An African church in Hampshire





The 11am Eucharist at St Philip's, Cosham, tomorrow will be celebrated under a starry sky. That is because the altar stands beneath a canopy spangled with stars on a dark blue background, against which four angels shine in gold....

Cosham is a very English suburb of Portsmouth and its architect was Sir Ninian Comper, who died 50 years ago next Wednesday. He is counted one of the greatest architects of the 20th century by some, though others see him mainly as a church furnisher, perhaps because they do not appreciate his central principle: that a church is a building to contain an altar....

This mixture of styles might sound like a jumble, but it forms an organic whole. Comper followed an idea of unity (and thus beauty) by inclusion. He had turned against the mock medievalism of his early career as a student of G F Bodley, (1827-1907), the most influential architect of the Anglican Church in the last third of the 19th century (for Comper was a long-lived man, born in 1864). He saw the success with which the Baroque was incorporated into ancient basilicas, Romanesque churches and Gothic chancels abroad....

comments powered by Disqus
History News Network