Ely Cathedral | reredos and alter

Description: The designer, John Maddison, had outlined a beautiful water coloured sketch of his idea for the new Reredos but needed The Ironwork Studio’s expertise and technical help, not only in turning his concept into a reality but at the same time ensuring it embodied honest craftsmanship in its construction.

A complicated design necessitating many components, it was much like a giant Meccano set. However, rather than using ‘nut & bolt’ fixings we instead designed mechanically constructed joints, inspired by traditional blacksmithing methods, to make a feature out of a necessity, for which life-sized samples were made before construction began. The Reredos acts as a decorative screen behind the alter in Ely Cathedrals Lady Chapel. Importantly it frames what little remains of the original masonry decoration that was destroyed as part of the English Reformation, though you can still identify the opulent niches where statues once stood. With the wall being far from flat, the original concept was modified in side elevation, from a straight vertical line to a gentle zig-zag, to accommodate the projecting masonry while at the same time enlivening the section and detailing of the upper canopy.

Service: Technical Concept Development

Client: Ely Cathedral

Location: Ely, Cambridgeshire

The Ironwork Studio

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