Creation, Craft and Creativity

The Collections
Today at the Cathedral View More
8:00am Morning Prayer
8:30am Doors open for sightseeing
8:30am Eucharist
10:00am Walk with Little Amal
12:30pm Eucharist
4:00pm Last entry for sightseeing
5:00pm Choral Evensong
5:30pm Cathedral closes

Creation, Craft and Creativity

2021 sees St Paul’s embrace the themes of Creation, Craft and Creativity – a celebration of the inspiration, making and resourcefulness which generated so much positivity in the challenging months which have just passed, and which will play their part in the recovery.

The remarkable craftsmanship with which St Paul’s was revived after the Great Fire of London provides a fascinating starting point for exploring these themes, with carver Grinling Gibbons, ironworker Jean Tijou, and master stonecarver William Kempster, amongst many others, providing virtuoso work to vitalise the Cathedral and add to the magnificence of its rebirth. They provided a benchmark for all the later additions and embellishments to the building fabric, which continued with mosaic and stained glass. The liturgical, commemorative and theological life of the Cathedral have called upon embroidery, metalwork, letter-cutting and book binding – and still do.

Craftsmanship remains central to the maintenance of the building and the daily life of the St Paul’s. The Cathedral’s Works Department have low visibility to our visitors and worshippers, but their carpentry, stone-carving and metalworking abilities are regularly employed on the up-keep of the building. Conservation of the Fabric, overseen by the Surveyor, sees many skilled practitioners brought in as contractors to complete highly specialised work, and the cathedral’s in-house conservator conducts remedial work on historical objects of all types of material.  

Our extensive programme of activities and events will explore the role of craft and creativity at the cathedral – both in its history and in our work today. This will include special talks and tours, access to behind the scenes workshops, activities for school groups and families, conservation in action on the cathedral floor and a Sunday Sermons series. The re-opening of the Cathedral library after a landmark conservation project will receive a special focus, and the 300th anniversary of the death of Grinling Gibbons, together with the commencement of cleaning and conservation of his work in the Quire, will provide a catalyst for exploring his life and legacy in greater depth.

Displays and Demonstrations

Grinling Gibbons and the Quire of St Paul's
24th May - 17th November 2021
Location: Dean's Aisle

To mark the tercentenary year of the death of master carver Grinling Gibbons, a display of his carvings telling the story of the conception, creation and care of the cathedral Quire.

Creation, Craft and Creativity: Marvellous Mosaics
3rd - 31st August 2021, 12.00-4.00pm

As part of our 2021 theme of Creation, Craft and Creativity, there will be a pop-up display from the Cathedral's archives, where visitors can discover the beauty and artistry of the St Paul's Dome mosaics by William Blake Richmond. Find out more about their dazzling history, and the skill that went into their creation.

Creation, Craft and Creativity: Embroidery Treasures
Fridays in August 2021, 1.00-4.00pm
Location: Minor Canon's Aisle

Our Cathedral Broderers will be demonstrating their wonderful skills and techniques, alongside a display of some of the spectacular copes and textiles in the Cathedral's collection.