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Medieval Wall Paintings at Easby in Yorkshire

August 27, 2014

I think I have mentioned before my interest in medieval wall paintings in English churches. These were religious statements from an age when there were few religious texts and when most of the population were illiterate.

(c) John Bainbridge 2014

(c) John Bainbridge 2014

They fulfilled several functions.

They were a statement of religious intent, then a kind of visual aid to promote the religious message and the sense of morality that went with it.

(c) John Bainbridge 2014

(c) John Bainbridge 2014

They tell stories, they indicate the passage of the soul towards and into eternity. Some indicate the dangers of the Doom, or biblical stories.

They bring about an immediate link with the medieval world. They are incredible works of art, which can tell you a great deal about medieval costumes and occupations. Look at the faces of the figures and you may well be looking at the faces of real medieval people known to the artist.

(c) John Bainbridge 2014

(c) John Bainbridge 2014

The paintings at Easby in north Yorkshire, where we were the other day were quite superb. They might have been painted yesterday. My pictures don’t do justice to the sheer quality of these wall paintings.

So if you find yourself in Yorkshire, please do go and look for yourself. You can walk out there from the town of Richmond in a half hour. Apart from the wall paintings in the parish church, there are the ruins of the medieval premonstratension abbey nearby.

If you are interested in wall paintings I commend to you E.Clive Rouse’s little book “Discovering Wall Paintings”

(c) John Bainbridge 2014

(c) John Bainbridge 2014

(Shire Publications) as a starting point. You might also enjoy reading J.L. Carr’s novel “A Month in the Country”, which deals with a restorer bringing a painting back to life after the Great War.

(c) John Bainbridge 2014

(c) John Bainbridge 2014

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 28, 2014 7:20 am

    A church is a good place for colours to hold and not fade isn’t it – not much light streaming in. I must have seen those as I’ve been to Easby but can’t remember them.

  2. August 28, 2014 9:49 am

    The church at Pickering has some of the best in Britain.

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