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Panel Painting Saxon King (triangular fragment)

Object number
Unknown artist
Production date
Circa 1515
Production place
Oil Paint
Oil on panel
width: 530mm
    This fragment is one of six fragments of painted panelling depicting the unification in AD 926/7 of the lesser kingdoms of Britain under Athelstan (reigned AD 925–40). The scheme is possibly the earliest cycle of paintings of the Saxon Kings of England.

    A mural representing the unification of Britain would have been a fitting subject: Henry VII, in whose reign the scheme was painted, tried to project an image of himself as the king who brought stability after the Wars of the Roses. The whole composition, which would have been unified by the brocade curtain painted in the background, must have been of a considerable size and would have demanded a large room for their display. It is possible that the paintings were first hung in Eltham Palace, which was used by Henry VII and had a hall sufficiently large for them.

    They were discovered in 1813 by Alfred John Kempe at Baston House in Keston, Kent. He describes how they were 'sadly mutilated to form the wainscot of a small closet'. The panels were given to the Society in 1880 by Canon Jackson on behalf of his cousin, Elizabeth Branson, heiress of Baston House.