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Altar Ego

By redstag  
Moving on from my last upload, this was the shot I took as the elderly lady who had come into the church to pray for those in need decided to have a conversation about religion. I only managed to take a couple of shots. But this is a superb location. It is based on a basilica in Lombardy and is designed to remind the Dowager lady Pembroke of her Eastern European homeland.
There is something really very strange about this Church.
Every Parish Church in Britain lies on an East West axis to keep them lined up with the graves I believe.
This church however lies on a North South axis, so what would normally be the East Window is in fact the South window.
I have read two theories as to why the church lies on this slightly eccentric axis. First one is that the Lady Dowager wanted the church to lie on the same axis as those in her home land in Russia. (But this is discounted as they also lie East West to follow the sun) The second more prosaic reason is that it was the only way they could get it to fit on the plot of land available in Wilton.

There is a theory that our churches face Jerusalem, if that is the case, maybe those in Russia do face south.

If someone has a really good book on churches (You know who you are Les!) maybe they can give the definitive answer.

This church cost the Pembrokes a small fortune somewhere between £20k and £60k depending on whether you believe Wikipedia or other sources.

Whatever it cost, it is a jewel. It leaks a bit apparently (they did use a design suited to warmer and drier climes!) but it is quite something.

The verticals converge, I was going for the sense of insignificance of the kneeling faithful before God's altar!

The title, is a bit irreverent perhaps, but it struck me that without the Pembroke ego this flamboyant jewel would never have been created.


(I've ticked mods, if the verticals upset you, you straighten them! LOL)

Tags: Church Architecture Wiltshire Hdr Altar Landscape and travel Photomatix Wilton Italianate Byzantine Romanesque

Voters: Shutterbybaby, dathersmith, Dave_Henderson and 40 more

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dathersmith 15 565 12 United Kingdom
23 May 2008 6:07PM
Great shot, nice composition and super detail.

pmaclll 16 5 Scotland
23 May 2008 6:17PM
cracking image , I like the colours
newy17 16 273 United Kingdom
23 May 2008 6:34PM
Sod the verticals lol this is stunning,,
uggyy 16 2.1k 9 Scotland
23 May 2008 6:50PM
C_Daniels 17 399 10 England
23 May 2008 6:51PM
Superb Jon...

Intersting angle with fine detail and exposure. The converging verticals add to the image here I think and convey the sense of height well.
Eviscera 16 1.1k 149 United Kingdom
23 May 2008 7:51PM
imposing image mate , and great centerpiece , the description went right over my head tho !

Good on ya not persping the verts .

Sezz 17 619 15 England
23 May 2008 9:20PM
Mr Daniels said it perfectly for me - smashing image Jon!

Sarah *
buxton 14 England
23 May 2008 10:48PM
Stunning image, great angle.
redstag 16 100 15 United Kingdom
24 May 2008 7:29PM
Caleb, thanks for the award, I'm made up with that.
samsalt1 15 34 4
24 May 2008 7:49PM
An excellent photo and good info.

I like your style re the do the verticals yourself lol.

backbeat 16 134 1 United Kingdom
24 May 2008 10:16PM
it really does give you the feeling of 'kneeling at the alter'...

very well processed jon

Glynn 16 1.2k 1 United Kingdom
24 May 2008 10:23PM
Symetry is stunning as is the photography - love this image
bliba Plus
16 1 2 Austria
25 May 2008 11:03AM
great colours and perspective
Bodiewil 15 46 Wales
25 May 2008 1:25PM

Quote:(I've ticked mods, if the verticals upset you, you straighten them! LOL)

Nah !!! they don't need doing and I think it would spoil the symmetry anyway. Fantastic work again Jon. So superbly processed.

HebLight 14 14 England
28 May 2008 3:03AM
I've been away since last Friday so missed this one - a superbly processed and taken shot of a very impressive building.

As to the definitive answer I don't believe there is one. It's one of those things that are lost in the mists of time and the truth is whatever you find most acceptable. I expect the 'official' version would be that the church is lined up to face the place of Christ's birth but I suspect that, like many Christian traditions, it is probably based on pagan beliefs of lining up monuments to the sun (which wouldn't of course explain the Russian preference!).

Hoping to get down to Salisbury and Winchester Cathedrals later in the year but it looks like I might have to build in a detour for this 'rogue' church.
LeighRebecca 14 267 10 England
28 May 2008 3:42PM
Great detail and colours. I also like the converging lines giving a sense of size.


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