THE ST CHRISTOPHER WALL-PAINTING


During repairs in the summer of 1951 a wall painting was discovered on the south wall of the nave. The following note was written by Mr. CLIVE ROUSE, M.B.E., F.S.A.:

 

The central section of this wall contains a most interesting discovery-a large figure of St. Christopher and the Holy Child. The head of the figure is cut off by the 18th century plaster cornice of the nave roof, and the bottom of the figure is destroyed by a wall tablet. The intervening portion is, however, in good order and many of the essential details including the features of the Saint and the entire figure of the Child, are exceptionally well preserved.

    

The painting has additional interest in that it is a palimpsest, a 14th century St.
Christopher whose curly beard and one eye are traceable, having been repainted
in the late 15th or early 16th century. The Saint (14 feet high to the cornice) wears a
blue cloak and purple tunic with brown neck hem. He looks right, with the Child on
his right shoulder (spectator's right understood throughout). The staff, with tau
cross top, is in his left hand, The child has a green cloak, lined with ermine, caught
by an elaborate morse, and a purple tunic. In one hand he holds a red orb with
green and yellow cross, and blesses with the other hand. The whole is on a deep
red ground, powdered with very small sexfoils in a darker red. The extremely
elaborate colour range, and the preservation of so much detail, make the painting,
in spite of the damage it has suffered, an extremely important discovery, and goes
yet further to prove the universal popularity of this saint in mediaeval England.

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