As in the Resurrection panel, Jesus is in red and white holding a banner with red cross on a white background. He gives his blessing to St Peter who is seated in a rock and raises both hands in surprise, and has a big smile on his face. St Peter is one of, if not the most important apostle. From very early Christian art, St Peter has been depicted with a short beard and usually bald on top, perhaps associated with the haircut of a monk.
Peter also has an oversized key resting in the crook of his elbow, a symbol used to identify him. The attribute of one or two keys reflects the story in the bible where Christ gives him the keys to the kingdom of heaven.
While journeying along with His Apostles, Jesus asks them: “Whom do men say that the Son of man is?” The Apostles answered: “Some John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets”. Jesus said to them: “But whom do you say that I am?” Simon said: “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God”. And Jesus answering said to him: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter [Kipha, a rock], and upon this rock [Kipha] I will build my church [ekklesian], and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven”. Then he commanded his disciples, that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ (Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-21).
The expressions on the faces of the people depicted in the Boppard panels are very special. The painting shows real people with real expressions which bring the scenes to life.
There are several other representations of St Peter on display in the Burrell Collection. An English 15th century window in the Hutton Drawing Room shows St Peter with two keys., but less usually, a good crop of hair on top. A crown in a thornbush and the initials H and E for Henry VIII and Elizabeth of York is one of the badges at the bottom (the left-hand diamond shaped pane).
Another panel, in the South-Corridor, shows the “St John the Evangelist and a Kneeling Soldier”. The panel depicts a soldier converting to Christianity during the Virgin Mary’s funeral procession. The soldier is in full armour holding a palm branch given to him by St John, who stands on the left dressed in a white mantle over a red tunic. St Peter stands with his key behind the coffin of the Virgin Mary, covered with a red drape and bearing the initial ‘M’. The initials IHS (Jesus) radiates in a roundel on the upper right. The panel is English from the Norwich School and dates to the 15th century. The panel probably comes from the Church of St Peter Mancroft, Norwich, built between 1430 and 1455.
Another depiction of St Peter is in the Nottingham alabaster “The Ascension”, where Peter is centre right of the group watching Jesus rocketing up to heaven.
On a different object altogether, St Peter is shown in one of the orphreys (a form of highly detailed embroidery) on a chasuble made in England in the late 15th century and altered in the 18th century. It is in red silk velvet embroidered with large stylised sprays of lilies and other flower in silk floss and metal threads with metal spangles. The front is made from three sections of velvet and the back cut from one.
The flowers are worked separately with laid silk threads, metal threads couched in silk and split stitch details and appliquéd to the ground. The stamens and stems are worked in couched twisted threads and split stitch. St Peter is on the back in an applied band embroidered with at centre front and back in blue silk velvet worked in silk floss and metal threads using long and short stitches, padded satin stitch, straight stitch, raised-work and couched silk and metal threads. Peter is shown carrying both a key and a book.