|dc.description.abstract||This thesis examines religious decoration and decoration in religious spaces in Scotland in the period between 1560 and 1639. It contends that between these dates there was a lively culture of decoration in ecclesiastical and domestic spaces.
The following examples are considered using a Reformed theology lens, with close attention to artisanal methods and later restoration campaigns: the choir screen and furnishings at Dairsie Kirk (Fife), painted scriptural texts in St Nicholas’ Church (Aberdeen), the layout and the painted ceiling at Stirling Castle’s Chapel Royal, the layout and furnishing at the Palace of Holyrood House’s Chapel Royal (Edinburgh), painted walls in the Chapel Royal at Falkland Palace (Fife), and painted ceilings at St Mary’s Church, Grandtully (Perthshire), Skelmorlie Aisle (Largs), Traquair House (Peeblesshire), and Sailors’ Walk, Kirkcaldy.
Changes in architectural layout to suit Reformed worship, and how the removal and construction of divisions within the church space that previously indicated a profane/sacred divide were later exploited by James VI/I in fashioning his role as an absolute monarch, are considered. For the 1594 baptismal ceremony of his son Prince Henry, the King used the layout and decoration of the Stirling Castle Chapel Royal to bolster his genealogical claim to the English throne and demonstrate his alignment with divine authority. Similarly, his 1617 plan for a sumptuous seat with carvings of the Patriarchs and Apostles for the Palace of Holyrood House Chapel was strong visual propaganda that proclaimed royal authority over the Scottish Reformed Kirk and plans for conformity with the English Church. The presence or absence of unionist heraldry in church schemes is noted to argue that this indicates alignment with a pro- or anti-Royalist position rather than a Catholic or Protestant confessional position. The use of Biblical text as decoration in churches, aisles, and the home, including the Ten Commandments and the Psalms, is considered in the light of Reformed ideology, the approach to marriage, the core texts of the Scottish Reformed Kirk, the relationship with commonplace books, and how sight was understood. The use of text from the Geneva Bible in a decorative scheme for Charles I in 1633, rather than using text from the King James Bible, is investigated.
The period opens with edicts against idolatry in legislation of the 1560s and the First Book of Discipline, and ends with a General Assembly Act of 1640. What was understood by ‘idolatry’, with the focus placed upon action rather than artefacts, is crucial for understanding whether or not decoration, such as in the schemes explored, was acceptable. The thesis indicates that the kingdom of Scotland was not antithetical to decoration in this period, rather the officially-authorised Kirk opposed any decoration that might lead Scots down a route that ‘falsely’ promised salvation.||en