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The remains of original medieval painting is reasonably common in English churches though often it is in fragmentary form; for example details that have been uncovered during a restoration. However, there are some churches that retain fairly extensive schemes of wall painting, more have traces on roof timbers and quite a few, especially in Norfolk and Suffolk still have their painted rood screens. This kind of painting has sometimes been subject to sensitive restoration but often it appear to be entirely original work.
I recently came across a painted rood screen in Cambridgeshire at Ickleton church. The artwork was not as extensive or detailed as the East Anglian examples - there was no attempt as figure painting for example - but what it did have that caught my eye was a pair of fine monograms that were painted in colours that I really like. They were on the nave side of the rood screen doors. On the right was what is often called a "Marian monogram", one of the ways in which a couple of ornate letters (here Ms) decoratively entwined are used to represent the Virgin Mary. On the left was another monogram with the letters IHS, the semi-Latinized version of the first three letters of Christ's name written in Greek (IHΣOYΣ).
photographs and text © Tony Boughen
Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
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