artist : Donald (Don) Potter
This artist turned 100 in 2002 and his work was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Dorset County Museum. Canterton Books also published a book by Vivienne Light, on his work. He died in 2004.
Don Potter was a musician and rope-spinner as well as a sculptor, metal worker and potter. He is something of a legend at Bryanston School where he taught for more than 40 years. He also worked for some years with Eric Gill.
His Stations of the Cross took some time to complete – the work on rebuilding the church began in 1958 and at the reconsecration in 1961 the 14 pieces were not yet finished. They must have been soon after as there is no record of any difficulty about this.
They are made in ceramic with all the colours and differing glaze effects achieved by firing the kiln with wood only. There are many motifs or through-lines to be noted in the series - hands, animals, observers.
designed by the architect Antony Lewis
painted by Dorothy Rendell
This tester depicts the gathering of all the heavenly hosts above the altar, the place where the Eucharist is celebrated.
artist : Robert Dawson
This artist also designed the dedication stone in the church porch.
The two altar panels, one facing the congregation and one facing away, are of cast bronze. The facing panel depicts the ram caught in the thicket in Genesis 22, the sacrifice provided by God, and thus foreshadows the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. A horned ram also has symbolic reference to the altar in the great temple of Solomon, which had horns at each of its four corners. Choosing this theme brings together both the Old and New Testament references.
On the reverse side is the Chi Rho. It is a monogram formed from the first two letters of Christ’s name in Greek . Scholars have also commented that the combination also looks like a P and an X, which can indicate the Latin word Pax or Peace.
Robert Dawson died in 2012.
Designed by Heather Child and executed by Goddard and Gibbs Ltd.
These are explained in the Blue Book under the History page.
This was designed by the architect Antony Lewis (as were the light fittings in the church) and made up by Harvey Brothers Masons. The cover was designed and made by Brian Wood.
There are two windows here, both designed and made by Lawrence Lee, who died in 2011. The larger one incorporates panels from the bombed out St Philip’s church and the smaller shows the symbols of all the destroyed churches nearby whose benefices were then reunited with St Matthew’s. These are St Philip’s, St Matthias’s, St Paul’s and St Andrew’s.
There is no record of the artist who carved this piece. It is a solid wood statue and was installed in 1978. Like all the statues in St Mattthew's, it has been moved to a number of sites within the church. It currently resides on the north-east side of the altar. If you took this photo, please let us know.
artist : Kim James
Kim James also had a retrospective exhibition in 2002. His working life took him in many different directions. The work in St Matthew's was one of his first commissions on leaving the RCA. Later in the 1960s he had one-man shows at the Hanover Gallery where his fellow artists included Giacommetti, Viera da Silva and César. In 1969 he was chosen as one of a group of artists headed by Henry Moore to represent Great Britain at the Middeleheim Sculpture Biennale in Belgium. His work was shown and bought by collectors worldwide.
At this point in his career he decided to change direction completely and, from 1970, he studied and worked in fields related to the role of Art in cognition. This led him to become a leader in the development of theories and practice of Art Therapy, both in remedial contexts and in business strategy and communication.
The work in St Matthew's depicts the war between Heaven and Hell, St Michael and the angels doing battle with the devil. It is painted bas-relief in plaster. The structure for the foundation was made in panels off site but all the plasterwork was done in situ. Kim told many stories, some more gory than others, about the many months working here daily amongst builders, carpenters and electricians.
He died in 2011.
artist : Peter Snow
From left to right the records state that they are:
However, due to a seeming mix-up in symbols normally attributed to each of the Apostles, there is a theory that the panels of Jude and Thomas and Andrew and James the Great were swapped mistakenly upon installation.
Annunciation, Nativity and Assumption
artist : Barry Robinson
In Antony Lewis's 1957 design this chapel was intended as a Lady Chapel and so it did function for some years. This is the reason for the three painted murals in the ceiling depicting three scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary. The Annunciation shows Mary being visited by the angel Gabriel to be told she will bear Gods son. The Nativity scene shows the birth of Jesus in the stable. And the Assumption shows Mary, at the time of her death, being taken bodily into Heaven.
The chapel has also been designated as a Blessed Sacrament chapel in its time and nowadays is used as a chapel for smaller groups when the main church is deemed too large (or cold!).
The crucifix on the East wall was originally made for the temporary church that was built within the bombed out walls in 1952. It is carved wood.
This statue also appears in records of the temporary church, though it may have been made even earlier. She was recently damaged when a video man backed into her at a funeral and knocked her from her stand on the newel post. Artist unknown.
Commissioned in 2003 by Fr Kevin Scully and the PCC, these are by Liz Mathews of the then Whitechapel Pottery. This followed an earlier commission of a Baptismal Ewer in which Liz echoed the shape of the church font.
These were the parting gift of Fr John Scott in 2000. There is also a large alms dish that matches them. They were made by Sam Fanoroff of Glynleigh Studio. Originally from South Africa, Fanaroff sold some early work to the then “Craftsman’s Market” at Heals in 1958. He has worked in the medium ever since, restoring antique pieces and creating new ecclesiastical works for a variety of purposes. He is much influenced by the Art Nouveau period.
The interchange between artists and the church continues. For some years, the church hall was home to two galleries - Paradise Row and T 1 + 2.
Artists that have either had work in or related to the church are Cornelia Parker, Wolf Von Leinkiewicz, Lucinda Rogers and Turner Prize winner Laure Prouvost.
St Matthew's Row,
Bethnal Green London E2 6DT
Email us: email@example.com
Our main Sunday service is the
Parish Eucharist at 10.30am
Mass, Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer are offered most days.
See Parish Notices for more information