Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The predella and the void

Today we stripped off the covering from the predella in front of the tabernacle. Originally there was a top step, where the boards show, interestly it was narrower than the predellae in the side chapels. The altar came out to the stone foundation. The step was covered with green marble effect vinyl tiles which would have looked quite spectacular for the first couple of years

This more of the clutter found under the sanctuary, imagine those light fittings in a Victorian church!

This is our temporary altar arrangement, it is ad voidem for the whole of this week including all Sunday Masses. By the side of the altar are carved fragments recovered from the depths.
Thank you very if you have donated to our restoration fund, many readers have, I am very grateful, I will remember you and your intention at the altar.


Physiocrat said...

Please put it back as it was and leave it at that (though not the vinyl!)

It is probably going to be the easiest solution. Anything else perpetuates the present visual confusion which projects a theological confusion. I doubt if there will be any serious complaint about the temporary ad orientem altar which I think looks just the business.

Physiocrat said...

Do any of the old photographs and drawings show what the original light fittings were like?

Something of the kind might work well with the new ultra low-energy ultra long-life LED bulbs.

But Dutch style candelabra style fittings usually look right in this kind of context.

Anagnostis said...


Fr Ray Blake said...

Curious more than fascinatinating.

gemoftheocean said...

SAve one or two of those light fixtures for historical posterity and get rid of the broken junk! I marvel at how bone idle and flat out LAZY they were when they left all this stuff!

Fr Ray Blake said...

I have never sung the Salve fac for her.

The Saint Bede Studio said...

Father, would your congregation be very disturbed if you simply restored the High Altar to original condition? Surely it is not so many years away until the absence of versus populum Masses isn't even thought twice about?

Physiocrat said...

Michael, with the temporary ad orientem arrangement, there will probably be a few complaints but after a couple of weeks it will be forgotten.

Brighton and Hove Council's Conservation Officer, who is very keen on authentic historical restoration, can no doubt be brought in now that the work is in progress, to give his advice, so can be blamed later on if anyone makes an issue out of it. By then it will be too late and too expensive to do anything about it.

Sussex Catholic said...

I think we should applaud Father for his careful and measured restoration which will accommodate both forms of the Roman Rite and be faithful both to the GIRM and to the architect's original scheme. In the present climate while there remains a chance (however remote) that a priest's successor might be an iconoclast there is always the risk with a full return to the old scheme of this restoration being itself undone in the future. The scheme as proposed however would make it very difficult for any future incumbent to complain about even if his name were Fr.Bugnini. I only wish that art and architecture committees everywhere would now insist that any proposed "re-ordering" should be suitable for both forms of the Rite and refuse designs with a Protestant or Masonic style which have so disfigured so many of our churches over the past 20 years.

Fr Anthony said...

Father, I have followed your blog and your church restoration project for a while.

Why not indeed restore your altar to the way it was originally built in the 19th century, and have a temporary free-standing altar (stone mensa and wooden base), which can be removed in a few years when no one would say anything?

I would love to see your lovely Victorian church with its high altar.


Fr. Anthony

Et Expecto said...

The votes seem to be stacking up in favour of restoration to the original layout. I would support that.

I understand the spirit of compromise, but how well will it work? It seems to me that there is not room to have a free standing altar and three steps as well.

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