The Mills-Kronborg Collection of Danish Church Wall Paintings

James Mills, retired professor from the Brooklyn College of Pharmacy, made significant contributions to the study of medieval Danish wall paintings. In 1968, Mills first discovered the frescoes in the local churches of Denmark on a family vacation. Shortly thereafter, he began a photography campaign which would grow into an important record of medieval Danish frescoes. Mills received recognition for his work through an exhibition held at the Hutchins Gallery in Greenvale, New York in 1978. In 1985, Film for Educators, Inc. published a “sample set” of sixty slides taken by James Mills which captured the unique “biblical events and personalities” in the Danish frescoes.

In 2001, Mills assembled his collection of approximately 3,000 images and their iconographic descriptions onto CD-ROMs for dissemination to academic libraries. The Index is one such home to this collection and here publishes James Mills’s index to geographic sites, descriptions, and source images; revised for presentation in 2015. This electronic collection was derived from Mills’s own work An Iconographic Index to Danmarks Kirker, 1100-1600, published by Medieval Institute Publications in 1992. The chapter divisions in this assembly follow those in the two published volumes. Mills’s Index followed a major publication by the National Museum of Denmark, “Danmarks Kirker,” written by several authors in continuous volumes on Danish churches. Mills’s work was indebted to the work of Danish art historian Niels M. Saxtorph (1923-2001), whose work Jeg ser pa° kalkmalerier( København: 1979), which he references below, in his own words:

“This collection of slides was planned as a research tool. The earlier editions of Saxtorph's book on the Danish church wall paintings divided the churches into three groups. First the "must see" group, second, the "well worth a detour to see" group, and the rest. This collection consists of all the wall paintings in the first two groups from over two hundred churches. There have been less than ten churches with wall paintings reported since this collection was made. As the collector, I made no judgmental calls, if Saxtorph said the church was important, the paintings were photographed”

This collection on CD-ROM is also held at the Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Spencer Library at the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. In 2004, the original slides of James Mills’s photographic archive were given to the Index of Christian Art where high resolution scans were made and is where the collection permanently resides.


Approximately 3,000 images accompanied by concise descriptions of medieval Danish wall paintings from over 200 churches. These wall paintings have been dated between 1150 and 1600. Mills’s work is presented as an alphabetic list of all the medieval sites with frescoes, starting with Alsted and ending with Vraa. There is a nIndex of Subjects starting with Representations of God, Angels and Devils and ending with Miscellaneous Secular Works. Once the subject matter has been found in the Index, the user will need to go to the alphabetical index of sites for that particular entry for the image. Mills roughly divided the volumes which comprise this text into stylistic periods, Romanesque (1100-1250); Transitional or Early Gothic (1250-1350); High Gothic (1350-1400); Late Gothic (1400-1525); and Renaissance (1525-1600).


The Index of Christian holds the copyright to the images and has made them available for both personal research and publication. Send requests to Fiona: to obtain high resolution files. When requesting images please cite exact location and the image number found under properties.


The Index is grateful to James Mills (d. 2004) who expertly documented and described this massive corpus of medieval Danish wall paintings.


Hutchins Gallery, B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library, “Color Prints of Danish Church Frescoes, 1175-1600 AD: From the Collection of Dr. James A. Mills.” Greenvale, NY: Hutchins Gallery, 1978.

Mills, James. Medieval Danish Church Wall Art, 1150-1600 A.D.” Catalog of the Mills-Kronborg Slide Collection . New York, NY: Films for Educators, 1985.

Mills, James. “Sexuality in the Danish medieval wall-paintings,” in Helen Rodnite Lemay (ed.), Homo Carnalis: The Carnal Aspect of Medieval Human Life Binghamton: Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, State University of New York at Binghamton, 1990 (for 1987)

Mills, James. Medieval Danish Wooden Sculpture: Roods. Glen Head, NY: Aggesborg Press, 1991.

Mills, James. An Iconographic Index to Danmarks Kirker, 1100-1600. Kalamazoo, MI: Western Michigan University, 1991-1992.

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