Retable or reredos oftRQflflE

carved wood or sculptured JLOgggjaaj ar ^ilJ? X

stone, painted and gilded. |Cj5nj2i ws^jl VXA^^VjL/lmt^

yMiBwr 'ft* li^wAryTwi ia-i

In the case of high altars ' ^^MEjto^^Mfrn^AJjMfcflffi lv^ jf L i'Vt V V

this reredos often occupied mf%£ThAJMBjMyiTf the full height and width of the chancel.1 Side altars were also placed in the nave or aisles, as at Ranworth, and sometimes on the rood loft. These subsidiary altars were usually dedicated to particular saints, and, unlike the high altar, they were enriched and maintained at the expense of the parishioners.

The reredos was some

1 As in some of the Oxford HI-

Chapels. BARKING, SUFFOLK, W. SIDE OF CHANCEL SCREEN.

times in the form of a triptych, with central and hinged side panels which could be folded back or closed. Of Gothic painted super-altars very few have survived. The triptych form was more usual in the churches of Italy and Germany than in England.

The coloured frontispiece to this volume shows a fragment of a coloured retable of the last years of the fourteenth century, now preserved in Norwich Cathedral. It was discovered in 1847, it is said, with its face downwards, in use as the top of a table. It was owing to the efforts of the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society that it was rescued and preserved, although in a deplorably mutilated and incomplete state.

Originally, this super-altar was formed by five horizontal boards of quartered oak, three-quarters of an inch in thickness, with an applied moulded framework, fastened with pegs. The five panels were formed by four vertical moulded mullions, mitred at the intersections, of which only one remains. In the five panels, on a carefullv prepared ground of gilded and finely patterned gesso, are shown (1) The Scourging

0 0

Post a comment