Thursday, 17 October 2019

Henley Archaeological and Historical Group

Henley Archaeological and Historical Group

AT their meeting on June 4, the last before the summer break, members enjoyed a talk given by Robert Heath-Whyte on Chalgrove church and its paintings.

These paintings cover much of the north, east and south walls of the Church of St Mary the Virgin.

The main themes of those on the north wall are the birth and crucifixion of Christ, while the south wall shows the death of Mary.

These two series are continued on the east wall, with the ascension and assumption. Some of the scenes are taken from the Bible but additional features are from Jacobus de Voragine’s book of the lives of saints, The Golden Legend. The work was created in the early 14th century under the patronage of the Barentin family, who occupied one of the manors of the village. The content of the paintings was influenced by continental European ideas and possibly directly by the Italian artist Bonacursus de Frescobaldi.

The images were covered by whitewash during the Reformation and only revealed during restoration in 1858.

Unfortunately, early attempts at conservation using beeswax led to further damage by damp, but further work using more developed techniques, most recently in 2015 and 2016, will allow the paintings to be appreciated by future generations.

The next talk will be held on October 1 when the historical writer Nicola Tallis will speak on Lettice Knollys of Greys Court, the subject of her book on Elizabeth’s rival.

Meetings are held at King’s Arms Barns in Henley, starting at 7.45pm. Admission is £4 for non-members.

For more information, visit https://www.henley-on-thamesarchaeologicaland

Tony Lynch

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