Some Recent Work by the Warham Guild.
By Percy Dearmer.
London: The Warham Guild, 1922.
Cross and Candlesticks, North Berwick. Architect: Mr. F. E. Howard
People are just beginning to realize the vital importance of the aesthetic element in religion. The collapse during the present century of that old-fashioned Protestantism, both inside Anglicanism and outside it, which once seemed the very foundation rock of the English people, has brought home to us the nemesis which falls on those who forget that God is Beauty as well as Truth. Many, perhaps, hardly yet realize the extent of the disaster: a deep-rooted tradition has dwindled--it has not developed into something larger or better, but it has carried away with it qualities and habits which England can ill afford to use. There seems to be loss all round. The church-going duty is hardly felt among a large proportion of the generation that has grown up during the present century. There has been no counterbalancing growth in recent years on the Catholic side: there also we are confronted with a decline. Yet this is not an unspiritual age, nor is England becoming unchristian. There is far less opposition to the Church and to religion than there was. Only, people have for the most part lost the idea that to worship together is a duty, a privilege, and a joy.
There is, of course, more than one reason for this. But one important reason is that both in music and in the general aesthetic of our services and churches something is wanting which human nature rightly craves for. The public does not say, "Our aesthetic faculties are starved," because the public is not a philosopher; but it does feel that there is something unattractive and dull. People feel that they don't want to go to church. They feel vaguely that there is something wrong.
Only a great and widespread change can put this matter right; and in the meantime the Church will lose, as the old people die and there are fewer young people to take their place. We must be prepared for this, and do all we can to shorten the decimating period of depression. The Warham Guild exists to give some little help in hastening forward the change. It can do but a small part; but we must all attempt what we can. A hundred years ago the condition of our grand old churches left much to be desired, but they were still very beautiful. They are now almost all defaced, by "restoration," by abominable stained glass, ungainly altars, and dismally [4/5] bad ornaments and furniture. It will make a generation to cleanse them, and even then they can never be what they once were. But there has been already much improvement; beginnings have been made all over the country; and in all this the Warham Guild has been allowed, through the encouragement of many enlightened parsons and donors, to take a part. Let us give a few examples of the Guild's contribution during the last year or two.
Memorial Chapel, Merrow. Architect: Mr. F. E. Howard
The narrow window, the doorway and recess in the wall, made this chapel a difficult problem, which was met by erecting a screen, and thus forming a convenient little sacristy behind the altar. The screen is of oak linen fold panelling, surmounted by a rich but restrained cresting, with a door on the south side. The reredos, decorated in gold, blue, and black, contains the Annunciation, Crucifixion, and the Three Maries at the Sepulchre. The four figures represent St. George, St. Andrew, St. Patrick, and St. David.
The stained glass, mainly of silvery white with colour sparingly used, but pure and bright, contains figures of St. George, St. Michael, St. Joan of Arc, and St. Martin. The last saint is the patron of French soldiers, and also of Ypres, the pivot of the British front, and it was on Martinmas Day that the Armistice was signed.
Altar, King's College Chapel, Cambridge. Altar by the Warham Guild. Cross and Candlesticks by Bainbridge Reynolds.
In this side-chapel of the beautiful Chapel of King's College, the dorsal is of blue silk, panelled with green silk, hung on iron rods with red cords, and more red is introduced in the cushion, while the frontal is of blue and green tapestry. Mr. Bainbridge Reynold's cross and candlesticks are of iron, armour-bright.
Leavesden Church, Lady Chapel. Architect: Mr. F. E. Howard. Sculptor, Mr. Alec Miller.
Mr. Howard has done much work for us during the last year or two, and it will be interesting to compare one or two reredoses by him of different degrees of elaboration though we ought to add the reminder that there is plenty of room also for altars and reredoses of other architectural styles. Renaissance and Romanesque are just as ecclesiastical as Gothic, and Basilican is more so. Architecture, if it is alive, is always [8/9] growing and developing, and can never be confined to the past.
On the previous page is an impressive small reredos of a simpler type, with figures of great beauty and originality by Mr. Alec Miller. The frame is black and gold, the background bright blue, with gold leaf decoration. The figures are coloured, and for economy cast in plaster from the originals. Frontal of blue and green.
Christ Church, Gravesend, Reredos. Architect: Mr. F. E. Howard.
Another example of a simpler type. Frame in black and gold. Figures in gold and colour. The Instruments of the Passion are beautifully drawn and are suitable in this case, but we must avoid making of them a mere fashion or convention. It is generally best gradually to fill shields with real heraldry, bearing on the people and places concerned.
Silsoe Church, Reredos. Architect: Mr. F. E. Howard.
Anothe example, in which the Crucifixion is flanked by figures separated by panels with shields. The background of the niches is blue, the panels black, and the shields in their gay heraldic colours; the canopy work and other carving is gold; the riddels green, with red cords and black rings, and the frontal is red, panelled with black and gold.
S. Gabriel's, Swansea, Lady Chapel Screens. Architect: Mr. F. E. Howard.
Firm and original tracery and cresting, with well-planned screen work. This is an excellent example of a war memorial which commemorates the dead without offending the living, and adds to the church something that was really wanted.
Cope and Mitre, made for the Archbishop of Wales.
The Church of Wales has made a good beginning on its aesthetic as well as on other sides. This cope and mitre were designed by Mr. Howard. The arms are those of the four Welsh dioceses.
The mitre, of cloth of gold, is decorated with blue silk orphreys, embroidered with a design in gold of lilies with moonstones: the arms of St. Asaph on the back. Amethysts at the sides.
The crozier, of beautifully simple form, was designed by Mr. F. S. Greenwood for the Bishop of Chota Nagpur.
Primatial Cross for the Archbishop of Wales. Designed by G. Kruger Gray. Executed by A. N. Kirk and M. C. Oliver.
We show both the back and front of this beautifully made cross, of silver gilt and jewelled with amethysts, which is now one of the treasures of the Welsh Church. The front contains a figure of our Lord, in blue enamel. The broad band below the knop is for engraving the names and dates of the Archbishops of Wales. Note the richness of decoration combined with simplicity of outline, and the cunning tracery work which strengthens the base.
Processional Cross, St. Asaph Cathedral. Designed and made by F. S. Greenwood and A. H. Watts.
A very original design of beaten bronze, jewelled. Celtic interlaced ornament. On the back the arms of the See.
Cope, Ely Cathedral.
This cope, which was made for St. Katharine's Chapel in Ely Cathedral shows a marked improvement in the form. The cope was the first vestment to suffer from over stiff embroidery and consequent shapeless ness, and the hood not only ceased to be a hood, but became a mere encumbrance or advertisement. W e must gradually bring this vestment back to its proper shape as a graceful mantle. Here the cope, which is of silk tapestry, is shaped to the shoulders, and the hood of blue velvet is brought back to the outline of a possible hood, and is fixed (like the old Westminster Abbey ones) to the top of the orphrey, as the real hoods of the original copes of course were fixed.
Tippet of Fur Made for an Archbishop.
Every one will remember the "tippet of sables" shown in the pictures of Warham, Cranmer, and other prelates both before and after the Reformation. Its object, however, is not only honorific but also to provide warmth, and therefore it used to be lined for high dignitaries with sable (always the most expensive fur) in the sixteenth century. This tippet--lined with a more modest fur--was made by the Guild for use at the unveiling of the Cenotaph in Whitehall, when the weather was very cold.
A Historical Tryptich. Architect: F. E. Howard.
The people know so little about their churches. This example shows one way in which the historical sense can be nurtured, and by a method which provides also a firm and striking piece of decoration. Red and black lettering on a parchment coloured ground, combined with the proper heraldry, make a fitting ornament for Bury Parish Church.
Memorial Cross, Cuddesdon College. By F. E. Howard.
This graceful cross was set up in the grounds of Cuddesdon College in memory of those of its members who died in the Great War. The Calvary group is in front, our Lady and the holy Child at the back, and SS. Michael and George on either side.
Pectoral Cross, given to the Archbishop of Wales by Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone of Hawarden. Made by F. S. Greenwood and H. A. Watts.
St. Mary's, Battle. Oak Screen. Architect: W. E. Ellery-Anderson.