Jenkins room at Madame Leroy’s had “a picture in cheerful color’s of St. Laurence and his gridiron (QU 110)
The sole adornment of Nick’s austere apartment at Madame Leroy’s boarding house is “a picture, in cheerful colours, of St. Laurence and his gridiron; intended, perhaps, in jocular allusion to the springs of the bed.”
St. Laurence was a third century A.D. scholar of Spanish origin, appointed deacon of the Church of Rome by Pope Sixtus II. Laurence’s was martyred by being cooked alive on a gridiron, and legend has it that the good-natured saint said, “I’m done on this side, turn me over.” Powell’s choice of St Laurence for Nick’s cell is apt, since Nick immediately cooks a bit on his own grill in an apparent bout of food poisoning.
St. Laurence, the patron saint of cooks, is widely venerated, and many images of his martyrdom have been painted. This particularly cheerfully-colored one by Girolamo da Santacroce of Venice, dates from the mid- sixteenth century.