Southwark Cathedral Lent array

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As a contrast to Tapper’s work at Westminster here are some pictures of Sir Ninian Comper’s Lenten array in Southwark Cathedral, photographed by SarumSleuth.  Comper’s array is near contemporary with that at Westminster and was added to the cathedral in the late 1920s and early 1930s.  The high altar array (above) differs from much other array in it’s use of colour, particularly the striking use of copper oxide green for the cross on the dossal and the floriation around the sacred monograms on the frontal.

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When it came to the four altars in the retrochoir, Comper stuck with the more usual ox blood red.  Comper’s Lenten Array is much more delicate and florid than the array produced by others, notably by the Warham Guild.  

9 thoughts on “Southwark Cathedral Lent array

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  1. The High Altar arrangements at Southwark are not helped by the hideous purple veil concealing the gilt figures in the middle of the reredos. What the powers that be were thinking when this went up is beyond my comprehension!There is some Comper Lenten array in St George's Chapel in the Abbey, but this is not as elaborate as that at Southwark. Next door in St Margaret's, Lenten array has been introduced comparatively recently, and is actually very effective.


  2. What seems to me a present-day anachronism with Lenten white – which, don't mistake me, I admire and far prefer to Roman purple – is that what was presumably a rather down-market and so suitably penitential fabric in the later Middle Ages is now very much a luxury fabric – far more so, I imagine, than much silk damask. Re “Roman” purple, does St Birinus' church at Dorchester need a dispensation to use the fine stenciled Lenten array that Fr Lew has posted elsewhere?


  3. Roger, more costly though it may well be today, linen is still far less expensive than high quality silk (cheap Thai silks excluded of course).


  4. Thanks Davis. Long time since I've bought linen, but the £30 paid in 1975 for a length of plain white fabric, never in the end used, sticks in my mind as an extravagance. Expensive silks I've only bought as remnants.


  5. While I like, perhaps excessively, real linen, I believe that it is the effect which is most important. I think I would really enjoy seeing a Lenten Array designed by Davis d'Ambly. I hope that all of us are doing our best to see that this great Anglican custom is both continued but extended to places where it has not been seen before.


  6. Fine shots of Egmanton on flickr. Thanks. Post to follow? Just acquired a copy of Bodley's 1899 Poems. Not a common book, though I was interested to see a printed-to-order facsimile is now available.


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