trinity, Coventry); the Bury Bible (Parker Library, Cambridge); Arthur's Round Table (Winchester Great Hall); effigies of Templar Knights (Temple Church); Eleanor Cross (Geddington); Edward III sword (Windsor Castle); Garter stall plates (St George's Chapel, Windsor); tomb of the Black Prince (Canterbury Cathedral); Anne of Bohemia's Crown (the Schatzkammer, Munich); Westminster Hall; Chaucer's Canterbury Tales; frontispiece of Chaucer's Troilus and Cressida (Parker Library, Cambridge); and the Wilton Diptych (National Gallery).