Altar Images Breathe New Life into Church; Religious Artwork Salvaged for St Columba's

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), July 11, 2002 | Go to article overview

Altar Images Breathe New Life into Church; Religious Artwork Salvaged for St Columba's


Byline: Suzanne Elsworth

IT WAS a match made in heaven when St Columba's Anglican church inherited a stunning altar piece which was to become the focus of its renovations.

The Anfield church was offered a beautiful example of religious artwork salvaged from a church in Manchester - and the giant creation was guaranteed to fit perfectly in its new surroundings as both buildings had been designed by the same architects and their altars made by the same artists.

St Columba's, in Pinehurst Avenue, was built in the 1930s under the direction of architect Bernard Miller and its original altar piece was designed by Mary Adshead. The same pair also built and decorated St Christopher's church in Withington, which was sadly closed more than 10 years ago and later demolished.

Some of its fixtures and fittings were lost, but the rest, including the wooden altar and its canvases, were stored in the cellars of St Bride's church in Liverpool until new homes could be found.

After intensive restoration, it has now been installed at St Columba's in time for the church's 70th anniversary celebrations. A special rededication ceremony and blessing is due to take place next week.

Church leaders and worshippers are delighted with the finished results.

Tony Aulton, secretary of St Columba's church, told the Daily Post: ``It is a most impressive piece which is more than 30 ft long and now stands behind our high altar.

``It is made up of eight panels depicting the life of Christ and its restoration has really brought the pictures back to life.

``Because of the history of the altar and the churches, it fits in so well - it couldn't have gone anywhere else other than here. It is lovely 1930s style and is very unique.''

The altar piece measures 30ft by 15ft overall and consists of 21 separate canvases decorated with oil paintings depicting scenes from the life of Christ, including the nativity and feeding the 5,000. The central panel measures almost 14ft by 8ft and features a spectacular image of Christ ascending. …

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