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THE CHURCH HOUSE: ITS ART AND SYMBOLISM

T

HE statue in the centre of the Dean's Yard front, carved in a niche between the brick pilasters, represents the Prophet, the Foreseer, of the Deliberative Assembly of the Church of England. Its form is suggested by Michael Angelo's painting of the Prophet Daniel on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He is there represented in contemplation and on his knees is an open book supported by one of the artist's stalwart cherubs. Here there is a winged figure, an Angel Messenger from Heaven; one of the Aenigmata Divina, as Donne the Dean of St. Paul's called them. The Head is that of strong manhood; the Hand points the way. Beneath is cut in Greek capitals the words:

The Kingdom of God is within you. - St. Luke, xvii, 21

Six Capitals of the pilasters have in the carved brick foliage the symbols of the four Evangelists, and on the two in the centre the symbol of the Holy Spirit. In one of the two crosses below, inlaid in the flint-work, is a Crown with a hint of thorns on the rim; the thought in Francis Thompson's poem, "The Judgement in Heaven," that all crowns or chaplets of honour have their hidden thorns. It is similar to that on the Gateway to Tufton Street. In the other is the monogram of our Lord, XP. In the pediment palm leaves of Peace are carved in the brickwork.

From the Book "The Church House - Its Art and Symbolism"
Published for the Corporation of the Church House June 1940.
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