St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the capital’s most iconic landmarks. Its distinctive dome marks the London skyline as a symbol of its architect, Sir Christopher Wren’s, creativity and artistry along with reflecting our distinct heritage. Now, in the first exhibition of its kind, 64 artists have produced original works to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the completion of Wren’s masterpiece in “Images of St. Paul’s in the 21st Century.”
Yes, we’ve probably rushed past it en route to somewhere more important, glanced at the dome across the river, seen it numerous times on TV as part of a quintessential London cityscape. But the cathedral is interwoven into our history, both past and recent. Standing the test of time – it’s the fourth church on the site after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London – St Paul’s has remained a constant whilst the city around it has changed and grown in ways unthinkable back in 1675 ,when it was built.
Since the first service was held in 1697, St Paul’s has been the setting for people and events of overwhelming importance to the country to be celebrated, mourned and commemorated. Important services have included the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill; Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria; peace services marking the end of the First and Second World Wars; the launch of the Festival of Britain; the Service of Remembrance and Commemoration for the 11th September 2001: the 80th and 100th birthdays of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother; the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, to Lady Diana Spencer and, most recently, the thanksgiving services for both the Golden Jubilee and 80th Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen.
If only its walls could talk….well, actually, they can. The famous Whispering Gallery runs around the interior of the Dome and is so-called because a charming quirk in its construction makes a whisper against its walls audible on the opposite side.
So, after 300 years of service both to the country and as a working church it’s probably time it had its portrait done.