Art & Architecture: the Baptistry

 

photograph of the baptismal font in ll saints' ChurchAt the west end of the church is the baptistry. At the centre is the Font, a great bowl used for Holy Baptism. The  traditional place for a font is by the main door of a church, because baptism marks a person's entry into the church community, and in a similar way,  the door is where we come into the church building. 

It is one of the two most important parts of the church, the other being the High Altar. Our font is made of a huge piece of Chilmark stone and has six sides (unlike medieval fonts, which usually have eight). The font was designed by Temple Moore and is beautifully carved with Gothic motifs and the sacred monogram.

 

Immediately above the font is the 'Head of Christ' by the famous sculptor Dame Elisabeth Frink. It was installed in 1983. The closed eyes suggest contemplation, the lines below the forehead the humanity of Christ and the smooth pyramidical forehead His divinity; the overall communicating strength, nobility and pain.

 

photograph of the Great West Windfow in All saints' ChurchAbove the 'Head of Christ' is the Great West Window. This and the two 'Angel' windows above the north and south porches were designed by the late Cecil Collins and made by Patrick Reyntiens. The great west window is entitled 'The Mystery of the Holy Spirit' and shows God the Holy Spirit centrally as a great face or sun. Surrounding this are concentric circles, containing flames, which are also searing hearts, stars and wheeling circles of angels in form similar to those of the 'Angel' windows but now in flight, with heart shaped bodies containing an eye within a heart and with wings like tongues of flame. This window, which was dedicated in 1988, has many moods, in early morning with most of the light falling on the inside of the glass, the outside being in shade, the window is austere and cool, almost aloof. In the evening with the sun setting through the window the colours of the glass are enhanced and deepened with reds and golds filling the whole church.

 

photograph of Angel window in All Saints' ChurchThe two almost identical 'Angel' Windows over the north and south porches are much smaller, but boldly coloured in a vivid yellow, they are each dominated by two angels holding circles containing an eye within a heart - 'the eye of the heart'. These were dedicated in 1985.