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The Doom at South Leigh, details, Heaven and Hell Doom, South Leigh, detail, Heaven [155KB]
The aftermath in Heaven, shown at the eastern end of the north wall (the extreme lefthand edge of the Doom proper can be glimpsed at the right). Carefully painted architecture of Heaven, with angels on the towers, forms the background, in front of which St. Peter, his key held prominently, welcomes souls. Two of them are crowned and all stand on a golden pavement surrounded by undulating flowery hills. (The figure holding a shield at the right is a carved corbel projecting from the wall, not a painted detail).

A grimmer welcome awaits the damned, at the eastern end of the south wall. Gleeful devils, a large red one grinning maniacally at the bottom of the scene, and a yellow one within the Mouth of Hell itself, haul on the ends of the chains securing the damned to pull them into Hell. A dragon, grinning like the devils, but otherwise showing a remarkable resemblance to some of Dürer’s Apocalyptic beasts (not after all far removed in date from this painting) is shown protruding from Hell. As in the main picture, murky flames rise from the black background - Miltonic ‘darkness visible’ in 15th century rural Oxfordshire. Doom, South Leigh, detail, Hell [130KB]

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Anne Marshall 2000