On the side of the Angels, part 3: ‘Follower of Roger Campion’

Another in a series of observations of early medieval paintings in the National Gallery London, an endless source of inspiration and amusement. Intended to show how I find stories in a painting, not my opinion of the subject matter nor its creator. Nothing replaces seeing the real thing!

Virgin and Child before a Firescreen circa 1440. Follower of Roger Campion, much ‘restored’.

The screen dominates, beautifully woven from rushes(?) it creates her halo, the fire just visible above the edge.

She offers her breast awkwardly and forcefully to an undernourished and louche child, who is more interested in the his own hair and the viewer than in feeding.

Her book, abandoned on the couch beside her, catches a page in the breeze from the apparently open window. The floor tiles’ perspective is wobbly in the corners (it turns out only the central section is definitely original, and that real fire has caught the virgin’s fur cuff at some point. The irony of those little flames licking around her haloing screen.)

Somewhere along the line this image has found its way into something I’m writing at the moment – although the woman is definately not a virgin, the child isn’t hers and anyway is a girl, the window is not open and she is feeding the child from a horn cup… and it’s three centuries later.  It’s still this image though – it takes up the same space in my mind’s eye.

© Cherry Potts 2013