PICTURES of Our Lady and St. Michael the Archangel are in the splendid mural paintings which have been found in the Byward Tower in the Tower of London.
The Ministry of Works says that during repairs to the structure of the Byward Tower it was found that the main beam carrying the second floor above the gateway has painted decoration, mostly in gold.
There arc the leopards of England, many times repeated in gold, with red tongues, fleur de lis and small birds all over the beam.
The Ancient Monuments Branch of the Ministry, thinking it likely that so richly decorated a beam indicated other decoration, explored the wall surfaces. This revealed the painting of the first half of the 14th century.
The scene, it is suggested, was of Christ in Majesty with an abbreviated version of the Last Judgment.
The figure of Christ, which was central, is missing and must have been removed when a fireplace was inserted into this wall in the 16th century.
To right of it are the figures of Our Lady, with nimbus still partly gilt. and of St. Michael. who holds a balance. His wings are of brilliant pink, and in one of the scales is a dark green devil. On the other side of the scene is part of another figure and a text beginning ECCE AGN, which may well be carried by St. John the Baptist. The workmanship is superb, says the Ministry, the colours finely graded and still quite bright.
More may yet be found during careful work by the Ministry's specialist craftsmen.
It is hoped to open the room to the public.