Thursday, 15 March 2007

The Baptistry

It was Cardinal's Vaughan's wish that the chapels of the Cathedral should physically portray the Christian journey from birth to death, starting with the Baptistry and ending with the Chapel of the Holy Souls. The Baptistry at Westminster Cathedral is modelled on those in early Christian basilicas and found throughout the Roman and Byzantine world. The marble decoration of the baptistry was paid for by the daughters of J F Bentley, architect of the Cathedral.

The font, in moss-green marble, was designed by J F Bentley. It was made in Rome in 1901, and Bentley never saw it as it was installed in the Cathedral after his death. Despite its appearance, it is not used for total immersions - there is inside a deep circular basin, 5 feet in diameter, a small marble basin inside the lid is used for baptisms.

One of the rare sculptural images in this Byzantine cathedral is the copy of a statue of John the Baptist by the celebrated Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770 - 1844). The Cathedral version is made of Cornish tin.


1 comment:

flabellum said...

I saw the security tent outside the cathedral in preparation for a Gala Concert yesterday evening. You must have had some pretty special guests. How did it all go? Any pictures to come?