Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell : Berwick Church



Duncan Grant along with Vanessa Bell and others are well known for their artistic decoration of walls and furnishings at Charleston, their Sussex retreat from Bloomsbury. It's not quite so well-known that those skills were also put to use in a number of ecclesiastical commissions. Seven years ago on this blog, I posted some images of the remarkable Russell Chantry in Lincoln Cathedral, completely covered in mural work (some of it rather homoerotic) by Grant. These images today are from the church of St Michael and All Angels in Berwick, Sussex. The two above by Duncan Grant, "The Victory of Calvary" and "Christ in Glory": the two below by Vanessa Bell "The Nativity" and "The Annunciation". They were painted onto board at Charleston and then transported to the church and fitted onto the walls. They were erected in the early 1940s and I love the inclusion of figures in contemporary dress around the nativity stall. The church is decorated in a complete scheme including work by Clive Bell as well but these, I think, are the most significant works.

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