Treasures from the archive – Part II – Churches and Cathedrals in Great Britain


I’ve been overwhelmed in recent weeks by the power of religious architecture. As I am still working my way steadily through the late Anthony Kersting’s amazing archive (see also Covent Garden blog), I am convinced that his work must be one of the most complete photographic surveys of religious architecture in the UK. He photographed everything from local parish churches to the big cathedrals at Ely, Lincoln, Wells etc both inside and out at different times of the day and the seasons.

I am always amazed at the strength of religious fervour that must have inspired these stunning buildings and the sheer willpower to create ever taller and bigger structures to worship in. No matter how you feel about organised religion, I defy anyone not to be impressed by at least the size and grandeur of the churches and cathedrals Kersting has brought together in his work.

My first trip to the UK as a 16 year old was a language holiday organised by the English department of my school and besides daily lessons we also went on a great number of trips through the southern counties of England. Needless to say we visited a great number of cathedrals and I got my first glimpses of the majestic architecture at Salisbury, Wells and Winchester to name but a few. I never really got tired of visiting cathedrals and still try to make time for a few visits on any city trip I go on. I am not particularly religious but I do enjoy the quiet and calming atmosphere of the great cathedrals as well as marvelling at the size and craftmanship of it all. The gothic spires and immensely high vaulted ceilings of the huge cathedrals make me feel very small. I can only imagine what powerful religious atmosphere must have been created with hundreds of candles illuminating the gold of the altarpieces and the sound of the sermon echoing through the immense space.

I have put together only a very small selection of images as a taster, the size of Anthony’s archive is so much bigger than I could ever do it justice! Have a look for yourself – we will be adding to the treasures from his collection for a long while yet!