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In rather better condition than the rest of the painting is the small kneeling figure at the right, and the detail below right, pixelated as it is, shows him reasonably clearly. This is a priest or monk, tonsured, wearing a red robe and looking up towards Christ with his hands raised in prayer. The trace of an inscription (in Lombardic capitals, which helps to date the painting) to the right of his head was decipherable in 1960 as +RICA. Beside the figure at the bottom right is a wine-jar or ewer.
Pamela Tudor-Craig, quoted earlier above, went on to say that Little though there is of it now, there can be no doubt the figure of Christ was once of a very high quality. It is as close in style and colours as anything in England to the Doubting Thomas subject, painted on a similarly large scale in the south transept of Westminster Abbey.².
Also at Brent Eleigh, on the other side of the Crucifixion, is a painted background to a statue of the Virgin, with angels. All three of these medieval paintings, considered together, can claim to be some of the finest in England.
¹Quoted in Canon John Fitch, Brent Eleigh Church : An illustrated History and Guide, 1986, p.11 (available in the church)
²Ibid. p.12. The Westminster Abbey Incredulity of Thomas is Plate ll in Tristram English Medieval Wall Painting : The 13th century, Plates, Part 1
Diocesan Website with contact details for Brent Eleigh church
© Anne Marshall 8/4/2002