Bishop rededicates Marlborough Chapel

by Michael Ford last modified 25 Sep, 2019 10:51 AM

As part of a special international conference at Marlborough College, the College Chapel has been rededicated.

The rededication was carried out by Bishop Nicholas in a special Commission service which took place as part of the Visual Theology conference dedicated to John Ruskin, who was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, as well as an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist.

Ruskin wrote on subjects as varied as geology, architecture, myth, ornithology, literature, education, botany and political economy.

Bishop Nicholas was also one of the speakers at the conference which brought Church leaders, academics, and artists and public together to explore the legacy of John Ruskin and his ideas about theology and the arts, in this his bicentenary year.

The 2-day packed programme included paper presentations, a panel discussion, exhibition at the Mount House Gallery, concert and reimagined service of consecration in the Chapel.

Dr Sheona Beaumont, who organised the event said:

"Bishop Nicholas Holtam joined us in a panel discussion with Christopher Newall on ‘Ruskin as influencer’.

"The Bishop also led a specially commissioned Service of Rededication in the Chapel, alongside artist and priest Mark Dean."

The main venue for the conference, St Michael and All Angels Chapel is a masterpiece of Victorian vision and purpose. Its interior is considered to be one of the finest decorative schemes in nineteenth century church architecture, and includes a series of twelve large biblical murals by the late Pre-Raphaelite John Roddam Spencer Stanhope.

These depict scenes involving angels, six on the north side from the Old Testament and a like number on the south from the New. Two other artistic features are the Scholars’ Window on the south side, which was designed by Edward Burne-Jones and made by Old Marlburian William Morris, and an external sculpture ‘The Virgin and Child’ by Eric Gill above the west door.

The building was consecrated on 29th September 1886.

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