William Newton

Title: Assistant Curator
Department: Furniture, Textiles and Fashion

I like things with saints on, things made of plastic, puns, video games, bits, pieces and cake.

Back to the blog front page

011 face

St. Theresa of Lisieux

Today is the celebration of one of Catholicism’s less flamboyant but more popular saints, St. Theresa of Lisieux, commonly known as the ‘Little Flower of Jesus’. Her saintliness is not a result of holy pillows, levitations, stigmata or loyal animal friends, but rather it is because of the quiet, sweet and serious way that she […]

Keep reading
2006BC5638

St. Sergei of Radonezh

Today, like the BBC north of the M25, we look east, further east even than Norfolk. Give the globe a little twirl to your left and you’ll see there’s a big country which covers a lot of the top bit of it. This country is called Russia, and it’s very famous. Now if you look […]

Keep reading
0012

St. Gerard Sagredo

Martyrs have been martyred in some awfully creative ways. Last time around we learnt how St. Eustace met a sticky end, roasted alive inside a brazen bull. St. Fausta was sawn in half inside a box, St. Bartholomew was skinned alive and St. Alphege was pelted with cow skulls. Truly, these are horrible ways to […]

Keep reading
Detail of PL side of 7821-1861, wheel lock rifle, showing St. Eustace and the stag © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

St. Eustace

Today is the feast of another of our Holy Helpers, Saint Eustace. In his person is united the graphic design for Jägermeister, a new theory concerning the term ‘family roast’, and the pleas and devotion of nearly two millennia of firemen. Read on, bold traveller of the internet, and be enlightened.   Eustace was a […]

Keep reading
Detail of C.325-1928 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Pope St. Cornelius

Pope Cornelius’ short reign in the middle of the 3rd century (251 – 253) was consistent with the tradition of early Christian leaders being a generally unlucky bunch. Some of the age’s biggest cheeses were against him: two Roman Emperors and an Antipope.   Literary evidence suggests that Cornelius was not born to a wealthy family; extant […]

Keep reading
Detail of 5940-1859, altarpiece, showing St. Giles © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

St. Giles

Perhaps the most popular vegetarian of the middle ages, semi-legendary St. Giles has had very little time to enjoy himself in heaven since his death in the first quarter of the eighth century. Indeed, many diverse groups consider him their patron saint; spur makers, disabled people, horses, beggars, blacksmiths, sufferers of breast cancer, breast-feeding women, […]

Keep reading
Detail of A.135-1946, alabaster statue of St. Fiacre © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

St. Fiacre

Today marks the feast of Saint Fiacre (d.670). This semi-mythical 7th century Irish saint was a sort of nurse-cum-hermit who would tend to the ailments of all who visited his oratory so long as they met one condition: that they were a man. Women were cautioned to stay away from his retreat on pain of […]

Keep reading
Detail of St. Louis of Toulouse © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

St. Louis of Toulouse

What do discarded crowns, Barcelona and Zac Efron all have in common? The answer is St. Louis of Toulouse (1274-1297). This former bishop was a holy man of impeccable saintly lineage, who could count King St. Louis IX of France, St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Margaret of Hungary among his hallowed family tree. He […]

Keep reading
706-1890, gilt leather altar frontal showing SS. Roch (L) and Sebastian (R), © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

St. Roch

Many saints’ lives are dull affairs full of praying and fasting, proselytising and general do-gooding. St. Roch’s vita has all of these elements plus a good amount of gruesomeness, mysticism, and a faithful animal friend. Born near Montpellier around 1295, his chest was miraculously marked from birth with the sign of the cross. The infant […]

Keep reading
1198-1893, medal showing Pope St. Sixtus II, Italy, 16th century (C) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Pope St. Sixtus II

Here we have another medal with another pope on it. This familiar line continues when I tell you that Sixtus II was also the immediate successor to Pope Stephen, who we covered in the previous post, and that he was probably martyred in the same way, and as part of the very same crackdown by […]

Keep reading