Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Duncan Grant: The Russell Chantry

Chantry is the English term for the establishment of an institutional chapel on private land or within a greater church, where a priest would celebrate Mass. The same term is also used for the endowment itself. The word derives from the Latin cantaria, meaning 'licence to sing mass'. The French term for this commemorative institution is a chapellenie. (from: Wikipedia)

In 1958 Duncan Grant decorated the Russell Chantry at Lincoln Cathedral, using Roche as the model for Christ. (from: The Telegraph Obituaries)

Lincoln Cathedral, or Lincoln Minster as it is also known, dates from 1072 when William the Conqueror instructed that the bishopric of this, then the largest diocese in England (covering the lands between the river Thames and the Humber), be moved from Dorchester, near Oxford, to Lincoln, where he had already established a castle in the old Roman upper city. The first Norman Bishop of Lincoln, Remigius had previously been a Benedictine monk, and a loyal supporter of William at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The cathedral was finally consecrated in 1092. It has dominated the skyline of Lincoln since then and is a prominent landmark from many parts of Lincolnshire. (from: Cathedrals in the East of England)

Simon Watney has speculated that "Perhaps it was this element of frank sensuality that led to the closure of the Chantry in the 1960s, and its conversion to a store-room, where the murals languished unseen behind heaps of clerical detritus." Fortunately, the chapel has recently been restored. (from: GLBTQ Arts)

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