Blame it on my missionary boarding school education or on the pleasant and welcoming atmosphere at St.Paul’s Cathedral in Kolkata – I have always loved visiting the local churches and cathedrals. So, St.Paul’s Cathedral was on my list.
St. Paul’s Cathedral was founded in 7th century but the present building is about 300 years old. This building was rebuilt after the Great Fire by Christopher Wren. This fact is only a drop in the sea of the rich history of the cathedral. The cathedral is filled with artistic masterpieces – from the statue of Duke of Wellington to the famous Madonna and Child to The Light of the World painting. Walking around and discovering each piece of art with its own history was indeed a fine experience.
The Quire Aisle and the huge organ take the spotlight on the main cathedral floor. The Organ boasts to be the fourth-largest in Great Britain in number of pipes. It felt really grand and inspiring even to someone like me who understands very little of the instrument. Another aspect that always attracts me in churches/cathedrals is the stained glass works. In St.Paul’s the only stained glass work one can see is behind the High Altar. Both the High Altar and the Quire Aisles were rebuilt after the Second World War and that is when the stained glass was incorporated into the building.
The Crypt at St.Paul’s is supposed to be the biggest in Europe and has many famous people buried under it. Christopher Wren, Alexander Fleming, John Donne and Duke of Wellington are among the few. The Crypt also has the Order of the British Empire Chapel. Then there is the Whispering Gallery which is 257 steps up from the Cathedral floor. If you whisper something at one side of the dome, it can be heard on the opposite side! Take another 119 steps up and you will reach the Stone Gallery. The view of London from the Stone Gallery is breathtakingly beautiful. And, it is just another 152 steps up to the Golden Gallery. You can have a panoramic view of the city from there.
What took my breath away though was the monochrome painting on the Dome. There are eight scenes from the St.Paul’s life drawn by James Thornhill up there. I spent majority of my time sitting down and craning my neck up to look at it. Stained glass and mosaic art is widespread and I this was my first experience (I am sure there are many around the world) of large scale grisaille work and I am bowled over!
It is a must visit while you are in London.
For More details visit: https://www.stpauls.co.uk/
QOTD: Do you notice the artwork in your place of worship?