For Nearly Three Centuries, A Rare Collection Of Medieval Wall Paintings Remained Unseen In A Loft Until Restoration Work Brought Them Out Of The Shadows

Michal - - illustrative purposes only

For nearly three centuries, a collection of medieval wall paintings had remained unseen in a loft space until ongoing restoration work brought them out of the shadows.

The rare paintings were located in what was once the northwest wall of the original library of Cambridge University’s Christ’s College.

The artwork features three crowned motifs associated with the Tudor dynasty: a heavy metal gate known as a portcullis, a red Lancastrian rose, and a fleur-de-lis.

Spanning 20 feet in width, the paintings are believed to date back to the early 16th century. The designs were applied on plaster with hints of limewash and partially obscured by a wooden joist.

The portcullis was the badge of the Beaufort family. They produced the first Tudor monarch in England, Henry VII, who ruled from 1485 to 1509. In 1505, the king’s mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, refounded Christ’s College.

According to Christina Faraday, an art historian at the university, Henry VII’s claim to the throne was “incredibly weak.”

Therefore, he used special symbols to promote his reign, an early example of what we now refer to as marketing and branding.

The Lancastrian rose was another one of the king’s designs. He most likely created it after his victory in the War of the Roses, a series of civil wars fought over control of the English throne between the Lancaster and York houses during the 15th century.

The Lancastrian rose was used to reflect the white rose motif of the York house. When Henry VII and Elizabeth of York were married in 1486, the two roses were combined, resulting in the Tudor rose.

Michal – – illustrative purposes only

Sign up for Chip Chick’s newsletter and get stories like this delivered to your inbox.

1 of 2