Saturday, 18 November 2006

St Andrew's Chapel

As St Andrew's day draws near, it is fitting that we take possession of a painting of St Andrew's chapel by Robert Weir Schultz (1860 - 1951), the Byzantine scholar and architect, who was commissioned by the 4th Marquess of Bute to decorate the chapel dedicated to the saint.

The watercolour was spotted this summer in the Fine Arts Society, in Bond Street, having been part of the estate of Andrew Keith, a descendant of Schultz who died in 2005. I do think it a pity that these situations arise - I am certain Mr Keith would have wanted to bequesth it to the Cathedral. As it was, we were faced with raising £4,000 to buy it. I was in a quandry over spending this much money on a painting, even if it was highly desirable that the work come to us. In the end, I told the story in the weekly newsletter, and rapidly received donations from parishioners.

The watercolour measures 44.5cm by 78.8cm, and shows the marble and mosaic decoration of the east and west ends of the chapel, with a small depiction of the floor design. The mosaics were put up 1913 - 1915, and Venetian mosaicists were employed. The altar (shown left) is built of scottish granite, with relics of St Andrew in the wall above it.

The floor plan in the centre shows a 'river' of Connemare marble, flanked by sea creatures - a lovely reference to the fact that St Andrew was a fisherman, before his calling by the Lord.

The painting will be put on public display in the Vaughan Chantry (where it is secure).

No comments: