Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

Hardham: The Annunciation and Visitation

The murals at Hardham have suffered attrition. They've been covered in whitewash for much of their history, windows have been punched through them and bits shaved off them by architectural improvements, damp and decay have done their bit and early attempts at cleaning and restoration were unkindly, but they're all still there. Some of the iconography may be indecipherable (I take it on trust that the west wall represents the torments of the damned) but you can stand in the nave and turn in a circle and what you're seeing is a complete 12th century decorative scheme.

The best-preserved paintings are those on either side of the chancel arch.

Here, on the side facing towards the nave, are an angel with a censor (flanking an Agnus Dei which is out of frame), the Annunciation and the Visitation. The haloes of the Archangel Gabriel and Virgin Mary are painted in malachite green- the most expensive colour used anywhere in the scheme. The text in the band above the figures reads VIRGO SALUTAR STERILIS FECUNDA PROBATUR- which rhymes. It means "The Virgin is saluted, the barren proves fruitful."

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