Views 168 Unique 48
Vote 45
Award Shortlist   

Italianate Church

By PLCimagery  
Wilton's Church of St. Mary and St. Nicholas, also known as the Italianate Church, was built between 1841 and 1845 to replace the original medieval parish church that was falling into decay. The new church was designed by Thomas Henry Wyatt and David Brandon.

The first thing that will strike you about this impressive church is that it does not look like one's typical English parish church. The Byzantine design is inspired by a Roman basilica, while the mosaics of the nave will put one in mind of Greek or Russian Orthodox styles. This may not be a coincidence, as the church was built at the behest of the Dowager Countess of Pembroke, who was born in Russia. Some believe that the church's unusual north-south orientation (most English churches are built upon an east-west axis) was also the wish of the countess, as this was a custom in Russia. It's likely, however, that this orientation was chosen so that the church would directly face the road.

Many of the construction materials were imported from Europe, including black marble columns from the 13th-century Capocci Shrine from the Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome (which had subsequently ended up in the garden of Horace Walpole). Materials from this shrine are also included in the pulpit, which is particularly striking with its twisted columns and colored stone panels (known as Cosmato work). The pulpit was created by Peter Cavalini, who designed the tomb of Edward the Confessor at Westminster Abbey. The marble columns supporting the arches at the south end of the side aisles date from 200 BC, and come from the Temple of Venus at Porto Venere on the Gulf of Spezia. The lions supporting the front doorposts are carved from stone brought from the Isle of Man.

The windows include several 12th- and 13th-century panels from France, as well as painted Flemish or German roundels from the 16th-century. The rose window includes glass from the 16th century that was originally looted by Napoleon's army. The church also includes windows brought from the original parish church, as well as a number of fine contemporary Victorian windows.

A number of memorials and tombs were brought from the original church, while newer memorials include the recumbent alabaster figures of Lord Herbert of Lea (d. 1861) and his mother Catherine, the Countess of Pembroke (d. 1856). The Dowager Countess left 1,000 in trust for the church, which was to be invested to maintain the stained glass, mosaics, and other ornamentation.

The church stands upon the site of an older St. Nicholas church, which was already in ruins by the 1400's. Bones disturbed by the building work are housed in a stone sarcophagus, which stands against the outer southern wall. Another dramatic feature is the church's 105-foot campanile, which originally contained six bells recast from the bells of the original parish church. A new set of bells was installed in 2000 for the Millenium, and the originals were sent to Australia.

Tags: Church Architecture Wiltshire Hdr Digitally manipulated Landscape and travel Wilton Italianate

Voters: DaveU, wasper, sut68 and 42 more

Highly Commended Photos are given by the team to photos that were good but not quite an editors' choice award. Readers' Choice Awards are given to photos that get over 30 votes

Save 69% on inPixio Photo Studio 11 Ultimate (discount applied at checkout)


DaveU 15 1.4k 127 England
10 May 2007 1:51PM
That's a beauty Pete, and you should get an EC for the description alone. This looks almost surreal to me, which I think is due to a combination of the architecture, the colours and the symmetry. As you say, very different to what you'd expect in an English church but it makes for a really interesting pic.
Tandberg 18 1.2k 2 England
10 May 2007 1:57PM
Too much info lol!!
Love the shot grand it is
Hanners 15 875 10 Ireland
10 May 2007 1:59PM
hell of a script to a great shot

paulcr Plus
16 1.5k 9 Ireland
10 May 2007 2:14PM
Ooh, a lovely piece of work. Great lines, perspective comp etc....
Maddie 16 2.7k 2 United Kingdom
10 May 2007 2:17PM
well done pete
jamescoates 14 44 United Kingdom
10 May 2007 2:36PM
Wow, hdr brings this to life, the thumbnail glows!
Sezz 16 619 15 England
10 May 2007 3:55PM
Wonderful detail Pete, what a beautiful looking church, it certainly does look impressive and foreign - not surprising though after reading your narrative! Well deserved HC.

Sarah *
ann_g 17 19 United Kingdom
10 May 2007 4:47PM
Congrats on th HC, you really are a master at these HDR church interiors - excellent.

Ann Smile
Steveman 15 4 United Kingdom
10 May 2007 5:04PM
Well deserved HC - and thanks for the interesting commentary.
taggart Plus
16 47 14 United States
10 May 2007 5:26PM
Very interesting commentary--- Congrats on the HC

viscostatic 14 50 11 United Kingdom
10 May 2007 5:32PM
A beautiful church interior and fascinating history.

chrissd 15 304 United Kingdom
10 May 2007 5:52PM
crikey thats some story Pete, excellent
geniehawk 14 181 United Kingdom
10 May 2007 7:16PM
Well Done on the HC, another real beauty!

Nigel_95 Plus
15 262 2 United Kingdom
10 May 2007 9:51PM
The columns (in particular) look 3D. Great depth and realism (ie excellent HDR).

AlanBW 15 20 England
11 May 2007 8:09AM
Stunning image and great background info
martinw 16 251 England
11 May 2007 10:26AM
Have an RC as well - this really deserves more attention. Such is EPZ Smile
RogBrown 14 3.1k 10 England
15 May 2007 10:38PM
Beautiful, beautiful shot - almost 3D. Wonderful use of HDR.
Coleslaw 15 13.4k 28 Wales
23 May 2007 1:01PM
25 May 2007 8:05PM
You certainly deserve an HC for the commentary alone! This deserves its accolade, well done, Pete. Not sure what you do for a living but your talents are wasted unless it is something to do with photography, I think!
Buffalo_Tom Plus
14 2.3k 18 Wales
10 Jun 2007 5:12PM
Stunning interior beautifully composed.
VintageRed 15 15 1 United Kingdom
3 Jul 2007 5:13PM
Superb and well worth its commendation.

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.