Sculpture at Canterbury Cathedral

On Sunday we had a visit to Canterbury Cathedral, and despite the fact here was a service on (in the Quire) we were free to roam around the rest of the Cathedral  – and so we did, though that felt a little strange to me. I’m not religious, but I respect those who are and did not wish to offend. However we were not the only ones. My friend Kate tells me this:

“The cathedral has always retained the old while embracing the new rather well. It is an amazing place, which can have several different things going on at the same time. It’s the way the cathedral has always been. Secular stuff would go on in the main body- meeting and greeting and business – whilst the inner quire might be hosting a service.”

It is a truly beautiful place… and  happens to be the chapel for the school adjacent to it: Kings School Canterbury.

We strolled around, absorbing the atmosphere, when, unexpectedly we came across a suspended body. It was amazing … initially I was unable to see how it was suspended there

 Gormley Transport

I have taken the following from a BBC report in 2011

Old iron nails taken from the repaired roof of Canterbury Cathedral have been used by sculptor Antony Gormley to create a new artwork.
The piece, called Transport, is suspended above the site of the first tomb of Archbishop Thomas Becket, murdered at the Kent cathedral in 1170.
The 6ft (2m) work, made from nails from the south-east transept roof, outlines the shape of a floating body.
Gormley is famous for sculptures such as the Angel of the North.
The winner of the Turner Price in 1994, he also created Another Place on Crosby beach.
Speaking about Transport, unveiled on Sunday, he said: “We are all the temporary inhabitants of a body. It is our house, instrument and medium.
“Through it, all impressions of the world come and from it all our acts, thoughts and feelings are communicated.
“I hope to have evoked this in the most direct way possible.”

Gormley Transportii

Canterbury Cathedral has an incredible history and in an ideal world I would have loved a tour, but there was no time. You can see a little more of the place here.

I was very taken with this chapel, called  ‘The Buffs’ – (“The Buffs” is the nickname of an old and long gone army regiment. The flags would be their regimental colours, as in “Trooping the Colours.)

We were very lucky as the light was fantastic, coming in through the stained glass.

chapel Canterbury Catherdral

military flags

military flagsii

The fragility of the flags was illustrated so well: they are threadbare in places, allowing the light through.



  1. That is one cool sculpture–and I love that the materials are from the cathedral itself! And you captured the light through the flags so beautifully.

    1. thank you, transplantedtatar (Interesting name BTW!)

  2. I love Gormley’s work. Such a striking piece for a momentous event.

    1. I agree, it is very striking.

  3. westseventhfreelance · · Reply

    Stunning! Thank you for posting this..I am trying to recall one of the other cathedrals visited as a kid- vivid memories of horrific damage due to bombing during WWII..I will have to look it up- Coventry?

    1. yes, Coventry Cathedral was devastated. I think the remains are there as a memorial to the original cathedral after they re-built it.

    1. 🙂

  4. The translucent light through the flags is beautiful. I have just seen some Anthony Gormley sculptures in Stavanger, Norway. His rusty men are scattered all over the town. Every time I travel north I intend to visit the coast near Liverpool and see his men standing on the sand dunes and beach.

    1. well worth a trip…

      I didn’t know he had his work in Norway too.

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