We are so thrilled to be publishing Magnificence, Richard Barber’s latest book. A truly beautiful object in itself, it is filled with colour illustrations of the treasures that signified the status, wealth and power of kings and princes in the Middle Ages. We are very proud of it – and very proud of “our” Dr Barber!
You can see something of the book’s beautiful interior in the sampler brochure on its webpage. It will, of course, be at conferences throughout the year and on the bookshelves of all good booksellers from early April.
While we await our copy of Magnificence let’s look back at a few of Richard’s classics.
This landmark study of Edward, the Black Prince, looks beyond the splendid vision of chivalry so artfully conjured up by Froissart to focus instead on official records to glean hard facts and details that correct errors in previous histories and help present a fully rounded picture of the prince with the curious nickname.
Without doubt one of the most delightful books we have ever published, it’s also one of the – if not the – bestselling. Around illustrations of creatures real and imagined, all in dazzling colour, runs Richard’s translation of the original Latin, capturing both the serious intent of the manuscript (a natural history of birds, beasts and fishes that draws moral examples from animal behaviour and reveals mystical meanings) and its beguiling charm.
Written and compiled with Anne Riches, this is a real gem that’s been somewhat overshadowed by its brightly coloured Bestiary cousin. It’s an astonishing ark of mythical creatures drawn largely from medieval travellers’ tales, but encompassing civilisations from the Sumerians to the Wild West. In its 600 entries may be found the globe-encircling Jormungandor; the Winged Bulls of Assyria; and even the Cameleopard, which Richard describes as “a kind of glamourised giraffe”!
Another beautifully illustrated volume, this re-design of the original edition was published in 2005. It’s a broad look at chivalry, showing how it shaped and was shaped by great social movements, great writers and great events. Particular emphasis is given to the knight, the figure at the very centre of the chivalric world.
Written with Juliet Barker, this, the first serious study of tournaments throughout Europe, became an essential reference for anyone working on chivalry, the knight, arms and armour, political patronage, and public spectacle in the Middle Ages.