The Leaves of Southwell
Where medieval stone meets living nature
This booklet offers an introduction to the ‘Leaves of Southwell’ which are acknowledged to be one of the great masterpieces of Medieval Art. They have been a source of wonder and inspiration for over 700 years and, as the modern playwright William Ivory writes in his Foreword, they continue to speak to us today about the need to cherish the natural world.
The guidebook gives background to the history and construction of the Chapter House and can be studied before or after your visit. It does not give a definitive description of every carving but the central section can be used as a conventional guide in conjunction with the ‘paddles’ to look for some of the most outstanding carvings.
The latter part of the booklet, exquisitely illustrated by artist Sarah Simblet, explores aspects of the Leaves which go beyond their physical form. It is intended to encourage further reflection at home or whilst enjoying the Palace gardens where the plant species can be found in their natural form.
We hope that it will enrich your visit to ‘one of the glories of Europe’.