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Controversial Colour - the story of St Paul's 'explosion of colour'

The early twentieth century saw a great explosion of colour in the quire of St Paul's. An extraordinary scheme of sparkling mosaics clad the walls and ceiling with an array of biblical characters and exotic wildlife.

In this talk, Cathedral guide, Chris Allen, will consider how this decoration came about and what the startling visual effect was intended to communicate.

Preserved almost by chance, twenty one cartoons for mosaic decoration have survived in the Cathedral collections. These working designs were never intended to last but today provide a wonderful insight in to the vision of the artist William Blake Richmond and the techniques used by his craftsmen to execute the scheme.

Cathedral Conservator Teresa Heady will reveal the means by which the vibrant colours of the cartoons have recently been restored and a small display of objects and archive material related to the mosaics will be shown after the talk.

Wednesday 17 September
1 - 2pm

This talk is the fifth in a series of six across 2014, organised by the Cathedral's Collections department.

Each presentation takes an aspect of the Cathedral Collections as the starting point to illuminate and elucidate an aspect of the rich life and work of St Paul’s. These 45-minute introductions will be delivered by Cathedral staff and volunteers who have researched specific items from the Library, Archives or Object Collection.

The talks will endeavour to bring star objects and less well known but significant treasures to the fore as they reveal details behind the big stories in the history of St Paul’s as well as some of the less well known facets of the pursuit of the Cathedral Mission and associated activities and events.

Space is limited for all sessions and booking will be essential. Booking will open when the programme, with titles and an indication of content, are posted on the website.