Charles Lutyens Exhibition

“Being in the World”

Charles Lutyens (artist and great nephew of Sir Edwin) held an exhibition of his paintings, drawings and sculptures at St. Paul’s Church, Bow Common, London E3, alongside his mosaic Angels of the Heavenly Host (800 sq.ft. tesserae mosaic mural, executed 1963 to 1968) and his recently completed fifteen foot wood sculpture of the Crucifixion Outraged Christ. St. Paul’s is a modernist church, designed by pioneering architects Robert Maguire and Keith Murray, and is unusual as it was built with a central altar. The Revd. Duncan Ross said: ‘In a recent BBC documentary series which surveyed the history of churches in the British Isles, from Saxon times right up to the 21st century, St. Paul’s, Bow Common (and its mosaic) was chosen to represent the whole of post-war church architecture in Britain.’

During the 1960s Charles worked from mobile scaffolding to create one of Britain’s largest contemporary mosaic murals, ten Angels and the four elements in the corners – commissioned for the newly consecrated, now Grade II* listed church. A few weeks ago Charles was up a ladder once more and completed the eye of the beast in the Earth corner which he had deliberately left unfinished and bare, with his signature CL.

Robert Maguire recently wrote about the Angels: ‘Lutyens achieved astonishing balances between the figurative and the abstract, between severity and empathy, between assertiveness and recession. Timeless, as angels are’.

The Outraged Christ, which took some seven years to complete, had not been commissioned but is the result of Charles’ questions about faith, religion andspirituality. Of this Diarmaid MacCulloch in a recent BBC Oxford News said: ‘This is something really quite different, because here is a man who is not just feeling sufferings and patiently bearing them and being sad about them, but this figure seems to be really agonised, full of energy, and I think that’s quite new; you don’t get much of that in the Christian tradition.’

Marianna Lutyens

(The exhibition remains open on Saturdays and Sundays until 21st October 2011).