Thursday, 28 February 2013

"A three-year Odyssey"

This is how sculptor, Rory Young described his journey leading from the important commission for statues of seven martyrs for the niches on the nave altar screen at St Albans. Rory was talking to supporters of the Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust this evening - a crammed Chedworth Village Hall. He called his lecture, "Mediaeval form and colour inspiring new work at St Albans Cathedral".

Goodness knows how many images we were treated to! Some slides incorporated two or more, so it must have been in the hundreds. They illustrated a voyage round mainland Europe (Amiens, Verona, Padua, Rome), but particularly England: other cathedrals of course (Westminster, Durham, Exeter, Coventry, York, Wells...); abbeys such as Westminster, Tewkesbury and Downside; great parish churches (St John the Baptist, Cirencester, St Mary, Warwick, Holy Trinity, Coventry), and lesser ones (South Newington, Notgrove, Leigh Delamere). Then there were the trips to the V&A and the Mercers' Hall. All served to illustrate a quest for hints of original colour, and the best sculptural representation of flowing garments and off-guard expression.

Perhaps Helen Whitbread over-egged it when she paid tribute to "a present Michelangelo in our midst," but we were certainly wowed.

Alas, we couldn't stay for supper in the pub, as bidden: it was 19-year-old Misa Yamahoi's last evening with us. One of a group of students from Japan, she arrived to stay with us on the 10th, the day before the Pope resigned. It seems strange that all the hoo-hah surrounding this event in our media should so completely pass by someone in our midst but from quite another world.

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