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Medieval Wall Painting
in the
English Parish Church

Swalcliffe, Oxfordshire (†Oxford) C.14

The Three Living & Three Dead

Three Living & Three Dead, Swalcliffe

The photograph at the left shows the remains of this example of the subject. It is high quality work, and it is regrettable that so little is left of it. So little, in fact, that there is inevitably some room for doubt about the subject, but the identification seems fairly safe¹. Only two of the Three Living are visible now, but the figure on the left is crowned and it is safe to assume that all three Living figures were shown as kings originally.

ET Long also thought that the king on the left was holding arrows, and this is quite likely. The second king, on the right here, also seems to be holding something, but it is far from clear what this might be. Of the third of the Three Living there is now no trace at all.

The painting is probably closest in style and spirit to the example of the subject at Belchamp Walter (link in the table below) and it was probably painted at about the same date in the earlier 14th century. Also on the north nave wall at Swalcliffe is a painting of the Weighing of Souls of the same date. It too is high quality work, and I will include it in these pages as soon as I can.

SS Peter & Paul, Swalcliffe

¹ ET Long [Medieval Wall Paintings in Oxfordshire Churches, Oxfordshireiensia, Vol. xxxvii, 1972, p.104] thought so, and so do I. EW Tristram does not mention the painting, probably because it was simply not visible in his day.
† in page heading = Diocese