A painting on oak showing St Nicholas of Myra


This watercolour records a painting on oak panel which belonged to Sir John Fenn (1739–94), a Norfolk antiquary and publisher of the Paston Letters. The original painting was retrieved from Holy Trinity Church in Ingham, Norfolk, and depicts the rather grizzly legend of St Nicholas of Myra and the three pickled boys. In the upper register the parents of three boys dressed in red, blue and green robes can be seen saying farewell. The boys disappear, and are murdered in their beds by an evil inn-keeper. Their bodies are placed in a barrel for pickling (bottom right), but St Nicholas of Myra – shown twice at rear holding a mitre –performs a miracle to bring them back to life. At lower left St Nicholas delivers the good news. 

Dawson Turner included this watercolour in his extra-illustrated copy of Blomefield’s History of Norfolk (1805-10).

Full title:
Vol. X.includes:f. 75 Girdlestone family; of Kelling: Pedigree: 19th cent. f. 157 Beauchamp Proctor family; of Langley Park: Pedigree: 18th cent
Pen and Ink / Watercolour
Usage terms
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial licence
Held by
British Library
Add MS 23033, f.30

Full catalogue details

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Dawson Turner’s Index

Article by:
Martin Hopkinson
Antiquarianism, Country

Dawson Turner commissioned drawings by his family and local and nationally-significant artists such as John Sell Cotman to accompany Blomefield’s History of Norfolk. Martin Hopkinson tells the story of Turner’s project, exploring some of its many highlights.

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