England’s cathedrals are repositories for some of the country’s greatest artistic treasures. From carving in wood and stone, to the great stained glass windows, painting, embroidery and metalwork, art not only adorns these buildings, it is part of their very fabric. Many having stood in our towns and cities for centuries, it is perhaps unsurprising that we take them for granted, and imagine them as complete and unchanging. So an exhibition of modern sculpture in one of our great cathedrals may seem somewhat unusual, but is in fact rather fitting, and encourages us to look and think of these spaces anew. On a recent return journey to London, I stopped at Gloucester, simply intending to stretch my legs and raise my spirits with a visit to the cathedral. Happily, I discovered all manner of unexpected sculpture which made the pitstop even more invigorating. Work by Gormley, Chadwick, Pye and many others, made for interesting companions to the long time resident kings, saints and bishops.
It seems these temporary inhabitants will be leaving at the end of the month, so if you get the chance, nip along quick.
Even after the exhibition has been packed away, this spectacular cathedral is always worth a detour.
And if all that culture and piety is enough, you can nip round the corner and admire the marvellous decoration at this place…