« PreviousContinue »
The sides of the window-like recess have been painted, with parts of the story. On the western surface, we see horsemen and dogs; and, above them, we discern a monkey taking fruit off a tree.
On the eastern side, or jamb, we can discern, at base, a greyhound, similar to one that sits in front of the stag.
ANTHROPOMORPHIC REPRESENTATION OF TWO PERSONS OF THE HOLY TRINITY.
Upon a flat canopy, or tester, above the tomb of Edward the Black Prince, we can still discern a representation, much faded and defaced, of the First Person in the Blessed Trinity supporting a huge crucifix on which hangs the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Our illustration is based upon a photograph taken by Captain George Austin (a son of Mr. George Austin, senior). The peculiarity of this painting is the lack of any appearance of the Dove which usually symbolizes the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. At the four corners of the rectangular flat canopy are depicted the Evangelistic symbols. Those of St. Matthew and St. John appear above the head of the First Person of the Trinity; those of St. Mark and St. Luke at His feet. The right hand of the First Person is uplifted in the attitude of benediction; from His two wrists depend the arms of the long Latin cross on which hangs the dead Christ. The base of the cross stands in a circular hollow vessel (of green colour), the neck and base of which are shaped like frills or in the manner in which clouds are often conventionally represented. This vessel has been called the Holy Graal or San Gréal. From its position, it would receive any drops of the blood, of the Crucified Saviour, which trickled down the central limb of the cross. Some accounts of the Holy Graal describe it as a miraculous chalice made of a single precious stone, said to be an emerald. The stories of the adventures of the Knights of the Round Table, in their search for the Holy Vessel (san gréal), are well known. This introduction of the San Gréal into an anthropomorphic representation of the several Persons of the Holy Trinity is unusual. Upon
MARTYRDOM OF ST EUSTACE, HIS WIFE AND TWO CHILDREN,
FROM A FRESCO IN THE NORTH AISLE OF THE CHOIR OF CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL.
dently does not represent a Roman soldier.
hunting horn of white metal (perhaps of silver) is clearly to be discerned hanging from his girdle. The figure is therefore more like that of Hubert than that of Eustace.
Nevertheless, at the apex of the fresco the martyrdom of St. Eustace is very graphically shewn. Not only is the brazen bull very prominent, but, in the drawing made, more than fifty years ago, by Mr. George Austin, senior, we observe the figures of St. Eustace and his wife and their two children within the brazen bull. Two attendants with ladles are pouring boiling oil upon the wife and on one of the children. Both Eustace and his wife are held in position by men with huge forks. Beneath the brazen ox a fire is burning, the flames of which are being fed with fresh logs by one attendant, while another fans the flames with wind blown from bellows exactly like the implement still in use for that purpose. The Emperor is depicted as sitting on a throne, watching the martyrdom. A jester, or court fool, is twisting himself between the feet of the Emperor to give, with his finger, a poke in the back to the bellows-blower. This incident and the figure of a monkey in the foreground were made out also by Dr. Sheppard and Mr. Neale when they examined the fresco in 1879.
Above, in the apex of the fresco, we see angels carrying into heaven (in a sheet) the four souls of the martyrs. Above the figures of the souls, we see as an emblem of the Resurrection a Phoenix rising from flames. It is therefore quite certain that the artist intended to depict the Legend of St. Eustace, not that of St. Hubert. His knowledge of the special points of distinction between the two legends was evidently small, if any.
Throughout the length of the obliterated fresco traces of a swollen river, or stream of water, are still clearly seen. This feature belongs solely to the Legend of St. Eustace, which represents that his wife was carried off by pirates, and that when upon a journey with his two sons he had to cross a swollen river, carrying over a child to one bank while leaving the other alone upon the opposite bank. When in midstream, on his return to fetch the second child, he