Friday, December 7, 2018

A Rare English Medieval Altarpiece

Conservation work on one of a handful of English painted altarpieces that survived the fury of iconoclasm after the dissolution of monasteries by Henry VIII has uncovered not only the original glowing Medieval colour, but evidence of serial vandalism years after the faces of its seven elegant saints were gouged down to the bare wood. 
The Battel Hall retable is owned by the Leeds Castle Foundation in Kent and named for the Medieval house on the estate where its existence was first recorded in 1863, but most of its 600-year history is a mystery. The graffiti may have been added by schoolchildren, and include Latin and Greek words and astronomical and geometrical diagrams, as well as compass-drawn circles interpreted as “witchmarks” to protect against evil spirits. (Read more.)

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