NO LONGER under lock and key, a medieval wall painting in Stratford’s Guild Chapel is now on display.
The Allegory on Death – or Death Poem – has been covered and protected by wooden paneling for decades and is one of the best-preserved wall paintings in the chapel.
The painting shows an allegory on death – illustrating the transitory nature of earthly glories and the suffering for sins following death – a subject which was popular in the medieval times.
A major project, called Death Reawakened, is now underway to preserve the piece so it can be on display permanently, protected by a glass. It has been backed by a £100,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and will see the Death Poem undergo conservation work in the coming months.
The large scene of the Last Judgement, above the chancel arch, will also be the subject of the initial conservation work starting this year. There are further plans to uncover and showcase more paintings in the future.
Guild Chapel volunteer coordinator Owen Edmunds said: “We continue to be overwhelmed by the number of visitors from all over the world coming into the Chapel each and every day and telling us what a special place it is.
“The fact we are now able to open up the Death Poem for all of those visitors to see makes the Chapel even more special – the detail of the painting is quite extraordinary, half a millennia after it was covered up.”
The Guild Chapel need more volunteer guides and anyone interested can email [email protected] or call 01789 262889.
Visit www.stratfordtowntrust.co.uk/guildchapel for more information about the Death Poem and the Guild Chapel.