St George's, Nailsworth

Art & Architecture

 

Art and music play a big part in our life at St George’s.

 

The church is used as a venue for a bi-annual Art Festival organised by the church itself. And we are used for a similar activity as part of the annual Nailsworth Festival.

 

The church itself is blessed with some fine works of art itself detailed below.

The Architecture of the Church

This large parish church, consecrated in November 1900 and with a seating capacity of 500, was built in the Early English style and consisted originally only of a nave, aisles and south porch because the new building fund was insufficient to cover the provision of a chancel and a tower. The architect was a Mr M H Medland FRIBA of Gloucester.

 

Subsequently the chancel, Lady Chapel and vestries were added in 1939 in memory of those who died in the First World War but the church tower was never built because of the continuing lack of money. The adjoining Parish Room was built as a major extension to the vestries in 1980 and is used frequently by the community at large for all sorts of activities.

 

More information on the history and features of the church can be found in the downloadable History of St George's leaflet on our downloads page.

 

Stained Glass

The church, being relatively modern has few items of historical interest in it but it does contain some interesting stained windows in the south aisle – three that depict St Luke, St Paul and St Barnabas all bearing the wheat sheaf mark of Kempe and three depicting St Richard of Chichester, St George and St Martin.   The remaining stained glass window, depicting the prophetess Anna bears the craft mark (a greyhound) of Herbert Bryans. The East window, erected in 1977, was designed by Peter Strong.

The West End Mural

In 1985 Sir Oliver Heywood responded to a commission to paint a large mural on the west wall of Saint George’s Church. Initially he and his wife Denise spent a month in the town, sketching, photographing, and getting to know the local people. Then in his studio Oliver carefully drew and planned the work. Finally, the mural took shape on the wall. Both Denise and a number of children came to help. The painting shows Christ surrounded by the people of Nailsworth.  

A Last Supper

Behind the altar of St George’s church is a large painting.  Titled “A Last Supper”, it was painted by Lorna May Wadsworth as a commission for the church. 

 

At the beginning of 2008 St George’s Church was advised that a church member, Mr Alan Denman who had died in January, had left them a substantial sum: “on condition that the monies are not used for the general maintenance and repair of the church but for a mural with a religious theme preferably “The Last Supper” on the East wall of the Church behind the high altar“.

 

The search began to see if such a condition could be fulfilled. Mr Denman’s son Nigel had a client, Vicky, who painted and mentioned it to her -she did not think she could tackle such a task but had a friend who she knew from an Art College in Plymouth who was a portrait painter in London – Lorna May Wadsworth. Contact was made and Lorna was intrigued by the possibility of a commission to paint The Last Supper, having just been inspired by recent visits to Florence. Having visited the church, she agreed to undertake the commission on three conditions.

 

Her conditions before she accepted the commission were that she be given artistic freedom to create a painting to the best of her ability and that she be allowed to exhibit the painting in London before it came to Nailsworth and that she had in mind a model for Jesus and he was black.

 

The painting was finished and then first exhibited in London before being delivered to St George’s and hung, with Lorna in attendance on the 8th April 2009. The painting was unveiled by Nick Denman and his family during a special service on the 23rd April and dedicated by the then Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd. Michael Perham.

 

More details about Lorna can be found on her web-site www.lornamaywadsworth.com

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