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St George's Chapel Westminster Cathedral

Decorative scheme

for St George's Chapel

Westminster Cathedral 


Notes on this work

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The decorative scheme by Tom Phillips in the Chapel of St George and the English Martyrs at Westminster Cathedral was completed in 2016 and dedicated by His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster. 

The chapel honours the English martyrs of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The names of the forty catholic martyrs are emblazoned in mosaic across a dark sky in the chapel vault and their suffering is recalled by a depiction of the Tyburn gallows in marble intarsia on the west wall. On the east wall Phillips’ radiating marble design focuses the chapel’s decoration on the relief by Eric Gill that stands over the altar. 

“I thought the martyrs should be given their names” says Phillips “and be in heaven in the vault, the flames of their burning faith still bright. The west wall shows the gibbet at Tyburn as traditionally represented, with the ladders which served it now depicted as ascending above, into the vault. As you face it you are pointing directly towards the site of Tyburn, two miles away at Marble Arch.” 

The ladders also echo Phillips’ earlier marble work relating to Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius in the adjacent Chapel of the Holy Souls. The artist recalls how the St George’s Chapel project started over a dozen years ago when Monsignor Mark Langham, then the Cathedral Administrator suggested the texts over the arches, from St Luke and the Nunc dimittis, now realised in contrasting overlaid mosaic in Latin and English.

Photo: Mazur/