GOTHIC SCULPTOR, English
(active in the 1390s)
Head from the effigy of Edward III1390s
Westminster Abbey, London
An important development had begun gradually in the 13th century which was to have the greatest influence on sculpture as a whole. The rising personal and family colts of the late Middle Ages led individuals to wish to perpetuate themselves or their families and position in the ruling hierarchy. The idea of creating tombs for royal orspecially revered persons had always existed, though the practice was fairly restricted and the concern with sculpture very limited.
At the beginning of the new development the lead was, of course, given by the tombs of kings (like the monument of Henry III in the Westminster Abbey) or the greater princes, lay or ecclesiastical. Fortunately, the idea percolated rapidly downwards, and tomb had become a family status symbol.
At the outset there seems to have been little or no attempt at portraiture or exact personal representation even on the royal monuments, and it is not until we come to the middle of the 14th century or a little later, that portraiture becomes more important, though even then it was rare. An example of this increased importance is the tomb of Edward III in the Westminster Abbey.