Stop Press Section



The Medieval Shroud

The beginning of an exploration into its

Purpose, Process and Provenance


Hugh Farey

Former editor of the

Newsletter of the British Society for the Turin Shroud

20 February 2018


Almost every publication on the Shroud of Turin so far has mostly concerned itself with whether or not the sheet in the cathedral of John the Baptist is truly the burial cloth of Christ, and a discussion of the evidence in favour (material, anatomical, literary and artistic, and a general incredulity that medieval manufacture was possible) and against (mostly the radiocarbon dating of 1988, and the paucity of historical and archaeological provenance). Until the turn of the century much was made of attempts to replicate the Shroud image ‘naturally’, authenticists deriving it from chemical or physical emanations from a dead body, and medievalists from the application of some kind of colouring agent. The former have largely abandoned their efforts now, simply accepting a miracle, while the latter continue, sporadically, to improve. Current authenticist work mostly concentrates on attempts to disprove the radiocarbon dating, so far with minimal success.

This paper distances itself almost entirely from that debate. Although I am well aware of all the arguments for authenticity, here I assume from the start that the Shroud is medieval. That being so, the most important aspect of a study of it is to discover a context within which it might have been manufactured, which itself might shed light on other unresolved enquiries. However, I do not pretend that such a context has been discovered, and in fact present competing possibilities, regarding its purpose, manufacturing process and artistic provenance, none of which I consider definitive. There may be others I haven’t thought of, or have thought of but rejected unmentioned as too improbable. This is not a Discovery, a Solution, or a Verdict: it is no more than the beginning of an exploration which I hope others more qualified in the various fields I mention will feel interested enough to pursue.

Hugh Farey, 20 Feb 2018



The Medieval Shroud

1. A Neglected Masterpiece

The so-called Shroud of Turin is a large medieval artwork of considerable celebrity, preserved under rigorous museum conditions in the cathedral of St John the Baptist, Turin, Italy. It has been the object of some detailed scientific study, resulting in numerous peer- reviewed papers.1 It has an undisputed continuous history and provenance from the mid- fourteenth century, and been radiocarbon-dated to about 1290. It is curious therefore that it has received so little interest from Art Historians. Only one has published a study of any length, and although several others have mentioned it in passing, they have characterised it as one thing or another without any serious consideration.2

There may be good reasons for this neglect. There is an understandable unwillingness to become a recipient of the opprobrium commonly meted out to anybody who thinks the Shroud3 may not be authentic, by a vociferous minority of those convinced it is,4 and of course it may be that some Art Historians setting off to investigate it became convinced that it was genuine, and abandoned their study as no longer relevant. Others, perhaps, reject its study on the grounds that forgeries are irrelevant to historical exploration.

As long ago as 1931, in the opening to an article on the Image of Edessa, Sir Steven Runciman said:

“Christian relics have never received their due attention in History. Historians, justly suspecting the authenticity of the more eminent of them, have tended therefore to put

1Most of these are listed at, a comprehensive collection of nearly all there is to be known about the Shroud.

2For example there is no mention of it at all in Gertrud Schiller’s monumental Iconography of Christian Art, and Hans Belting, discussing ‘miraculous images kept in Constantinople’, slots it rather unconformably into a description of various Veronicas.

Belting, Hans, 1994, Chap 11. ‘The “Holy Face”: Legends and Images in Competition’, pp 208-224.

Similarly Martin Kemp, Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at Oxford University (Christ to Coke: How Image becomes Icon), although spending more time on it, minimises its most significant differences from its contemporary artworks - its double image, its ‘negative’ depiction, and its monochrome colouration - in favour of rather vague descriptions of “the attenuated proportions, stick-like nature of the folded arms and straight legs, and the long thin unmodelled fingers” which “are all consistent with both medieval and Byzantine figure styles”. All true, no doubt, but surely completely missing the elephant in the room.

Kemp, Martin, 2011, pp 23-43

3The capitalisation of the word ‘Shroud’ conveniently distinguishes the particular cloth in Turin (which probably isn’t a shroud) from other funeral textiles. It does not imply either that the word is appropriate, nor any specific reverence.

4In the course of my own researches, I have been called, at various times, an ignorant, irrelevant, uncomprehending, illogical, obsessive, absurd, desperate, poisonous, dishonest, deceitful, envious, fearful, fanatical, sycophantic moron, and threatened with retribution from unspecified powers at the Vatican in this world and eternal damnation in the next. Walter McCrone records receiving a postcard calling him an “incompetent Senile Old Fart who belongs in the Nut House.”

McCrone, Walter, 1990, p 289



them all too one side, forgetting that even a forgery can have its historical value. […] This neglect is undeserved.”5

It may also be that the very uniqueness of the cloth and its image, which seems so clearly not to fall into any particular research category, is the reason for it being sidelined from academic study. It may be an altar-cloth, liturgical vestment, table cloth, theatrical prop or even a shroud, but as it does not resemble any such things that we know of, specialist scholars may say, “Well, it doesn’t look like one of mine,” and leave it unexamined. I would like them to reconsider. A unique object should not be neglected on that basis alone, but considered carefully as a possible ‘outlier’ to some more recognised artistic tradition.

The only serious Art Historical investigation (and seriously flawed, as we shall see), was by Thomas de Wesselow, a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Cambridge.6 He concluded that the Shroud was in fact what it purports to be, the first century burial cloth of Christ. However, this professional finding was not based on any particular knowledge of early Jewish burial practices, nor of the chemistry of dead bodies, but on his conclusion that the Shroud simply could not be medieval, on the grounds that, “technically, conceptually and stylistically” (his criteria), it makes “no sense as a medieval artwork”. Now it goes without saying that an investigator without any education or experience in an expert’s field of expertise should proceed with caution in challenging his conclusions, and still more perhaps his reasons for coming to them, but I’m afraid I do think de Wesselow was wrong in both. He compared the Shroud to two recognisable medieval genres, straight artwork and fake relic, and, finding it irreconcilable with either, decided that it wasn’t medieval at all. I think this was a mistake. Although he may be correct that it is neither portrait nor relic, these are not the only possible reasons for its creation, and I don’t think he gave others sufficient consideration.

Before giving some of these alternatives a look, it is worth enumerating the properties of the Shroud, especially those which make it unique, which make it so difficult to categorise. It is a linen cloth, about 4.1m long by 1.1m wide,7 on which are depicted two figures of a man, lying down, in frontal and dorsal view, end to end and with their heads meeting in the middle. He is apparently naked, with his wrists crossed over his groin. The figures are entirely monochrome, and depicted in such a way as to suggest a sheet making contact with a pigmented shape, so that prominent features (such as the nose and knuckles) appear prominently dark on the cloth, and recessive features (such as the eye- sockets, or the sides of the nose and cheeks) do not appear at all. The overall effect, though of course not one intended or even imagined as such by the artist, is that of a photographic negative. The face and crossed hands are particularly well delineated, the arms and legs more faintly, and the feet barely more than smudges. Details such as facial wrinkles,

5Runciman, Steven, 1931, p 238

6de Wesselow, Thomas, 2012

7At some point in its history one of the long sides has had a strip about 10cm wide cut off and subsequently sewn back on in almost exactly the same place. Lengths from the two ends of this strip are missing.



nipples, navel and fingernails are missing altogether. The hair beside the cheeks is as prominent as the nose, giving the impression that the face is upright rather than lying down, a characteristic of medieval gisants (sculpted tomb effigies). The colour of the image is almost exactly the same as that of a faint scorch, examples of which are present in abundance thanks to a fire in 1532, whose colour has been compared to that of the image using spectroscopy.8 Finally, although the figures by themselves suggest a man in repose, they have been augmented with additional marks, representing, and identified by some haematologists as, human blood, demonstrating the injuries to Christ as described in the bible. Much of the body is stippled with little bars representing the welts of scourging, there are little trickles in the hair as from the crown of thorns, and larger patches, with associated trickles, on the arms and legs, and in the side, from the liturgical ‘five wounds’, although, perhaps significantly, only one hand and one foot are clearly delineated. In addition there is a long, entwined double trickle across the back of the body.

The double image, especially, and the ‘imprint’ style of depiction, seem utterly foreign to any recognised artistic style of the middle ages, or indeed of any other age. The feeblest illustration of a cloth about four times as long as it is wide, with the crudest suggestion of two figures lying head to head, is enough to identify the Shroud absolutely, without any possible confusion with anything else. Whatever its provenance its sheer uniqueness both demands investigation and rejects easy comparison. Nevertheless, the cloth exists, and it was made by someone, for some reason. Even if we cannot come to a definite conclusion, surely some serious inquiry is warranted.

8Accetta, Joseph & Baumgart, Stephen, 1980 Gilbert, Roger and Gilbert, Marion, 1980



2. What was it for?

In attempting to discover why the Shroud was manufactured in the first place, it seems reasonable to begin with its recognised purpose for the last three or four hundred years, namely as a holy relic, a cloth which once covered the dead body of Jesus, a deliberate fraud perpetrated on a gullible public with the honourable intention of helping them strengthen their faith in the Resurrection, and probably the less honourable one of collecting money off them at the same time. This is how it is largely recognised, if it is mentioned at all, by Art Historians. In the immortal words of Professor Edward Hall, “Someone just got a bit of linen, faked it up and flogged it.”9

However this simple explanation is not supported by the evidence of the object itself. From the fourteenth century onwards, the Shroud has been recognised as its own worst enemy in this respect. Almost everything about its image has been used to discredit it, on biblical and theological grounds; and, regardless of the fineness of the linen or the inexplicability of the image, its lack of provenance, of official sanction and of biblical adherence were all major stumbling blocks to its acceptance. A comment by Gary Vikan in the Biblical Archaeological Review, “For the shroud to be the shroud, it more or less has to look the way it looks”, is demonstrably untrue.10 It was precisely “the way it looks” that falsified it to the eyes of successive detractors, who could not believe that, if Jesus really had left this image behind, it would not have been mentioned in the bible. There was absolutely no need for the ‘true shroud’ to have anything on it at all, let alone a double image, nor to be of such a particularly fine weave. A relic was not defined by its realism, but by its provenance, especially as attested to by as many clerics as possible. One bone looks very like another, but one carrying the seal of the Bishop of Nantes, say, had unimpeachable authority.11 Being in the custodianship of either the pope or royalty was another powerful guarantor of authenticity, but the Shroud had nothing of the kind (something no true forger would have neglected), laying itself wide open to accusations of forgery. Several ‘shrouds of Christ’ were apparent in Constantinople before it was sacked in 1204, and a fair number turned up later in western Europe, a few with images (those of Compiègne, it seems, and Besançon), but none appear to have been characterised by verisimilitude. The cap of Cahors (a challenger to the Sudarium of Oviedo) looks like a Dutch dairymaid’s bonnet, the shroud of Cadouin is fringed with Islamic prayers to Allah, the ‘cabouin’ of Carcassonne is made of silk, and the vast Shroud of Kornelimünster could have wrapped a horse, yet all of these attracted (and still do) their fair share of venerating pilgrims. For many years the shroud of Besançon was a serious rival to that of Turin; its image was a crude caricature but its documented history (however spurious) from

9At the Press Conference officially announcing the radiocarbon date, 13 October 1988, witnessed and reported by Ian Wilson. Wilson Ian, 2010, p 20

10Vikan, Gary, 1998, p 29

11See, for example, the relics offered for sale at, all of which are authenticated by the “perfectly preserved” seals of various Italian bishops.



Constantinople via Othon de la Roche, erstwhile Lord of Athens, gave it precedence. While each example attracted its own particular adherents, the very multiplicity of most alleged relics from the time of Christ was enough to discredit them all in the view of many. The generous few who accepted that all the shrouds were genuine were able to reconcile them by saying that they were in fact all used during the burial of Christ, either successively, as Christ was taken crown from the cross, transported to the tomb, washed and anointed, and finally laid to rest;12 or simultaneously, leaving him lying under several layers of various size and style.13 Or both.

The most common depiction of the shroud in medieval art occurs as part of the ‘Visitatio Sepulchri’, ’Three Marys,’ or ‘Holy Women at the Tomb’ theme. It was a popular scene, and there are hundreds of examples, from tiny miniatures to large sculptures, and all of them invariably include the shroud, draped over the side of the sarcophagus or crumpled in a heap on top.14 There is, however, not a single example of a shroud carrying an image, and the lack of either biblical justification or iconographic tradition for an image was a powerful argument against the authenticity of the Shroud, from the Bishop of Troyes in 1398,15 to John Calvin in 1599 16 until the present.17 Adding an image to an intended fake relic thus seems wholly counter-productive as a way of establishing authenticity.

There were, of course, several ‘miraculous’ images in Christian tradition, some of which survive. These were the celebrated ‘acheiropoieta’, translated as ‘not made with

12For example, Chifflet, Jean Jacques, 1688, p 112. A double illustration of the shrouds of Turin and Besançon is captioned:

“The Turin Shroud carried the bloody body of Christ recently taken down from the Cross; the Sudarium of Besançon truly shows

the same, now washed and anointed and placed carefully in the tomb.”

“Sindon Taurinensis refert corpus Christi cruentum, et recens de Cruce depositum; Sudarium vero Bisontium exhibet illud idem iam lotum ac perunctum, et in sepulchro compositum.” My translation.

13A diagram at shows, in all seriousness, six layers of current purported authentic burial cloths on and around the body of the dead Christ.

14See Farey, Hugh, 2015

15“Many theologians and other wise people have asserted that this cannot be the real shroud of our Lord, because it has the likeness of the Saviour imprinted on it, of which the holy Gospels make no mention. If it were genuine, it is unlikely that the holy Evangelists would have kept silent and omitted to record it, nor that it should have remained hidden until the present time.”

“multis theologis et aliis prudentibus viris asserentibus quod hoc revera dominicum Sudarium esse non poterat, quod ipsius Salvatoris effigiem habebat impressam, cum de hujus - modi impressione sanctum euvangelium nullam faciat mencionem, cum tamen, si verum esset, non est verisimile quod fuisset per sanctos euvangelistas tacitum vel obmissum, nec usque ad hoc tempus celatum vel occultatum.”

Bishop Pierre D’Arcis, 1389. Letter to Pope Clement VII, Bibliothèque Nationale, Collection de Champagne, Vol 154: Appendix G in Chevalier, Ulysse, 1900. My translation.

16“The Evangelists diligently record all the miracles which occurred at the death of Jesus Christ, leaving nothing out. How is it that this escaped them, that they say not a word of such a marvellous miracle? That the shape of the body of our Saviour was left in the shroud in which he was wrapped - that would have been something as worth recording as anything else. The Evangelist St John even records how St Peter entered the sepulchre and saw the burial cloths, one separate from the other, but of any miraculous portrait he says nothing at all. It cannot be supposed that he would have concealed such a work of God if it had actually occurred.”

“Les Evangelistes recitent diligemment los miracles qui furent faits à la mort de Iesus Christ et ne laissent rien de ce qui appartient à l’histoire: comment est-ce que cela leur est eschappé, de ne sonner mot d’un miracle tant excellent? C’est que l’effigie du corps de nostre Seigneur lesus estoit demeuré au linceul, auquel il fut enseveli. Cela valoit bien autant d’estre dit, comme plusieurs autres choses. Mesme l’Evangeliste S. Iean declare comment S. Pierre estant entré au sepulchre, vit les linges de la sepulture, l’un d’un costé l’autre d’autre. Qu’il y eust aucune pourtraiture miraculeuse, il n’en parle point. Et n’est pas à presumer qu’il eust supprimé une telle œuvre de Dieu s’il en eust esté quelque chose.”

Calvin, Jean, 1599, p 33. My translation.

17See, for example, Nickell, Joe, 1998, Chap 5, ‘The Shroud as a Relic’.



hands’, which included the Images of Edessa and Camuliana, the Mandylion of Constantinople, the Veil of Manoppello, and various ‘Veronicas’. Some of these are probably different names for the same artefact. A common factor of all of them, however, is that they are, or were, undisguised portraits of Jesus. They show him alive, awake, unblemished, and in no sense a ‘negative’ image. There was no need to pretend that the image was formed by some semi-natural process, such as sweat or blood stains, or the interaction of bodily emanations with some kind of chemically treated fabric. A miracle was miraculous, and Christ did not need to invoke science to produce one. As with relics, what distinguished these paintings from any other artwork wasn’t their miraculous appearance to the viewer but their provenance. Elaborate stories about how they came to be made, coupled to credible histories of how they arrived in Europe, were essential requirements, which the Shroud did not achieve until about a hundred years after its first exhibition in the mid-fourteenth century.

The image on the Shroud does not look miraculous. It looks like an artist’s idea of a natural process, cleverly thought out and expertly executed, but hopelessly over-specified for a fake relic.

A couple of further factors also militate against the ‘deliberately forged relic’ hypothesis. Firstly, the Shroud is very much a latecomer into the biblical relic world, as almost everything that could conceivably have been salvaged from Jerusalem or Constantinople had already been established by the end of the first half of the thirteenth century, and secondly, among these relics, specifically those housed in the royal reliquary of the Sainte Chapelle, were already included the burial cloths of Jesus. Any ‘new’ discovery of such a relic, especially one as large as the Shroud, would surely be an intolerable challenge to the royal collection. No wonder its first exhibition as authentic had to wait until the king had been taken prisoner by the English at the Battle of Poitiers.

For all these reasons, then, I reject the hypothesis that the Shroud was originally manufactured as a false relic. On the other hand, it is even less obviously a simple representation of the dead Christ. Gertrud Schiller discusses the arrival of the various scenes of the death of Christ in the artistic canon, from the crucifixion to the Man of Sorrows, but the very concept of the Shroud - an imprint of a body, rather than a view of one - is a far cry from any of them. Perhaps the nearest comparison is the epitaphios, a large ceremonial cloth still used by Orthodox churches throughout the world during the Easter liturgy, whose origins seem to be in the eleventh or twelfth century.18 It is usually elaborately embroidered, depicting a life-sized Christ lying on a burial sheet, and used in procession as a symbolic bier. It may have emerged in Constantinople shortly after the arrival of the anointing stone itself from the Holy Land. In most examples it is a typical ‘Lamentation’ scene, showing the shroud lying on a tomb or table, with the Virgin Mary, other witnesses and angels gathered around,19 but sometimes the epitaphios itself stands

18The earliest extant example of an embroidered epitaphios comes from Venice in about 1200. Epitaphioi are discussed in Scavone, Daniel, 1999

19See, for example, those in the Benaki Museum, Athens (17th century), reproduced in the Wikipedia article Epitaphios (Liturgical)



for the shroud, and the only figure is that of Christ, seen as from directly above, just as in the Shroud of Turin, although usually there are still a few accompanying angels.20 However the figure is invariably of the body of Jesus himself, not of an impression or imprint, and there is never a back view. Still, it is not impossible that this kind of imagery was known to, and perhaps adapted by the creator of the Shroud for his own purposes.

If neither portrait nor relic, what other possibilities might there be? Thomas de Wesselow stopped at this point, announced that since the Shroud could not be medieval it had to be authentic, and developed the idea that the whole concept of the resurrection of Christ was built around its discovery on Easter morning. He thus earned a mixed reputation among authenticists, most of whom are devoutly orthodox Christians, for being the only Art Historian to defend their cause, but then reduce their entire religion to the worship of a picture on a cloth.

A few years ago the historian Charles Freeman published an article in History Today,21 suggesting that the Shroud was the last remaining example of literally thousands of ‘shrouds’ that must have been kept in the churches of Europe for hundreds of years. In this he was restating an idea that had been raised before, but rejected, by the Shroud historian Ian Wilson in his 1986 book, The Evidence of the Shroud.22

“There can be no doubt,” says Wilson, “that in some, the ‘shroud’ was of a very substantial size” and that “the topicality of the Veronica story may well have inspired other churches to commission ‘shrouds’ with imprints, to be thought out precisely in terms of the sort of impression a crucified human body would have made on a full-length cloth.” Medieval Christian liturgy was regularly enlivened by various non-canonical interludes, illustrating and augmenting the message of the gospels. The oldest of these, emerging in the ninth century, was the “Quem quaeritis” trope, in which two or three clerics made their way from the high altar to a representation of a tomb on the north wall of the church, where another cleric, dressed in white, asked, “Quem quaeritis, Christocolae?” or “Whom do you seek, followers of Christ?” On being told it was Jesus, he replied that Jesus was risen and departed, and that the seekers should return to the altar with the grave clothes left behind, to show to all the people.

This little play, variously elaborated, was re-enacted in thousands of churches for hundreds of years. Literally hundreds of examples of it were collected by Walther Lipphardt, from all over Europe, in a monumental multi-volume oeuvre which he appears not to have completed.23 There must have been, over the years, thousands of cloths used as props, not a single one of which survives, and of which we have almost no description, although tantalising suggestions that some of them may have been painted can be found

20See, for example, the epitaphios of Stefan Milutin, king of Serbia, in the Museum of the Serbian Orthodox Church of Belgrade. There is a reproduction at

21Freeman, Charles, 2014

22Wilson, Ian, 1986, Chap 5

23Lipphardt, Walther, 1975-1980



among church inventories, such as that of the church of St Ewen, in Bristol, which lists: “one cloth steyned of the passyon of our Lord to the couer of the table before the hyghe auter”;24 from Lewisham, in Kent: “On vale cloth pictured with the Passion of lynnen with redd spotts,” or from Peasemore, Berkshire: “one cross clothe of lynnyn paynted with ymagery.”25 Apart from these clues (and no doubt there are others in non-Anglophone sources) Freeman’s speculation that many of these Easter ‘shrouds’ bore images is not really substantiated either by the scripts of the event themselves (which do, however, occasionally refer to the cloth as ‘white’, ’pure’ or ‘clean’, which does not support the idea of an image), nor the few representations of these cloths (such as the one on the side of the Easter Sepulchre from the parish church of Baar. Switzerland), nor the hundreds of representations of the Visitatio, or Visit of the Holy Women to the Tomb, which all show a shroud, but no suggestion that it bears an image. In claiming that “we know” that some of these shrouds bore images, Freeman is quite wrong. The two scholars from whom he derives his knowledge refer only to the Shrouds of Turin and Besançon for justification.26

What a pity. At four metres long and one wide, the Shroud is just the right shape and size for the liturgy of the burial and resurrection. On Good Friday, it could be used to wrap a life-sized effigy of Christ (some of which still exist),27 and be placed in the sepulchre (many of which still exist), usually in the west transept of the church. The effigy was privately removed on Holy Saturday, in preparation for the empty tomb and abandoned shroud being ‘discovered’ on Easter Sunday morning, when it would be displayed to the congregation above or in front of a large altar. Its quasi-realistic image declares not that it is a miracle in itself (which might detract from the main event, the Resurrection), but clearly that it can be no other than that of Jesus. Even the placement of the two heads together in the middle, rather than the four rather indistinct feet, seems appropriate for a central position in the display. In a real mortuary, the head is the last part of the body to be covered, not the first, and therefore the arrangement of the cloth would be such that the heads would be at the two ends.

Even without a connection with the “Quem quaeritis” rite, painted cloths were common enough, as coverings for rood-screens or altars, particularly during Lent, and even for the covering of statues. Thomas Becon, in his A Potation for Lent (a sequel to A Banquet for Christmas), written in about 1540, says: “In consideration whereof the clothes that are hanged up at this time of Lent in the church have painted in them nothing else but the pains, torments, passion, blood-shedding, and death of Christ.”28 It seems not absurd

24“steyned” and “paynted” cloths abound in inventories, and their subjects are often described, but vanishingly few in such a way that they can be interpreted as similar to the Shroud. This one is from 1460. Maclean, John, 1891, p 153

25Both dated 1552. In Hope, William and Atchley, E.G. Cuthbert, 1918, p 54 and 55

26Young, Karl, 1933, p 135, says, “These dramatic usages may have been in part responsible for the production of painted sudaria which have sometimes been mistaken for authentic relics of the Passion,” but his references for this are Herbert Thurston’s entry for the Shroud in the Catholic Encyclopaedia and Ulysse Chevalier’s Étude Critique sur l’Origine du Saint Suaire de Lirey-Chambery-Turin, both of which only describe the Shroud.

27In some churches special crucifixes with articulated shoulders were used to enable to body of Christ literally to be taken down from the cross, carried to the sepulchre and entombed. See Kopania, Kamil, 2010

28Becon, Thomas, ed. Ayre, John, 1843, p 111



to imagine the Shroud draped over a standing statue of the Man of Sorrows, with the two images hanging down the front and back, although the material of which it made suggests a more important function than a simple dust-cover, and the images more appropriate to the inside than the visible surfaces. However, it is apparent that over the years the development of this custom resulted in Lenten coverings which were more elaborate than they originally needed to be. In English Liturgical Colours, Hope and Atchley give examples from a hundred and fifty or so medieval inventories (about twenty dated before 1350), and comment: “One curious point may be noticed in the foregoing entries, that in a number of cases the veils that were originally meant to be simple coverings to muffle up the crosses and images during Lent had themselves come to be painted with crucifixes or the signs of the Passion, or with figures or emblems of the saints they were supposed to cover.”29 Similarly, and similarly frustratingly without specific examples, John Thomas Micklethwaite, in The Ornaments of the Rubric, says: “Sometimes these cloths were stained or embroidered with devices bearing reference to the subject they were intended to veil.”30 Such a description matches the Shroud as well as any.

Is there any other context the Shroud might fit into? As I write this, a scene from Julius Caesar comes to mind, where Mark Anthony displays the torn and bloodied toga of the murdered Caesar to the crowd. “Look, in this place ran Cassius’ dagger through,” he says, and “See what a rent the envious Casca made,” ending with Brutus, and the famous line, “This was the most unkindest cut of all.”31 Could the Shroud have been an educational tool, produced as a demonstration of the sufferings of Christ, perhaps as part of a sermon on his passion and death? It would be admirably suited to such task, indeed, that is still one of its uses today, but sadly I can find no equivalent or precedent in medieval art which might lend credence to the idea. Nevertheless, I think it is an idea worth exploring.

The earliest archaeological illustrations we have of the Shroud are on pilgrims’ badges, cheap little leaden intaglios about 6cm across, showing it being held up by a pair of clerics. One was found in Paris, in the silt of the Seine in 1855, and the other is known only from a ceramic mould found in 2009 in a field near Machy, a village adjacent to Lirey, about 170km south-east of Paris, where the Shroud was first exhibited.32 There are significant differences between the two badges that may tell us something of its earliest history, and elucidate some of the confusion surrounding the earliest literary references.

Both badges show two shields, one bearing the three small escutcheons of the de Charny family, and the other the three pierced cinquefoils of the de Vergy family. They probably refer to Geoffroi de Charny, Lord of Lirey until his death at the battle of Poitiers in 1356, and his wife Jeanne de Vergy, who married him about 1340 and died, astonishingly aged, at the turn of the fifteenth century. The two shields are in the base of

29Hope, William and Atchley, E.G. Cuthbert, 1918, p 58

30Micklethwaite, John Thomas, 1897, p 52

31Shakespeare, William, Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 2

32Both are reproduced and discussed at



the medals, with the important difference that while one has that of de Charny on the left (as you view the badge), and his wife’s on the right, the other has them the other way round. It has been inferred that while de Charny was alive, his arms took the most important position (the left), but that after he died his widow assumed the senior place, as his son Geoffroi II was still a child. This interpretation has recently been challenged by Ian Wilson (although it was his suggestion in the first place), who now thinks, and makes a plausible case, that the Machy badge, with the de Charny shield on the left dates from the end of the fourteenth century, when the younger de Charny was grown up. Although this idea is far from fanciful, I reject it on the grounds described below.33

Assuming the former order of manufacture is correct, let us look at the other significant difference between the two badges. The earlier one depicts not only the Shroud, but beneath it, and enveloping the shields, a whole range of other artefacts: two scourges, the scourging pillar, the cross, a crown of thorns, nails, spear, etc., and in the centre the sepulchre itself, a rectangular box. These are the arma Christi, or instruments of the passion, which as a group had gradually achieved, by the late thirteenth century, a special significance as objects of devotion and veneration. There are dozens of pictorial and sculptural representations of the arma Christi from about this time, influenced by a growing concentration on the suffering and death of Jesus, particularly as emphasised by the meditations of St Francis. The popularity of the Legenda aurea (The Golden Legend),34 a huge compendium of stories of the saints by Jacobus de Voragine, which included the story of the Mass of St Gregory,35 contributed to the iconography of the suffering Christ appearing among these instruments, sometimes standing full-length on the altar, pointing out his wounds to the astonished witnesses. At about the same time, towards the end of the thirteenth century, themes such as the ‘Man of Sorrows’, the ‘Five Wounds’ and the ‘Ostentatio Vulnerum’ were all increasing in popularity, all illustrated by images of Christ exhibiting his specific injuries, more or less realistically, although it should be noticed that the Shroud does not specifically represent all five wounds.

We know that Geoffroi de Charny began to build a chapel in Lirey in about 1343, which seems to have grown in importance until shortly before his death, as a result of his ever-increasing ‘sentiments of devotion’ to a ‘divine cult’, which Henri de Poitiers, the

33Wilson, Ian, 2018

34Available as de Voragine, Jacobus, trans. William Granger Ryan, The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, two volumes, 1995, Princeton University Press

35The story goes that Pope Gregory was saying mass one day when someone started to mock, refusing to believe that the host could really be Jesus himself, whereupon Jesus actually appeared.



then Bishop of Troyes, was happy to recommend.36 The chapel was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and the feasts of the Virgin were celebrated with particular solemnity, so it is reasonable to suppose that the ‘divine cult’ was that of the Mother of Christ, but it is more usually supposed, considering later events, that it was that of the Shroud. I don’t think this post hoc propter hoc argument is sound. I think that before de Charny’s death, the Shroud may have been merely a kind of explanatory primus inter pares for a more restricted devotion, concentrated in Lent and Eastertide, that of the arma Christi.

Subsequent events, however, are illustrated by the second pilgrim badge, issued after the death of Geoffroi and under the auspices of his widow, on which all the arma Christi have been removed and replaced by a single head of Christ, and the bold words Suaire Ihu37 - Shroud of Jesus. What was intended as a representation of the Shroud, illustrating the sufferings of the saviour, has become, or possibly been replaced by, the real thing. The ‘cult’ of which Henri de Poitiers so heartily approved, be it that of the Virgin Mary or the arma Christi, has been replaced by the cult of an actual relic, of which, since he knew it was a fake, Henri heartily disapproved.

This explanation makes sense of the letter written thirty-four or so years later by a subsequent Bishop of Troyes, Pierre d’Arcis, who was petitioning Pope Clement VII to suppress a renewed attempt to display the Shroud as a genuine relic of the Resurrection, and describing the actions his forbear took to suppress the earlier one.38 Much has been written regarding this correspondence, as what remains is incomplete; the extant copies in the archives of the diocese of Troyes are clearly drafts rather than fair copies, and it may be that the letter was never actually sent. However, it says that some time previously, the Dean of Lirey, entirely for financial gain, had procured and displayed a fake Shroud, claiming it to be genuine, verifying its authenticity with spurious miracles, and attracting gullible pilgrims from far and wide. When he found out about this, Henri de Poitiers had

36Dated 28 May, 1356. “You will learn what we ourselves learned on seeing and hearing the letters of the noble knight Geoffrey de Charny, Lord of Savoysy and of Lirey, to which and for which our present letters are enclosed, after scrupulous examination of these letters and more especially of the said knight’s sentiments of devotion, which he has hitherto manifested for the divine cult and which he manifests ever more daily. And ourselves wishing to develop as much as possible a cult of this nature, we praise, ratify and approve the said letters in all their parts - a cult which is declared and reported to have been canonically and ritually prescribed, as we have been informed by legitimate documents. To all these, we give our assent, our authority and our decision, by faith of which we esteem it our duty to affix our seal to this present letter in perpetual memory.”

“Noveritis quod nos visis et auditis litteris nobilis viri D. Gauffridi de Charneyo Domini de Savuoisyo et de Lireyo militis, in quibus et per quas heae nostrae presentes litterae sunt annexae, ac earum tenore attento diligenter, attentis etiam devotione et affectu dicti militis, quos erga divinum cultum hactenus habuit et habet de die in diem. Volentesque huiusmodi cultum in quantum possumus ampliare divinum, dictas litteras ac omnia et singula in eisdem contenta, declarata, et narrata tamquam rite et Canonice prout perlegitima documenta fuimus et sumus informati, acta dataque et concessa ac etiam ordinata fuisse, laudamus, ratificamus, approbamus, ac in et super eisdem nostrum praebemus consensum, auctoritatem et decretum.”

Literae Trecensis episcopi comprobativae fundationis ecclesiae de Liteyo (Letters from the Bishop of Troyes approving the foundation of the church at Lirey), in (ed.) Camuzat, Nicolao, 1610, p 412, Promptuarium sacrarum antiquitatum Tricassinae dioecesis, a collection of documents from the archives of the diocese of Troyes. Translation by Bonnet-Aymard, Bruno, 1991, p 13

37‘Ihu’ is a common abbreviation for “Ihesu” (genitive of Jesus)

38D’Arcis, Pierre, Letter to Pope Clement VII, 1389. (Bibliothèque Nationale, Collection de Champagne, Vol 154), Appendix G in Chevalier, Ulysse, 1900, and the translation in Thurston, Herbert, 1903, pp 17-29

Further discussions of the subject are at: Bonnet-Aymard, Bruno, 1991

Fossati, Luigi, 1983 Markwardt, Jack, 2002



instigated a formal investigation, proved it a fake (principally by the witness of the man who had painted it), and started formal proceedings to have it suppressed. Before they were completed, the Dean himself halted the public displays and hid the Shroud away. It may have been removed from Lirey altogether by Jeanne de Vergy, perhaps to her own castle at Montigny-Montfort, or that of her second husband Aymon of Geneva at Anthon, Haute Savoie, until at some point, now owned by her son Geoffrey II, it returned to Lirey. There the then Dean Nicole Martin, perhaps hoping that memories of the previous veneration had faded, immediately began to display it again, with all the panoply pertaining to one of the most important relics in Christendom, but this time without formally announcing that it was.

Pierre d’Arcis was infuriated, and seems to have made strenuous efforts to stop these displays, by threatening the Dean with excommunication, by appealing to the Dean’s feudal lord (Geoffroi II), by attempting to have the Shroud confiscated by the king, and probably by contacting the Pope himself in previous letters, but had no success. As long as the Shroud was not formally declared genuine, its display was permitted, and the Pope finally ordered d’Arcis to leave the subject alone, for ever (something which he appears to have learnt by hearsay while he was writing this letter, which may be why he never got round to sending it).

It is not clear what happened to the Shroud for the next few years. Whether or not d’Arcis actually sent his memorandum, in January 1390 the Pope commanded that it might only be displayed from now on with considerably less ostentation, and with a loud clear announcement that the cloth was not the true Shroud of Our Lord, but only a depiction of it.39 D’Arcis died in 1395, swiftly followed by Geoffroi II in 1398, but it appears that the Shroud remained under the nominal custodianship of the canons of Lirey, who may have continued to display it until the turmoil surrounding the defeat of the French army at Agincourt threatened its safety, and they asked Humbert de Villersexel, second husband of Geoffrey II’s daughter Marguerite (her first having died at Agincourt), to look after it and various other treasures of the church. De Villersexel formally signed a receipt for them, including principally “a sheet on which is the figure or representation of

39“as long as an ostentation lasts, no capes, surplices, albs, copes or any other kind of ecclesiastical garments or accoutrements are to be worn, nor any of the solemnities usual to the ostentation of relics performed. Torches, candles and tapers must be kept to a minimum, and no other kind of illumination used instead. And throughout the display of the said image, whenever a large crowd of people has gathered, it is to be formally announced to them, in a loud, clear voice, with no obfuscation, that the image or representation before them is not the true Shroud of our Lord Jesus Christ, but a painting or canvas made in the form of or as a representation of the said Shroud, of our Lord Jesus Christ”

“quandiu ostensio ipsa durabit, capis, superpelliciis, albis, pluvialibiis vel aliis quibus-libet ecclesiasticis indumentis seu paramentis nullatenus propterea induantur, nec alias solempnitates faciant que fieri solent in reliquiis ostendendis, quodque propterea torticia, facule seu candele minime accendantur, nec eciam propterea luminaria quecunque ibidem adhibeantur; quodque ostendens dictam figuram, dum major ibidem convenerit populi multitudo, publice populo predicet et dicat alta et intelligibili voce, omni fraude cessante, quod figura seu representacio predicta non est verum Sudarium Domini nostri Jhesu Christi, sed quedam pictura seu tabula facta in figuram seu representacionem Sudarii, quod fore dicitur ejusdem Domini nostri Jhesu Christi”

Pope Clement VII ‘ad futuram rei memoriam’, 6 January 1390, (Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds Latin, ms. 10410), Appendix K in Chevalier, Ulysse, 1900. My translation. There are actually several versions of this bull, some dated later in 1390, which tone down the severity of this interdiction, and even grant indulgences to pilgrims attending ostentations, but none of them concede that the Shroud is anything but a manmade artifact.



the Shroud of Our Lord Jesus Christ”,40 and agreed to return them when peace was restored. But that was the last they saw of it, ever. What seems clear though, is that apart from an abortive attempt to announce the Shroud as genuine in 1357, no such claim was officially repeated until almost a century later, in spite of whatever popular opinion may have assumed.

There is some evidence that the trickles of blood which demarcate the wounds of the nails, spear and crown of thorns are actually made of, or contain a large proportion of, real blood, and if so, the purpose for this is worth pursuing separately from the image. For while there was no tradition about an imprinted shroud relic, an obsession with the blood of Christ spread throughout Europe from the tenth century onwards, and samples of it, liquid, dried, powdered or soaked into cloth appeared, and are in many cases still preserved, in churches across Christendom from Hailes Abbey (in Gloucestershire) to Venice.41 None of them are illustrative of any particular wound: the usual explanation was that the blood had been caught in a chalice as it gushed from the spear wound in the chest, by Joseph of Arimathea or the Virgin Mary. Some, usually represented as brown stains on a small cloth, were claimed to have dripped from communion hosts as part of a eucharistic miracle. It is not impossible that the arrival of the ‘real blood’ of Christ was what elevated the Shroud from its original purpose to ‘genuine relic’, but as usual in our studies, there isn’t any evidence which would inspire us to confidence in this explanation.

Another possibility, which could also go some way to explaining the strange excision and reattachment of a ten centimetre strip down one side, is that the Shroud was originally a corporal, a cloth for liturgical use on the altar. Of all the symbolism regarding the various cloths associated with maintaining the sanctity of the eucharist, none has evolved more than the corporal. Nowadays no more than a forty-centimetre square of linen cloth, the pallium corporalis originated as a large sheet, big enough not only to cover the altar, but also, by hanging down behind it, to be folded back, up and over the sacred vessels standing on it. By this action this cloth clearly devolved to itself a representation of the shroud which covered the body of Christ, regardless of previous (and subsequent) symbolic usages. From the earliest times it seems to have been decreed that all these covering cloths should be made of white, undecorated, bleached linen, although those surrounding the altar, the antependium in front or the screens enclosing the other three sides, could be made of embroidered silk or solid plates.42 The repeated insistence on the undyed, undecorated nature of the corporal seems to militate against the possibility that the Shroud might have originated as one, but, as Herbert Thurston, in his article on Corporals for the Catholic Encyclopaedia, says: “there seem to have been many medieval exceptions to this law.”43 Cuthbert Atchley explores several of these exceptions, some of

40“ung drap, ou quel est la figure ou representation du Suaire Nostre Seigneur Jesucrist”. The full text of the letter (from the Archives de l’Aube, Series 9G) is Appendix Q in Chevalier, Ulysse, 1900.

41Vincent, Nicholas, 2008.

42References to various papal pronouncements regarding altar furnishings can be found in Gihr, Nicholas, 1902

43Thurston, Herbert, 1908



which seem to have been decorated with images, although he does not specifically mention either painting (or staining), nor figures of Christ.44

During the middle ages, the style of the corporal changed. Firstly it was cut in two, sometimes literally. The part which remained lying on the altar continue to be called the corporal, while the part spread over the chalice and paten came to be known, as it is now, as the pall, although for a while the two cloths were often termed ‘a pair of corporals’, and even now prayers of consecration refer to the two as a single unit. From the late middle ages (and occasionally even earlier) both corporal and pall shrank to the minimal sizes they are today, but it is clear that the Shroud matches at least one half of the original size, in both material and quality, and that it refers implicitly to a sheet which lay both over and under the eucharistic presence.

All in all there is no shortage of possibilities for the Shroud’s original purpose; the problem is in discovering, and refining, the evidence that will eventually identify one as more probable than any other. Although there are good reasons to reject an origin as either a forged relic or a simple portrait of the dead Christ, a liturgical purpose, such as a ‘Quem quaeritis’ shroud, a devotional accessory to the arma Christi, a Lenten or altar covering, or something similar, could explain not only its unusual size and quality, but also the motive behind the completely unique design of the image.

44Atchley, Cuthbert, 1900



3. How was it done?

So much for the investigation as to why the Shroud may have been manufactured. However, it may be that an understanding of exactly how it was made would help us understand its purpose, and it is to this that I now turn. It is not as plain sailing as it might be for other artefacts. In the absence of the chance even to look at it closely, we must rely on the observations of earlier investigators, only to discover distinct differences of opinion. What’s more, the image as it is constituted now, barely visible against the background, is almost certainly not exactly what it was like when it was made, although what changes there have been are almost impossible to deduce. This is how it was described at the turn of the twentieth century.

“The difficulty must be noticed that while the witnesses of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries speak of the image as being then so vivid that the blood seemed freshly shed, it is now darkened and hardly recognizable without minute attention.”45

Hardly recognisable, yes, but ‘darkened’? Perhaps the writer had only seen a photograph, which in those days showed the image in such severe contrast that it did indeed seem almost black. Paul Vignon, though, had definitely examined the Shroud personally and in detail. He describes the image as ‘reddish brown’, the blood as ‘dark brown’ and the entwined blood trail across the back as ‘a trickle of water highly charged with burnt particles’.46 None of this corresponds well to the colours as we see them today, where the image is a faint yellow-brown, but the blood is most distinctly pink.

The first detailed description comes from 1449, when Marguerite de Charny took the Shroud to Chimay, near Liège, in Belgium. There it was described by the Benedictine chronicler Cornelius Zantfleit as, “a sheet on which, remarkably and with admirable workmanship, has been depicted the form of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, with all the details of each limb, and also as if directly from the wounds and stigmata of Christ, the feet and hands and side could be seen stained blood-red.”47

Zantfleit had no doubt that the Shroud was a painting. Fifty years later, however, Antoine de Lalaing, viewing it at Bourg-en-Bresse, was sure it was genuine. He says that “you can clearly see it blood-stained with the so-precious blood of Jesus, our redeemer, as it had been made today. You can see it imprinted with his entire so-sacred corpse, head, face, mouth, eyes, nose, body, hands, feet and his five wounds, and especially the one in his side, a good half-foot long, which is particularly bloody; and on the other end, as if he

45Thurston, Herbert, 1912b.

46Vignon, Paul, trans. from French, (1902), pp 15, 18 and 20

47“linteum, in quo egregie miro artificio depicta fuerat forma corporis Domini nostri Jesu Christi, cum omnibus lineamentis singulorum membrorum, tamquam ex recentibus vulneribus & stigmatibus Christi pedis & manus & latus videbantur rubore sanguinolento intincti.” Marten, Edmund and Durand, Ursini, 1729, p 461. My translation.



was covered with the cloth doubled back beneath, you can see the marks and shape of his back, head, hair, crown and shoulders.”48

In 1517, Antonio de Beatis could say this: “the images of the most glorious body are impressed and shaded in the most precious blood of Jesus Christ and show most distinctly the marks of the scourging, of the cords about the hands, of the crown on the head, of the wounds to the hands and feet and especially of the wound in the side, as well as various drops of blood spilled outside the most sacred image, all in a manner that would strike terror and reverence into the Turks, let alone Christians.”49

Frankly, it is difficult to find much coherence in the descriptions above. If we did not know they referred to the same object it would be easy to think they were referring to completely different cloths from the pale yellow, most indistinct, shadowy image we see today.

At least a description of the weave is possible, as it was comprehensively analysed by Professor Gabriel Vial, of the Centre Internationale d’Étude des Textiles Anciens at the Musée Historique des Tissus (Historical Fabric Museum) in Lyons.50 At 38 threads per centimetre on the warp, and 26 on the weft, the Shroud is undoubtedly a very fine cloth, and its distinctive 3/1 chevron51 weave, having the effect of making one side almost all warp and the other almost all weft, makes the cloth smooth and shiny, and ideal for printing or painting on. The thread is pure flaxen linen, with the admixture of a few adventitious cotton fibres, varying in thickness, the thickest being about three times the diameter of the thinnest, and Z-spun, relating to the way the spindle on which it was made was rotating. The loom required four shafts, raised in turn by foot pedals, so that the weft passed over three and under one warp thread. The image-bearing surface (which is mostly warp thread) would thus appear on the back of the fabric, which is termed ‘face down.’ Prof. Vial identifies a couple of weaving faults, suggestive of a particular method of threading the heddles, which he terms ‘archaic’ in comparison to the ‘traditional’ style used today, but is unable to say whether either of these is determinative of either a date or place of manufacture. Either way a complex loom was required, which was complicated and time-consuming to set up, and hard work to weave. Whoever was responsible for the image chose the best possible canvas for the task.

48“on le voidt clèrement ensanglenté du très-précieux sang de Jhesus, nostre rédempteur, comme se la chose avoit este faicte aujourd’hui. On y voidt l’imprimure de tout son trés-sainct corpz, teste, viaire, bouce, yeulx, nez, corps, mains, pieds et ses chincq playes: espécialement celle du costé, longue environ d’ung bon demi-piedt, est fort ensanglentée; et de l’autre part, comme il estoit couvert et redoublé dudict linchoel, on voit le vestige et figure de son dos, teste, chevelure, colonne et espaules. “ Gachard (ed), 1876, p 286

49“stature del gloriosissimo corpo sonno impresse et umbrate del preciosissimo sangue de Jhesu Christo, dove appareno efficacissimente li segni de li bactiture, de le corde de le mane, de la corona de la fronte, de le ferite de le mane et piedi et maxime di quella del sanctissimo lato, con certe goccie di sangue sparso fora dal sacratissimo desegno, talmente che ad Turchi donarlano devotione et terrore, non che ad christiani.” Original Italian text reprinted in de Beatis, Antonio ed. Pastor, Ludwig, 2013, p 149. Translation from Hale, J. and Lyndon, J., 1979, p 141

50Information from Vial, Gabriel, 1991

51‘Herringbone’, as the weave of the Shroud is usually described, is actually slightly different, as the opposing ‘ribs’ are not exactly symmetrical across the ‘spine’. Chevron weave is the more accurate description.



Of the figures of Christ, we must divide discussion into two parts, namely the body images and the ‘bloodstains’,52 although there may be some overlap. The body images are a different colour, have a different constituency and a different penetration of the cloth from the bloodstains, so we may assume that they were formed by different processes. They may have been applied at completely different times. The earliest reproductions we know of, although they have clear indications of the wound in the side and the entwined trickle across the back, both distinctly different from the colour of the image, show no bleeding at all from the head, hands or feet.53 Later descriptions concentrate more on the ‘five wounds’, but now the difference in colour between blood and image seems not to have been so apparent as it was before (or is today), which led to several reports, from the 17th century onwards and even with the benefit of microscopical study, stating that both image and blood were identical. Not only that, but both illustrations and descriptions sometimes refer to crowns of thorns and loin cloths, of which there is no clear indication at all today. A possible inference, discussed by Charles Freeman, is that the Shroud has been touched up from time to time, although direct examination of the cloth itself does not obviously support such a conclusion.54

Without being able to examine the cloth directly, our best independent guide is the highly detailed photographic record by Haltadefinizione, sold as Shroud 2.0, an App for iPads, iPhones and other iOS devices.55 Apart from that, we must principally have recourse to the work, mostly published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, by the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STuRP), a 40-man team of scientists (mainly physicists) and their equipment, who spent 120 consecutive hours carrying out detailed observations and collecting data between 8 and 13 October 1978. Although it was led by a Catholic already convinced that it was authentic and supported by several other Christians with similar inclinations, whose views strongly influenced the various summaries and overall conclusions, the team included other denominations, who were either completely ignorant of it or indifferent as to its origin, and the actual observations and data collected were as impartial as any other scientific investigation.56 Nevertheless, many of their discoveries were conflicting rather than corroborative, which places us in the dilemma of having to decide which one is wrong, or of how to reconcile them, before we can draw our own conclusions.

52There is considerable dispute as to how much, if any, actual blood there is in these bloodstains, so I have introduced them in quotes, but for legibility they are discarded from now on. A similar convention has been adopted for the word ‘negative’ when used to describe the colour-inverted image.

53Apart from the two ‘pilgrim badges’ mentioned above, which seem to date from the fourteenth century, there are two known reproductions of the Shroud which, lacking burn damage, appear to predate the fire of 1532. One is the ‘Lier’ or ‘Lierre’ copy, in the church of St Gommaire, Lier, Belgium; and the other is in a sixteenth century Swiss prayer-book belonging to Johann von Erlach (1474-1539), mayor of Bern.

54Charles Freeman, 2014.

551649 credit-card-sized photos were taken, and combined into a single seamless 72Gigabyte file. See

56A general account of the whole STuRP investigation, although somewhat embellished, is Heller, John, 1983



As mentioned above, a surprising number of observers have said that at first sight, at least, the image on the Shroud most closely resembles a mild scorch. Ian Wilson suggested a homely but precise comparison with “a well-used linen ironing-board cover”,57 a description often quoted and seldom improved upon. On close inspection, we find that the image does not appear on the reverse side of the cloth, and that although we can see individual threads clearly, there are no flakes of paint, lying on the surface or clogging the interstices, or gluing the fibres together. Extreme close-ups of the weave taken by Mark Evans in 1978 show that individual fibres of each thread are discoloured. If there is pigment, it is clearly very finely particulate. Nevertheless, given the testimony of Pierre d’Arcis, who claimed that the painter had been identified, it is as some kind of painting that I will address the process by which the Shroud image was made before discussing less conventional possibilities.

A painting or print presupposes a pigment of some kind, usually transported in a liquid medium, which evaporates, but includes some kind of adhesive to hold the pigment to its substrate. The application could also react chemically with the substrate, so that even of all the paint were removed a ‘shadow’ of the original image remains, indelibly etched in the cloth. The identification of pigment, adhesive medium or degraded substrate would narrow down an investigation into how the image was created considerably. Unfortunately, successive researchers, particularly Walter McCrone, John Heller and Raymond Rogers, have made confusing and conflicting observations, and come to confusing and conflicting conclusions.

As part of the STuRP investigation, Raymond Rogers, a specialist in thermochemistry at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), had brought out a device for pushing transparent sticky tape against the cloth with a view to removing whatever surface debris or loose fibres would adhere to it. The device enabled the tape to be applied with a predetermined pressure, which, as the cloth was thought possibly to be extremely fragile, would have avoided any chance of tearing or distortion. He had also acquired some special tape (at huge expense according to John Heller58) guaranteed not to leave any residue after removal. As it turned out the Shroud was, and still is, remarkably tough, and Max Frei-Sulzer, who had pioneered the use of sticky tape for forensic examination in Switzerland, jabbed his own tape on quite roughly, ironing it into the crevices with his thumb-nail. With few exceptions, Rogers set his pressure at 1.5kg on a 1/2-inch wide piece of tape (about 3N/cm2, which is scarcely enough to remove more than surface debris) and took about 36 samples,59 carefully storing them across a hollow glass box, so that they didn’t stick to anything else. On his return to the USA, he gave 32 of them to his friend and world-renowned microscopist Walter McCrone, who cut each one in two and stuck each

57Wilson, Ian, 1978, p 10

58“the $5000-per-roll sticky tape”, Heller, John, 1983, p 116

59Rogers and Schwalbe’s notes taken at the scene, including these details, are preserved by the Holy Shroud Guild and included as part of Eugenia Nitowski’s paper, Criteria for Authentication: A Procedure for the Verification of Shroud Samples.



half to a microscope slide for examination.60 One of the two sets was returned to Rogers, and McCrone began to study the other on Christmas Day, 1978.

He immediately found that the special tape was “inferior optically to almost any other possible tape.”61 Much later it was established that the adhesive was intolerably sticky,62 and later still that almost any tape would have done the job just as well for a fraction of the cost.63 Still, with an obvious wink to future publication, McCrone began his report.

“Dec. 25, 1978. This seems to be an appropriate date to start study of the tapes. […] I will begin by examining representative tapes by polarised light microscopy and see what I see. […]”

“Dec. 26 Starting with 3-CB, a heavy image area, blood from lance wound – using low magnification (10x + 10x obj.) I could see heavy incrustations (of blood?) – too red! I’ve never seen dried blood look like this. The sample we used for the Particle Atlas64 is spray dried but is yellow to black depending on thickness of the particles. Why is this blood different?

Check more tapes

Check particles with higher magnification and different kinds of illumination.” “Jan. 2, 1979

I have looked pretty carefully at about a dozen of the tapes and find plenty of particles all like the blood (?) on 3-CB. The amount and degree of aggregation varies considerably. There is a great deal on 3-AF (finger), 3-EF (wrist), 3-CB and 6-AF (both right side wound). There seems to be less on purely body image (no blood) tapes but there is some, e.g. 1-FB right calf – lots of small red particles.

Try to identify these – ”65

From the start, then, McCrone did not distinguish between the colours of the blood and the image, although they are clearly different, and after a couple of months of further study, McCrone was convinced that all the colour on the Shroud was due to varying quantities of sub-micrometer sized hematite (Fe2O3) particles, a common reddish-orange pigment (red ochre or sinopia). “If I could remove all of the red ochre from these tapes, there would be too little remaining to form a visible image on the Shroud.”66 Furthermore, comparing what he saw on the Shroud with sixty or so different samples of red ochre from different parts of the world, McCrone observed that the closest match was a commercially

60McCrone, Walter, 1996, p 78

61McCrone, Walter, 1996, p 75

62Heller, John, 1983, pp 158-159

63Unpublished investigation by the Association of Scientists and Scholars International for the Shroud of Turin (ASSIST)

64McCrone was the founder of and principal contributor to the Particle Atlas, an exhaustive collection of images of small particles to help with identification, first published in 1967 and now maintained and updated online.

65McCrone, Walter, 1996, pp 81-83

66McCrone, Walter, 1996, p 85



available Italian pigment, Morelloni Buonamici (6.02.15 in the Forbes collection), and that the ochre on the Shroud was indistinguishable from that of a wall-painting in a church in Tavant, 280km south-west of Paris, which was being independently investigated by his wife at the same time. He speculated that the red ochre may have come from the mine at Vierzon, about half way between Lirey and Tavant, which was in use from Roman times until the 19th century.67 Further investigation convinced McCrone that the distribution of red ochre across the image matched its visible intensity, and that 2-3μg per square centimetre “gives a reasonably visible image”,68 although I believe this to be an underestimate. A few lines further on he says: “A square centimetre of readily visible ”Shroud“ image has about 5μg of iron earth particles.”

This all sounds quite definitive, but confusion sets in when we read McCrone’s own, earlier, 1989 paper, The Shroud of Turin: Blood or Artist’s Pigment,69 where he says, “Microscopically, the image consists of yellow fibres and red particles; the red particles are more abundant in the red blood images, and the yellow fibres are the major coloured substance in the body image.” This distinctly contradicts his later supposition that removal of the red particles would render the whole image invisible.

McCrone attributed the yellowing of the fibres bearing the pigment to the medium in which the pigment had originally been dispersed. Typically, the medium might have been tempera, gum arabic or linseed oil, all of which respond to particular chemical identification tests which, extracting fibres from the sticky tape, he administered. The Shroud fibres tested positive for protein, which McCrone further identified as collagen, probably derived from boiling parchment.70 This finding was later flatly contradicted by John Heller and Alan Adler, as we shall see.

Nevertheless, some independent corroboration of McCrone’s findings comes from the Los Alamos X-Ray fluorescence scientists R.A. Morris, L.A. Schwalbe and J.R. London, who investigated two areas of the Shroud (the head and the bloodstained footprint) as part of the STuRP investigation in 1978.71 Scans were interpreted in terms of micrograms of elements present, namely calcium, iron and strontium. A linear series of ten scans across the right side of the face (as you look at the Shroud) from the tip of the nose to the hair, shows a clear correspondence between image intensity and mass of iron, whose values (ranging from 8.3 to 17.5μg/cm-2) correlate well with other point scans nearby. Unfortunately a similar series of scans, from a dribble of blood from the footprint leftwards, gave a series of values some three times greater than the face series, which led Morris et al. to conclude that overall their measurements were too imprecise (due to the

67McCrone, Walter, 1996, p 89. The Museum of Ochre in Saint-Georges-sur-la-Prée is dedicated to this mine. Other ochre mines can be found in the South of France, at Roussillon and Buoux.

68McCrone, Walter, 1996, p 94. I think this is an under-estimate. McCrone’s explanation of how this figure was derived is not particularly clear.

69McCrone, Walter, 1990

70McCrone, Walter, 1996, pp 103-106

71Morris, R.A., Schwalbe L.A., and London J.R., 1980



undeniably large noise to signal ratio) to be reliable, and concluded “Iron traces are observed in all of the data spectra but their local concentrations vary. Comparisons between image and off-image areas reveal no differences, within the precision limits of the data, that would indicate the presence of pigments or dyes containing high-C elements.” 72In this I think they were mistaken. The ‘foot’ series of measurements was entirely within a large water-stain, and the enhanced iron content was almost certainly due to the residue from that, and not to imprecision in their experiment.

Ironically, perhaps, Morris et al. found the largest concentrations of iron (between 40 and 60μg/cm-2) in bloodstain areas, and, apparently under the illusion that blood contains a lot of iron, imagined that this finding supported the presence of actual blood. Their estimate of the true iron content of blood (about 500μg/cm-3) is about 500 times too great,73 so in fact, as blood actually contains something like 1μg/cm-3, they actually confirmed that at least some of the blood on the Shroud is an iron compound pigment. We will return to this later.

The range of values Morris et al. found for elemental iron on image areas of the Shroud (8.3-17.5μg/cm-2) corresponds to 12-25μg / cm-2 of Fe2O3, which is roughly double McCrone’s observations noted above, and we should note that Morris found some 10μg / cm-2 even on non-imaged areas of the cloth, while McCrone had found that half that was “readily visible.” Without more information this anomaly can only be noted.

All this being so, one might think that paint of some kind had been incontrovertibly demonstrated, and that all we need to do now is to work out how it was applied. If only things were that simple. The story is taken up by Dr John H. Heller, biophysicist and founder of the New England Institute for Medical Research, to whom some of the sticky tape samples were passed on by Walter McCrone. He had been told by Rogers that he would be involved in analysing the sticky tape samples, and enlisted the assistance of Alan Adler, a colleague at the New England Institute and expert in porphyrins. According to his book, Heller received four slides from McCrone around the turn of 1978/79, labelled ‘Blank’, ‘Scorch’, ‘Blood’ and ‘Non-image.’74 Only the non-image tape had anything resembling blood on it, and that on only seven fibres. By March 1979, when the first Data Analysis Workshop was held at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, no one had observed the sticky tapes from the image except McCrone, but even so his findings were summarily dismissed. As an official entity, the Shroud of Turin Research Project had already made up its mind. It wasn’t until January 1980 75 that Heller and Adler were finally given more tapes to work on, most of which had been recovered from McCrone, with a few that Rogers had kept back. Here a whole team of scientists subjected dozens of fibres to dozens of tests, all of which flatly contradicted everything claimed by

72Morris, R.A., Schwalbe L.A., and London J.R., 1980, p 40

73MedlinePlus, the United States National Library of Medicine’s online information site, gives 60-170μg/dL as “normal values”. See

74Heller, John, 1983, pp 125

75At a STuRP reunion at the US Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs. Rogers, Raymond, 2008, p 36



McCrone. They saw no red particles at all on a third of the ‘image’ fibres, and their tests for protein were uniformly negative. The yellow colouring of the image, they decided, was “produced by some dehydrative, oxidative process of the cellulose structure of the linen to yield a conjugated carbonyl group as the chromophore.”76 Basically a well used ironing- board cover.

Sadly, such were the forceful personalities involved that instead of any attempt to reconcile these observations, increasingly entrenched opinions led to mere antagonism and arbitrary dismissal of the opposition without consideration. Neither side comes out of this squabble particularly well, and impartial reviewers of all the evidence are left with a number of unresolvable dichotomies.

One possible route towards a sensible resolution concerns the different methods of observation. McCrone’s work was almost entirely microscopic (which was after all his forte), while Heller and Adler’s was largely chemical. In order to test their fibres, they had to drag them out of the extremely sticky adhesive, some of which remained stuck to the sample and had to be thoroughly washed off with a solvent. In his book Heller says this was xylene,77 but in his paper he says it was toluene.78 This was then removed by micropipette or absorption with filter paper until the specimen no longer fluoresced under ultraviolet light. Clearly the fibres were so clean after this operation that it is hardly surprising very little extraneous matter remained to be tested, although fibres from bloodstains, which can be seen to be heavily encrusted even under low magnification, did retain sufficient matter to respond to various reagents.

In their paper, Heller and Adler went to some lengths to explain any iron oxide found on the Shroud in almost any terms other than as paint pigment. They claimed that most of it was found within the fibres, bound to them chemically as part of the retting process on the original flax, that some was found as part of the blood forming the bloodstains, and some - the only Fe2O3 particles - was associated with the water stains, and not with image formation. These explanations, particularly the first, are obfuscations of McCrone’s findings rather than clarifications. His ochre particles were clearly not chemically bound to, nor absorbed within, the flax fibres, and so are clearly not related to the hypothetical retting process.79 The amount of iron in blood is, as we have seen, too small to account for the quantity found, by all observers, on the bloodstains, and the enhanced iron content of the water stains conforms well with the findings of Morris, Schwalbe and London, described above.

76Heller, John and Adler, Alan, 1981, p 81

77Heller, John, 1983, p 159. Ray Rogers also says xylene (Rogers, Raymond, 2008, p 37)

78Heller, John and Adler, Alan, 1981, p 86

79Flax stems must be partially rotted away to remove extraneous material and leave only the more durable fibres which comprise the linen threads. Historically this was done by submersing the stems in water (either a river or a tank), when some absorption of iron compounds was possible, or leaving them in the open, on the ground or a flat roof, to be retted by dew, when it wasn’t. It has been suggested that a remark in the bible points to the latter. Joshua2:6, “But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.”



More possible light on the conundrum may be found in the paper on reflectance spectra by Roger and Marion Gilbert, founders of the Oriel Corporation, manufacturers of optical instruments.80 They examined the Shroud in situ during the 1978 investigation, and by subtracting an average background spectrum from their measurements of various square centimetre sample areas, obtained spectra of the various colours visible. The areas tested included background, scorches, images and bloodstains, but of the latter three, only two colours were distinguishable, although at various different intensities. To a close approximation, there was no difference between the scorch and image areas, although the bloodstain areas were clearly distinguishable. This observation supports the idea that however much ochre there may be associated with the image, it does not contribute to what is actually observed. In an accompanying paper,81 Sam Pellicori compared the image/scorch spectrum found by the Gilberts with a control spectrum derived from “Fe2O3 smudges” and found them qualitatively very different. Comparison with the spectra found on the ColourLex website82 also shows that the Shroud image reflectance does not resemble the reference spectra for iron oxide there.

As for the medium identified by McCrone, collagen tempera, in view of their washing procedure it is hardly surprising that Heller and Adler didn’t find any protein on the image fibres.83 Nevertheless they did observe discolouration, suggesting that whatever the process was, degradation of the linen was a concomitant factor, which, hundreds of years later, may now be the principal component of the visible image rather than a secondary byproduct.

Some twenty-five years after this public spat between Walter McCrone on the one side, and John Heller and Alan Adler on the other, Raymond Rogers, nearing the end of his life, commissioned his old friend and STuRP colleague Barrie Schwortz84 to edit and publish his own collected observations.85 Rogers’s account of the study of the sticky tapes includes a savage denunciation of his previous friend’s microscopical incompetence, and appears to forget not only that he had not given McCrone all his tapes in the first place, but that he had a complete set of his own, which McCrone had returned to him after cutting them in half and sticking them to glass. His pathetic plea: “When Al [Adler] died unexpectedly on 12 June 2000, his wife sent the samples to Turin. There is still much

80Gilbert, Roger and Gilbert, Marion, 1980

81Pellicori, Sam, 1980, supported by the Cogito Foundation (

83McCrone used Amido Black, a stain which, although commonly used for identifying proteins, also stains cellulose, the principal component of flax fibres. However he describes how proper use of the stain involves a subsequent washing with acetic acid, which removes the stain from the cellulose but not from the protein. Heller and Adler do not appear to have understood this, and by their own admission their own tests were insufficiently sensitive to detect anything on their copiously washed fibres. Rogers says that the washing with acetic acid procedure was carried out, but did not remove the Amido Black from the cellulose. It is difficult to reconcile these accounts.

84Barrie Schwortz was, and is, an award-winning free-lance scientific photographer and the official photographer on the STuRP team. He created and maintains the definitive website (, and is the President of the Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association (STERA), which is dedicated to the preservation of the records he has accumulated over the years, particularly the archives of Ray Rogers.

85Rogers, Raymond, 2008



scientific information available in those tape samples; however, I have no idea where they are or how they are being kept and preserved”, is somewhat disingenuous, as half of them were in his possession as he wrote.

However, Rogers also distanced himself from Heller and Adler’s conclusion that the image solely the result of the degradation of the cellulose of the fibres of the threads. “The evidence is strong,” he says, “that the image is not a result of dehydration of the cellulose by any mechanism, thermal or radiation. The cellulose of the image has not changed as a result of image formation.” (italics and bolding his).86 Over the years Rogers had become persuaded that the image was the result of a Maillard reaction between gases evolving from the decomposing body of Jesus and a layer of impurities of the cloth derived from its preparation according to an alleged description by Pliny the Elder. Pursuing this idea, he was prepared to ride roughshod over previous observations in favour of entirely hypothetical evidence of his own. He decided that the cloth fibres were completely and uniformly coated in a layer of starch, and ignored the evidence to the contrary published by his colleagues, and even his own summary of their findings.87 “We expected to find starch on the Shroud,” he says, “so we did not specifically look for it. That was an unfortunate oversight.”88 This is quite untrue; the same test for starch that he applied had previously been applied by Heller and Adler, and proved negative.89

All these contradictory opinions aside, it is apparent that the image as it appears today is very superficial, that any pigment is almost undetectable and very finely dispersed, and that a yellowing of the fibres provides a substantial component of the image as we see it. An elegant solution to the conundrum might appear to be that suggested by Charles Freeman,90 that time and circumstances have removed all the pigment which was originally deposited, leaving only the ‘shadow’ of its former presence. He gives the great Fastentuch of Zittau as an exemplar, a vast (8.2m x 6.8m) linen painting of the 15th century, some of which is beautifully preserved, but some, thanks to its clumsy misuse as a tent for a mobile sauna during the Second World War, has completely eroded away, leaving mere stains behind. However, it is difficult to imagine circumstances in which all the pigment could have been uniformly and completely removed from the Shroud, leaving only an image such as we observe today, unless perhaps it was laundered several times with exactly that object in mind. Such a process comes into the category of “lost technologies”, however, for which, I’m afraid, absence of evidence really can be evidence of absence.

86Rogers, Raymond, 2008, p 33

87“If the image had been painted with a proteinaceous, plant-gum-, or starch-based vehicle, the medium would have scorched more rapidly than the cellulose of the linen. No evidence for a scorched medium can be seen.” Also, “Microchemical studies of yellow fibrils taken from tape samples of the pure-image area have shown no indication for the presence of dyes, stains, inorganic pigments, or protein-, starch-, or wax-based painting media.” Schwalbe, L.A and Rogers, Raymond, 1982, pp 24 and 31

88Rogers, Raymond, 2001a, p 6; also in Rogers, Raymond, 2001b, p 13

89Heller, John and Adler, Alan, 1981, p 94. Table 7 lists “Tests Employed for the Detection of Organic Structures and Functional Groups”, which includes starch, by the “iodine-iodide” method. The test was negative.

90Freeman, Charles, 2014



Both McCrone and Freeman delve into treatises by medieval technicians for assistance, McCrone via the Victorian keeper of the National Gallery Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, and Freeman directly, using Cennino Cennini’s 15th century manual, Libro dell’Arte.91 In Eastlake’s Materials for a History of Oil Painting,92 Chapter V is entitled “The Practice of Painting generally during the Fourteenth Century”, which deals more with water colour than with oil, and quotes at length from various contemporary collectors of information, such as Johannes Alcherius, Theodoric of Flanders and Giorgio Vasari. Between them they give us a tantalisingly incomplete description of painting on fabric, “a German mode of painting (in water colours) on cloth. This branch of art seems to have been practised in England on a large scale during the fourteenth century, so as to attract the attention of foreigners. […] In England the painters work with these water colours on closely woven linen saturated with gum water. This, when dry, is stretched on the floor over coarse woollen and frieze cloths; and the artists, walking over the linen with clean feet, proceed to design and colour historical figures and other subjects. And because the linen is laid quite flat on the woollen cloths, the water colours do not flow and spread, but remain where they are placed; the moisture soaking through into the woollen cloths underneath, which absorb it.”93

This could describe a thin layer of pigment remaining on the surface of cloth, and the description “closely woven” not only describes the Shroud but could help explain why the pigment does not penetrate below the surface. However this method seems to have prevented any flow of pigment at all, such that “the outline of the brush remain defined” which is not true of the image on the Shroud. Nevertheless, “after this linen is painted, its thinness is no more obscured than if it was not painted at all, as the colours have no body.” Later, Eastlake goes on: “As regards the English and German paintings on cloth, there can be little doubt that the thinness of execution for which they were remarkable […] was adopted with a view to durability.”94 Thicker tempera, and size, were, it seems, particularly susceptible to damp. Of the nature of the actual paint, a recipe for collagen tempera which, thinks Eastlake, was particularly common in England, is given thus: “Take parchment cuttings, and, after washing them well, boil them in water to a clear size, neither too strong nor too weak. When the size is sufficiently boiled, add it to a basinful of vinegar, and let the whole boil well. Then take it from the fire, strain it through a cloth into a clean earthenware vessel, and let it cool. Thus prepared, it keeps fresh and good for a long time. The size being like a jelly, when you wish to temper any colours, take as much size as you please, and an equal quantity of water; mix the size and water together, and likewise much honey with them. Warm the composition a little, and immix the honey thoroughly with the size.”95

91Cennini, Cennino, trans. Thompson, Daniel, 1954

92Eastlake, Charles Lock, 1847

93Eastlake, Charles Lock, 1847, pp 95-96

94Eastlake, Charles Lock, 1847, p 99

95Eastlake, Charles Lock, 1847, p 106



The point about the honey was that it retarded the drying process, so that colours could be mixed and the brush-strokes made “rounder”, “with no appearance of hatching”. However, it was seldom used on the Italian side of the Alps, when, if necessary, “fig-tree juice” was often used instead. Needless to say, neither honey, nor fig-tree juice, nor even ‘gum water’ have been found on the Shroud. However, the admixture of vinegar is suggestive, and could account for the deterioration of the fibres.

Charles Freeman concentrates more upon the uniform distribution of calcium across the cloth,96 and calls upon Cennino Cennini to account for it in terms of a gypsum or chalk size, although I think his argument is weak. In a section on the painting of flags, Cennini discusses the kind of size necessary for it not to crack or crumble.97 In practice, I believe, the Shroud shows no evidence of any gesso at all. The comprehensive review of painted cloth techniques by Karen Thompson, says: "On fourteenth- and fifteenth-century painted cloths from Northern Europe, most notably from the Netherlands, it was not uncommon to use only a size of animal glue (with no ground) with the paint applied directly on top,” but that “sometimes these cloths are described as stained cloths because the paint penetrates through the textile, indicating few or no ground layers.”98

There is another highly suggestive chapter in Il Libro dell’Arte, which may also have a bearing on how the Shroud’s image may have been painted. Capitolo CLXIV (164) describes how to prepare a cloth for embroidery, by drawing ink lines on one side, and then causing them to spread out and fade by dabbing them with a wet sponge from the other side, and finally manipulating the colour with a brush, producing astonishingly soft shadows.99

Taken as a whole, this evidence suggests that medieval artists had various ways of producing the kind of indistinct coloration observed on the Shroud using conventional wet pigment. Other possibilities have included rubbing pigment on with a finger, pouncing it on with a sponge or cloth bag dipped in pigment (or, in the case of the cloth

96Freeman, Charles, 2014, references Morris, R.A., Schwalbe L.A., and London J.R., 1980, who not only recorded the non-uniform presence of iron, but the much more evenly distributed occurrence of calcium and strontium all over the Shroud.

97Cennini, Cennino, trans. Thompson, Daniel, 1954, Chap 165

98Thompson, Karen et al., 2017, p 68

99“Then take a pen and clean ink, and draw in [the design], as you would with a brush on a wooden panel. […] Then take a well soaked sponge, and squeeze out the water. Rub this over the opposite side from the drawing, so that it absorbs as much as it can. Then, using an ermine brush, dip it into the ink and squeeze it out thoroughly, gradually lightening the darker areas, reducing and fading the colour. You will find that however coarse the fabric, by this method your shadows will fade quite astonishingly.”

“Poi piglia la penna e lo inchiostro puro, e rafferma, sì come fai in tavola con pennello. […] Poi abbi una spugna ben lavata, e strucata d’acqua. Poi con essa stropiccia la detta tela dal lato dirieto dove non è disegnato, e tanto mena la detta spugna, che la detta tela rimanga bagnata tanto, quanto tiene la figura. Poi abbi un penneletto di varo mozzetto; intingilo nello inchiostro e strucalo bene; e con esso cominci ad aombrare ne’luoghi più scuri, riducendo e sfummando a poco a poco. Tu troverrai che la tela non serà sì grossa, che per questo tal modo farai sì le tue ombre sfumate, ch’el ti parrà una maraviglia.”

Cennini, Cennino, ed. Renzo Simi, 1913, p 114. My translation.



bag, with the pigment inside leaking out through the gaps in the threads),100 or laying the cloth over a previous painting, or a bas relief powdered with paint, picking up the pigment as a kind of print. Walter McCrone’s book describes the gradual evolution of his own ideas, beginning with finger rubbing, possibly over a pre-existing image, gradually conceding that the yellow colour of the fibres plays a significant role (“the yellow fibres are the major coloured substance in the body image”: 1989), but finally rejecting this in favour of “I do not consider the yellow fibres to be the most significant image feature” (1996) and concentrating once again on red ochre. After some experiments in rubbing an image using dry powder, he concluded that the image is a very dilute painting, deciding that the pattern of dispersion of the pigment particles could only have been achieved in this way.

Over the years, numerous attempts have been made to achieve a method of image production that replicated, as far as was known, the characteristics of the image either as it is now, or as it might have been originally. Unfortunately, since, as we have seen, the characteristics of the image are disputed, what has appeared wholly satisfactory to some reviewers has been rejected out of hand by others. However, it has become very obvious that the amount of pigment needed to produce an image is very small, that paintings are easy to produce without brush strokes, and that it is quite wrong to suppose that the colour invariably seeps through to the back side of its canvas.

McCrone employed artist Walter Sanford to paint copies of the face, with ten parts per million of red ochre in a 1% gelatin solution, on unsized fabric.101 The appearance of these paintings seem to match the Shroud well, and the amount of red oxide matches his observations, but he does not discuss whether or not the paint was absorbed through to appear on the back, nor whether or not ‘yellowed fibres’ play any part in the image.

Two of the more interesting attempts to investigate how the image might have been produced were carried out thirty years apart. In 1982,102 Susan Hilton painted a Shroud face on “modern linen cloth that was specially woven to be like the real Shroud” first sizing it with gum arabic (“which contains calcium”) and then using more dilute gum arabic, alum and Brazil wood (“so popular in the middle ages that they even named a country after it”) to paint the image. The result was heated to simulate aging, and then washed using soda, removing almost all the matter extraneous to the linen. The result: “Looks good at a distance, and the closer you get, the less you see. Tests showed that chemically everything was washed away except calcium and iron, and under the microscope the effect is strictly on the surface.”

100Pouncing was the standard technique for transferring a design on paper to damp plaster on a wall, ready for fresco painting. The paper design was pricked with little holes along its lines, so that when it was placed against the wall and dabbed with a powder-coated sponge, a little of the powder went through the holes to produce a dotted replica of the original design on the plaster. The original paper ended up covered with a smoky blur of powder, approximately in the shape of the design.

101McCrone, Walter, 1996

102The account of Susan Hilton’s painting and the associated quotations come from the BBC program, “Shroud of Jesus Fact or Fake” in the QED series, narrated by Anthony Clare, broadcast in 1982.



In 2009, Luigi Garlaschelli investigated image manufacture with special regard to the yellowed fibres, which appear to be the major constituent of the image today. In one experiment he used a semi-liquid paste of blue paint in a 1% solution of sulphuric acid, which was dabbed onto a cloth. The cloth was then heated, to speed up the reaction of the acid with the cloth, and washed thoroughly. The paint having been completely removed (as could be demonstrated as all the blue colour had disappeared) all that remained was a superficial discolouration of the fibres.103 Had he used red ochre, he might have needed less heat and milder washing to replicate the characteristics of the Shroud. However, as Thibault Heimburger observed, and Garlachelli conceded, the paste marks were too uniform to produce the graduation in density which is an important precursor to the realism of the negative image.104 For that, a different experiment using dry powder was more effective, although in that case there was no yellowing of any fibres, even after heating.

Apart from some kind of paint, coupled to some kind of acidic medium, resulting in an image composed of some proportion of both pigment and degraded cellulose, derived from a relatively common and well understood method of late medieval imagery, a number of otherwise unknown processes have been suggested for the manufacture of the Shroud, some of which are more credible than others.105 The trouble with them all is that they involve the single use of a unique process that was subsequently never used again, and I am extremely chary of such suggestions. One, however, is sufficiently unexceptionably simple that although I don’t agree with it, I do think it worthy of discussion here.

Colin Berry, a retired biochemist specialising in the chemistry of starch, takes the ‘ironing board’ simile as his starting point, and looks to a Shroud image which truly is what it appears to be, a heat-scorch. Berry has been experimenting on this hypothesis for ten years or so, documenting his progress, complete with successes, failures, dead ends, changes of direction and great leaps forward, at

There can be few people who understand the difficulties of producing an image with the subtleties of the Shroud by heat scorching better than Berry, and his painstaking work has largely been devoted to overcoming the obstacles thrown up along the way. The process must be credible from a medieval materials and technique point of view, and the image must conform to that found on the Shroud, complete with its variation of intensity producing both the ‘negative’ and the ‘3D’ illusions. The final chemistry must either conform to or convincingly refute the findings of previous investigators.

103Garlaschelli, Luigi, 2009.

104Heimburger, Thibault, 2009. Heimburger also comments that the paste image is too superficial, resembling the marks left behind by old drawing pins rather than the more extensive staining of the actual image. This could perhaps be resolved by using a more liquid paste.

105See, for instance, Allen, Nicholas, 2007, Wilson, Nathan, 2005



All this Berry thinks he has achieved with his ‘Model 10’ process, which he sums up as follows:

Stage 1: frontal/dorsal imprinting - sans those otherwise problematical vertical sides naturally - from real human subject(s) using white wheaten flour or similar as imprinting medium onto wetted linen, then followed by Stage 2: thermal image development, then final Stage 3: rinse with soap/water to dislodge encrusted material.”106

This process, described in detail elsewhere on Berry’s blog, can not only produce an image of appropriate specifications in terms of both physics and chemistry, but also conforms to a historical scenario in which a relic forger devises a method of producing a recognisable ‘sweat image’ as the etymology of ‘suaire’ suggests.107 Indeed, if a fourteenth century forger was required to produce a ‘burial cloth’ relic, then he might well have turned to the cloth for transporting Christ from the cross to the tomb as his model, knowing that the final enshrouding cloths themselves were already recognised as in existence. If realism, or at least pseudo-realism, was his aim, then some experimentation with flour and an oven in order to produce the required image is not a fanciful suggestion. I myself am dubious about whether using an actual person, or a life-sized statue, would be able to produce the effect Berry has achieved with his hands and face, but the same chemical process could as easily be carried out with a bas relief, from which an imprint could be taken, and an imprint, after all, is exactly what the image purports to be.

It is apparent that there is no shortage of possible methods of producing the image on the Shroud of Turin. What makes extensive experimentation, leading to a definitive description, unworthwhile at present is not a lack of research into historical methods nor of materials and equipment, nor of enthusiasm or imagination, but the lack of clarity as to what, exactly, we are trying to reproduce. No doubt a more extensive, and more collaborative examination of the cloth itself would lead to a comprehensive explanation.

So far I have attempted to focus exclusively on the ‘image’ rather than the ‘bloodstains’, in spite of McCrone’s conviction that the two are essentially the same, but we must now turn our attention to these depictions of the biblically certified wounds of the passion and death of Jesus Christ. As textures, they present quite differently. From fairly recently published photos of the reverse side of the Shroud, we can see that they have penetrated all the way through, and are clearly visible on the back, unlike the image, and from Shroud 2.0 we note that they have clearly defined edges, and a pinkish colour quite different from the old ironing-board cover of the image. Even under low power magnification108 they are clearly particulate, and vastly coarser than any iron oxide, whose sub-micron particles are not visible at this scale. Under ultraviolet light, but not visible to

106From Retrieved 20 Feb 2018, but this is an active blog, and the exact url is likely to change.

107Although both the Latin sudarium and Greek σουδάριον (both deriving from Latin sudor, meaning sweat) are words invariably referring to small cloths, the French suaire, which clearly derives from them, has most frequently been used to denote a large sheet, specifically a burial cloth, from very early times.

108The photographs of Mark Evans, indexed at, taken in situ during the 1978 STuRP investigation, show them very clearly.



the naked eye, many of them are partially fringed with a fluorescent strip, which has been interpreted as blood serum, either oozing beyond the boundary of the red component, or remaining on the fibres after the red component has ‘retracted’ away.109 It has also been interpreted as some kind of proteinaceous paint medium (such as collagen tempera prepared from parchment), which could react to various tests for blood components very similarly to the real thing.

In spite of extensive experimentation, opinions remain divided as to what these particles or the fluorescent fringes are made of, or, if it be accepted that they are really blood, what else may have been added to keep them pink. The reflectance spectra by Roger and Marion Gilbert110 do not correspond well with published spectra of old blood,111 specifically in that they lack the distinctive Soret band112 at about 420nm, but do include an even more distinctive irregularity at about 620nm, which has never been identified or explained. However, batteries of chemical and biological tests carried out separately by Heller and Adler,113 by Pierluigi Baima Bollone,114 by Gérard Lucotte115 and by Giulio Fanti,116 while not necessarily individually convincing, together constitute a strong defence of the presence of actual blood. On the other hand, McCrone,117 Heller and Adler118 and Fanti119 also identified vermilion, although not in any quantity, and, as has been noted, there is iron oxide in abundance. Alan Adler attempted to explain the pink colour in terms of a mixture of bilirubin (orange-yellow) and methemoglobin (brown),120 which is wholly unrealistic, and according to Ray Rogers, Diane Soran discovered that Saponaria (in which he was convinced that the cloth had been washed) has the property of keeping blood red indefinitely. I do not believe this is true.121

109“Blood retraction clots” have become a standard pathological explanation for these “serum rings” throughout pro-authenticity literature, although they are scarcely mentioned in forensic or medical literature.

110Gilbert, Roger and Gilbert, Marion, 1980

111See, for instance, Bremmer, Rolf et al., 2011

112The Soret band, named after the 19th century Swiss chemist Jacques-Louis Soret, is a very distinctive absorption of visible light within a narrow range of wavelengths in the blue area of the spectrum, around 420nm. It is diagnostic of porphyrins, of which haem, the coloured component of red blood cells, is an example.

113Heller, John and Adler, Alan, 1980 Heller, John and Adler, Alan, 1981

114Two articles by Baima Bollone are discussed in Kearse, Kelly and Heimburger, Thibault, 2013

115Lucotte, Gérard, 2015

116Fanti, Giulio and Zagotto, Giuseppe, 2017

117McCrone, Walter, 1996, p 128 et seq.

118Heller, John and Adler Alan, 1981, pp 93-94

119Fanti, Giulio and Zagotto, Giuseppe, 2017

120“You now mix bilirubin which is yellow-orange with methemoglobin in its para-chemic form which is an orangey-brown and you get blood which has a red color. In fact, we have been able to simulate this spectrum in the laboratory by the process described above.” Adler, Alan, 2002, p 61. I do not believe this is true.

121Rogers, Raymond and Arnoldi, Anna, 2002, p 5



Close examination of the bloodstains on Shroud 2.0 does not obviously indicate the ‘touching up’ of real blood with another pigment, nor vice versa, either of which might have been possible for one reason or another if the Shroud was to be exhibited as a genuine relic, but on the other hand the idea that the original application was a mixture of blood and paint seems far fetched, and is certainly not attested to by contemporary writings. The chemical make-up of the ‘blood’ must, for the present, remain a mystery.

Whatever it is made of, its method of application is less contentious. The major wounds are indicated by remarkably similar ‘trickles’ directly onto the cloth, regardless of whether they putatively derive from puncture wounds on the hand, feet, ribs or scalp, or from flows down the arms or across the small of the back. They look exactly as if they have been dribbled on from a pipette or something similar. In addition to this, there are dozens of ‘scourge marks’ across the back, buttocks, hips and calves, and a few on the front, in three or four different styles, some of which may have been imprinted by some kind of stamp, while others look painted. The distribution may have derived from Isaiah 1:6 122 and the variety looks as if it was inspired by the contemporary artistic convention, itself derived from the bible, that Jesus was flogged with both a switch of reeds and a two- or three-tailed lash. Each wound is quite distinct, with no obvious overlaps, and there is no weakening of intensity towards the sides of the limbs (unlike the intensity of the image itself). As such it is possible to count them fairly precisely. Barbara Faccini and Giulio Fanti count (“approximately”) 372 altogether, 159 on the front and 213 on the back, although this division seems a little disproportionate.123 However accurate this may be, the exact intended number - and the fact that it could be counted - may be significant, given the late medieval fasciation with the numerology of the bible.

In contrast to the frequently cited claims of authenticists, the difficulty in determining exactly how the Shroud images were made is not due to too few explanations but too many, discrimination between which will only be determined by a clearer idea of what, exactly, constitutes the remaining chromophore.

122“From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.” Isaiah 1:6 (King James Version)

123Faccini, Barbara and Fanti, Giulio, 2010, p 1



4. Who? When? Where?

Having thoroughly explored the why and how, we are left with who, when and where, and as usual, the answers to these essential questions are far from obvious. The Shroud is unique, and cannot be compared directly with anything similar, from the fourteenth century or any other. Its material composition suggests a northern European origin, as, possibly does its collagen tempera, rather than egg tempera, paint medium. However, as I’ll explain, the style of depiction seems to me more suggestive of an Italian origin, or at least of an Italian painter, although given that the papal court of the time had moved to Avignon, it may be that a blend of northern technique and southern style was both possible and appropriate.

For this next section, it is worth returning to the details of the anatomy of the man depicted; nude, long-haired and thickly bearded, dripping with blood, with elongated arms and legs and with thumbs tucked under his fingers. This description also fits, with great precision, the crucifixions of most of the artists of the Sienese school, and if we add hands crossed at the wrists, elongated fingers and scourge marks all over the body, we may include some of their flagellations too. From 1300 to 1350, the Shroud could well have been painted by any number of named artists, as well as all those anonymous craftsmen who only remain to posterity as ‘the master’ of this, or ‘of the school of’ that.

In 1988 the Shroud was radiocarbon dated by three laboratories in the UK, USA and Switzerland, and confidently pronounced to be from 1260 to 1390, with at least 95% confidence.124 Actually, as we have seen, its appearance during the life of Geoffroi de Charny (as indicated by his arms on the pilgrim badges) places 1356 as a terminus ante quem, and for technical reasons I’m inclined to think the real date is actually before 1300.125 Nevertheless, the production of the image, which obviously postdates the harvesting of the flax, can conveniently be given a 1300-1350 range for identification purposes.

The earliest painters we know of who might have produced the Shroud include Duccio di Buonensegna (died 1318), Giotto di Bondone (died 1337), Simone Martini (died in Avignon, 1344) and Bernardo Daddi (died 1348). They all produced crucifixions whose loincloths are completely transparent (although the body beneath is usually sexless), and explored the realistic depiction of blood as it trickled down the arms and feet or spurted from the wound in the side, in sharp contrast to the more stylistic indications of previous years. They seem to have had a common master in Cimabue, who is himself a little too early for the Shroud, and were followed by an entire school of imitators and developers, particularly the Sienese school, whose notables included Segna di Bonaventura, the Lorenzetti brothers, Lippo Memmi and the master of the Codex of St George, some of whom developed as well as simply copied their forbears. Interestingly, Simone Martini left

124Damon, Paul et al., 1989

125See Farey, Hugh, 2014



a number of sinopias in Avignon, preparatory sketches for frescoes, painted life size in a single colour - red ochre. Meanwhile, in Paris the leading artist of the Sienese school was Jean Pucelle (died 1355), whose most notable work was a book of hours for the queen, containing a very Sienese looking crucifixion. However, he does not seem to be remembered for any large scale work, such as an altar decoration.

All these artists were, it must be emphasised, professionals. They did not, as far as we know, have time for solitary self-expression as we imagine artists do today, but worked largely to order, and in whatever scale or medium they were engaged to. Although they certainly had different skills and preferences, they were expected to be able to turn their hands from miniatures to frescos, and on surfaces from silk to sheet metal, without demur. That’s why instruction manuals such as Cennino Cennini’s Libro dell’Arte and Johannes Alcherius’s ‘recipe books’ are so comprehensive in their scope. Tasked with the job of producing an image on a cloth which could represent an impression rather than a painting, the selection of an appropriate technique would not have been a problem, and there is no real need to invent new ones for which there is no evidence at all.

This is not the place to discuss the gradual transition from Byzantine, through Romanesque and Gothic, to Renaissance art, or even to try to define those terms, but in general over the middle ages there was an artistic trend towards greater realism in the depiction of people and events, coupled to a religious trend towards a greater emphasis firstly on the humanity, and then on the sufferings of Christ. At the same time, also reflected in art, was an increased scientific interest in natural processes such as the workings of muscles, the effects of gravity and the flow of liquids. The body on the cross no longer stands (usually literally, on a small platform attached to the cross) as a symbol of the resurrection, his blood a symbol of his conquest over death. Now the body hangs and slumps, and the blood drips and spurts. At about the same time there developed a curious mathematical fascination for enumerating the scars of the scourging, beginning with the visions of St Gertrud of Helfta (1256-1302), who identified 5466, and later St Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373), with 5480.126 This led to an increased interest in the depiction of the scourge wounds in scenes of the flagellation. Artistic techniques, such as perspective, foreshortening, and how to paint transparent materials, were also being experimented with and developed. Within these criteria, the design of the man in the Shroud is very much a product of its time. All this supplies an appropriate artistic, theological and cultural context for anyone commissioned to produce an imitation of Christ’s sweat and bloodstained body imprinted on a cloth for exhibition, whether as part of the Paschal liturgy or any other reason.

In connection with the foregoing, it has already been noted that the ‘Easter’ shroud was also the ‘Good Friday’ shroud, and frequently, if not invariably, used to wrap a

126The latter number is 15 x 365, plus 5, being fifteen prayers a day for a year for the scourge and crown-of-thorns wounds, plus the nail and spear wounds. The most I have found is in the fifteenth century Passion Play of Semur, where Mary Magdalen displays

“Dix mille y a et cent cent goutes, Et plus quil les compteroit toutes, De son sang dont it just moillé” See Roy, Émile, 1904



symbol of the burial of the divine. This seems to have begun with the simple removal of the consecrated host from the tabernacle to a place of concealment (a ritual still carried out in modern liturgy), but towards the end of the fourteenth century increasingly involved an effigy which had a compartment specially made in it for the purpose of holding the host. This was sometimes in the hollow of the back, but more usually in the place where Jesus’s side was pierced with a spear. The symbolism was complicated. Sometimes the crucifix above the altar was removed, or simply covered, and replaced by the tomb effigy, whose arms were conveniently carved to fit, and sometimes the figure on the cross could be taken off and its arms folded down, to the sides, or across the body. We notice that the earliest representations of the Shroud of Turin demonstrate a particular emphasis on the chest wound, as well as having arms looking so very much as if they were rigidly folded that authenticists often take them as signs of rigor mortis. The trickles of blood from the ‘five wounds’ and scalp, as well as the scourging welts, may well have been applied much later, and for a different purpose.

The foregoing investigation seems gradually to have focussed on Avignon, but another school of thought directs us further north, towards the monasteries - and more particularly the convents - of Germany. If, as seems probable, the Shroud is painted with real blood, we must be reminded of the extraordinary ‘blood piety’ cults of the later Middle Ages, which Caroline Walker Bynum more accurately describes as a ‘frenzy.’127 Contemporary visions and prayers describe drinking Christ’s blood, licking it off his feet, washing in it, being made drunk by it,128 and enumerating every drip from each individual wound. Phials containing it abounded all over Europe, in powder, crystal or liquid form, or occasionally as blood soaked pieces of cloth. It was often said to be derived from a eucharistic miracle, during which blood emerged from a consecrated host as a verifying symbol of transubstantiation. As a subject for adoration to the point of ecstasy, real blood trails across an image of the suffering saviour would take a lot of beating. It is not altogether unlikely that a bloodless image, created for liturgical or didactic purposes in the late thirteenth century, had bloodstains added to it years later, after which it was repurposed as a relic. As I have mentioned before, neither of the two reproductions that we know predate the fire of 1532 show the marks of the nails or crown of thorns.

So ends this exploration of the circumstances under which the Shroud of Turin may originally have been produced. Although nothing decisive has been concluded, there is no shortage of possibilities, none of them unlikely or incredible, except, paradoxically, that it is a deliberately forged fake relic. Since the middle of the fourteenth century its emergence into European and then global limelight as a genuine relic is well documented, although

127Bynum, Caroline Walker, 2007, p 1, “Introduction; A Frenzy for Blood”

128See, for example, the early thirteenth century prayers anima Christi, and A Talking of the Love of God. From the first: “Blood of Christ, make me drunk […] Hide me in your wounds”.

“Sanguis Christi, inebria me. […] Intra tua vulnera absconde me.” My translation.

From the second: “I suck the blood off his feet; that suck is so sweet […] I hug and I kiss as if I were mad; I roll about and suck for I

know not how long, and when I have finished yet still I lust for more.”

“The blood I souke of his feet; that sok is full sweet […] I cluppe and I cusse as I wood wore; I walewe and I souk I not whuche while, and whon I have al don thit me luste more.” My translation. The original text for this can be found in, for example, Westra, Maria Salvina, 1950, p 60



remarkably, its acceptance as authentic has had no influence on the iconography of the burial and resurrection of Christ. It is as if faith in a relic must be seen as something quite separate from belief in the actual circumstances of history. Artists continued to depict Jesus’s death, entombment and resurrection, often including his wounds and shroud, but ideas about the crown of thorns being a cap instead of a circlet, the nails being through the wrists rather than the palms, or an image of Christ having been left on the shroud made absolutely no impression on them. The only artworks showing an imaged shroud, from the fourteenth century to the present day, are specifically about the Shroud of Turin, not the shroud in which Jesus was wrapped.129 All the rest, depositions, anointings, lamentations, entombments, resurrections and visitations, continued to show a perfectly clean sheet. Even those who believe in relics, it seems, grant them a theological authenticity, but are not bound to a historical one.

129The only exception to this, as far as I know, is the 2016 film ‘Risen’, directed by Kevin Reynolds and starring Joseph Fiennes, in which Jesus’s shroud is depicted with an image miraculously left on it, although in the film the image varies between the positive and the negative versions from scene to scene.




N.B. Many of the publications below can be found on the internet, on or from the websites of their publishers. Internet references are not provided unless I have not been able to discover that a publication was never available except online, except in the specific cases of Shroud News, Shroud Spectrum International and the Newsletter of the British Society for the Turin Shroud, where references at have been included for convenience. All internet references were active at 20 February 2018. The preface “http://www.” has been omitted, as it is rarely required by search engines.

Accetta, Joseph & Baumgart, Stephen, (1980). ‘Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy and Thermographic Investigations of the Shroud of Turin’, Applied Optics, Vol 19, No 12, pp 1921-1929

Adler, Alan, (2002). The Orphaned Manuscript, Effata Editrice, Italy

Allen, Nicholas, (2007). Testament to a Lost Technology, Lambert Academic Publishing Atchley, Cuthbert, (1900). ‘On Certain Variations from the Rule Concerning the Material of

the Altar-Linen’, in Transactions of the St. Paul’s Ecclesiological Society, Vol 4, pp 147-169 Becon, Thomas, ed. Ayre, John, (1843). The Early Works of Thomas Becon, Cambridge

University Press

Belting, Hans, (1994). Likeness and Presence: A History of the Image before the Era of Art, University of Chicago

Bonnet-Aymard, Bruno, (1991). ‘Study of Original Documents of the Archives of the Diocese of Troyes in France with Particular Reference to the Memorandum of Pierre d’Arcis’, Shroud News, No 68, at

Bremmer, Rolf et al., (2011). ‘Age Estimation of Blood Stains by Hemoglobin Derivative Determination using Reflectance Spectroscopy’, Forensic Science International, Vol 206, Issues 1-3, pp 166-171

Bynum, Caroline Walker, (2007). Wonderful Blood: Theology and Practice in Late Medieval Northern Germany and Beyond, University of Pennsylvania

Calvin, Jean, (1599). Traitté des Reliques, Geneva

Camuzat, Nicolao, (1610). Promptuarium sacrarum antiquitatum Tricassinae dioecesis, France Cennini, Cennino, trans. Thompson, Daniel, (1954). The Craftsman’s Handbook: Il Libro

dell’Arte, Dover Publications

Cennini, Cennino, ed. Renzo Simi, (1913). Il Libro dell’Arte, Lanciano, Italy

Chevalier, Ulysse, (1900). Étude Critique sur l’Origine du St Suaire de Lirey-Chambéry-Turin, Alphonse Picard, Paris

Chifflet, Jean Jacques, (1688). De Linteis Sepulchralibus Christi Servatoris Crisis Historica, Antwerp

Damon, Paul, et al., (1989). ‘Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin’, Nature, Vol 337, No 6208, pp 611-615

de Beatis, Antonio ed. Pastor, Ludwig, (2013). Die Reise Des Kardinals Luigi Daragona Durch Deutschland, Die Niederlande, Frankreich Und Oberitalien 1517-1518, Dogma



de Voragine, Jacobus, trans. William Granger Ryan, (1995). The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, two volumes, Princeton University Press

de Wesselow, Thomas, (2012). The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection, Penguin Books

Eastlake, Charles Lock, (1847). Materials for a History of Oil Painting, Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans

Faccini, Barbara and Fanti, Giulio, (2010) New Image Processing of the Turin Shroud Scourge Marks, at

Fanti, Giulio and Zagotto, Giuseppe, (2017). 'Blood Reinforced by Pigments in the Reddish Stains of the Turin Shroud’, Journal of Cultural Heritage, Vol 25, pp 113-120

Farey, Hugh, (2014). ‘Radiocarbon Recalibration’, Newsletter of the British Society for the Turin Shroud, No 80, at

Farey, Hugh, (2015). ‘Three Marys Iconography (The Mystery of the Skewed Slab)’, Newsletter of the British Society for the Turin Shroud, No 81,


Fossati, Luigi, (1983). ‘The Lirey Controversy', Shroud Spectrum International, No 8 at

Freeman, Charles, (2014). 'The Origins of the Shroud of Turin’, History Today, Vol 64, Issue 11

Gachard (ed), (1876). Collection des Voyages des Souverains des Pays-Bas, Vol 1, Brussels Garlaschelli, Luigi, (2009). E’ possibile riprodurre la Sindone?,


Gihr, Nicholas, (1902). The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany Gilbert, Roger and Gilbert, Marion, (1980). ‘Ultraviolet-Visible Reflectance and

Fluorescence Spectra of the Shroud of Turin’, Applied Optics, Vol 19, No 12, pp 1930-1936

Hale, J. And Lyndon, J., (1979). The Travel Journal of Antonio de Beatis: Germany, Switzerland, The Low Countries, France and Italy, 1517-1518, The Hakluyt Society, London

Heimburger, Thibault, (2009). Comments about the Recent Experiment of Professor Luigi Garlaschelli, at

Heller, John, (1983). Report on the Shroud of Turin, Houghton Mifflin Co.

Heller, John and Adler, Alan, (1980). ‘Blood on the Shroud of Turin’, Applied Optics, Vol 19, No 16, pp 2742-2744

Heller, John and Adler, Alan, (1981). ‘A Chemical Investigation of the Shroud of Turin’, Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal, Vol 14, No 3, pp 81-103

Hope, William and Atchley, E.G. Cuthbert, (1918). English Liturgical Colours, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge

Kearse, Kelly and Heimburger, Thibault, (2013). The Shroud Blood Science of Dr. Pierluigi Baima Bollone: Another look at Potassium, among other things, at

Kemp, Martin, (2011). Christ to Coke: How Image becomes Icon, Oxford University Press Kopania, Kamil, (2010). Animated Sculptures of the Crucified Christ in the Religious Culture of

the Latin Middle Ages, Neriton, Warsaw

Lipphardt, Walther, (1975-1980). Lateinische Osterfeiern und Osterspiele, many volumes, Walther de Gruyter, Berlin



Lucotte, Gérard, (2015). ‘Red Blood Cells on the Turin Shroud’, Jacobs Journal of Hematology, Vol 2, Issue 1

Maclean, John, (1891). ‘Notes on the Accounts of the Procurators, or Churchwardens, of the Parish of St Ewen’s, Bristol’, Part 1, Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucester Archaeological Society for 1890-91, Vol 15, pp 139-182, Bristol

Markwardt, Jack, (2002). ‘The Conspiracy Against the Shroud’, Newsletter of the British Society for the Turin Shroud, No 55, at

Marten, Edmund and Durand, Ursini, (1729). Veterum Scriptorum et Monumentorum Historicorum, Dogmaticorum, Moralium, Amplissima Collectio, Volume 5, Paris

McCrone, Walter, (1990). ‘The Shroud of Turin: Blood or Artist’s Pigment’, Accounts of Chemical Research, Vol 23, No 3, p 77

McCrone, Walter, (1996). Judgement Day for the Turin Shroud, Microscope Publications, Chicago

Micklethwaite, John Thomas, (1897). The Ornaments of the Rubric, Longmans, Greeen & Co. Morris, R.A., Schwalbe L.A., and London J.R., (1980). ‘X-Ray Fluorescence Investigation of

the Shroud of Turin’, X-Ray Spectrometry, Vol 9, No 2, pp 40-47 Nickell, Joe, (1998). Inquest on the Shroud of Turin, Prometheus

Nitowski, Eugenia (writing as Sister Damian of the Cross), (1986). Criteria for Authentication: A Procedure for the Verification of Shroud Samples, at

Pellicori, Sam, (1980). ‘Spectral Properties of the Shroud of Turin’, Applied Optics, Vol 19, No 12

Rogers, Raymond, (2001a). An Alternate Hypothesis for the Image Color, at

Rogers, Raymond, (2001b). Comments On the Book "The Resurrection of the Shroud" by Mark Antonacci, at

Rogers, Raymond, (2008). A Chemist’s Perspective on the Shroud of Turin, published by at

Rogers, Raymond and Arnoldi, Anna,(2002). Scientific Method applied to the Shroud of Turin, 2002, at

Roy, Émile, (1904). Le mystère de la Passion en France du XIVe au XVIe siècle: étude sur les sources et le classement des mystères de la Passion, Dijon

Runciman, Steven, (1931). ‘Some Remarks on the image of Edessa’, The Cambridge Historical Journal, Vol 3, No 3, Cambridge University Press, pp 238-252

Scavone, Daniel, (1991). Greek Epitaphioi and Other Evidence for the Shroud in Constantinople up to 1204, at

Schiller, Gertrud, (1972). Iconography of Christian Art, New York Graphic Society Schwalbe, Lawrence and Rogers, Raymond, (1982). ‘Physics and Chemistry of the Shroud

of Turin’, Analytica Chimica Acta, No 135, pp 3-39

Thompson, Karen et al., (2017). ‘A literature review of analytical techniques for materials characterisation of painted textiles’, Journal of the Institute of Conservation, Vol 40, No 1, pp 64-82

Thurston, Herbert, (1903). ‘The Holy Shroud and the Verdict of History’, The Month, Vol 101, Longmans, Green and Co.



Thurston, Herbert, (1908). ‘Corporal', Catholic Encyclopedia, Robert Appleton Company, New York, at

Thurston, Herbert, (1912). ‘The Holy Shroud’, Catholic Encyclopedia, Robert Appleton Company, New York, at

Vial, Gabriel, (1991), ‘The Shroud of Turin, a Technical Study’, Shroud Spectrum International, No 38/39 at

Vignon, Paul, trans. from French, (1902). The Shroud of Christ, E.P. Dutton & Co.

Vikan, Gary, (1998). ‘Debunking The Shroud, Made by Human Hands’, Biblical Archaeology Review, Vol 24 No 6

Vincent, Nicholas, (2008), The Holy Blood: King Henry III and the Westminster Blood Relic, Cambridge University Press

Young, Karl, (1933). The Drama of the Medieval Church, Clarendon Press

Westra, Maria Salvina, (1950). A Talking of the Love of God, Springer Science and Business Media

Wilson, Ian, (1978). The Shroud of Turin, Victor Gollancz

Wilson, Ian, (1986). The Evidence of the Shroud, Michael O’Mara Books

Wilson, Ian, (2010). The Shroud, the 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved, Bantam Press

Wilson, Ian, (2018). ‘A (Very Tangled) Tale of Two Pilgrim Badges’, Newsletter of the British Society for the Turin Shroud, No 86 at

Wilson, Nathan, (2005). ‘Father Brown Fakes the Shroud’, Books and Culture, at


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