PAINTINGS

THE PATRIARCHS: The Paintings over the arcades date from 1600. They represent the twelve patriarchs of the Old Testament . The ten almost complete paintings include, Jacob blessing his sons, Judah (Gen. 49:9) Reuben (Gen. 49 : 3) Issachar ( Gen. 49:14) Dan ( Gen. 49 : 16 ) Gad (Gen. 49 :19) Naphtali ( Gen. 49:21 ) Benjamin ( Gen. 49 : 27) Levi (Deut. 33:8 ). Traces of a painting over the chancel arch probably depicting the Last Judgement were noticed in 1960, but the decay was too far advanced for restoration. ST. CATHERINE MURALS This series of wall paintings can be located on the north wall. They date from the very best period of wall painting around 1300, and are exceptionally precious examples of medieval art executed by a master craftsman. They were discovered in the 1860s under many coats of limewash. It would seem that there was a Guild of St. Catherine in Burton Latimer in the early 1500s. Such a guild is mentioned in the writings of Agnes Skott, Joan Mychell and Robert Hett. Local writer and Historian Ron Mears has commented that this St. Catherine series is one of the best in the country. The pictures follow in sequence from the east. The first shows the saint standing before the enthroned emperor, the second shows her being led away by a gaoler carrying his keys over his shoulder, and the third St. Catherine calm and serene amid the wreckage of her spiked wheel of which fragments have struck off the heads of her torturers. One further scene might be expected – that of the burial of the saint by angels on Mount Sinai – but only traces of a final panel remain. These paintings were restored by Professor E.W. Tristram in 1933 at a cost of £40, and again in 1972 by Mrs. Eve Baker who also restored the nave paintings with a generous grant from the Pilgrim Trust. Prof. Tristram’s framed representations hang on the walls below the panels. Interestingly, when the church was being redecorated in 1972, traces of the masonry pattern in the background on the St. Catherine paintings came to light in various parts of the church, particularly in the war memorial corner.

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