A new chapel that her­alds a bold new West­min­ster

Country Life Every Week - - Athena - Cul­tural Cru­sader

AS this page went to press on Fri­day, the newly dec­o­rated Chapel of St Ge­orge at West­min­ster Cathe­dral was in the process of con­se­cra­tion. Athena had the ad­van­tage of a pre­view and was hugely im­pressed by what she saw. The scheme, de­signed by Tom Phillips, draws to­gether an in­te­rior that has been or­na­mented piece­meal since the 1930s. Mr Phillips’s work in­cor­po­rates both in­tri­cately cut mar­ble pat­terns—termed in­tar­sia—and mo­saic. Across a deep-blue vault in the lat­ter medium are the names of 40 English Catholic mar­tyrs, each set in blaz­ing leaf of gold rep­re­sent­ing— in the artist’s mind—‘the flames of their faith’.

On the west wall of the chapel is an in­tar­sia of a gal­lows and the in­scrip­tion ‘two miles be­yond this wall our mar­tyrs gave their lives for the faith’, which lo­cates their suf­fer­ing un­com­fort­ably nearby at Ty­burn (near Mar­ble Arch). The chapel al­tar­piece is a mon­u­men­tal low-re­lief carv­ing, the last work

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