Monday, 27 December 2010

Jonah 9.24

The great East Window in Lincoln Cathedral includes the impossible biblical reference Jonah 9.24. I hadn’t previously spotted that it included any biblical references at all, but I was looking at Gordon Plumb’s Flickr images (he has recently put up sets of the twentieth century stained glass in St Michael’s, Little Coates and St Nicolas’, Great Coates) and found his set of the sixty-four panels in the main body of the window. I knew that sixteen of them are images of prophets but had not spotted the fact that each carries a scroll giving a reference. The sixteen references help explain and shape the character of the window as a celebration of the sacrificial nature of Jesus’ death. At least fifteen of them do; I can’t explain (and I’ve contacted Gordon and he cannot either) the reference in the scroll in Jonah’s hands in the panel almost at the bottom right. The twenty-eight panels in a large central cross are stories from Jesus’ life. The remaining twenty round the edge are from the Old Testament and favour stories of sacrifice including several stages of the scape-goat story. The prophets are in groups of four between the central cross shape and the outer frame. (I can’t lift pictures from his Flickr site, so the illustration above is a general view of the window from elsewhere.)

Meanwhile, I very glad to learn that I may have been more apocalyptic than I need to have been in my two references earlier this month to the side aisle coming away from St Nicolas’, Great Coates. The structural engineer’s report which arrived just before Christmas suggests it is possible that the crack is long standing and that what has deteriorated over time and finally fallen out is in-fill introduced to repair it relatively recently; a genuine earthquake type shift would have been likely to show up in other ways. Nevertheless, there are different more minor cracks in the plaster elsewhere in the aisle and he will monitor the situation to be sure there isn’t something more serious going on.

1 comment:

Peter Reiss said...

Dear Peter
I am intrigued by this and wonder if 8 years later you have any further information on the Jonah 9:24 reference.
I have tried googling but no luck other than that Jonah is a story which spawned many interpretations through the Middle Ages and beyond. The window I understand to be a Victorian window set in the medieval frame so reflects victorian not medieval sensibilities.
Sorry to be 8 years behind the times but ..

Hope you can help