Major Anglo-Saxon sculpture find at Lichfield (UK)





The Archangel Gabriel, his wings still fiery with colour applied over 1200 years ago, has emerged from beneath the nave of Lichfield Cathedral.

The Anglo-Saxon carved figure was found when builders, watched over by archaeologists, took up part of the floor of the nave to build a new rising platform for concerts and recitals. . .

Britain's heritage of Anglo-Saxon ecclesiastical art and architecture was almost obliterated by the scale and splendour of the Norman rebuilding, and the firestorm of later iconoclasts. Much of what painted decoration survived then fell to the renovating Victorians, and the fallacy that historic churches should have pure bleached stone interiors . . .

When the Henry Moore Institute recently organised an exhibition on medieval English painted sculpture, some once-common types had to be borrowed from abroad, because not a single example survived in Britain.

The Lichfield angel only survived because it was buried beneath the later building, possibly preserved as a relic of the tomb of St Chad, the cathedral's patron, whose body was reburied in a magnificent eighth-century shrine. . .

The angel will go on display at the Cathedral this weekend, before being sent for specialist conservation work.



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