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PHOTO-LITHO B.FURNIVAL ST HOLBORNE C
A FRESCO FORMERLY EXISTING UPON THE SOUTH WEST WALL OF THE CORONA IN CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL, BELOW A REPRESENTATION OF ST GEORGE & THE DRAGON
sentation of the Saviour rising from his sepulchre." Both the figure of St. George and the picture of our Lord's Resurrection were sketched, in colour, by Mr. George Austin, senior, and by the courtesy of his surviving children they are here reproduced, but without colour. These mural decorations adorned the southern compartment at the west side of the "corona." Upon the representation of the Resurrection (copied for us from Mr. Austin's drawing, by Miss Mercy Beauchamp) are seen, diapering the background, small figures of Phoenixes rising from the flames-symbols of the Resurrection. These symbols have been alluded to by the Rev. J. Dart, in his History of the Cathedral Church of Canterbury (published in 1726), on p. 33. He says, "One thing before I leave this place [Becket's crown] is worthy of notice, that the walls are painted with Phoenixes rising from the flames; which device, whether it relates to the glory Becket received from his troubles and murder, and not rather to the magnificent rebuilding of this church, after it was consumed by fire, I know not." Those who examine critically the representation of St. George and the Dragon, I will not fail to observe that in the distance, the Princess who leads a lamb by a cord, wears the mitre head-dress which was in fashion during the middle of the fifteenth century. This head-dress appears upon monumental brasses at Ash by Sandwich (A.D. 1440) and Herne (A.D. 1470). This mural decoration of the "corona may therefore well be ascribed to that period, probably it was not executed before the reign of Henry VI., nor after that of Edward IV. The date A.D. 1475 has been assigned to this fresco in Mr. G. Smith's Chronological History of Canterbury Cathedral.
Brayley, in 1808, testifies that the legend of St. Christopher was then visible as well as that of St. George. Hasted in his History of Kent, vol. xi., p. 414, says that these "beautiful paintings in fresco are sadly gone to decay ;" and he wrote eight or ten years earlier than Brayley. He describes the painting of St. Christopher* carrying our Saviour over a river as standing over the tomb of Archbishop Pole, which
* By a slip of the pen, Hasted calls him St. Chrysostom.
still remains on the north side of the corona, against a wall, now devoid of any ornament, which occupies the north-west compartment of that building. Gostling, writing in 1774, also states (p. 162) that "the paintings on the walls are sadly gone to decay, and little remains to be seen of them." The Rev. J. Dart inserts in his History of the Cathedral Church of Canterbury, at p. 170, James Cole's engraving of Cardinal Pole's tomb, and of the paintings above it. Oddly enough, this engraving shews only the upper portion of the figure of St. Christopher. The Saint's feet and legs do not appear in it. Yet Mr. Austin, who must have copied the fresco fully one hundred years after J. Cole had engraved it (in A.D. 1726), saw and depicted, not only the feet and legs of St. Christopher, but many figures of fishes swimming in the water around the feet of the Saint. It seems to me probable that the Elizabethan artist who painted upon the wall (above the tomb of Cardinal Pole) a representation of an altar-tomb over which flew two cherubs in a heavenly atmosphere permeated by rays of glory radiating from the Hebrew name Jehovah, must have encroached upon and hidden the lower part of the painting of St. Christopher.
On the plinth of the Elizabethan artist's pictured tomb, Cole's engraving shews a long fish, as if it were swimming in water. May it not be the fact that, during 160 years, the colour used by the Elizabethan artist had begun to decay, and thus in the year 1726 the original base of the picture of St. Christopher was becoming visible, through the later work by which it had been overlaid ? Certainly the work of decay in the Elizabethan colouring had progressed very considerably before Mr. Austin made his sketch. Otherwise he could not have filled in all the details of fishes and water which appear in that sketch.
In the Elizabethan picture, as engraved by Cole for Mr. Dart's History of the Cathedral Church, above the Divine name in its Hebrew characters we read the text, "Beati mortui qui in Domino moriuntur." These words of the Vulgate version of the Bible run in a straight line, at about the level of the waist of St. Christopher in the ancient fresco, of the fifteenth century. In the Elizabethan picture painted after the