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Medieval Wall Painting
in the
English Parish Church

Impington, Cambridgeshire (†Ely) Earlier C.15

St Christopher

St Christopher, Impington

This very fine St Christopher is closer in style to 14th century work than that of the later century – HC Whaite said that it had the ‘mellow quality of an old illumination’¹. Some of what Whaite saw is, sadly, no longer really clear, but the delicate treatment of Christopher’s hands and the drapery falling around his head is still striking.

St Christopher, Impington, detail, Hermit and Hermitage

The enlarged detail at the right shows the right hand edge of the painting, with the Hermit, his (as usual) oversized lantern, and behind him his Hermitage. The architectural detail that Whaite praised is clearer here, especially the hermitage door, contemporary leaded window and the belfry and bell at the top right. The hermit’s raised right hand also shows well.

The Christ Child on Christopher’s left shoulder is virtually gone, as are the various fish, one of them probably a pike, in the river at his feet. But it remains a particularly attractive example of this subject. It is the only painting left in the church apart from a complicated but very obscure and fragmentary subject on the chancel arch wall featuring a canopy or perhaps a doorway with a glimpse of elaborate fan-vaulting inside.

Website of St Andrew’s, Impington

¹ HC Whaite, St Christopher, 1929, p.23
† in page heading = Diocese