Christ Church Crest
ยป Save the Hermits Appeal

Save the Hermits Appeal

Christ Church Picture Gallery has nine fragments of a large narrative panel depicting the Lives of the Hermits in the Desert - another eleven fragments are in museums in Edinburgh, Yale and Zürich. The picture warned the pious of the temptations and delights of solitude and was in many ways the 15th century equivalent of a graphic novel, describing the encounters of men and women in the Egyptian desert with daemons, angels, wild animals, and each other.

These - more than 550 years old - panels are now in need of essential conservation work and a new display frame. Since the 1960s each fragment has been squeezed into a tight mount that has not allowed the wood to move freely. This has led to damage and cracks on the painted surface which now require careful repair. Our aim is to free the fragments from their harmful and unsightly surrounds, restore them and display them in a safe and attractive fashion which will highlight their importance as well as enhance their visual appeal.

We will start our campaign to Save the Hermits on the 13th October, when the Picture Gallery’s curatorial assistant, David Wilson, will run the Oxford Half Marathon in aid of these astonishing works of art. Come to support him on the 13th October and/or make a donation via

For more information on the project contact the Curator of the Picture Gallery, email:


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