As part of the efforts of the Postgate Society to promote the cause of Blessed Nicholas Postgate we are planning to place a copy of a painting of Father Postgate in every church in the diocese.
This ambitious project, which has the support of Bishop Terry, which will take several months to implement. A start has been made in the Coastal Deanery and pictures will soon be on display in every church between Saltburn and Filey.
Over the first half of this year we plan to extend the scheme to include the other three deaneries in our diocese.
This is the only known likeness of Blessed Nicholas Postgate and can be found in Whitby Museum. The image itself, painted on a wooden panel, measures roughly six inches by five inches.
The painting is of unknown age – there are too few tree rings on the frame or the painting itself to enable them to be dated using dendrochronology. The frame contains a number of embedded rusty nails, which indicate it may have come from an old piece of furniture or a floorboard.
In 2013 it was sent to art conservators in London where it was found that there are no modern white pigments in the painting, but the presence of Prussian blue indicates an earliest possible date of 1710, some 30 years after Father Postgate’s execution.
This examination indicates that the painting was not from life, as was once thought, but the possibility exists that the portrait was painted by someone who had known him – or by a person working from a first-hand description of someone who had.
By displaying this image of Blessed Nicholas Postgate we hope to encourage more people to pray to him. Another miracle is required before he, and the other English Martyrs, can be canonised. That is our goal – but it will never happen unless people pray for it.
Blessed Nicholas Postgate pray for us.
Monica Ventress and David Smallwood