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been placed in position the intermediate gesso work was put on and gilded."
Since the armorial bearings are disposed over the whole surface of the glass panels, they should more properly be described as banners of arms, for which I think they are intended. Leaving for future consideration the arms depicted on them, we must observe the arrangement of the banners and the information they afford as to the original size and form of the reredos.
Along the lower side of the frame there were eleven banners, so placed that there was one at each end, another below the centre of each panel, and another beneath each mullion. These banners are all placed lengthwise, but the arms upon them are painted as if the banners were long ones and not upright.
On each end of the frame were three banners, placed upright, and as nearly as possible 64 inches apart, which is also the distance between the lowest vertical banner and the first long one beneath it. In its present state the frame is cut off immediately above the uppermost of the three side banners, and there is of course nothing to shew how the rest of it was arranged. I think, however, we may safely conclude that the frame was continued in the same style all round the reredos, and if we allow above the uppermost banner the same space, 64 inches, that occurs below it, the distance between the long banners of the lower frame and a similar series on the upper frame would be 2 feet 111 inches. From this it is easy to restore the position of the upper frame, which gives a total height for the reredos of 3 feet 9 inches. We have thus lost 35 inches from the panels. The missing board must have been slightly broader than those below it, which measure respectively, the lowest 9 inches the other three 81 inches each in width, but the fifth board, if my deductions be correct, must have been 101 inches wide, which closely agrees with the 10 inches allowed by Mr. Way. By the aid of the dimensions thus recovered, if I may use the term, it will be seen that the panels were two squares in height, a very satisfactory proportion.'
1 Examples of this form of decoration are not common in this country. The beautiful late thirteenth century tabula in Westminster Abbey church is of course a notable example, and Mr. Micklethwaite has shown me in the same church a single fragment on the tomb of Edmund Crouchback, which was formerly elaborately decorated with painted glass panels, as were apparently the wooden sedilia on the opposite side of the presbytery. Some large pieces of similar work still exist in the canopy of the president's seat in the chapter-house at Christchurch, Canterbury, the recorded work of Prior Henry of Eastry in 1304-5. The same method of decoration also appears on the gorgeous rood-screens at Southwold, Suffolk, and Cawston, Norfolk, of late fifteenth or early sixteenth century date.
We may now return to the examination of the banners. The banners or traces of them on the existing framework are seventeen in number, viz. three at each end, and eleven along the bottom. For convenience I have numbered them, beginning with the uppermost left-hand banner, and continuing down, across the bottom, up the right side, and along the top. The total number was twenty-eight.
Of the banners themselves only three remain, viz. 5, 6, and 13, but the places of the others (except 17) are marked by the red or black patches of the adhesive material by which the glass panels were attached to the frame, and several of these retain traces of a cast, as it were, of the painting on the papel, sufficient to enable the arms to be made out. The red material seems to have been used for such arms as had gold or red fields or ordinaries, the black when the field or ordinary was silver or black. 1. Has been utterly destroyed by the hole cut for
1 The central panel may have been higher than the others to accommodate the subject painted on it. Three squares would give us a height of about 3 feet 10 inches, which is too great, but two squares and a half give 3 feet 2 inches, which, allowing for the frame, would mean the addition of another board 9 inches wide. The banners round the frame would accommodate themselves fairly symmetrically to such an arrangement, and their original number would then have been thirty.
one of the legs when the tabula was degraded
to menial uses. It had a red cement backing. 2. Of this most of the red mounting remains, and
it bears clear traces of the arms of Despencer (Quarterly argent and gules, the 2nd and 3rd quarters fretty or; over all a bend sable) within a bordure. There can be little doubt therefore that the banner was that of the warlike Henry Despencer, bishop of Norwich from 1370 to 1406, who differenced his paternal arms with an azure bordure charged with the
golden mitres of his see. 3. Is hopelessly defaced; and 4. Is also almost wholly destroyed by the hole cut
for another of the table legs. Both banners were mounted on red cement, and on 4 are
doubtful traces of a pale or cross. 5. Is fortunately quite perfect. It is fixed by
black cement and bears the arms of Hales : sable, a chevron between three lions rampant argent. Sir Stephen Hales, who bore these arms, was taken prisoner and made to serve as his carver by the rebel John the Litester
(or dyer) in the insurrection of 1381. 6. Is also perfect. It bears on a red backing the
arms of Morieux : gules, a bend argent billety sable. Sir Thomas Morieux was
a valiant knight, who took an active part in conjunction with bishop Henry Despencer in the suppression
of the rebellion of 1381. 7. Had a black mount, on which are doubtful
traces of a fess as ordinary.
8. Had a red mount, but is hopelessly effaced.
appear traces of what may be a fess.
which seems to bear indications of the checkers
this is not certain.
clearly bore gules, a saltire engrailed argent. These are the arms of the Norfolk family of Kerdeston, of which the last legitimate male representative, Sir William Kerdeston, died in 1361, but they here may have reference to
some other member of the family. 12. The black backing of this bears clear traces of
a banner which was paly nebuly argent (or or) and gules. These arms are probably those of a member of the Gernon family (perhaps for
Sir Nicholas Gernon, who was living in 1374). 13. Is fortunately complete, though the glass is sadly
cracked. It bears the arms of Howard : gules, a bend between six cross-crosslets fitchées argent, probably for Sir John Howard, of Fersfield,
living in 1388. 14, 15, 16, and 17 are unfortunately destroyed, the
first and last by the holes of the table legs. Traces remain of the red cement backing of the three first, but this shews no definite signs
of arms. The other banners, from 18 to 28 inclusive, were of course lost when the upper part of the frame was destroyed.
It will be seen that the heraldry, if the arms be correctly assigned, limits the date of the tabula in one direction to 1370, when Henry Despencer was consecrated bishop of Norwich. Certain details of the costume of
the figures suggest a somewhat later date than this for the painting of the reredos, and it is at least possible that it was given as a thank-offering for the suppression of the insurrection of 1381. That it was a gift to which a number of people subscribed is, I think, proved by the series of armorial banners of the frame, and three of the probable donors, bishop Henry Despencer, Sir Stephen Hales, and Sir Thomas Morieus, were certainly concerned in suppressing Litester's rebellion. By the kindness of the Dean and Chapter I have examined such of the Sacrist's and Precentor's Rolls as cover the period from 1364 to 1400. Various payments for the painting and gilding of images and furniture occur which show that painters were constantly employed, but in the few rolls that remain the names of the artists are not given, and the works on which they were engaged seem to have been small. It is of course impossible to say what was in the lost rolls, but it is not likely that a gift made and painted by subscription would have been mentioned therein, though the charge for fixing it might have been entered.
The subjects of the paintings, from left to right, are: (1) the Scourging of our Lord; (2) Christ bearing his Cross ; (3) the Crucifixion; (4) the Resurrection; and (5) the Ascension. These have been minutely described by Mr. Albert Way in his memoir; and also by Mr. Waller in his paper aforementioned . For the sake, however, of making this paper complete in itself, I have ventured to include a description from my own notes.
The picture of the Scourging (Plate II.) represents our Lord as standing in front of a slender pillar, and tied to it by a cord round the middle and by his hands, which are raised above his head. The pillar is apparently fixed beneath a beam supporting a gallery, which forms part of a building in the background. The ceiling under