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Statues - Hither & Thither

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Bath
Somerset

South West England

Abbey Churchyard
(Abbey Church of St. Peter and St. Paul)

Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church

Various sculptors
16th century and c. 1900

Bath /  Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church   Bath /  Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church

Description

Bath Abbey is a former Benedictine monastery, founded in the 7th century, it was reorganised in the 10th century and rebuilt in the 12th and 16th centuries.

The westfront, with all the sculptures, was build under bishop Oliver King (c. 1432-1503). The bishop organised the restoration of the church after 1500. The story of the refounding is told on the west front. King had a dream in which he saw a host of angels on a ladder, the Holy Trinity and an olive tree with a crown on it. He heard a voice: 'Let an Olive establish the crown, and let a King restore the Church.' King believed this was a call for him to support the candidature of Henry VII as king, and to restore the Abbey. These images are carved on the West Front of the Abbey with coats of arms of the Montague Family (who paid for the carved wooden doors) and Henry VII's coat of arms.
The west front was restored from 1899 to 1901, and dedicated 6 June 1901 by the Bishop of Bath and Wells. Sir George Frampton made the new statues of King Henry VII and the seated Christ, which both had disappeared. Frampton was payed £600 for his work: statue of King Henry VII, £200; one Apostle, £100; eight angels on the ladders, £270; head to the central figure in niche, £30 (he could also renew the whole figure, that cost £90).
The description below is based on Briton (1825).

Top façade

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Seated Christ, sculpted by Sir George Frampton. The relief on top of the façade shows the Angelic Choir, in attitudes of adoration, glorifying the Trinity.

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Dove

Porch

Above the entrance is a statue of King Henry VII, , sculpted by Sir George Frampton, and the doors are flanked by two statues of the patrons of the church.
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
Saint Peter
(possibly died AD 67), apostle, first pope; patron saint of locksmiths and confessors. Usually holding the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven in his hand (Wikipedia)
The inscription is unreadable, but in 1746 described as: "Under ye of St. Peter, with his keys in his hand, on ye north side, is this: Claviger Æthereus factus de Simone Petrus." (quoted by Briton
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
King Henry VII
(1491 - 1547)
king of England 1509-1547.
(Wikipedia).
sculpted by Sir George Frampton, c. 1902
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
Saint Paul
the Apostle, (c. 5 - c. 67 ), persecuted the early followers of Jesus before switching sides and seeking to join them. He was instrumental in creating the Christian Church. He is the protector of tent-makers, theologians and the ecclesiastical press and is depicted with a sword. (Wikipedia).
In 1746: "Under the other of St. Paul, holding a sword, is this line: Ecce furor Sauli factus est Conversio Pauli.&quop;

Front windows of the side aisles

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(left) Figure in flowing drapery, appearing to hold and open deed with seals appendant.
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(right) Figure seeming to hold a pouch.

North and south corner turrets

Both turrets are decorated by ladders with angels climbing to heaven on both turrets one of the angels is falling down! At the top of each ladder is a half figure.
The story behind this is that Bishop Oliver King is said to have had a dream of ascending and descending angels which inspired this design. On each side of the ladders are statues of the ten of the Twelve Apostles, the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist, in three tiers.
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upper statue left face left tower
St. Philip.
sculpted by Laurence Tindall, 1993
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upper statue right face left tower
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
upper statue left face right tower
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lower statue right face right tower
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
middle statue left face left tower
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
middle statue right face left tower
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
middle statue left face right tower
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
lower statue right face right tower
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
lower statue left face left tower
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
lower statue right face left tower
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
lower statue left face right tower
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
lower statue right face right tower

The Ladders

Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
top figure left, with book and cloverleaf.
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
top figure right, with book and cross.

Climbing Angels
The lowest angels on both towers are damaged and not photographed by us.
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
1st angel left
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
2nd angel left
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
3rd angel left
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
4th angel left
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
5th angel left
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
1st angel right
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
2rd angel right
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
3rd angel right
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
4th angel right
Bath - Sculptures at Bath Abbey Church
5th angel right

Sculptors

Sources & Information

Tags

  • Country: Great Britain
  • Angel
  • Apostles (Twelve)
  • Choir
  • Christ
  • Façade with statues (church)
  • Frampton, sir George
  • Henry VII (King of England)
  • Jacob's Ladder
  • Paul, St.
  • Peter, St.
  • Tindall, Laurence
  • Location (N 51°22'52" - W 2°21'33")

    Item Code: gbsw080; Photograph: 22 March 2019
    Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
    If you want to use photos, please contact us via the contact form (in Dutch, English or German).
    © Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt