Contemporary Art In The Church 58

Implicity and broad treatment in wrought iron work undoubtedly are commendable qualities; but, with that perverse tendency of the day towards extremes in technique, whether it be in the fine or in the applied arts, these are terms but too commonly used to excuse heavy and tasteless construction, or bold or unimaginative ornament. This is principally noticeable in the bulk of the wrought iron work supplied to our churches, which usually suffer by having their purchasing commissions entrusted to committees composed of persons wholly without artistic taste or discrimination. The wealthy member is inclined to place the decoration and furnishing of his own house in the hands of a competent architect, but for the equipment of the House of God, any makeshift would appear to be good enough. This state of affairs, naturally would in a great measure be remedied by the church furnishing firm improving its own standard of taste; for, by doing that, it would raise the taste of its customers. Such a happy consummation is devoutly to be wished. While awaiting it. it is grafifying to note such excep-tions as are indicated by the excellent examples of church work we illustrate on this and the two following pages, which show that at least with some of the furnishing firms artistic design is not lacking, nor is light smithing a lost art.

The alms-plate on the opposite page, reproduced by permission of Messrs. Benham & Frond, is made of hand-beaten copper and finished in oxidised silver. The altar cross, executed be the same firm, is of polished brass, with enamels effectively introduced at the extremities. The altar cross, by Messrs. Waltham (fig. 1), is also embellished with enamel, which is surrounded by a forged rope-twist; but this cross is of forged iron with applied ends of pierced and hammered platework, which, with the finish of the metal, constitute the effective part of the ornamentation. This finish is a quiet armour-steel polish, lacquered so as to retain its colour. The height of this beautiful cross is three feet four inches. The other altar cross (fig. 2) is of hammered brass, polished to a quiet golden tone. It is two feet three inches high. The processional cross, made by the same firm, is of forged iron, and is more elaborate in construction and decoration. Brass strap-work is applied to the face, rivetted and terminating, in pierced ends of the same material, in a conventional rose design. The centre is enriched with a small enamel, which, with the steel and the brass, finished in a quiet hand polish, combine to produce a colour scheme of distinct charm and refinement. The metal is lacquered, and the cross is mounted on a fumed oak staff, the size being two feet four inches, from the top of the cross to the bottom of the socket.

The Crucifix illustrated on this page is a beautiful example in forged iron. The cross itself is quite plain, but breaks out at the four terminal points into leaf scroll and twisted rope work, forming ends of a delicate lace-work effect. The foot, in plan, is a Hat hexagonal, designed to obtain a broad view, while taking up little room in reality. An enamel on the front facet of the base bears the arms of the diocese.

Altar Crucifix. By permission of messis, Waltham & Co.

Altar Crucifix. By permission of messis, Waltham & Co.