Dr Ellie Pridgeon FSA promoting the study of medieval wall paintings

New Research in Wall Painting Studies

on May 14, 2012

The Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS) held a highly-successful conference at the University of Kent this month entitled Me Fieri Fecit: The Role and Representation of Owners, Donors and Patrons in Medieval Art.  Papers included a presentation by James Hillson (University of York) who is about to embark on a PhD thesis which will examine the highly-fragmentary wall paintings from St Stephen’s Chapel, Palace of Westminster (1350s).  Moving beyond the rudimentary analysis carried out by Emily Howe (‘Divine Kingship and Dynastic Display: The Altar Wall Murals of St Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster, The Antiquaries Journal, Vol. 81, 2001, 259-303), James demonstrates how the programme depicts a significant shift in the way the Plantagenent rulers constructed their image of kingship.

Completed under Edward III, the programme included imagery such as the Adoration of the Magi, the Infancy of Christ, St George, the Virgin, and Edward III himself.  The paintings were recorded by Richard Smike when the Chamber was enlarged in 1800.  The upper chapel was destroyed by fire in 1834.

St Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster. Copy of the Altar Wall Murals by Richard Smirke (Society of Antiquaries of London).

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