Monday 30 January 2017

Ancient and Modern

No, I didn't take a diversion to Finland - this is England. It's the extraordinary interior of the new chapel of Ripon College, the C of E's high-toned training establishment at Cuddesdon in Oxfordshire. The old buildings (in French Gothic style by G.E. Street) are very fine, and the new chapel, which stands alone in the grounds, keeps up the standard, while working in an entirely different idiom. It's built to an ingenious design that allows light to flood in from every angle, offers a range of different spaces for different purposes, and opens views out across the grounds and into the tree tops. Those beautiful soaring arches, which rise to a keel-shaped roof, are made of nothing more exalted than Glulam, laminated glued timber - a lesson in what can be achieved with workaday materials, plus thought and imagination.

And here (below) is St Mary, Nottingham, caught in the light of the setting sun. In the tree at the far right, a very chatty and numerous charm of goldfinches were gradually settling down to roost, but not before many little alarums and excursions. St Mary's is a large and glorious medieval church, in the Perpendicular style (a style that really deserves a better, less geometric name), which is also testimony to how good those Victorian restorers could be when they put their minds to it - and how fine their stained glass could be: there's lots of it in St Mary's, and most of it is of superb quality. The modern age has contributed one very welcome innovation - a heated wooden floor, making this surely one of the warmest large churches in the land.

No comments:

Post a Comment