Sunday, August 5, 2012

St. John's College Chapel, Cambridge

St. John's College Chapel in Cambridge is a nineteenth century work by architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. He was inspired by the thirteenth century Sainte Chapelle in Paris. Inside the gates of the college, the exterior looks like this:

St. John's College Chapel

From outside the gates, it also makes an impression.

Lucy is impressed

Visitors walk in between two statues of unidentified saints. This statue was the more interesting one to me. Usually, if someone is holding a building, she had a hand in reforming that order. Or built a magnificent church.

She's maybe a nun, but which one?

Inside, the south wall has a fine painting of Christ being taken down from His cross. Anton Raphael Mengs is the painter.

Deposition from the Cross, c. 1777

Also at the back is a life-size statue of William Wilberforce, who was a student at St. John's and a famous abolitionist.

Seems a little casual for being at church

The nave is dark but impressive.


Like many churches in England, there is a pulpit in the form of an eagle. This symbolism is especially appropriate here, since St. John is often depicted as an eagle (along with the other evangelist--St. Luke as an ox, St. Matthew as a man, St. Mark as lion).


One of the glories of the chapel is its nineteenth century stained glass windows.

West window, depicting the last judgment

Upper right is St. George; the bottom is the Annunciation

Top, Jesus is handed over; bottom, St. John is inspired to write the Book of Revelation

One of the unique thing in the chapel is the tomb of Hugh Ashton, died 1522. He was one of the first fellows of the college and appears twice on his tomb. On the top is a life-sized replica of him in academic robes. Underneath is a statue of an emaciated corpse.

Hugh Ashton, scholar

Two-tiered tomb, the bottom can't be easily photographed

Leaving out the side door brings one onto the Chapel Court, with another fine view of the exterior of the church.

West end of the chapel

Who was Saint John?

This particular Saint John is John the Evangelist, disciple of Jesus and author of one Gospel, three letters, and the Book of Revelation, all found in the New Testament. Read more about him here.

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