Portrait Busts

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In 2010 The RC Church of Edward the Confessor in Golders Green asked me to produce 6 likenesses of prominent Catholic priests: Cardinal Hume, Archbishop (now Cardinal) Nicholls, Ronald Knox, Cardinal Bourne, Cardinal Newman and Father Bendon who was the first priest of this particular church.

As is customary with this particular work, we gathered as much visual information as possible, utilising image libraries. However, we made our own drawings from the photographs as when we draw we discover and make prominent the characteristics that make each face unique.

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We used a Bath Stone called Elm Park which was the building stone of the original church. It is fine and soft, but hardens on contact with air over time.

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My friend John Dasgupta (below) carving Hume. Note the various drawing/studies in the background.

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And this is the finished likeness.

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Cardinal Newman (below)

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Ronald Knox (below).

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We then installed them in the interior of the church using stainless steel dowels, epoxy resin and lime pointing.

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Geraint Davies was commissioned to design and carve a roundel to fill a vacant place above the main entrance porch to Saint James’s Church, Spanish Place. As a listed building of some merit and  one of particular interest in the Catholic history of London this was a sensitive task which Geraint executed with great patience and skill. I was impressed by the amount of time and care taken in preparing both the plans and the material for what has turned out to be a splendid addition to the visual impact of the church. Now that it is lit at night the roundel of the glorified Christ attracts much interest and is becoming a noteworthy (and sympathetic) part of the Marylebone architectural scene.
Father Christopher ColvenMarylebone, London