Monday, May 26, 2008

Historic Cathedral Model

This one-of-a-kind, finely-crafted architectural replica is of a cathedral which was designed, but never constructed. Sir Edwin Lutyens' plan for Liverpool's Catholic Cathedral was so ambitious that even the model itself was not fully completed at the time. The model was created to visualize the design and to assist in fundraising. It was displayed at the Royal Academy, London in 1933. Due to spiraling cost, the entire project was abandoned and the model was neglected for many years in storage until it came into National Museums Liverpool's collections. The model was in poor condition with considerable damage, caused by years of handling the heavy, but delicately-detailed parts. Pieces of the exterior had been lost including spires, belfries and the intricate lantern that had surmounted the dome. It has recently been fully conserved and completed to Lutyens' final design. Supported by donations, conservation of the model took place from 1992 to 2005. The model was displayed for the first time in the exhibition The Cathedral that Never Was at the Walker Art Gallery in 2007. The Museum of Liverpool, which is due to open in 2010, will exhibit the model in the People's City gallery. The wooden model of Liverpool’s Catholic Cathedral is one of the most elaborate architectural models ever made in Britain, second only to the ‘Great Model’ of Sir Christopher Wren’s rejected design for St Paul’s.Beginning in 1673, The Great Model was constructed by two London joiners. It does not represent Wren's first plan, nor does it reflect the Cathedral as built; but it does appear to show what Wren would have liked to build. The model was restored and re-installed in the Trophy Room of St. Paul’s in 1998.

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