Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

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St Mary’s Moorfields, London

A print from 1864 showing the interior of St. Mary’s Moorfield, London.

It is at this point that we have to try to imagine what St. Paul’s looked like before the iconaclastic vandals got at it in the 1970s.

This is the rebuilt ST. Mary’s.

Again, too late, I am afraid:

“The first chapel was opened in 1686, but suspended in 1689. Two further chapels were built the first destroyed in the Gordon Riots before a large Classical church in Finsbury Square was built in 1820.

The architect John Newman used a continental prototype for his design which concealed the source of light that came from above the main altar. This was made necessary by the dense buildings surrounding the Church. The plan consisted of nave, aisles and apsidal sanctuary. On the back wall was a remarkable painting of Mount Calvary by Angelo Aglio containing over fifty figures. The church, part of the first wave of building that succeeded the 1791 Catholic Relief Act, was probably the finest in structure and decoration. It served as Cardinal Wiseman’s pro-cathedral from 1850 to 1869.

In 1899 the construction of the Metropolitan Line meant that this church was pulled down and replaced by the present church in Eldon Street, which was opened on 25th March 1903. The present church incorporates many of the features of the pro-cathedral including the marble columns and the effect of a top lit sanctuary. Though smaller in scale something of the grandeur of the pro-cathedral can be seen.”

This is the present sanctuary. But, alas, all that marble sheeting conveys nothing of the dramaticità of Rubens, Salviati or Zucchari:

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