• Sarah

THE DOOM PAINTING OF ST. THOMAS’S CHURCH, SALISBURY

Salisbury’s Doom Painting is the largest and best preserved in the UK. These medieval works of art were intended to remind the congregation of the judgement that would befall them when the end came. Painted around 1470, it was covered with lime whitewash during the Reformation and not seen again until 1819. Now following its most recent restoration in 2019, it is back to its medieval, vibrant glory and is essential viewing for anyone visiting Salisbury.

The central nave of St Thomas' church showing the Doom painting.
Doom paintings were once a common sight

Doom paintings were once a common sight in the churches of England.


They are wall paintings which depicted the Last Judgement, when God would pass his judgement on the people and they would ascend to heaven or descend into hell, depending on their actions during their lives.


They were often painted over the chancel so that the congregation would spend their whole time in church looking at the image, a stark reminder of what fate could befall them if they didn’t follow their religious instruction.


The history of the Doom painting in St Thomas’s is a fascinating one.


Painted by an unknown English painter who was heavily influenced by the contemporary Flemish schools, it was painted around 1470 when the church building was undergoing expansion.