‘True Image’? Versions of the Veronica in Medieval England

Barry Windeatt

(University of Cambridge)


Taking its starting point from Julian of Norwich’s knowledgeable reference to the nature of ‘the holy Vernicle of Rome’ when interpreting her enigmatic second revelation, this paper charts the development of the Veronica in English writing and visual culture from before the Norman Conquest to the later Middle Ages.  The very multiplicity of the Veronica emerges as perhaps its true cultural significance, in which different versions and accounts of the Veronica coexist and interrelate: the Veronica legends in narrative form; reports of the Veronica relic in Rome; and English replications of the Veronica, from the earliest representations of the Veronica, found in English manuscripts, and especially the dark or black Veronica, as well as the implication of her story in the siege of Jerusalem and the history of Pilate.

The European Fortune of the Roman Veronica ​in the Middle Ages