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The Martyrdom of St.Catherine : Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire (‡Peterborough) Early C.14

Photos & drawing:T.Marshall Burton Latimer, Maximinian giving judgement on S. Catherine (150KB)

These are the remaining reasonably clear scenes Burton Latimer, Emperor Maxentius in judgement on St. Catherine (b/w, 122KB)from a painted series of the Martyrdom of St. Catherine on the north wall at Burton Latimer. At the left is the Emperor Maxentius in judgement, looking the very picture of a tyrant with his crown, crossed legs, dramatic hand gesture giving the order to strike, and above all, his elaborate throne with its curving twin arms terminating in animal heads. I think these, clearer in the black and white sketch at the right than in the colour photograph, are possibly intended for camel heads, and they certainly reinforce the general idea of oriental magnificence.

The paintings, which according to Tristram¹ employed a technique as near as anything English wallpainting has to true fresco, being set out on a thin and still damp layer of lime putty on top of the plaster, do not show to best advantage against their insistent and intrusive background of fake painted brickwork. This is evident enough in the Maxentius scene, but it is even more marked (and even more irritating) in the scene of the torture and death of St. Catherine shown below at the right

Here the heavily painted illusionistic brick wall makes it hard to see St Catherine, the wheels, St Catherine awaiting beheading (219KB)Catherine and the wheels - one at the extreme right almost intact, another further left on the other side of Catherine broken into several pieces. Catherine stands, stripped to the waist and hands joined in prayer. An angel with a sword once swooped over her head to break the wheels, but only a few incoherent traces of the sword are now detectable, and I can make out nothing of the group of the group of philosophers who tried and failed to argue Catherine from her Christian faith and were thrown into the fire by Maxentius for their trouble. Tristram’s drawing² shows this group, fallen at Catherine’s feet, but if the details were clear then, they are completely invisible now.

At the left of the photograph Catherine kneels to await the executioner’s axe, but only part of her figure is here now, and there is no sign of the executioner.

This must have been a remarkably impressive series once. The figure drawing is excellent, especially in Maxentius’s ambitious pose. And his throne is a quite wondrous object, the like of which I have certainly never seen elsewhere.

¹ Tristram 111, p.146, and his drawings as plates 47, 48. Plate 47 shows the intervening angel and the fallen philosophers, but in Plate 48 Maxentius’s crown is missing.

St. Andrew Martyred, Stoke Dry, Rutland St. Anne teaching the Virgin to read-Corby Glen, Lincolnshire St. Antony and the Pig, Barton, Cambridgeshire St. Barbara : Hessett, Suffolk St. Bartholomew : Selling, Kent St.Catherine of Alexandria, life of : Castor, Cambs St Catherine of Alexandria, Cold Overton, Leicestershire NEW St.Catherine of Alexandria : Hardley Street, Norfolk
St.Catherine of Alexandria : Old Weston, Northants St.Catherine of Alexandria : Pickering, N. Yorks St.Catherine of Alexandria, life of : Sporle, Norfolk St. Catherine of Alexandria, Martyrdom of: Burton Latimer, Northants NEW St. Catherine of Alexandria or another female saint : Ashley, Hampshire NEW St. Clement : South Leigh, Oxon. Scenes from the life of St. Cuthbert : Pittington, Co. Durham NEW St. Dunstan holding the Devil by the nose : Barton, Cambs
St.Edmund : Boxford, Suffolk St. Edmund : Lakenheath, Suffolk St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Bishopsbourne, Kent St.Edmund, Martyrdom of : Fritton, Norfolk St. Edmund (or St. Walstan) : Gisleham, Norfolk St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Pickering, N.Yorks St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Stoke Dry, Rutland St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Troston, Suffolk
St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Weare Giffard, Devon St.Eloi, Broughton, Bucks St. Eloi and the possessed horse, Slapton, Northants St. Eloi, as bishop & blacksmith, Wensley, N.Yorks St.Erasmus, Martyrdom of : Chippenham, Cambs St. Etheldreda : Willingham, Cambs St. Francis Preaching to the Birds : Little Kimble, Bucks St.Francis Preaching to the Birds : Wissington, Suffolk
St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata, Slapton, Northants St. George & Dragon : Banningham, Norfolk St. George & Dragon : Broughton, Bucks St. George & Dragon : Earl Stonham, Suffolk St. George & Dragon : Fritton, Norfolk St. George & Dragon : Hornton, Oxon St. George dedicating himself to the Virgin : Astbury, Cheshire St. George, with the princess : Little Kimble, Bucks
St. George & the Dragon : Kirtlington, Oxon NEW St.Helena, Broughton, Bucks St.James the Great : Hales, Norfolk Life of St. James, Stoke Orchard, Gloucestershire St. James the Great, meeting pilgrims : Wisborough Green, Sussex St. James the Great, Yelden (or Yielden), Beds NEW St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Heydon, Norfolk
St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Idsworth, Hampshire St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Old Weston, Northants St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Pickering, N. Yorks Life of St. John the Baptist : Cerne Abbas, Dorset St. John the Evangelist, Selling, Kent St. John the Evangelist, Weston Longville, Norfolk St. Margaret of Antioch : Old Weston, Northants St. Margaret and the dragon : South Newington, Oxfordshire
St. Margaret of Antioch Martyred, Stoke Dry, Rutland St. Margaret of Antioch, Life of : Charlwood, Surrey Life of St. Margaret, Wendens Ambo, Essex Martyrdom of St. Margaret, Duxford, Cambridgeshire Martyrdom of St. Margaret, Ashby St Ledgers, Northamptonshire NEW St. Martin dividing his cloak, Chalgrave, Beds St. Martin dividing his cloak, Wareham, Dorset St Michael, with kneeling donor, South Newington, Oxfordshire
St.Nicholas of Myra, life of : Little Horwood, Bucks
St. Nicholas of Myra, two miracles of : Wissington, Suffolk St. Nicholas of Myra & the Boys in the Barrel, Padworth, Berkshire St. Nicholas of Myra & the Boys in the barrel, Bishopsbourne, Kent NEW St.Paul : Black Bourton, Oxon St. Paul : Beckley, Oxon St. Paul : Selling, Kent St. Peter : Beckley, Oxon
St.Peter : Black Bourton, Oxon St. Peter, Martyrdom of : Chacombe, Northants St. Peter : Selling, Kent SS. Peter & Paul, Old Idsworth, Hampshire NEW St. Roch : Pinvin, Worcs St. Sexburga? : Willingham, Cambs S. Stephen, Martyrdom of, North Stoke, Oxon St. Stephen, Stoning of: Black Bourton, Oxon
St. Stephen, Stoning of: Catfield, Norfolk St.Swithun (?) enthroned : Old Weston, Northants Scenes from the life of St. Swithun : Corhampton, Hampshire St. Thomas Becket, blessing, Hauxton, Cambs. Archbishop, possibly Thomas Becket, blessing, Shorthampton, Oxfordshire NEW St. Thomas Becket, Murder of, Marston Magna, Somerset St. Thomas Becket, Murder of, North Stoke, Oxfordshire St.Thomas Becket, Murder of : South Burlingham, Norfolk
St. Thomas Becket, Murder of : South Newington, Oxfordshire St. Walstan of Bawburgh? or St. Edmund : Gisleham, Norfolk St. Zita : Horley, Oxon St. Zita : Shorthampton, Oxon Unidentified female saint : Heydon

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©Anne Marshall 2010

June 27 2010