Object Details

Our Lady of Brede

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Makers
General Information
Classification
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Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright for Photograph:

Creative Commons

Location

Street:Brede Hill
Town:Brede
Parish:Brede
Council:Rother District Council
County:East Sussex
Postcode:TN31
Location on Google Map
Object setting:Inside building
and in:Religious
Access is:Public
Location note:The Lady Chapel in the Parish Church of St. George
In the AZ book:East Sussex
Page:84
Grid reference:A7
The A-Z books used are A-Z East Sussex and A-Z West Sussex (Editions 1A 2005). Geographers' A-Z Map Company Ltd. Sevenoaks.
OS Reference:TQ8218

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Makers

Name : Clare Sheridan
     Role:Sculptor

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General Information

Construction period:1941
Installation date:1941
Work is:Extant
Owner custodian:Parish Church of St. George
Description:Tall, cylindrical Madonna and Child sculpted from a single oak tree. The self-base of the sculpture has a carved inscription.
Iconographical description:'Adoration, consolation, love and hope were among the qualities I dreamed of expressing, and in the attitude of the Divine Mother her consciousness of the Divinity of Her Son… From out a tree, from that sacred emblem of the Cross, I would bring forth the Mother and Her little Son, the soul of Love translated into maternal form through my heart's sorrow… The emblem of the soul as interpreted by Raphael and Murillo is the angel's head above a pair of wings crossed. From a distance, the crossed hands of my Virgin would have the effect of wings.' (My Crowded Sanctuary)
Inscription:Base of statue, to the front:

THIS OAK TREE FROM BREDE PLACE WAS
CARVED BY CLARE SHERIDAN IN MEMORY
OF HER BELOVED SON
RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN
SEPTEMBER 20 1915 - JANUARY 17 1937

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Classification

Categories:Free Standing, Commemorative, Religious
Object type1:Statue
Object type2:Sculpture
Subject type1:Figurative
     Subject subtype1:Group

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Object Parts

Part 1:Entire sculpture
     Material:Oak
     Height (cm):240
     Width (cm):35
     Depth (cm):35

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Object Condition

Overall condition:Good
Risk assessment:No known risk
Condition 1 of type:Structural
     Condition 1: Cracks, splits, breaks, holes
     More details:The base of the sculpture is split due to ageing of the wood.
Date of on-site inspection:07/09/2007

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History

History:Clare Sheridan (nee Frewen, 9 September 1885 - 31 May 1970) was a first cousin of Sir Winston Churchill. She was a traveller, writer and artist. The sculpture was carved from the trunk of an oak tree from the park at her home in Brede Place, at the time occupied by Canadian soldiers. Her son, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, died suddenly in Constantinople when 21 years old from peritonitis. Ten Canadian soldiers carried the statue to the church for the dedication where it was fixed onto a concrete-embedded steel upright made by the local Blacksmith, Jack Apps. Music at the dedication service included work by Shostakovich who Sheridan was also then carving. The Frewen family had come into possession of Brede Place in 1708. She also made busts of Lenin (1920), Ghandi (1931) and Churchill (sculpted in 1942 and can be seen at Chartwell). She was commissioned by the Kamenev from the Kremlin to carve a bust of Trotsky (1920).

'OUR LADY OF BREDE
The world crisis brought about, among its many devastating changes, conditions which made it quite useless to think of sculpture (if at all) in terms of bronze, marble or terra-cotta. Apart from the prohibitive cost of these, metal, pressed into the service of destruction, is almost unobtainable, stone cannot be transported, terra-cotta involves a furnace at a time when coal is rationed. If one still must be an artist (God knows I've tried to stamp it out of my being by living as a peasant, but the incurable disease persists), one must adapt oneself to conditions and employ the means at hand. There are trees, dead trees, and there is the Army, who, if approached in the right way, will transport them… The tree-trunk that ten soldiers had brought up from the park and deposited in the studio lay like a fallen column across the floor. On November 12, 1941, in answer to my appeal, five Canadian soldiers raised the recumbent oak-tree into place. They were strong, tough men those Canadians, and it required of the five their most strenuous effort. They admitted it was heavy. The tree stood about nine feet high, base upward, a veritable monolith. I had visualised a statue of Our Lady and Child as a memorial to my beloved Dick, whose grave is on the coast of his adored Mediterranean… Brede Parish Church has been without a statue of Our Lady since the Reformation. It is still a Catholic church - that is to say, in the English, not the Roman sense. The Lady Chapel is generally known as the Oxenbridge Chantry, because it belongs to Brede Place, and Brede Place belonged to the Oxenbridge family, who are buried in the vault below it. Sir Goddard's effigy in armour carved in stone lies beneath a south window. The Flamboyant east window, one of the few of that period in England, was his donation. Once a year, as the owner of Brede Place, I am the solemn recipient of a shilling token rent. The importance of this shilling cannot be over-estimated. It means my right to the Oxenbridge Chancel. It empowered my father and my brother, each in their day, to refuse tentative offers of standardized Madonnas. These refusals earned for the family an erroneous repute in the parish of Protestant prejudice. The rejection on aesthetic grounds never seemed to occur to anyone. The right was mine, however, with the consent of the rector, to bring back the holy Symbol. The site, in the angle of a dividing wall joined to a spring-arch, the light falling aslant, and with the Flamboyant window in the background, formed an ideal setting… The first task was to set out the proportions. Eight heads is the Greek standard. Some moderns think this is too tall, more modern moderns may think it is too classical; I adhere to the Greek proportions… My statue has a Gothic feeling. At a distance the natural oak gives the illusion of stone. It has the same golden touch as the Caen stone which is the background. The wood is carved as one carves stone. It is chiselled in the same way that stone is chiselled… Shane Leslie, who was at the unveiling, wrote of it to Shirley Eshelby: 'The figure is really awesome in its beauty, and resembles one of the Gothic figures at Chartres'.
('My Crowded Sanctuary')

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References

Source 1 :
     Title:'Cousin Clare: The Tempestuous Career of Clare Sheridan'
     Type:Book
     Author:Leslie, Anita.
     Page:240-243
     Publisher:Hutchinson & Co. London.

Source 2 :
     Title:'St George's Church Brede'
     Type:Book
     Author:Crook, Dr. John.
     Publisher:The Parochial Church Council of St. George's Church. Brede.

Source 3 :
     Title:'My Crowded Sanctuary'
     Type:Book
     Author:Sheridan, Clare.
     Page:113-118
     Publisher:Methuen & Co. Ltd. London.


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Photographs





Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons

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