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Little Witchingham, Passion Cycle : From Caiaphas to Deposition

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Photos:T.MarshallChrist before Caiaphas?/Road to Calvary [98KB]
Only the upper part of one scene, and the upper left part of the one to the right of it, is visible now. The figure with the halo at the far left is certainly Christ, and the figure to the right of him, wearing on his head what looks like a bishop’s mitre, is probably Caiaphas. The mitre would have been the nearest thing to the headgear of a High Priest of the Sanhedrin in the mind of an English medieval painter. There are three other figures, all faint, but the one to the immediate right of Christ is a soldier wearing a helmet. The identification must remain uncertain, but on balance Caiaphas, rather than Pilate or Herod, seems the most likely figure to be confronting Christ here (medieval painters did not always follow in sequence the events of the Passion as narrated by one or another Gospel account). The central and lower parts of this scene have disappeared almost completely, but there is a suggestion of compartmentalised horizontal division, and there may once have been other scenes of Christ’s examination by the Jerusalem authorities here. At the far right is a haloed head which probably belongs to a scene of the Road to Calvary. It looks female, and may not have been the head of Christ - I suspect that this may be the Virgin, helping her Son to carry the Cross, a detail sometimes found in manuscript painting. Nothing else is left of the rest of this scene or of anything immediately to the right of it, where a scene of the Crucifixion was probably painted - certainly there is no sign of it elsewhere.

At the right is the next clear, if now incomplete, scene, the Deposition, or Descent from the Cross, with a ladder and a figure climbing up it clearly visible. At least two other figures are detectable, on the left of the Cross - the Virgin Mary and St. John are almost certainly there, along, perhaps, with Joseph of Arimathea and possibly Nicodemus. Christ’s forked beard, very common in Passion scenes of this date, shows well after Eve Baker’s restoration.Deposition, Little Witchingham [113KB]

The final events in the story - from the Entombment to the Incredulity of Thomas (the best preserved scene of all) are on the next page. Click the link below.

From the Entombment to the Incredulity of Thomas

Little Witchingham First Page

Website for St Faith’s church

5/12/2000

Anne Marshall 2000