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Medieval Wall Painting
in the
English Parish Church

Little Kimble, Buckinghamshire (†Oxford) C.14

The Burial of St Catherine

Burial of St Catherine, Little Kimble

Whether there were any paintings of other incidents in the life of St Catherine of Alexandria in the church at Little Kimble I do not know, but it is slightly odd to find an isolated scene of her burial singled out for representation on a parish church wall. The connection may well be monastic in origin, but in any case, Catherine was so immensely popular in England that her devotees were found everywhere. Tradition, and the Golden Legend account relates that Catherine’s body was found by monks near Mount Sinai, and buried there by them – a story known to the Little Kimble painter, probably, since he has included the undulations of a hilly landcape below her bier. Angels, not monks appear here at the catafalque, though, the one on the left reduced to a pair of hands only.

There are links to various other wall paintings of her in English churches in the table below and here is a link to another, showing a wheel with particularly vicious spikes, now at the National Museum in Wales. Old Weston church also shows a spiked wheel, but the larger Welsh example is more striking.