Saturday, 17 December 2011

The Font in Salisbury Cathedral.

Salisbury Cathedral did not have a permanent font in the nave for over 150 years until this one, designed by sculptor William Pye, was installed in 2008.  It is based on the idea of a "Brimming Bowl," a cruciform shape which combines movement and stillness, with the water flowing from its four corners whilst a perfectly still surface is maintained to reflect the building around it.  

The photo above shows one of the lipped corners, where water gently drips into a well in the stone pavement, to be recycled into the font.  It is a fascinating mix of the tranquil and the active.  Its bowl is made of green patinated bronze with a stainless steel water tank, which both stand on a Purbeck Freestone plinth.  It holds 3000 litres of water and weighs 1.8 tonnes in total.  A 17th century alabaster font which was originally here in the nave, was acquired in 1870 by a tiny church in Yankalilla, 50 miles south of Adelaide in South Australia.

The medieval clock below is possibly the oldest working clock in the world and until 1792,  stood it a separate Bell Tower.   It was made around the year 1386, and as was usual at the time, had no face and only struck the hour with a bell.  It was fully restored in 1956 and now stands in the north aisle.  Its gentle, regular tick and movement is fascinating to watch, and a visible sign of the seconds of my life ticking away. Oh dear! We watch time being counted and live through it, but it cannot be grasped or reversed and I'm sure, that from the age of 65 onwards, it passes at twice the speed!

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