Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

The reredos at SS Gregory and Augustine

Here is another picture of the reredos at SS Gregory and Augustine Oxford which was blessed by the Archbishop of Birmingham last Sunday. There are accompanying notes by Fr John Saward the parish priest.


"A generous bequest three years ago from the late Miss Kathleen White emboldened us to undertake what at least two of my predecessors considered, namely, the providing of the church with images of its two patrons in a restored reredos and sanctuary. The original reredos had three panels covered in Spanish leather, which forty years ago was replaced with wallpaper. By 2005 the wallpaper, though originally of high quality, was in a sorry state, faded and peeling. The parish, working closely with the diocesan Historic Churches Committee, commissioned the English painter James Gillick, his architect brother Gabriel, and other members of the Gillick family of Catholic artists to undertake the work of restoration. In the left-hand panel James has painted an image of Pope St Gregory, resplendent with Papal tiara, cope, and cross, and accompanied, as he is traditionally shown in Christian iconography, with the Dove, representing the Holy Ghost. On the right-hand side is St Augustine of Canterbury, sent by Pope Gregory to bring the Faith to England, and shown here as a simple Benedictine monk carrying, in accordance with the account given us by St Bede, an icon of the Divine Saviour. In the centre of the reredos, and above the two patron saints, is Our Lady with the Holy Child. I have christened her “Our Lady of Summertown” – the name for this suburb of Oxford."

Fr John Saward, parish priest.

Since this photograph was taken paintings of other saints have been inserted in the five panels of the wainscotting on either side of the altar.

Reproduced from Lawrence Lew's photostram in Flickr

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