Fox and tiger design for city cathedral
THE iconic fox and tiger symbols of the city’s famous football and rugby teams – and county cricket team – are to be incorporated into the stonework at Leicester Cathedral.
Work started in January to replace sections of the building where sandstone used during previous repairs is starting to “flake”.
As part of the ongoing renovation, an artist has been commissioned to design two new grotesques – gargoyles but without the water spouts – to replace two crumbling gargoyles.
A Leicester Cathedral spokesman said: “Work is continuing on the routine replacement of flaking sandstone, which was sourced by the Victorians from a quarry which is now Western Park, with better-quality sandstone.
“However, workmen are also going to be replacing two gargoyles with two new grotesques – newly designed as a fox and tiger.”
Irish artist Phoebe Cope was asked to create designs for the new grotesques, and the two plaster casts are included in an exhibition of her work, currently on view as part of a solo show at the Biggar and Upper Clydesdale Museum, in South Lanarkshire, Scotland.
The cathedral spokesman said: “We are delighted with the designs for the two new grotesques, depicting a fox and a tiger to resonate with the city and county.
“It’s part of the work currently happening on the south west corner of the cathedral.”
The stonework replacement work is being carried out by Midland Stonemasonry Ltd, based in Loughborough, and is due to be completed by the end of the summer.
It is being funded by the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund, a national fund for cathedrals, and the Headley Trust church buildings fund, under the direction of architect Josh McCosh, of Van Heyningen and Haward.
The Leicester Cathedral spokesman said: “We are very grateful to the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund for £300,000, and the Headley Trust for another £35,000, which is helping to pay for the work.
“This work follows on from stonework on the north end of the cathedral in 2016 and it is all a precursor to the £11.3 million Leicester Cathedral Revealed work which we hope to begin next year.”
The Rev Pete Hobson, director for the Revealed project, said the overall aim was to put the building “back into good order” and to restore and reveal its Victorian and Arts and Crafts heritage.
He said it would create a series of “accessible and engaging spaces, better manage visitor flow and improve the individual experience of being within the cathedral”.
It is set to be completed by 2020.