02 March 2024

Hannah Golding’s
‘Nautilus’ sculpture
in Lichfield celebrates
Darwin’s innovation

Hannah Golding’s ‘Nautilus’ at Erasmus Darwin House in Lichfield reflects the achievements of the Lunar Society (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2024)

Patrick Comerford

Tucked away in a corner of the garden behind Erasmus Darwin in Lichfield, I noticed for the first time this week a sculpture by Hannah Golding that I had not noticed before.

The sculptor Peter Walker, who has worked closely with Lichfield Cathedral, made Lichfield City an artwork in its own right ten years ago, turning the streets into an art gallery and establishing Lichfield as ‘The City of Sculpture’ in 2014. This involved creating and developing a City Sculpture Trail, 52 weeks of art working with schools and community groups, creating three modern bronze statues, and creating and establishing sustainability for the arts in the area.

Hannah Golding from Rugeley is a self-employed visual artist now based in York. She has experience in facilitating community engagement alongside large-scale art projects and producing artwork in different mediums for galleries and private buyers. Her large-scale commissions have included installations, bespoke paintings and sculptures.

She studied at Staffordshire University (BA) and has been involved in running art workshops for adults and children, and has working with schools, colleges and museums. From 2016, she was the assistant artist to Peter Walker for the art installations in cathedrals, including Lichfield Cathedral, and helped to build the artwork and run the community engagement sessions.

Hannah was the first artist to turn the Edwardian Boat House at Stowe Pool into an art installation and studio in 2017. She led workshops at Lichfield Cathedral where she created willow and paper angel sculptures as part of the cathedral’s 10,000 angel installation for Peter Walker.

Hannah Golding turned the Edwardian Boat House at Stowe Pool into an art installation and studio in 2017 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2024)

Hannah Golding’s ‘Nautilus’ has been in the Garden at Erasmus Darwin House for the past five years. It was funded by Swinfen Broun Trust and was unveiled on 13 April 2019 as part of a month-long exhibition exploring the development of the piece and all the art work created by the local community.

Hannah Golding based her work on the theme of Erasmus Darwin’s Lunar Legacy. Her sculpture was formed around Erasmus Darwin’s evolutionary motto, E Conchis Omnia (‘Everything from Shells’). Using the Nautilus shell as a symbol of expansion and efficiency, Hannah used metal cogs to form the body of the work to reflect the Lunar Society’s industrial achievements and represent the enlightened thinkers working together to drive improvements across society.

The project began in March 2018 when Erasmus Darwin House was awarded a grant for £25,050 by the Swinfen Broun Trust, facilitated through Lichfield District Council, to produce the sculpture and exhibition.

When the sculpture was being unveiled, Jenny Arthur, chair of Erasmus Darwin House, said it was ‘an amazing project for the Museum, it has fostered a real sense of community within the museum, with various groups visiting the museum to make artwork and find out about the achievements of local man Erasmus Darwin.’

The project encouraged the local community to get ‘hands on’ with various mediums, and enabled the museum to provide valuable work experience for students from the University of Birmingham. Hannah Golding worked with local groups such as Charnwood Children’s Centre, Together the Mental Health charity and the art students from the Lichfield Campus of South Staffordshire College.

Ruth Buttery of Erasmus Darwin House, who worked closely on the project, said at the time that it ‘revealed that the theme is still relevant to today’s society – working together to collaborate and design something new creates a unity within these groups and a sense that together they can achieve new things and feel like they can go on to develop more ideas for the future, which without participating in this project they would not have discovered.’

In the Garden behind Erasmus Darwin House in Lichfield (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2024)

Daily prayer in Lent with
early English saints:
18, 2 March 2024,
Saint Theodore of Tarsus

Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury places Saint Chad of Lichfield on a horse … a tile in the chancel of Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

The Season of Lent began last month on Ash Wednesday (14 February 2024), and tomorrow is the Third in Lent (Lent III, 3 March 2024). The Calendar of the Church of England in Common Worship today (2 March) commemorates Saint Chad of Lichfield (672), who I wrote about on Sunday (25 February 2024).

Throughout Lent this year, I am taking time each morning to reflect on the lives of early, pre-Reformation English saints commemorated in Common Worship.

Before this day begins, I am taking some quiet time this morning for reflection, prayer and reading in these ways:

1, A reflection on an early, pre-Reformation English saint;

2, today’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

Archbishop Theodore and Saint Ovin in a stained-glass window in the Chapter House in Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Early English pre-Reformation saints: 18, Saint Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury

Saint Theodore of Tarsus (602-690), Archbishop of Canterbury in 668-690, is commemorated in Common Worship on 19 September.

Theodore was born in Tarsus in Cilicia, a Greek-speaking diocese of the Byzantine Empire and the home city of the Apostle Paul, ca 602. He grew up in Tarsus in Cilicia but fled to Constantinople when Tarsus fell to the Persian Empire. He was then educated in Athens before being appointed Archbishop of Canterbury by the pope. He was raised straight from being a sub-deacon to the position of archbishop, and immediately proved his worth by undertaking a visitation of the whole of England soon after his arrival.

As Archbishop of Canterbury, he is best known for his reforms, including the calculation of Easter, episcopal authority, itinerant monks, calling synods and marriage regulations.

He set about reforming the Church in England with the division of dioceses and called the Synod of Hertford on 24 September 673, when canons were issued dealing with the rights and obligations of both clergy and religious: it restricted bishops to working in their own diocese and not intruding on the ministry of their prelate neighbours; it established precedence within the episcopacy; and it ensured that monks remained stable to their monastery and obedient to their abbot. The canons were based on those of the Council of Chalcedon.

Theodore was the first Archbishop of Canterbury to have the willing allegiance of all Anglo-Saxon England. He instructed Saint Chad to step down at York in favour of Wilfrid, but he was so impressed by Chad’s humility that he confirmed his ordination as bishop while he returned to Lastingham as abbot. Later ,Theodore recalled Chad as the fifth bishop of the Mercians or Lichfield.

Saint Chad’s humility and holiness were shown in his refusal to use a horse, insisting on walking everywhere. However, Theodore ordered him to ride on long journeys and lifted him into the saddle on one occasion.

Theodore of Canterbury died on 19 September 690.

Archbishop Theodore and Saint Ovin depicted in a window in Lichfield Cathedral in memory of Dean Edward Bickersteth (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Luke 14: 7-11 (NRSVA):

7 When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honour, he told them a parable. 8 ‘When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honour, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; 9 and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, “Give this person your place”, and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, “Friend, move up higher”; then you will be honoured in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. 11 For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’

The Acropolis in Athens … Theodore of Tarsus was educated in Athens before being appointed Archbishop of Canterbury (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Today’s Prayers (Saturday 2 March 2024):

The theme this week in ‘Pray With the World Church,’ the Prayer Diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), has been ‘Lent Reflection: Freedom in Christ.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday by the Revd Bianca DaĆ©bs (Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil).

The USPG Prayer Diary today (2 March 2024, Saint Chad of Lichfield) invites us to pray in these words:

We pray for the work and mission Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil, that the Church and its work may be a testimony to the love of God.

The Collect:

Almighty God,
from the first fruits of the English nation who turned to Christ,
you called your servant Chad
to be an evangelist and bishop of his own people:
give us grace so to follow his peaceable nature,
humble spirit and prayerful life,
that we may truly commend to others
the faith which we ourselves profess;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Post-Communion Prayer:

Holy Father, who gathered us here around the table of your Son
to share this meal with the whole household of God:
in that new world where you reveal
the fullness of your peace,
gather people of every race and language
to share with Chad and all your saints
in the eternal banquet of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Collect on the Eve of Lent III:

Almighty God,
whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain,
and entered not into glory before he was crucified:
mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross,
may find it none other than the way of life and peace;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Yesterday’s Reflection: Saint Benedict Biscop, Abbot of Wearmouth

Tomorrow: Saint Aldhelm (709), Bishop of Sherborne

Peter Walker’s statue of Saint Chad at Lichfield Cathedral … Saint Chad is commemorated in Common Worship on 2 March (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org