Friday, October 24, 2008

Hitherto unrecognized in the Church of St John and St Mary Magdalene in Goldthorpe (also unnoticed by Pevsner) are two 15th C Sienese panels. They have now been identified as works of Sano di Pietro of Siena (1405-81), a pupil of Sassetta. Dating from the mid 15th century, the two gold ground panels depict an unidentified saint (possibly St James) and San Bernardino. They presumably originally formed part of a large altarpiece in a Tuscan church.

How the panels arrived at Goldthorpe remains a mystery. The most likely explanation is that they came from Lord Halifax, who paid for the building of the church in 1916. He may have acquired the Sienese paintings on a grand tour or they could have come from the family’s seat, nearby Hickleton Hall.

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