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All Saints
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All Saints

London has a vast number of Victorian churches, which were among the major works of the leading architects of the time, but All Saints' has a unique place in the firmament, for it was built as a model church by those who had the greatest influence in High Church circles. Alexander Beresford-Hope, its principal benefactor, wanted to build not an ordinary parish church but a 'higher and more minster-like type'. He led the Ecclesiological Society, which campaigned for Gothic churches to be used for worship along Tractarian lines. The society was keen to put its ideas into practice and relished the chance to build a model church.

All Saints

The mural tiles were designed by Alexander Gibbs. This panel on the north wall depicts the adoration of the Shepherds and the Magi.

All Saints

The chancel is emphasized in this important Anglo-Catholic church, and is slightly taller than the nave.

All Saints' was designed by William Butterfield and built in 1850-9. It has a markedly cramped site, a disadvantage for a model church in particular, but the architect placed his buildings to good effect. The domestic buildings were divided on either side of a small courtyard, with a gabled gateway in the middle. The church rises at the back. Three features attract the eye: a substantial porch; a tall pinnacle to the right of it; and the slim tower and spire, 70 metres (230 feet) high, to which the pinnacle points. The church is built in red brick with bands of black brick and stone. Butterfield became known for his 'structural polychrome' and for his use of brick. One external feature that is instructive is that the chancel's roof is slightly higher than the nave's, for the Ecclesiologists preached incessantly on the importance of a substantial chancel.

All Saints

Тhe chancel features numerous panels painted by Sir Ninian Comper. He also installed the hanging pyx and fitted out the Lady chapel.

All Saints

Тhe west window, made in 1877 by Alexander Gibbs, depicts the Tree of Jesse.

The interior is tall and wide, but the nave is just three bays long. To this we must add the deep chancel and its chapels. The arcades are supported on red granite columns with black marble plinths. The south-west comer, under the tower, serves as a baptistery. A low marble wall divides the chancel from the nave, and low screens divide the chancel from its chapels. The lightly stained screen at the east end of the south aisle was designed by Laurence King in 1962; it makes less effort to fit in than anything else. Many artists have adorned the church. The paintings on the east wall are Sir Ninian Comper's from 1909. There are two tiers with seven panels each, plus one further panel at the top. Comper also carried out the paintings on the north and south sanctuary walls (in 1914), installed the hanging pyx (in 1930) and fitted out the Lady chapel, north of the chancel, in 1911. Alexander Gibbs designed the Tree of Jesse in the five-light west window (1877), and also the windows of the south aisle, and provided the mural tiles on the north wall (1873). Floor tiles were supplied by the firm of Minton. The prominent marble pulpit is Butterfield's.

All Saints

Тhe highly coloured marble pulpit was one of Butterfield’s original furnishings.

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