The Thornham Parva Retable

A miraculous survival of English medieval art: this retable, now at the church of St Mary at Thornham Parva, in Suffolk. It is thought it was originally created for the Dominican friary in Thetford, Norfolk. It was found in 1927 hidden away in an attic. It is 3.9 metres in length and 1.1 metres in height. The central panel shows a crucifixion with the Virgin Mary and John the Evangelist. On each side are panels of saints, their identify supporting the view that the work has a Dominican origin. I’ll post larger images of the panels below.
From the left they are Saints Dominic, Catherine, John the Baptist and Peter, the Crucifixion with the Virgin and St John the Evangelist, and Saints Paul, Edmund, Margaret and Peter Martyr, saints particularly appropriate for the Dominicans.
  Look closely at the backgrounds – these are called ‘tin-relief’ designs, created from a mix of putty, resin and oil, pressed into moulds lined with tin foil.

Left side panels: Saints Dominic, Catherine, and John the Baptist.

Centre panels: St Peter, the Crucifixion with the Virgin Mary and John the Evangelist, St Paul.

The right-hand side: St Edmund, St Margaret and St Peter Martyr.

A view of the entire screen.

Below is an altar frontal, now in the Musée National du Moyen Age, Paris. It is known as the Cluny Frontal. Strong evidence shows it was made in the same workshop as the Thornham Parva retable, and was almost certainly intended for the Same Dominican Priory.
    The priory contained a statue of the Virgin Mary which was claimed to work miracles. Devotion to the Virgin was important to Dominicans, and the frontal shows events from her life. From the left we see the Nativity, the Death of the Virgin, the Adoration of the Magi, and unusually, the Virgin being taught by her mother, St Anne.

Below is a reconstruction of the original altar at the Priory in Thetford.

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