FEB 01] COVENTRY CITY COUNCIL NEWS
City Medieval Painting Find Excites Experts
medieval wall-painting discovered in an archaeological dig beneath
the ruins of Lady Godiva’s priory has been hailed as one of the
most important finds ever.
fragment of the fresco was found during excavation work for the
Phoenix Initiative, and is thought to be one of the best portrayal
of the apocalypse from medieval times.
dates back to around 1360 and was painted on the chapter house of
the Benedictine Priory which had grown from the building Godiva
constructed in the 11th century.
were amazed to find that the colours on the fragment had survived.
It had been sheltered by the rubble caused by the demolition of
the monastery and cathedral in 1539.
the find measures just 40cm by 20cm, it is big enough for experts
to see how the whole thing would have looked, as the colours have
been well-preserved by their 460-year stint underground.
is now in storage before being sent for conservation. By being
exposed to air it runs the risk of drying our and the pigment
historian Miriam Gill, of the University of London Courtauld
artistry of the painting, the very high-level of detail and the
copious gilding are indicative of a work of exceptional quality.
There are few surviving English monumental murals with which
comparison can reasonably be drawn.”
Rylatt, archaeologist in charge of the phoenix dig, said:
to finding that piece we found a small fragment and we
couldn’t believe our luck. We were delighted with it because
it had a head on it.
always gets excited when you get a face, someone from the past,.
recognised it had to be very important, but we didn’t think it
was so historically and artistically important.”