Wednesday 13 August 2014

The Chapter House of Westminster Abbey

Monday 11 August 2014

As we left the Jewel Tower, the charming person on duty in the tiny cafe mentioned to us that English Heritage also controls the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey, so we could see that without paying the £18.00 that it costs to see the whole Abbey.  (we shall do that, of course, when we have more time...)

She also pointed out that we could avoid the enormous queues for the Abbey itself by going through Deans Yard.  

So we did.  At the door, we were given yellow passes to show when challenged (we weren't) and headed round the Cloisters, pausing briefly to admire a couple of memorials.  These included one to James Cook, with rather lovely blue enamel sea

Passing what claims to be the oldest door in Britain, dating from about 1050, we came to the Chapter House, which was looking rather fine as the sunshine came through the stained glass windows.  These date from the 1950s, the originals having sustained damage during the Blitz.

We admired the renovated vaulting, as well as the medieval pictures on one of the walls.  

These showed scenes from the Apocalypse, though the Kamyl and the Dromedary did not appear to bothered by the end of all things. These painting were commissioned by John of Northampton in the 15th century.

It is also possible to see some of the floor tiles, as they have been left exposed in the centre of the durable carpet which protects much of the floor.
 As part of the Abbey's commemoration of the Great War, three pictures by Hughie O'Donohue RA called The Measure of all Things.  They were of men dressed in modern clothes, but lying in cruciform shapes, possibly on a battlefield.  The artist explains here.

By the time we left the Chapter House we felt sated, although our yellow passes would have got us into the Abbey Museum and the Pyx Chamber as well.  But it was time time to go, just in time to catch the next heavy rain shower.

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