14 May 2018

‘Do not applaud,
just throw money’

‘The Monument to the Unknown Artist’ … seen on Sumner Street near the Tate Modern (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

As I walk from Liverpool Street Station to the USPG offices in Southwark, my eye is often caught by the ‘Monument to the Unknown Artist,’ a sculpture on Sumner Street just behind the Tate Modern on Bankside, in front of the Blue Fin building, near the Neo buildings.

We have had summers in Ireland that were filled with stories of ‘moving statues.’ But on a warm sunny day in London last week I was told that this too is a moving statue.

The statue stands on a 6 ft plinth with a Latin inscription in capital letters: Non plaudite modo pecuniam jacite, which translates: ‘Do not applaud, just throw money.’

The piece was installed by an art collective called Greyworld, a collective of artists who have been creating intriguing urban art since the mid-1990s. Their other projects include the Lake District’s ‘Clockwork Forest’ (2011) and Trafalgar Sun (2012).

‘The Monument to the Unknown Artist’ often causes alarm because it is capable of moving.

The original inscription was going to be: Quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur, ‘Whatever is said in Latin sounds profound.’

When the statue was unveiled in 2007, a camera was linked to the sculpture, so it could observe and mimic the movements of passers-by. I have not seen it function like this, but some people say they have seen in bend and move, and have even seen it dance.

At first glance the figure seems to be a simple bronze statue standing on a stone plinth. However, the mischievous figure is said to observe the people passing by below and to mimic their movements as they pose before him – although I did not notice the statue move in the summer sunshine in London last week as I walked back from Great Suffolk Street to the Millennium Bridge and Saint Paul’s Cathedral, and on to Liverpool Street station.

A new lease of life
for Saint Michael’s
Church in Waterville

The Church of Saint Michael and All Angels in Waterville, Co Kerry, reopens on Trinity Sunday, 27 May, with an ecumenical service (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

The current edition [May 2018] of Newslink, the diocesan magazine for Limerick, Killaloe and Ardfert, reports that the local parish and the Rural Development Agency have signed an agreement on a 10-year lease for the Church of Saint Michael and All Angels in Waterville, Co Kerry.

Although the church will still hold services as usual, there will be opportunities to develop a heritage centre with exhibitions of local interest, in addition to a programme of concerts and other events.

The lease allows the parish to seek funding from a number of agencies to enhance the use of the church building. Heat and sound equipment are to be installed, and the dry lining to the ceiling is to be removed, revealing the oak beams that have been hidden for a long time.

Future plans include providing disabled access, toilet facilities and improved car parking. The funding efforts of the local community have made significant contributions to the feasibility of the scheme, and there have been generous donations from past parishioners.

An ecumenical service is planned for Trinity Sunday [27 May] to mark the completion of the first stage, and to thank Father Gerald Finnucane and the Saint Finian’s Parish, Waterville, for the use of the Waterville Oratory during the building work.

The Church of Saint Michael and All Angels was built in 1861 and consecrated in 1866. When I visited Waterville last month [19 April 2018], I visited the church which has a commanding view of Waterville Bay. It has an interesting graveyard that is also open to visitors, and the former Church of Ireland national school stands beside the graveyard.

Saint Michael’s and All Angels is a double-height over part-basement Gothic Revival church, dated 1866, and it was designed by Joseph Welland and completed by the architectural partnership of Welland and Gillespie.

The church has a four-bay nave, a single-bay, single-storey over basement lean-to vestry projection on the north side, a single-bay, single-storey gabled projecting porch on the south side, a single-bay, double-height lower chancel at the east end, and a corbelled limestone ashlar spirelet at the gable.

There is a pitched artificial slate roof with gable limestone copings and springers, replacement rainwater goods, and retaining slate roofs at the porch and the vestry.

The church is built with random rubble red sandstone walls with grey limestone dressings. There is a buttress at the centre of the west gable, a limestone corbel table to the gutters, carved rosettes at the west gable and a base batter.

The lancet windows have limestone surrounds and leaded diamond glazing with stained glass margins. There is a triple lancet east window. There is also a limestone door surround and steps up to the timber boarded door with decorative strap hinges. The church was first planned in 1858-1859 with a three-bay nave, a one-bay chancel, a south porch, a north robing room, and a bellcote. The foundation stone was laid in March 1859, and the contractor was DW Murphy of Bantry.

The plans were modified by Welland and Gillespie between 1861 and 1866, to incorporate a single bay chancel with the three-light east window. The church was consecrated on 29 September 1866.

The two-light west window, designed by Heaton, Butler and Bayne, was erected in 1882 in memory of John Edward Butler of Waterville and Youghal..

The former school beside the church in Waterville (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Joseph Welland (1798-1860) was the architect to the Board of First Fruits and later to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. He was born in Midleton, Co Cork, on 8 May 1798. His father, William Welland, was head agent to George Brodrick, 4th Viscount Midleton.

Through the influence of Lord Midleton’s brother, Charles Brodrick, Archbishop of Cashel, Joseph Welland became a pupil and laetr an assistant to John Bowden, architect to the Board of First Fruits, who also had a large secular practice.

His obituary in the Irish Builder says Welland ‘enjoyed an extensive share of business,’ with responsibility for many works, including Monaghan gaol and courthouse. When Bowden died in 1821, Welland was appointed the architect for the ecclesiastical Province of Tuam in the Church of Ireland. When the architects’ department was reorganised and centralised in 1843, he was given responsibility for the whole Church.

During his career, Welland designed over 100 new churches and altered and enlarged many other church buildings.

He married Sophia Margaret Mills, and their sons included Thomas James Welland (1830-1907), Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore; and William John Welland (1832-1895), who worked as an architect with his father.

Joseph Welland died on 6 March 1860 and a month later his son William John Welland and William Gillespie were appointed joint architects to the Church Commissioners. They held that post until the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland on 31 December 1870. Over those 10 years, they developed an increasingly personal and idiosyncratic version of Gothic in the churches which they designed.

William Gillespie (1818-1899), a son of William Stawell Gillespie of Cork, was born in 1818. By 1847, he was working as a district inspector for the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. He retired in 1870, and died of ‘senile decay’ in 1899 at Plympton House, near Plymouth, Devon, a private lunatic asylum belonging to Dr Charles Aldridge.

The Friends of Saint Michael’s, Waterville, was set up in 2010, after the parish had helped facilitate Saint Michael’s Church being used as a venue during the Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival.

From Trinity Sunday [27 May 2018] onwards there will be a regular service at 11.30 every Sunday in Saint Michael’s and All Angels. The report from the Kenmare and Dromod Group of Parishes in Newslnk says: ‘We look forward to welcoming our regular Sunday visitors, following in the footsteps of Charlie Chaplin and General Charles de Gaulle – why not join them for a day out to the far West of the Kingdom of Kerry.’

The Church of Saint Michael and All Angels in Waterville, Co Kerry, was designed by Joseph Welland and the architectural partnership of Welland and Gillespie (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

‘Thy Kingdom Come’ (4):
Offer, 1 Samuel 1: 25b-28

Patrick Comerford

‘Thy Kingdom Come’ is an invitation to pray with Christians around the world during the nine days between Ascension and Pentecost, using art and scripture.

‘Changed Lives → Changing Lives’ is the guiding theme this year as people are invited to pray afresh for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

In doing so, people are joining thousands of others around the world as part of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ – an initiative encouraging people to explore through prayer how they might courageously witness to God’s life-changing work.

As the Apostles prayed together following Christ’s Ascension, waiting for the Holy Spirit to come at Pentecost, we too are invited to wait and pray today. They prayed in obedience, trusting that the way ahead would be revealed. May we, like the disciples, pray anticipating that the Spirit will show us new ways of living and loving. ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ asks that we may we be open to where God leads us, to be the change God wants to see in the world – whatever that might require.

As God is at work in us, he is also at work through us changing the lives of others. Please join with us as we pray together: ‘Come Holy Spirit: thy kingdom come’ and may our waiting and praying this Novena open our hearts afresh to God’s possibilities.

The ‘Pocket Prayers’ for 2018 for these nine days invite readers each day to:

LOOK at images and meet the characters caught up in life-changing moments, where the future is shaped by their encounter with God. They suggest letting those images reveal new possibilities for God’s Word to transform us and others.

WAIT prayerfully for the Holy Spirit. Pause, creating a space into which God can speak.

READ the Bible text, allow it to enliven your heart, stir your soul and spark your imagination.

LISTEN for insight through idea or image, through recollection or curiosity. Let that Word dwell within you, as you listen for yourself and your community.

RESPOND to the prompting of the Word, with an action that leads to life-giving change. Let the words of the collect gather up and bless these moments of prayerful waiting upon God, so his Kingdom might be seen more fully in you.

Monday 14 May: Offer

LOOK … and be curious.

WAIT … with prayerful expectation. Come Holy Spirit: Thy Kingdom Come.

READ … the text with an open mind.

They brought the child to Eli. And she said, ‘Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him.

‘Therefore I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.’ She left him there for the Lord. (1 Samuel 1: 25b-28)

LISTEN … for a word with a willing heart.

RESPOND … with prayer and action.

Oh self-surrendering God, you are glad for each gift we offer up to you. As Hannah let go of everything she had prayed for, everything she had longed for, everything you blessed her with, it seems her heart did not break and that you blessed her more. So in our letting go of everything we pray for, and everything we long for, may we too know your blessing breaking in our lives. Amen.