Sunday, 16 October 2011

                     Decoration soothes the soul...

...or so Queen Victoria seems to have thought, along with many others.

A tomb in Haworth churchyard.

                         Georgian embroidered memorial samplers.

Mary Watts must have believed that the expression of emotion through beautiful design helps to sooth sadness - here are more photos of her amazing creations at Compton Cemetery Chapel, Surrey.

This weekend we explored two churches full of colourful High Victorian design, surely intended to banish despair. The Church of St John the Baptist at Kirk Hammerton between Knaresborough and York has Saxon remains, though the main structure is about 600 years old with 19th century alterations, and the uplifting and exuberant, Arts & Crafts Movement painted decorations were added in 1895. 

Further on along the road, at Skelton-on-Ure near Boroughbridge, down a leafy path bordered by towering Victorian yews,..

...on the edge of Newby Hall's parkland, is the glorious Victorian church of Christ the Consoler.

The church was commissioned by Lady Mary Vyner of Newby Hall and built, between 1871-76, to commemorate the tragic and violent death of her son, Frederick Grantham Vyner, who was murdered by brigands in Greece in 1870. It was designed by William Burges, a leading Gothic Revival architect, and paid for with the ransom money.

The finest coloured marbles, gilded mosaics and rich embroideries add to the exuberant life-affirming atmosphere of the church interior...

...though the whole building, even the painted marble font with its soaring Gothic cover, dedicated to Lady Mary's infant granddaughter, is a decorative creation made as an expression of grief.

Light in the darkness.


1 comment:

  1. Thoroughly enchanted.Makes me want to visit your country.