Tuesday, 10 August 2010

A remarkable survival


South Cerney Christ, originally uploaded by Aidan McRae Thomson.
This beautiful Romanesque polychromed head and foot, is all that remains of a rood dating from c.1130. The fragments were found in 1913 walled up behind the respond of a nave arcade at South Cerney in Gloucestershire. Sadly the rest of the figure perished, but originally the corpus would have been around 80cm tall and extremely striking. A remarkable survival, this is one of only two Corpus figures in England to survive the sixteenth century iconoclasm. The other, an earlier 16th century example from Cartmel Fell in Cumbria, was discovered in 1876 in use as a vestry fire poker!

The South Cerney rood is now in the British Museum and I am grateful to Aidan McRae Thomson for his photograph. More information on the rood can be found in R. Deacon and P. Lindley's Image and Idol; Medieval Sculpture (London, 2001)

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Some news of recent work at Windrush in Gloucestershire

Windrush, Gloucestershire

I was pleased to receive the following photographs from Fr David Ackerman, rector of Windrush in Gloucestershire.  It is worth repeating Fr Ackerman's message in full:  

"I thought you might be interested in seeing the attached gable cross which was dedicated on Easter Day. It was made by Rory Young, and was in part inspired by Saxon Gloucestershire carvings of crucifixes. It is of Christ Triumphant and the word "pax" is encircled by the crown of thorns, an illusion to the first words of the risen Christ and that his body bore the marks of the cross. The combination of the crown and the word is also a reference to the Benedictines, to whom the donor has a devotion.  I offer the pictures as a good example of current work and what can be achieved. This, by the way, was Rory's last work before beginning his work at St Alban's Abbey"

Windrush, Gloucestershire

I'm very pleased to post these photos to the blog.  The cross is exceptionally fine.  It does demonstrate the quality of contemporary craftsmanship and that it is possible to add something contemporary that works well with existing medieval fabric. 

Fr Ackerman has also initiated other restoration work at Windrush.  Internally an 'English altar' has been restored to the chancel and external paths have been relaid.  During the latter work the following female head came to light.

Windrush, Gloucestershire

What date is it?  Well it has been suggested that it is fifteenth century, but my gut feeling says second half of the fourteenth century.

Windrush, Gloucestershire

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Greenwood Hare chasuble at St John Epping

St John's Epping - White Bodley Chasuble 002

There are some lovely photos on Flickr of a recently restored chasuble at St John's Epping in Essex.  A wonderful vestment blending Gothic and Renaissance motifs, it was designed by Cecil Greenwood Hare, Bodley's chief assistant and made by Watts and Co. There is more information here.

St John's Epping - White Bodley Chasuble 014

St John's Epping - White Bodley Chasuble 007

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St John's Epping - White Bodley Chasuble 004