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Christ in the cabbage field

Margaret Laird describes and explains a notable reredos painted by one of the Newlyn School in Truro Cathedral


s Easter tourists wander round the cathedral in the city

of Truro, I wonder how many will step aside from the north aisle to look into a litle chapel dedicated to Christ the Worker. Te picture painted on the reredos is the work of a notable Anglo-Catholic vicar’s wife, Annie Walke. She was later closely associated with the early twentieth-century group of painters who, atraced by the quality of the light in the area, setled in the far west of Cornwall in and around the fishing village of Newlyn.

The Newlyn School

Te paintings of the Newlyn School

reflected ordinary, everyday scenes in the lives of the villagers amongst whom the artists lived and worked. Te pictures are now widely reproduced on greetings cards, and the originals are

cluster of small, slated cotages. In the foreground is

a field where several labourers, both men and women, are planting cabbages. A group of miners with pickaxes over their shoulders tread wearily along the road beyond the hedge. Two women in black dresses and starched white aprons lean over the granite wall gazing out to sea, awaiting the return of their fishermen husbands.

worth a fortune. Annie Walke’s painting in the

cathedral brings together in one picture the main Cornish industries of the period in which she lived. White china clay waste tips and the tall chimneys of tin mines, set against a grey sky, form the background to the painted reredos. Fishing boats nestle within the rough granite walls of a typically Cornish harbour, from which a road leads to a

One woman, however, with a basket

of laundry under her arm, stands alone on her doorstep. Her eyes are riveted upon a huge cross, which stands right in the middle of the cabbage field, and the figure of Christ, not hanging helplessly but with arms outstretched to bless. It is Christ both crucified and risen.

Joy and tranquillity

Te expression on the face of the

St Peter and St Paul, Fareham

The Bishop of Portsmouth seeks to appoint a priest who:-

The Benefice wish to appoint a priest of traditional Catholic faith and practice, who will: • is a person of prayer who will foster faith, inspire mission and stimulate renewal and growth • will build upon the tradition of Catholic worship and spirituality, nurturing the congregation and encouraging their faith

• considers the sacramental and devotional life of the congregation to be a priority • is fully committed to working with young people and their families • is a firm, but flexible leader with the ability to develop shared leadership • is a good listener and an excellent communicator who engenders trust and confidence in a way that enables lay ministry

• is fully committed to partnership working with other ministers and parishes in the town and Deanery

The Parish has passed Resolutions A, B and C An attractive modern detached four bedroom Rectory is situated close to the Church

For further details and application form contact:

The Archdeacon of the Meon, or visit

Closing date for receipt of application forms: Noon on Thursday 29 April 2010 Interviews: 18 and 19 May 2010

washerwoman who sees this unusual and unexpected sight is one of great joy and tranquillity. It is as if she alone is prepared to stop to look and ponder upon the significance of that cross, atempting to understand its meaning. Te rest are too busy, too preoccupied to notice and to allow this miraculous sight to affect their lives. Year aſter year, like the people in

the painting, those who have some awareness – no mater how vague – of the happenings of that first Good Friday and Easter Sunday, are faced with a choice. Tey can either, like the workers in and around the cabbage field, turn their backs and ignore these miraculous events or, like the washerwoman and faithful congregations of Christian churches throughout the world, they can stop and ponder upon the meaning of the Cross, and allow the crucified and risen Christ to transform their working lives. ND

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