Monday, 26 September 2016

H is for Hereford Cathedral





Hereford

Saturday morning shoppers had popped in to join a service in the Lady Chapel. Its liturgy echoed throughout the east end of the church.

Hereford’s prominent single central tower was funded by a deluge of money coming in from pilgrims visiting the shrine of Bishop Thomas Cantiloupe who was beatified in 1320. The veneration of saints, and pilgrimages to the interment sites of a saint’s relics, were widespread. A church in possession of the relics of a popular saint enjoyed a source of income, as the faithful made donations in the hope that they might receive spiritual aid.


Like Gloucester, down the road, it began as a Saxon Church until the Normans moved in. There is some exciting Early English work and important Gothic in the North Transept. More recently my artist-hero John Piper has been hard at work here contributing three tapestries.


Extract from my new book, English Cathedrals capturing the wonder of these very special places in 60 exciting drawings. Order via http://bit.ly/2tbCoE

Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Dipping Bridge at Merthyr Mawr

The other day, sun was high as we drowe towards Merthyr Mawr village. 

We stopped at this lovely 'Dipping Bridge' built in the 1400's with holes in the parapets where farmers once pushed reluctant sheep into the River Ogmore for a seasonal dip! 

At the side of the bridge once stood an Inn where the landlord would rob and murder travellers en route to St. David’s shrine.

Both practices appear a little harsh.


Saturday, 24 September 2016

G is for Guilford, high upon a hill.



Here, high on Stag Hill, is a cathedral for the modern age. 
From the outside the building’s brick wrapping gives a noticeably industrial feel, perhaps a power station? Or are we close to a Lancashire mill?  It looks over the Surrey landscape and the sweep of the A3.

Inside? Inside we have tall, pale and Ikea-like, pared down Gothic.

The nave stretches like a row of poplar trees. Pale stone, height and balance and eye-watering simplicity make this a very special cathedral. A foundation stone was laid in 1936. But work stopped with the outbreak of WWII and because of one thing and another was not resumed until 1952. The Cathedral Church of the Holy Spirit was consecrated in 1961. Less than an hour from our house, one is tempted to return for Holy Communion (BCP) very soon.

Extract from my my new book, English Cathedrals. Capturing the wonder of these very special places in 60 exciting drawings. Order via http://bit.ly/2tbCoE

Friday, 23 September 2016

Coventry Cathedral - the X-factor

Coventry: We view the new through the filgree of the old


As soon as the dust had settled on blitz-torn Coventry, plans were laid to rebuild the cathedral. In 1956 the foundation stone was laid to mark the vision of one man, Basil Spence.  

To understand the new Coventry Cathedral, one should read Rise of the Phoenix at Coventry: The Building of a Cathedral, Spence’s personal account of this amazing creation.

Behind the altar Graham Sutherland’s tapestry ‘Christ in Glory’ is a triumph of the weaver’s art and ingenuity.  

John Piper contributes glass, fired by Patrick Reyntiens. 

Outside, dark on a wall of pink limestone, is Jacob Epstein’s St Michael.


An extract from English Cathedrals: A journey in drawings 
This book is an affectionate voyage around the country capturing on paper the wonder of these very special places. 

Now out!  - Order here  http://bit.ly/2tbCoE

Thursday, 22 September 2016

G is for Gloucester Cathedral



With light fading I sat to draw its towers from the Cloister Garden.  It was so cold that afternoon. A lasting memory was gratitude that there was a Primark round the corner where we purchased hats, scarfs and gloves.

The Cathedral welcomes you with a fine Romanesque nave with dogtooth detailing on the arches. The counterpoint is the intricate Perpendicular Choir. There are more Perpendicular reveries in the great cloister, arguably the finest we have seen, and a bewitching Lady Chapel.




Gloucester’s huge east window is in essence a glass reredos. Celebrated in its stained glass are many of the Knights that fought at Cr├ęcy in 1346.



My New book, English Cathedrals. Capturing the wonder of these very special places in 60 exciting drawings. 
Order via http://bit.ly/2tbCoE

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

C is also for Carlisle Cathedral close by Hadrian's wall



Meanwhile at the other end of England, in the north-west, is a small rosy-stoned Norman church on the English-Scottish frontier. Some of Carlisle’s stone was originally used on Hadrian’s Wall. Uniquely, Carlisle was set up as an Augustinian priory, founded by Henry I in 1122.


Carlisle is one of England’s smallest cathedrals, after the demolition of its nave by the Scottish Presbyterian Forces in 1649. The remaining nave contains lovely Romanesque arcading now festooned with Regimental Colours. Many view Carlisle as having the finest tracery in England in its Decorated east window.

An extract from English Cathedrals: A journey in drawings 
This book is an affectionate voyage around the country capturing on paper the wonder of these very special places. 

Now out!  - Order here  http://bit.ly/2tbCoE