skip to content

Hamilton Kerr Institute

Fitzwilliam Museum

Published in 2004

The Thornham Parva Retable (Painting and Practice)

The Thornham Parva Retable is Britain's largest and most complete medieval altarpiece. It was found in a loft above a stable at Thornham Hall in Suffolk in 1927 and soon afterwards installed in the small thatched church of St Mary, Thornham Parva in Suffolk.

In 1994 the Thornham Parva Retable was moved to the Hamilton Kerr Institute for examination and conservation. This book is an account of that process. The examination of the Retable is placed in context by discussion of medieval painting techniques and methods of manufacture including the medieval timber trade. A comparison with other similar surviving medieval paintings is presented, and the use of tin-relief decoration, which is a prominent feature of the Retable, is discussed. An important aspect of the conservation of the Retable included the provision of a stable environment within the church. The book may be ordered directly from the publisher, Brepols.

Hardback: ISBN 978-1-872501-07-9