Sunday, 27 July 2008

The Devon Panels and Adoration

I’ve now had a week or so to consider my photographs. Technically I’m very disappointed in the quality of my pictures when compared to the V&A’s photograph. My lighting is inconsistent, while my compositions leave much to be desired. If I have any saving grace it was the lighting conditions inside the churches were very challenging : flash was both inappropriate and when used produced poor results. I was far too keen to ‘see’ the Adorations - more attention should have been given to preparing the camera….next time I’ll be ready.

After much cropping I’ve reduced my 800 plus Roodscreen Adoration pictures to four – one each from Plymtree, Buckland and Ugborough and for comparison a panel from Brampton .

To compare them with the V&A piece see the video..........


So, you can see from the video I would argue that the piece was almost certainly once part of a Devon Roodscreen, well from just looking at it. Specifically, I would argue along the following lines to show it was in fact a Devon piece....

  • Material and size
It’s oak – all the Devon screens were made of oak and there all 36 to 39inches wide and about 36 inches high ( a rectangle - a metre and a bit wide by just under a metre high!)

  • Carving and Tracery
Taking the blank Brampton as the base the essential features are four ogee arches each with tri foil tracery on a quatrefoil predella with a leaf at its centre – each of the arches has these features as do all other three screens.

  • Colours
The Brampton screen has had its colour removed, the others have varying degrees of polychromy. Looking carefully at the predella quatrefoil evidence of red and green alternating from one predella to the next can be detected particularly in the Buckland Adoration. However a word of caution should be noted as they have all be retouched restored reworked at some time so, sadly, one can be too sure what the original looked like. The piece was repainted in the seventeenth century according to its supporting documentation.

The carvings at least cam from the same late fifteenth early sixteenth century workshop or someone or group can be traced to a common source or tradition from Devon.

  • Paintings
The common workshop style in the carvings cannot be detected in the paintings although they share common composition – V&C – Old King, Middle Aged King, Third King – their execution is sadly uniformly very poor and they share no common calligraphy. The paintings all appear to have been done by different – not very good – artists. All the my readings so far are uniformly scathing about Devon screen paintings ‘Deplorable’ - Pevsner ; ‘Crude’ ; V&A Gothic Exhibition and I must admit they are poor including the piece.

That’s all I want to say on the V&A piece my next posts will be about the Magi and that third King,


JD said...

fantatic video, I love how well the music fits with your subject. Your photography in this instance is linked with your research, and as such is very good, V&A have wonderful lighting and conditions, no comparison to your conditions !!! give yorself a break. Great comparison of subject - devon is obviously THE place for roodscreens :-)

Paulo Veronese said...

Thanks for the positive feedback!