St Paul’s Cathedral is preparing to display a unique piece of embroidery titled Art From Art crafted by 133 men from the UK, Canada, Australia and South Africa, who worked to create an elaborate altar frontal whilst recovering in hospitals around the UK from injuries suffered during the conflicts of WWI.
As part of its plans to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War, St Paul’s will set aside an area of the cathedral for four years from August 2014 to display the altar frontal and the accompanying book containing the handwritten names of all its contributors. At a special service of the Eucharist on Sunday 3 August 2014, the restored altar frontal will be used for the first time since the 1940s. It was unused after that time because the altar it was originally made for was destroyed when the cathedral was bombed in WWII.
The cathedral’s collections department is attempting to trace descendants of the soldiers and a database of all the names has been compiled. It is hoped that photographs, letters and other items personal to the soldiers can be found so that their stories may be told to cathedral visitors over the period of 2014-18.
For more information, and the database of names and nationalities of the 133 men, please visit St Paul’s website.
St Paul’s Cathedral: Art From War: A detail of a bird on the Altar frontal. Photo: ©St Paul’s Cathedral.