In recent years the Cathedral has commissioned a number of pieces of artwork and the Cathedral is now one of the leading cathedrals for ecclesiatical art in the country.
The central space in St Peter's Chapel is dominated by the bronze sculpture, The Bombed Child, by Georg Ehrlich, himself a victim of war having been forced to leave his native country of Austria to live in England, following the Nazi invasion of 1938. The tabernacle was designed and made in glass and chrome by Bernard Merry in 2009. It holds the Oils of Reconcilliation. These two pieces in the Chapel contrast with the military nature of the chapel. It remembers those who gave their life in war and the desire for peace and reconciliation.
The etched window in the Chapel is by John Hutton, who engraved the great west screen in Coventry Cathedral and shows St Peter with his fishing nets.
St Cedd's Chapel
The chapel window was designed by Mark Cazalet and marks the centenary of the Cathedral and diocese in 2014. The window shows St Cedd at Bradwell. Cedd was one of four brothers although little is known about two of them. Chad and Cedd however, sailed from Lindisfarne, landed at Tilbury and built the stone Chapel, at Bradwell on the site of a former Roman fort. St Cedd’s Chapel still stands today and is open to visitors. In the window, beyond St Cedd you can see the chapel and with reference to its current setting, the wind farm out to sea beyond it. To hear Mark Cazalet speak about the window, please click here.
The bronze Christus on the West Wall is by a local sculptor Thomas Huxley-Jones.
After a chance encounter at Evensong in Chelmsford Cathedral, three Orthodox nuns, who wish to remain anonymous, were commissioned to create four icons to fill the four blank windows in the chancel above the altar. They followed the dedications of the Cathedral of St Mary the Virgin, St Peter, and St Cedd, with the addition of Jesus. Jesus, Mary, and St Peter all follow the traditional iconography. However, there is no tradition for St Cedd, and so it was agreed that following his journey form Lindisfarne to Bradwell in 654, he would probably look rather like John the Baptist. He holds the chapel he created there. The icons arrived at the Cathedral semi-finished and were then completed on site. The reason for this being that the icons are viewed from below at an angle and therefore the halos, for example, had to take the distortion of the angle into account. This involved a lot of running up and down the scaffolding tower, (in habits) to the amazement of the workers who were helping with the installation of the icons.
The principal icon writer of the Chelmsford icons was trained by one of the world's leading authorities on icons.
Mark Cazalet was commissioned to create a painting on thirty-five oak panels depicting the Tree of Life.
Mark, speaking about the installation, said that the inspiration behind the piece was the music and choral tradition of the Cathedral and that he very much wanted his mural to reflect this, with the swirling motion in the painting representing the musical traditions. Mark wanted the symmetrical design of the tree to represent opposing ideas with the tree bursting into life on one side and dying back on the other. The lighting in the Cathedral was very different from the church Mark had painted the mural in and he spent several weeks on a cherry picker, changing the colour and bringing the panels to life. His favourite part is Judas resurrected and the idea of the possibility of Judas being resurrected and spending a long time (hence the sandwiches and thermos) at the top of the tree and in turn that we too can be fully forgiven. To hear Mark Cazalet speak about the 'Tree of Life' installation, click here.
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