Saturday, March 21, 2009

Commemoration of the destruction of Marian shrines

Comment: unfortunately, if the model is any guide, the statue will be hideous. Why did they choose Paul Day? His previous work ranges from mediocre realism to ugly weirdness, and the proposal in this case is completely misconceived. (Don't put walls round a statue. It's not clever and suggestive; it's just going to hide the thing.) Still, it's a nice idea. Here is the organisers' website.

From the Catholic Herald, in part: One of Britain's leading sculptors is to erect a statue of Our Lady and the Child Jesus on the site of London's medieval Marian shrine.

Paul Day will spend a year creating the work, called Mary Most Holy, outside the front entrance of the Church of Our Lady of Willesden, north London. It will commemorate the Marian shrines destroyed during the Reformation.

The sculpture was originally intended to stand on land alongside the River Thames at Chelsea where King Henry VIII ordered the statues taken from 64 Marian shrines to be burned on huge bonfires in 1538.

But Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council denied planning permission at the last minute, forcing the Art and Reconciliation Trust, the charity that commissioned the work, to look elsewhere.

Brent Borough Council has now formally approved the plans.

"As we couldn't have Chelsea the next obvious place was at Willesden," said Frances Scarr, chairwoman of the trust, which was set up to promote awareness of the negative effects iconoclasm can have on culture. "It is a medieval shrine dating back to 939," she said. "It is one of the original shrines. It was the only shrine to Our Lady in London at that time. It even pre-dates Walsingham.

"We now all agree actually that where it is going is more appropriate and will also foster a great deal more prayer. If it had been at Chelsea it would have been in a garden with a lot of other statues but now it is outside a church and a very active church at that."

She said that she was seeking £500,000 in donations to help to pay for the work. "If all goes to plan Paul Day will start on the memorial this September," she said.

See the full story.

1 comment:

Londiniensis said...

"We now all agree actually that where it is going is more appropriate ..." That's (politely) called putting a brave face on things.

"... will also foster a great deal more prayer." And that's missing the point entirely. In Chelsea it would have been a constant reminder and sign of contradiction to throngs of visitors, In Willesden it will foster prayer in those who come to pray already.

So, not a public sign of witness and remembrance, but an additional set of statues in an existing cxhurch.

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen