Monday, August 5, 2019

Cromwell's Bonfire and Our Lady of Walsingham

From Stephanie Mann:
Did the original statue of Our Lady of Walsingham survive Thomas Cromwell's bonfire? There's a story in The Catholic Herald suggesting that a statue identified as "Virgin and Child" and also called the  Langham Virgin in the Victoria and Albert Museum could be the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham.

The co-author of that article, Dr. Francis Young, writes on his own blog:
We are fortunate to have a fairly detailed image of this statue, which was depicted on the seal of Walsingham Priory – although we have no way of knowing how accurate the seal’s depiction was. What can be said, however, is that what remains of the Langham Madonna is strikingly similar to the seal image. This similarity on its own, of course, is not enough to show that the Langham statue is Our Lady of Walsingham – it could be a copy of the famous statue, or just an image of a similar type from a time when portrayals of the Virgin enthroned were popular in English religious art. There are, however, good reasons to believe the Langham statue could be the famous Walsingham image – partly because it can now be shown that the provenance of the Langham Madonna was inaccurately recorded when the statue was purchased by the V&A, and partly because the statue bears physical signs of traits apparently unique to the image of Our Lady of Walsingham. The details of these arguments can be found in the original article. (Read more.)

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