Friday, 31 October 2008

Coventry's Awe-Inspiring Cathedral

Part of the ruins of the old cathedral, the Sutherland tapestry over the altar and John Piper's Baptistry window, said to be 'probably the greatest piece of stained glass since the Reformation'. Click each for a larger view

Coventry Cathedral was burnt down in German air raids on the night of 14/15th November 1940 and a new cathedral reconstructed beside the shell in the 1950s. The Queen laid its foundation stone in 1956 and the new Cathedral was consecrated in 1962. Herry attended the service with his mother Annette and grandmother, Lady Herbert. Sir Alfred Herbert had made donations towards the reconstruction and the commissioning of the art works within it, as well as to his museum The Herbert nearby, but died in 1957.

The new cathedral was designed by Basil Spence. Graham Sutherland's tapestry of Christ in Glory in the Tetramorph dominates the East End, while John Hutton's screen of Saints and Angels allows the light from the fomer cathedral ruins into the Lady Chapel. John Piper's Baptistry window is said to be 'probably the greatest piece of stained glass since the Reformation'. Epstein's St Michael and the Devil guards the cathedral steps. Other contributors include Elizabeth Frink who fashioned the bronze eagle lectern given by Sir Alfred Herbert's children and grandchildren, and Ralph Beyer whose beautiful carved calligraphy adorns the walls. The whole is extraordinarily moving and beautiful.

Click the heading for more photos of the cathedral

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