Friday, October 27, 2006

Brompton Oratory - London

Brompton Oratory in London

This photo from the Brompton Oratory in London is part of one of the panoramic images found on the Tour of London. There are over 100 images taken from around London linked to an interactive map.

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The Brompton Oratory is found on the Brompton Road in London. This is a very busy road with runs from Knightsbridge to this point before changing name while continuing past Harrods and then past the Victoria and Albert (V&A) and the Natural History Museum. It is actually quite difficult to find a good place to take a panoramic picture of the area around the Brompton Oratory for the very simple reason that standing in the middle of 4 lanes of traffic is not conducive to a long life.

The real name of the Brompton Oratory is the Church of the Immaculate Hear of Mary, it is the second largest Roman Catholic church in London after Westminster Cathedral. The Oratory was consecrated in 1884 and is about 200 ft high at the tallest point. It is built in Italian Baroque style, as an exact copy of the Il Gesu church in Rome.

The high altar stands in a 70 foot deep alcove whilst in the sanctuary stand two seven-branched candlesticks, copies of the menorah used in the Temple in Jerusalem (the menorah is one of the oldest symbols of the Jews, said to symbolize the burning bush seen by Moses on Mount Sinai) and which are depicted by on the Arch of Titus in Rome.

The lavishly gilded nave and dome mosaics are the work of Comandatore Formilli (1927-32). Though the dome is striking, it is the pulpit that catches the eye first; this baroque wonder seems alive with flowing lines and extravagant decoration quite seldom seen in British churches. The 1930’s wooden pulpit stands prominently in the nave, an intricate structure also in Baroque style.

The interior contains some artifacts that are older than the church itself. The fitted with marble columns, a vaulted domes, various mosaics and other pieces of art. Located in the nave are the 12 apostles, carved for the Siena Cathedral in 1680 by Mazzuoli. The Lady Chapel also contains a late 17C altar.

Next to, but set back from Brompton road form, the Brompton Oratory stands Holy Trinity Brompton, an Anglican church, the building of which is much overshadowed by the Catholic structure. Just down the road are Harrods and a number of museums including the V&A and Science Museum. The nearest tube station is Knightsbridge.

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The full panoramic image of the Brompton Oratory can be found on the London tour by An enlargement of this photo can be found on Flickr.

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