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Medieval Wall Painting
in the
English Parish Church

Faversham, Kent (†Canterbury) early C.14

The Annunciation to the Shepherds/Nativity (on painted pillar)

The story begun with the Annunciation at Faversham continues on the painted pillar with scenes of the Nativity of Christ, and it includes these scenes of the Annunciation to the Shepherds.

Annunciation to shepherds, Faversham

Nativity, Faversham, detail, Ass & Joseph Nativity, Virgin suckling Christ Child

Above left is the youthful-looking Angel, who extends his right hand and arm towards a shepherd who kneels, supported on his staff, (above centre). His small white dog, sitting very upright on its haunches at the lower left of the picture, barks at the Angel. Beyond, on the next face of the pillar and shown here to the right, is a second shepherd, his astonishment wonderfully captured in one of the finest scenes on the entire pillar. If there was a third shepherd, he must have been painted on a much smaller scale to fit into the limited amount of available space below this one, but this area is now very unclear. On the next face of the pillar are scenes of the Nativity, beginning (above right) with the Virgin suckling the Christ Child. (Other examples of this rare scene are at Beckley in Oxfordshire and Belchamp Walter in Essex).

Here at Faversham, the Ox looks on from above. The Ass is painted beyond, in profile, looking left, on the next face of the pillar, above what remains of a figure of St Joseph, very badly damaged now, quite possibly deliberately, but shown at the second left below in the interests of completeness.

The remaining faces of the pillar in this central tier have scenes of the Presentation in the Temple/Adoration of the Magi, which, along with the Annunciation and Visitation in the tier below, have a page of their own.

Website for St Mary of Charity, Faversham