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NORTH COVE, SUFFOLK (‡St.Edmundsbury & Ipswich) C.14

Photo:T.Marshall North Cove Passion Cycle - general view [53KB]
The general view at the left shows most of this Passion Cycle, which was probably painted in the early 14th century. Unusually situated (mainly) on the North Wall of the chancel, it is technically unsophisticated but full of intriguing details. There is some painting, perhaps a scene of the Washing of Feet, above the first chancel window (not shown here), but certainty is impossible. Otherwise, the first clearly identifiable scene, the Last Supper, is beyond this, at the top left of the picture. It is fairly clear, showing a table with a cloth, a central salt or chalice and two platters of fish. The head and part of the torso of Christ are visible at the table; he may be in the act of giving Judas the sop, but it is very hard to be sure. Judas is probably in his traditional position on the other side of the table, but that too is obscure.

Below this scene and pictured right below is the The Entry into Jerusalem. Christ, with the tripartite halo, is mounted on the Ass, before which a figure spreads a mat-like garment. The Gate of Jerusalem, shown as an arch and painted in yellow, is visible at the right. Several figures crowd on top of it, hailing the approaching Christ. The garment-spreading man wears the parti-coloured garment worn by the torturers of Christ in later scenes, and it may be that the painter is deliberately emphasising the fact that those who welcome the Messiah are also those who will turn on him eventually - it is probably significant that those taking Christ down from the Cross in the Deposition are distinguished by their plain, single-coloured garments. Faint traces of an unidentifiable scene are visible to the right. North Cove, Passion Cycle, detail, Entry into Jerusalem [51KB]

Below the Entry into Jerusalem and shown below left is the Road to Calvary with Christ carrying the Cross, led with a rope by one torturer and whipped by another with a cat-o’-nine tails scourge. Both again have faces made grotesque, and the man at the left is sticking out his tongue. To the right of this is a very curiously compressed scene which telescopes the setting up of the Cross and the spearing of Christ’s side by Longinus. This scene, the Deposition to the right of it and the remaining scenes in the cycle are discussed and illustrated on the next pages Passion Cycle, North Cove, detail, Road to Calvary [45KB]

There is also a very interesting Doom of the same date at North Cove, also now updated with new photographs.

Amberley, Sussex Belchamp Walter, Essex Brook, Kent Chalgrove, Oxfordshire NEW Crostwight, Norfolk Croughton, Northamptonshire Fairstead, Essex
Flamstead, Herts Ford, Sussex NEW Great Tew, Oxon Gussage St. Andrew, Dorset Ickleton, Cambs Little Easton, Essex Little Tey, Essex
Little Witchingham, Norfolk North Cove, Suffolk North Stoke, Oxfordshire NEW Peakirk,Northants Pickering, N. Yorks Pinvin, Worcs Seething, Norfolk
South Newington, Oxfordshire West Chiltington, Sussex Wissington, Suffolk

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Anne Marshall 2000