In the 13th and 14th centuries, the making and buying of art was increasingly concentrated in towns and cities. In the area around Paris known as the Ile-de-France, a new style of art developed. Because of its supposedly Germanic character, this style was called ‘Gothic’.
The style of architecture we now call Gothic first emerged in northern France in around 1140. It evolved during the construction of great churches in the Paris region, in a drive towards height, light and volume. Later it was also used for secular buildings such as castles, palaces, bridges, city walls and gates.
Christian monasticism developed in Egypt in the 3rd century when some Christians chose poverty and isolation as a way of getting closer to God. Communities copying the strict way of life of these holy men quickly spread across Europe and became an important part of medieval European society. By the mid-12th century, there were around 500 monasteries in England.
The Devonshire Hunting Tapestries
These four 15th-century tapestries with hunting scenes came to the V&A from the estate of The Dukes of Devonshire. They probably belonged to the celebrated Countess of Shrewsbury, known as 'Bess of Hardwick', and were probably from Hardwick Hall, one of her houses in Derbyshire