The Art of Worship | Chichester Cathedral Launches Liturgical Arts Residency

On the Feast of the Epiphany (6th January 2022), Chichester Cathedral will launch The Art of Worship - an innovative artist residency, taking place within the heart of the 940 year-old living place of worship.

Chichester Cathedral has a long history of seeking the face of God in visual form, from the twelfth century Chichester Reliefs, the murals of Lambert Barnard in the sixteenth century, through to the contemporary work of artists Ursula Benker-Schirmer, John Piper and Graham Sutherland.

Leading British liturgical artists Martin Earle and James Blackstone will be undertaking the residency within a custom-built studio in the Cathedral’s North Transept until March 2022. The project has been developed with celebrated liturgical artist Aidan Hart. All three draw on the same spiritual wells as the Cathedral’s first builders and employ many of the same techniques, including egg tempera, fresco, water gilding, carving, and hand-cut glass mosaic.

Visitors to the Cathedral will be invited to observe these timeless, intricate techniques in the setting of a busy working studio. Martin Earle will be at work on a crucifix for the Beda College in Rome and James Blackstone will be making a mosaic of St Dominic for Chichester Cathedral.

We are thrilled to be hosting these widely celebrated artists at the Cathedral from 2022. Our hope is for this residency to explore the development of a long-term school for specialist liturgical arts at Chichester Cathedral.

Rowan Williams writes: Christian art in its origins, is not about decorative extras or helpful illustrations of stories and doctrines; it is itself a sort of enacting of faith, a means by which we are brought more fully into the mystery being celebrated.

We look forward to inviting you to accompany us on a journey of exploration.

The Dean of Chichester, The Very Reverend Stephen Waine

Accompanying the residency will be a lecture series from James Blackstone on the spiritual senses and liturgical art, as well as a study day with the three artists and the Cathedral’s Canon Chancellor, the Reverend Dr Daniel Inman, exploring the theology and process of commissioning liturgical art

The residency period will also see a week-long event focusing on the practice of iconography for third-year students from The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts in London, led by Aidan Hart.

Follow the progress of the Residency

Image: Altar Crucifix (detail), carving in oak (Martin Earle, 2021)