Christ in Majesty

Christ in Majesty

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About this piece

This site-specific piece was painted for ‘The Secret Life of Ely Cathedral’ exhibition in 2016. It now forms part of their permanent collection.
“How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven” 
“Quam terribilis est locus iste non est hic aliud nisi domus Dei et porta caeli” 
Words chosen from the book of Genesis by Alan Hargrave, former Canon Missioner

Where are all of the Cathedral’s original paintings? Jan Munt, the former Education Officer, was enthusiastic about the history of the Babel stained-glass window, which is situated above the Prior’s Doorway. As well as incorporating a religious theme, it celebrates the work of the stonemasons. This made me question where the huge contribution of the original painters of Ely Cathedral is acknowledged, especially as so few examples of early painting have survived. I have therefore chosen to portray the Tympanum as it may have looked in the Twelfth Century.
I remember the first time I went through the arch and looked back at the Prior’s Door, it was a complete surprise. Like many visitors I had not appreciated that this little side room could conceal such a vast and beautiful doorway. It is a favoured place of Cathedral Guide Co-ordinator, Barbara McGowan.
“Some of the things that are secret are not really secret at all – but people just don’t notice them”


Medium:  Oil on Wood


Price: NFS

About the artist

Kimberley Allen

I am a working artist based in Ely, Cambridgeshire. I trained in Fine Art and specialise in oil painting and drawing. I am interested in new perspectives on traditional subject matter such as people, places and nature.

My work for ‘After the Fall’ is inspired by the artistry and the history of the Octagon tower. I have used oil paint and cold wax in ‘Layers’ to archive aspects of the towers history whilst deliberately manipulating the visibility of the imagery and text.

Taking a tour of Ely Cathedral’s Octagon reveals the fascinating oak construction behind the decorative public face of the tower – all evidence of the highly skilled team of workers required to create such a unique and ambitious rebuild. As climate change sees us at a crisis point, the availability of such magnificent oaks in 1322 feels poignant, especially as Cambridgeshire is currently the least wooded non-urban county in the country. Nevertheless, the Octagon that lifts our spirits today is also evidence of resilience in the face of catastrophe.

My research for the ‘After the Fall’ exhibition has inspired me to further explore history and tradition in and around Ely. I have continued to pull apart integral creative elements and reassemble them using a mixture of materials, predominantly oil paint, cold wax and collage. Whilst some of this work is a departure from my usual figurative style, the more abstract pieces retain a clear concept and a figurative starting point. These pieces will be exhibited at Open Studios in July.

Please see my website for more information about my artwork, exhibition history and commissions:

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