Painted Column


09 Mar Painted Column

At the Parish Church of St Mary of Charity, Faversham, there is a remarkable painted column, octagonal in shape, on which scenes narrating the Christian story are painted. The individual scenes are arranged in three tiers on various faces of the column.

The lower tier portrays the Annunciation, the Visitation and the Adoration. The centre tier portrays the Nativity, the Angel and the Shepherds and the Presentation in the Temple. The top tier portrays the Crucifixion, and the Angel and the Women at the Tomb. 

The Lower Tier

The Annunciation, Gabriel is at the left, holding a scroll. He salutes Mary, who is to his right.  Because of the way the column has been photographed, Gabriel and Mary appear on opposite sides of this tier, facing away from eachother.

The Visitation, Mary raises her right hand to acknowledge Gabriel’s salutation. Elizabeth embraces the faintly apprehensive-looking Mary.

The Adoration of the Magi completes the lower tier, although narritively this comes after the central tier’s images. All three Magi offering gifts before the Virgin Mary holding Christ in her lap.

The Centre Tier

The scene of the nativity follows the Annunciation. At the far left is the youthful-looking Angel who extends his right hand and arm towards a shepherd, who kneels. On the next face of the column is a second shepherd, his astonishment wonderfully captured. The nativity scene continues with Mary suckling the Christ Child, the Ox looks on from above, with the Ass painted on the next face of the column above what remains of the figure of Joseph.

The Presentation spans the other three faces of the centre tier. Mary and the infant Jesus next to Joseph, with Simeon in the Temple.

The Top Tier

The Passion Cycle occupies the top tier, showing the crucifixion: Our Lord on the Cross, as Mary stands on the right and John on the left. The Angel and Women at the Tomb complete the tier showing the grave clothes draped over it, with three women looking toward the Angel.

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