By IH 12/07 Updated: 12/07 11:09
ONE of Holy Trinity's "greatest treasures" is revealed after being hidden for over a century.
An image of Jesus is revealed in a new publication which tells the definitive story of the stained glass in Shakespeare’s church.
The image - part of a window depicting ‘The Mocking of Christ’ painted before 1855, shows Jesus in agony, his eyes with tears on his face - features in The Stained Glass of Holy Trinity Church, written by historian and church assistant Madeleine Hammond, with photographs by assistant verger and professional photographer John Cheal.
The window in the Becket Chapel, comprising two upper and two lower sections, was blocked when the church organ was installed in 1898.
Mr Cheal managed to photograph sections of both lower sections – the Last Supper and the Mocking of Christ - by crawling into the lower organ loft when it was opened for routine cleaning in 2011, having asked engineers to unscrew a steel panel so he could poke the camera into the space behind.
“I wasn’t really sure what I was taking,” said John. “When we examined the pictures later, it was a real shock to see something so beautiful yet so forceful emerge, and to know we were the first people to set eyes on it in over a century.”
Vicar Martin Gorick was in doubt of the window's importance.
He said: “This is one of Holy Trinity’s greatest treasures – now revealed as never before”.
According to Peter Cormack, Visiting Fellow at London's Victoria & Albert Museum, the imagery of the Mocking of Christ is relatively rare in Anglican churches. It shows Jesus being humiliated before his crucifixion, given a reed ‘sceptre’ and a crown of thorns.
Ms Hammond said: “Each and every window is precious, whether it is made from shards of medieval glass, or an early 20th century masterpiece, because each one is a part of Holy Trinity’s history - but this image is certainly something very special.”
The booklet, available from the church bookshop, tells the story of the windows from medieval times, through the Reformation, Civil War and centuries of plain glass, to the replacement of stained glass in the 19th century.
The Friends of Shakespeare's Church are currently looking for help to raise in excess of 2.5 million for repair and renovation of the church building; specifically the stained glass windows. For further details visit www.shakespeareschurch.org or call 01789 290128.
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