Lily Cross Drawing



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This drawing of Christ crucified on a lily was based on a late mediaeval wall painting at Godshill, on the Isle of Wight. Scholar Anne Marshall believes that this was painted to commemorate an occasion of Good Friday and the Feast of the Annunciation falling on the same day.

At the bottom right of the drawing, I wrote by hand eight lines from John Donne's poem Upon the Annunciation and Passion falling upon one day, 1608:

At once a Sonne is promis’d her & gone,
Gabriell gives Christ to her, He her to John;
Not fully a mother, Shee’s in Orbity,
At once receiver & the legacy.
All this, and all betweene, this day hath showne,
Th’Abridgement of Christs story, which makes one
(As in plaine Maps, the furthest West is East)
Of th'Angels’s Ave & Consummatum est.

Opposite these is a responsory from the Office of the Dead: Domine secundum actum meum noli me iudicare: nihil dignum in conspectu tuo egi: ideo deprecor maiestatem tuam, Ut tu Deus deleas iniquitatem meam.

Fleurs-de-lis, scallop shells, St. Cuthbert's crosses, and two angels decorate the background of the main section of the drawing, as if frescoed on a church wall. Figures of St. Mary Magdalen, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John stand at the foot of the cross, and a monk holding a model of St. Michael's Abbey at Farnborough kneels.

The drawing measures 9" square; it was made with colored inks on bristol board. The haloes and certain other elements are authentic gold leaf. It was created on commission for a patron in England.