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Re: [Churchcrawling] paintings link

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  • Becky
    ... Hi Les, They appear to all be medieval. At a time when the service was in Latin and the common man couldn t read wall painting were a very important way
    Message 1 of 3 , May 1, 2000
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      > I get it just fine. The paintings are something completely new to me. Is it
      > medieval, or something related to our WPA (Depression era) murals? I don't
      > remember seeing them in the churches we visited in London

      Hi Les,

      They appear to all be medieval. At a time when the service was in Latin and the
      common man couldn't read wall painting were a very important way of
      communicating scriptures. I do have a couple pages on my website with other
      church wall paintings (and they are in color ;-)) at:
      http://www.homeusers.prestel.co.uk/magor/photographs_of_medieval_sites.htm
      Follow the links to Trotton Church, Clayton Church, Haddon Hall, and Kempley
      Church.

      Becky
    • Simon's Suffolk Churches
      They are generally fairly early; by the 14th century, the liturgical focus had switched more to the Rood. In general, they were considered idolatrous by the
      Message 2 of 3 , May 1, 2000
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        They are generally fairly early; by the 14th century, the liturgical focus had switched more to the Rood. In general, they were considered idolatrous by the 15th century Anglican reformers,  and were mostly covered up (William Dowsing, the 16th century Puritan iconoclast, found hardly any surviving wall paintings in Suffolk - perhaps none). They've survived best where churches were built of flint, or where 19th century restorers weren't too enthusiastic. Stone built churches often had their internal plaster raked out by well-meaning Victorians hoping to make the church 'more medieval', and thousands of medieval wallpaintings must have been lost as a result.
         
        Quite a few survive in Suffolk because of the flint built churches (you can't rake the plaster out in the same way) and the best include the scenes of the Passion at North Cove and Lakenheath, the life of Christ at Wissington, the Hagiography of Saint's Francis, Margaret, John thre Baptist and Nicholas, also at Wissington, that of St Edmund at Thornham Parva, the astonishing black Madonna at Wenham Parva, and individual saints abounding, too many to mention. In the north east of Suffolk, they tend to be painted in window splays. St Christopher usually stood on the north wall facing the south entrance, and a visit to the church first thing in the morning was considered efficacious in ensuring a trouble free day. This occurs many places in Suffolk, although at Kentford and Great Liveremere there are the Three Living and the Three Dead instead - three princes out hunting meet three skeletons in various states of decay, who tell them "as we are, so you shall be".
         
        The sequence of the life of St Francis at Wissington was painted less than 20 years after the saint's death - awesome, eh!
         
        There are also the familiar doom paintings, which were basically a backdrop to the rood - Christ in his majesty sending the dead either north to heaven or south to hell. This is also on the chancel wall at North cove. Cowlinge has an interesting variation on this, with Mary to the south reaching across with a long beam to tip the balance on St Peter's scales (thus 'interceding' for sinners). Simon Jenkins misinterprets this as Mary tipping the balance in favour of the righteous - a basic misunderstanding of Catholic theology!
         
        Although the extent to which these were 'teaching tools' is often over-estimated (most are clearly simply beautiful acts of devotion) it is also possible to find 'the seven virtues' (as at Hessett) and various trees of Jesse (basically, family trees of Christ). As with roods, all churches would have had them, and we need to imagine them to obtain any sense of the medieval life of a church.
         
        All the places mentioned above are in Suffolk, by the way.
         
        Simon
         
         
         
         www.suffolkchurches.co.uk - an alternative guide to the churches of Suffolk.
        ----- Original Message -----
        I don't
        remember seeing them in the churches we visited in London (see  my London
        Churches  list) or the Cathedrals we visited, except for those wonderful
        paintings covered by modern panels at---(?) Winchester, I think
      • Simon's Suffolk Churches
        If you want to see modern wall paintings, visit Lound, where Ninian Comper painted a St Christopher in the 1920s, featuring him riding up the river bank in a
        Message 3 of 3 , May 1, 2000
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          If you want to see modern wall paintings, visit Lound, where Ninian Comper painted a St Christopher in the 1920s, featuring him riding up the river bank in a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. A jet plane was added to it in the 1960s. There's a picture at http://www.suffolkchurches.co.uk/lound.htm
           
          Simon
           
           
           www.suffolkchurches.co.uk - an alternative guide to the churches of Suffolk.
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