I first saw Westminster Cathedral on television (at Christmas, Midnight Mass) a few years ago. I was intrigued by the architecture, but I didn’t give it much thought afterwards. Then, one day a couple of years ago, I decided it would be worth a visit later that day to see whether it had any interesting stone. I hadn’t Googled it, you see... I had only seen it from a tower-block office window, and the Midnight Mass broadcast had quite rightly focused on the service rather than the building.
I mentioned my plan to a friend who was at the same meeting as I was in London that morning - she said that she wished she had known I was going as she would have bought her copy of the book about the Cathedral’s marbles along with her. At that point, I twigged that this might just be an unusual building. In my defence, although I was baptised a Catholic as a baby, and took my First Holy Communion as a child, I spend rather more time in the Gothic architecture of my far-from-London local Anglican cathedral than I do in an RC one so I had no real reason to know that Westminster Cathedral is famous for its marbles!
|Pillars in the South transept|
And the Cathedral is not even finished! The nave ceiling is black. It is brick – I don’t know whether it has been blackened by incense and candle smoke or by general London smokiness and smog from days of not-so-yore. When the ceiling is fully mosaic, reflecting the light, this will be one of the Modern Wonders of the World. The main abiding image by far that I have in my mind is the same impression as I had got from seeing the Cathedral on television – that of the piers and columns against this black ceiling looking like crystal towers or an exotic town against a night sky. It has been a labour of love and of faith. I think that this photograph shows that beautifully.
|Crystal towers against a night sky|