Seven Sorrows Chapel
The Chapel has several noteworthy architectural features:
Built in 1936 to the design of Goodhart-Rendel, Roderick Gradidge describes it thus in 'Streets of Heaven':
This piece of furniture is harsh and almost modern, yet it is in the gothic revival style. Flat roofed it has at each corner miniature gun embrasures rather than gothic tourelles, almost copies of the contemporary Maginot Line, but anachronistically supported on heraldically painted columns.
Our Lady of Peace
This statue was designed by Martin Travers in 1920 to mark the end of the Great War. It is thought to be based on the statue of the Golden Virgin of about 1260, so named because it was originally gilded, in the south portal in Amiens Cathedral.
The mahogany altar rails were made by Betty Joel from designs by Goodhart-Rendel. Betty Joel (1894–1995) was born Mary Steward Lockhart in Hong Kong and married David Joel, a naval officer, in 1918. Although neither of them had any formal training, they began manufacturing furniture under the name Betty Joel Ltd with a showroom at 177 Sloane Street. Betty Joel became one of the most fashionable Art Deco designers and numbered the then Duchess of York and Lord Louis Mountbatten among her clients. She worked with Goodhart-Rendel on many of his projects.
The altar rails at the south side are all that remain of those formerly before the High Altar.
The reredos to the altar of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady was painted by Colin Gill (1892–1940). A cousin of Eric Gill, he studied at the Slade School and had his first exhibition at the New English Art Club in 1914. In 1915 he was sent to France as a member of the Royal Garrison Artillery before being seconded to the Royal Engineers as a camouflage officer.
He was appointed an official war artist in 1918. After the war he began to concentrate on historical mural decoration and painted ‘Defeat of the Danes’ in St Stephen's Hall, Westminster, 1928, and decorations in the Bank of England, Essex County Hall, Chelmsford and Northampton Town Hall. He died in South Africa on 16th November 1940 while painting decorations in the Magistrates' Court, Johannesburg.
Roderick Gradidge describes it thus in 'Streets of Heaven':
Rectangular, it depicts six of the Seven Sorrows in two lines, the final broad panel below, under a sweeping arch above the altar, depicts the deposition of Our Lord from the cross, the final sorrow: a simple layout made remarkable by the decorations of the frame. The columns that divide the pictures are painted with lozenges and zig-zags, and the frame itself has painted blank arches rising to miniature battlements with tourelles, much in the manner of William Burges or William Morris. But instead of Burges’ strong reds and golds the dominating colours here are the (then extremely fashionable) blue and silver. Below, as the reredos proper, is a carved panel in a complex design of interlocked crosses which also form swastikas (an ancient symbol of the sun, taken from Egyptian Coptic Christian designs and here covered in silver leaf). The simple stone altar is straightforwardly Victorian gothic revival.
The Rose Window depicting eight titles of Our Lady is a memorial to Fr Humphrey Whitby, Vicar of St Mary’s from 1916-48. It replaced a window destroyed by bombing during World War Two.
The window was designed by Margaret Edith Rope (1891–1988). Rope studied under Alfred Drury at the Central School of Arts and Crafts and went on to work at Lowndes & Drury, the firm he founded with Mary Lowndes (who designed the west window). She was a friend of the architect J Harold Gibbons through whom she obtained a number of commissions and who designed the font.
To distinguish herself from a cousin of the same name, also a stained glass artist, she used the professional name ME Aldrich Rope but was known to her family as 'Tor', short for tortoise. Some of her work is signed with this creature although, alas, not at St Mary's.
The legilium was made by Bill Stainthorpe in 1997 from a design by Roderick Gradidge. It is a memorial to Dr Eric Mascal (1905–93) who was an honorary assistant curate at St Mary's from 1962, when he became Professor of the History of Theology at Kings College London, until 1991.