[MR] BBC: Painted Statues in St. Albans Cathedral

Garth Groff via Atlantia atlantia at seahorse.atlantia.sca.org
Sun Apr 26 03:00:28 PDT 2015

Noble Friends,

Today the BBC is featuring a brief story on painted statues being 
installed in St. Albans Cathedral in England. In the middle ages many 
statues, and indeed the walls of most churches, were richly decorated 
and brightly painted. The paint, and many of the statues, did not 
survive time and the Protestant reformation, so St. Albans' statues are 
an interesting return to the past: 
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-32453423 .

Also interesting to me is the nave screen where these images stand. Most 
of us have heard of rood screens, wooden or sometimes stone screens 
separating the chancel/choir (the area around the altar reserved for 
clergy) from the nave (the area where the laity stood). Rood screens 
were topped with a cross or an image of Jesus. There were also chancel 
screens, which were about the same thing but lacked the cross/image. 
Both types of screens were well perforated, and at least allowed the 
laity to watch as the mass was performed, particularly the important 
moment when the priest elevated the host. During the Protestant 
reformation, most of these screens were destroyed, though in more recent 
years some have been replaced in restoration projects.

A nave screen was a more extreme version of the rood or chancel screen 
made in stone and often perforated only by a doorway. There was no way 
any lay person was going to see what was happening before the altar 
unless they were standing at the doorway. I was completely unaware of 
nave screens until just last week. As part of my work at UVA, I was 
cataloging a group of slides from York Minister which still has a very 
large and solid nave screen known as the Kings' Screen. York Minster's 
nave screen has statues of all the English kings from William I to Henry 
VI. There is a photo at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/York_Minster . This 
was quite surprising, as there was no such feature in any English 
churches I have visited or seen in pictures. So St. Albans has another 
surviving example.

Yours Aye,

Lord Mungo Napier, That Crazy Scot

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