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New sculpture unveiled at Lincoln Cathedral

03 June 2014

The seven-foot tall Blessed Virgin Mary has taken three years to create

A new sculpture of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been unveiled at Lincoln Cathedral.

The seven-foot tall stone piece is one of the largest works commissioned by the Dean and Chapter since The Reformation.

It was dedicated by The Bishop of Lincoln, The Right Reverend Christopher Lowson, during Solemn Evensong on Saturday, May 31.

The work is part of the re-ordering process that has been undertaken by the Cathedral to draw both pilgrims and visitors into a deeper awareness of the life and work of the Cathedral and the ministry it exercises.

The commission was undertaken by the renowned liturgical artist, Aidan Hart, who has works in more than 20 countries of the world, including many within cathedrals and monasteries.

The Dean of Lincoln, the Very Reverend Philip Buckler, said: "We are delighted to welcome this significant work of art into the Cathedral to play its part in stimulating prayerful contemplation in our busy and frantic world.

"The Cathedral is dedicated in the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln, and it is good to have this sculpture to remind us of the way God uses his creation to express his loving purposes for all his children. This sculpture will draw many to reflect upon the obedience and trust that Mary displayed when called to be part of God's redeeming work."

Weighing 1.5 tonnes, the sculpture has been carved, largely by hand, from an original three-tonne block of limestone donated by Great Ponton Quarry in Lincolnshire. 

The sculpture depicts the Virgin seated with Christ surrounded by a vesica, representing his divinity. The drapery is strongly influenced by Romanesque carving found elsewhere in the Cathedral.

Mary was regarded in the Middle Ages as the protector of the City of Lincoln, as well as the Cathedral, and she is honoured today by Christians of many different traditions.

Photo by James Newton