As promised, photos of the finished Gothic statues, which had been awaiting restoration in our previous post, "Lenten Challenge".
The surfaces were restored to their original colours and decoration, which had been altered by a previous restorer; likewise the face and flesh areas were repainted to present a natural look...(rather than heavily applied make - up!)
As promised, the results of our most recent restoration; a Madonna statue which was missing a hand, and the cross for the Christ child's orb.
She now holds Rosary beads rather than a sceptre, as the statue will be installed in a prayer room dedicated to the Rosary.
Research showed that hangman's noose at the neck, and a dagger in the chest was the usual motif.With twenty characters to depict, the dagger and rope may have got a bit "samey". Variety was needed to pay tribute to each individual Saint.
Putting Faces to Names
I though it best to follow convention where "portraits" of the Martyrs were concerned, working from historic images of them.
Unable to find any portraits of Blessed Thomas Maxfield, I had to decide on his appearance, and what symbols I could use to identify him;
and so here is what I chose:
The flowers he holds signify more than just the fact that both the Gallows and his path to them were strewn with wild flowers; I chose species which represent the blood of the martyrs and their association with the passion of Christ.
The butterfly is a nod to his having suffered biting insects when imprisoned; though I have used here the symbol of "Eternal Life".
Balancing act with colours
The composition of the mural was to echo the paintings of Giotto and Fra Angelico.
As both had distinct styles, I chose elements from both to achieve the desired marriage between the two!
These artists did not use perspective as a contemporary artist would, and they favoured large discs of halos, and layering of their figures.
I am near to completing the clay model of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament.
The montage left shows stages of progress anti - clockwise.
The statue has to fit in a niche or apse, which has angled sides, so I have had to take this into consideration when planning the composition.
To keep detail sharp, I have removed the hands of the Baby Jesus, and will cast them separately.
These will be re- joined on to the main figure at a later stage.
With final detailing done, we should be able to start making the mould early next week (God willing!)
A priest I know had been looking for a statue of the Blessed Virgin and couldn't find anything suitable; either size wise or budget wise.
The uniformity of contemporary catalogue statues left him cold.
With costs of buying from abroad proving a little "too high" the answer lay in commissioning something that would
When he asked if I might take up the challenge, I was delighted to accept.
I showed him a small 12 inch statue of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament which I had made some years ago; (and almost forgotten) He declared that it fitted the bill perfectly!
9) Taking charge of her confraternities, decorating her altars, crowning and adorning her statues.
10) Carrying her statues or having others carry them in procession, or keeping a small one on one's person as a effective protection against the evil one.
11) Having statues made of her, or her name engraved and placed on the walls of churches or houses and on the gates and entrances of towns, churches and houses.
Recently, we have been planning the restoration of a Marian themed retable at an Accrington church.
It was installed in the mid 1930's and was designed by the renowned Architect "Giles Gilbert Scott" - Most commonly known for his design of the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool, and the once familiar red telephone box.
A new Retable on the opposite transept of the church had been installed in the 1970's; and with all the re-ordering in process; (which advocated " In with the new, and out with the old.")
It was decided that the old Marian Retable should be adjusted to match the new one....(rather than vice versa! )
Inspired by a conversation with one of our good priests who was visiting us; I dusted off my embroidery box and began to sew.
For some time I have been wondering if my Needlework could be put to any Liturgical use, and praying about it, ("as one does!" )
I was half way through making this sampler when I took a step back for reflection; " Oh dear" I thought, I am making images again!"
I recalled my mum once saying " Jeanette, I think you were only meant for decoration...!"
She thought this was very funny, but may have been nearer the truth than she realised!
When a lady at my church (who I didn't really know) mentioned she had permission to begin a Divine Mercy prayer group at my church; she added " but I haven't got the image"...
At that time, all I knew about the devotion, was on the prayer card my sister had sent to me from London where she was living at the time. It was this one I used as reference for the painting at Holy Rosary.
(see image left)
For a few weeks prior to meeting the "Divine Mercy" lady, the image of Divine Mercy had been appearing in my dreams rather frequently.
Perhaps that was co-incidental, but I felt the only way to respond to this was to treat it as a "prompt" and I painted the image for the prayer group which now hangs in the blessed Sacrament chapel at Holy Rosary Church in Aintree. (see above left)
I've been asked by Father C to re-design the decorative scheme for this altar, to evoke Christ, rather than his Mother Mary, the Blessed Virgin.
As a "nod to its age, it will be in a medieval gothic style. (I believe its from the days of the architect Pugin, or slightly earlier.)
I'll post again when its done with some before and after images,
until then, to the left is William Blakes marvellous work " Ancient of Days" depicting God measuring out the universe with a Compass.
Art and Maths need each other, like faith and reason; Seems Blake and Pugin understood that Divine order- liness, extends even unto the realm of liturgical arts!
Our Blog at Lewis and Lewis is regularly updated with posts on the world of religious statue restoration, and the production of new artworks. we also post on related topics such as techniques and methodology, ecclesiastical design, architecture and the importance of beauty in spirituality...
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One of my first Icons was commissioned by Revd. "B"
a native of the U.S.A. yet serving us spiritually here in the U.K. for a number of Years.
He looked after three parishes, two of which were built in the eleventh century.
He had once felt a call to come to England, and he and his wife responded generously; having arrived in the U.K. they awaited the Spirit's lead.
As so often happens, it was when they were on the cusp of leaving; that his ministry to the Anglican communion suddenly opened up, and he was assigned his first parish.
Preparing traditional gesso for the icon ground with whiting and animal glue.
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