The Adoration of the Magi

Following a reconstruction of St Stephen’s Chapel in the Palace of Westminster in 1800, a chance discovery of wall paintings prompted the Society to commission Richard Smirke to reproduce and reconstruct the images. From tracings and reduced pencil drawings he produced highly finished coloured paintings to give an impression of what must have been one of the most richly decorated medieval buildings in Britain. Depicting the Adoration of the Magi, Smirke has vividly reconstructed scenes of gift-bearing to the Virgin and Child in the upper panels and St George presenting Edward III and five of his sons in full armour in the lower panels. Thought to be originally executed in the mid-fourteenth century and measuring 1.5 by 2 metres, Smirke’s recordings can be considered invaluable due to the fact that the paintings were obliterated in building works and fire damage.

Artist / Maker
Richard Smirke (1778-1815)
Tempera and gold leaf on paper
82.5 x 116.5cm
Burlington House