Artist: Stanley Spencer
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 91.5 x 122 cm
Location: Stanley Spencer Gallery, Cookham.
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, twelve drummers drumming...
The twelve drummers represent the twelve articles of the Apostles Creed. Throughout the Middle Ages it was generally believed that the Apostles, on the day of Pentecost, while still under the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost, composed our present Creed between them, each of the Apostles contributing one of the twelve articles. This legend dates back to the sixth century, and is foreshadowed still earlier in a sermon attributed to St. Ambrose, which takes notice that the Creed was "pieced together by twelve separate workmen". About the same date (c. 400) Rufinus gives a detailed account of the composition of the Creed, which account he professes to have received from earlier ages.