Simon Cotton experiences Doom at Dauntsey


Late mediaeval doom paintings painted on wood are very rare, with the Wenhaston Doom (ND, December 2012) possibly the best known. Another is at Dauntsey in Wiltshire, where it has been replaced in its original situation above the screen. Painted on wood felled in the last third of the 14th century, it bears three layers of painting, of which the topmost is that displayed. At its head is the figure of Christ, sitting upon a rainbow (1), as at Wenhaston, clearly displaying the wounds in his hands and that in his side, with Our Lady and Saint John the Baptist below, and angels blowing trumpets signalling the Last Judgement. The damned are pulled into the jaws of Hell by demons using chains (2), and again as at Wenhaston) whilst the dead – some in shrouds – are being raised from their graves (3). Saint Peter, wielding a large key, welcomes the Blessed to the Heavenly Mansions (4).