The mosaics in the chapel were designed as a meditation upon its special purpose. Cardinal Griffin (Archbishop of Westminster 1943 - 1956) had been impressed by an earlier mosaic of St Oliver Plunkett in the Cathedral executed by the Russian artist Boris Anrep (above). Born in St Petersburg, Anrep settled in Paris in 1908, and travelled to London in 1916. His mosaic work was held in high regard, and he designed mosaics for (among other locations) the National Gallery and Tate Gallery. The Administrator, Mgr Gordon Wheeler, approached him, and Anrep's designs were enthusiastically accepted by the Cathedral's art committee in 1956.
Anrep's Russian origins add an authenticity to his icon-inspired designs. Instead of the more usual gold background, the unifying colour here is a rose-pink, modified with other pastel hues. In the Russian tradition, this colour speaks of serenity, while it also clearly draws upon the tones of the existing marble decoration.
The many scenes are based on biblical landmarks that lead from Abel to Christ, and which prefigure the Eucharist.At the entrance to the chapel, two heavenly spirits stand guard; the Archangels Michael and Gabriel. Between them is a three-domed church and a chalice, symbol both of the Trinity and the Eucharist.
The mosaics were unveiled in 1962, and are a vigorous exposition of Eucharistic theology. They partake of the era in which they were created, underlining the importance of the use of diverse artists and styles in the mosaic decoration of the Cathedral.