Saturday 1 October 2011


I have had an extraordinary couple of weeks with much travelling. Last week it was three days in France enabling me to make my delayed visit to the ancient abbey of St Denis on the northern edge of Paris while on Wednesday of this week I was in London.
The (now) Cathedral Basilica of St Denis is famed as the birthplace- in the 1140s- of the Gothic style under the celebrated Abbot Suger and, being the site of the burial of France's patron saint, was, for many years, the necropolis of the kings of France. I was also keen to visit owing to the church providing a realistic setting for the painting of "The Mass of St Giles" by the unknown "Master of St Giles" of around 1500 which is in the National Gallery in London, seen above. I hope to share some of my French snaps in the next week or so.

The painting also featured as part of my London visit this week. It was in the "Devotion by Design" exhibition at the National Gallery about Medieval and Renaissance altarpieces which closes this weekend. As will become clear, these two subjects are closely related. My London visit also enabled me to attend mass in the new translation at Westminster Cathedral- I only slipped up once!- and to see the British Museum exhibition about relics and reliquaries. This too is nearing the end of its run with just one week to go.

"For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green."

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