In the midst of the turmoil of the Second World War the Bloomsbury artists Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell and Quentin Bell were invited to decorate the interior of the small rural church of St Michael and All Angels, Berwick in the South Downs National Park, East Sussex. The resulting paintings and decorations are considered to be one of the most important decorative schemes in this country. Sir John Rothenstein, director of the Tate Gallery at the time, said of the paintings that ‘they must, I think, be accounted among the best paintings to be made in church or chapel in England during the present century’.
This book describes the story behind this remarkable commission. It also explores how the artists responded to the scriptural passages they were given and the way in which they related their work to the architecture of the church.
Peter Blee read Natural Sciences at St John’s College, Cambridge and after graduating, began a career in ecology, combining it with an interest in landscape design. He later trained as an Anglican priest at St Stephen’s House, Oxford. Following ordination he served as curate at St Nicolas, Guildford and then as Associate Minister at St Boniface, Exeter. In 2003 he was appointed Rector of St Michael and All Angels, Berwick together with the neighbouring churches of Alciston, Arlington, Selmeston and Wilmington.
Reviews and Articles
“…not only definitive when it comes to the art-
Julian Bell (Artist -
“Wow! I was expecting a Pitkin-
“I have enjoyed the book so much; it is very well written and such a perceptive and evocative account.”
AW June 2017
“…the book arrived today in first-
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