Tympanum, St Michael and the Dragon

Image of the feature "Miscellaneous: Tympanum" at Hallaton.

photographer not known.

The semi-circular tympanum, executed in fairly low relief, depicts St Michael and the Dragon; it probably came from an original N doorway. It is now reset into the W wall of the 14thc N porch, in such a way that about 0.11m of the R corner is hidden by the front (N) wall of the porch. The archangel has two large wings extending behind him; the face is damaged. He holds a long spear in his R hand with which he transfixes the head of the Dragon through its mouth. In his L hand he holds a distinctively conical shield with a pyramidal boss, fluting and a raised rim; behind the shield in the drapery of St Michael's L sleeve shelter three heads, recalling saved souls in the bosom of Abraham. A further three figures in attitudes of supplication, perhaps victims of the Dragon rising from Purgatory, stand in the R angle of the tympanum. Pevsner thought this piece 'vigorous and dramatic', features which are exemplified in the curl of the Dragon's tail below the archangel's R foot and the drapery that flutters around it; the weight in his knee, emphasised by the damp-fold drapery, as he presses down on the body of the Dragon; the strong diagonal of the spear as he thrusts it towards the Dragon; the sweep of the lower parts of the archangel's wings filling the L side of the semi-circle of the tympanum; the way the composition fills th space; and the narrative implied by the small rescued figures safe behind the prominent shield and the figures begging to be saved.


Height 0.86 m
Width 1.59 m