Sunday, August 07, 2011

Sir Joseph Paine Monument

Located in the church of Saint Gregory's, Norwich, there's an extraordinary late 17th century monument consisting of black limestone and alabaster which is adorned with high relief carvings. 

The monument commemorates the life of Joseph Paine (1605-73) who was a staunch Royalist during the English civil war. Upon the Restoration of Monarchy in 1660 Joseph Paine, on behalf of the citizens of Norwich, presented £1000 in gold to King Charles II. He was immediately knighted and made Colonel of the City Regiment.

Paine's monument is quite unique in its depiction of various military accoutrements, all of which are carved in deep relief including- armoury, sword, stirrups, trumpet and drum, gunpowder kegs, cannon-balls and cannon. Each of these images allude to Paine's military position as Colonel of the City regiment.

One gains a better perspective of the relief-depth of the monument's carvings  when close and looking upwards.

At the base of the monument is a winged and crowned skull symbolizing Immortality and Death's victory over all human endeavour.


-E- said...

would that be about a million quid today or so? wonder if that would get you knighted now. also, the skull wearing the crown is a bit odd, no? is that a common symbol for immortality?

Hydriotaphia said...

E - Most of the medieval churches here in Norwich were built from the wealth generated from the export of wool. Yes, it's the same old cash for honours game as far back as 1660. The crowned skull does look a bit of a hell's angel badge. I think it also means Death is victorious over all. Cheerful lot in the 17th century.

-E- said...

re your comment: a bit of both. i wrote it in my notebook a few weeks ago, but recalled it for today.

teegee said...

Consider the moral tales inculcating mortal humility in the face of death in Boccaccio's Decameron occasioned by the Black Death, and Francesco Traini's Triumph of Death in the Camposanto at Pisa. And that soupy song that Jan Peerce sang in the 1940s, The Bluebird of Happiness, which, however, opens "The beggarman and the mighty king are only different in fame, ...."