The Art and Architecture of St. Andrew's Westland Row

St. Andrew's is classical in style, preferred by Catholics at the time, as it echoed the Baroque of the Roman tradition rather than the Gothic Brava favoured by the anglicans. The designers and decorators were John Boulger, James Lever and Francis Johnston.

The gallery over the main entrance, containing the organ, was first situated in the south Transept (where the painting of the martyrdom of Thomas Beckett currently hangs).

The exterior of the church is comprised of Doric portico, which is crowned by a statue of St. Andrew in Portland stone, sculpted by Edward Smith. There is an octagonal bell-tower, with a green copper hat.

The dome of the Church depicts the Coronation of Christ in the centre of the dome and this was cast from a mould by sculptor John Hogan (we also have a sculpture of the Transfiguration by him and it was completed by his son, John Valentine Hogan). The Medallions around the Coronation, also by John Hogan, represnt St Andrew, St. Anne, St. Mark and St. Peter, the patrons of the united pre-reformation parishes which make up St. Andrew's today. The dome is a replacement of the original and replicates it exactly, recast in a series of moulings from the old.

The santuary was remodelled in 1972, to conform with the liturgical requirements of the Vatican Council. The six and a half ton granite altar and lectuern were installed and the open plan sanctuary- all designed by Robinson, Keefe and Devane Architects. The pews are really worth observing because no two ends of the individually carved oak pews are similar in design.

 

The organ was originally built by John White, who was a student of the great French buildier M. Cavolile-Coll, from whose workshop Mr. White secured most of the reeds. Additions were made in 1971 mainly of the mixture family to help contrapuntal playing and for pedal and solo playing.

 

The Mortuary Chapel, ionic in style, was opened on May 23rd 1909. It was intended to check parish wakes with 'their terrible consequences to morals and health'. The Carrara marble statue on the Altar of Our Lady of Sorrows is the owrk of Willie Pearse, a brother of the patriot, Padraig. 

 

The Baptismal font was donated by the 'Liberator', Daniel O'Connell, it was nicknamed 'The O'Connell Font' by the locals. The font was originally designed as a wine cooler and had two handles and a tap which was later removed when the font was repaired. Its original position was in the Baptismal (now Nuptial) chapel. The Nuptial Chapel is contemporaneous with the Mortuary Chapel, it was built as the Baptistry for the parish. During the extensive renovations of the roof and ceiling in 1941, the Baptistry was re-done as a Nuptial Chapel and dedicated to the 'Espousal of the Holy Virgin'. This provision was in response to the insturction of the Synod of Thurles. 

 

There are a number of painting, the most famous arguably the 'Martyrdom of thomas a Beckett', presented to the church in 1840 by Daniel O'Connell, a copy of which hangs in Canterbury Cathedral. The church also has a painting by a Flmish artist, J.F. Beschey, dating back to 1755. The painting is the 'Descent from the Cross', and it hung behind the main altar in the previous church at Townsend street, and underwnet restoration work by Mr. Rolan Hume-Beaman in 1989, it now hangs over the main altar in Westland Row. In addition, the church also has a copy of a masterpiece attributed to Bernardino Luini, a Milanese painter (1470-1539) and brough to the church from Rome in the 1940s. It is entitled 'Virgin and Child. 

 

The main memorials would be the Transfiguration and also the 'Farrell Memorial'-this too was sculpted by John Hogan and it is said to be one of Hogan's finest sculptures. It was requested by the parents of ayoung girl who is portrayed in the sculpture. 

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