St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh Internal Shot

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Paul  Gibb

Dunfermline, United Kingdom

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Small 7.8" x 12.0"
Medium 11.6" x 18.0"
Large 15.5" x 24.0"
Note: Image size. Matboard and frame increase size of final product


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Artist's Description

Taken with my Canon Eos Rebel t1i (500d) dslr on 24th of February 2011 Each of these 3 stitched images was Taken with a camera setting of aperture of 3.5 and a shutter speed of 1/30 and an iso 0f 400. I then took raw each image and went +/- 1 stop to create an hdr image that was merged and tone maped in photmatrix. I then stitched the 3 hdr images using canons photo stitch and made final adjustments in Adobe photoshop cs4.

View More of my photographs at PAUL GIBB PHOTOGRAPHY

The oldest parts of the building are four massive central pillars, often said to date from 1124, although there is very little evidence to this effect. In 1385 the building suffered a fire and was rebuilt in the subsequent years. Much of the current interior dates from this period. Over the years many chapels, referred to as ‘aisles’, were added, greatly enlarging the church and leaving it rather irregular in plan. In 1466 St Giles was established as acollegiate church. In response to this raising of status, the lantern tower was added around 1490, and the chancel ceiling raised, vaulted and a clear storey installed. By the middle of the 16th century (before the Reformation) there were about fifty altars in the church.
During the Reformation in 1560, the Mary-Bell and brass candlesticks were scrapped to be made into guns,3 and the relic of the arm of St Giles with its diamond finger ring (acquired in 1454) and other treasures were sold to the Edinburgh goldsmiths Michael Gilbert and John Hart, and the brass lectern to Adam Fullerton, for scrap-metal. The church was partitioned into numerous preaching halls to suit the style of reformed Presbyterian worship.4
On Sunday 23 July 1637 efforts by King Charles I to impose Anglican services on the Church of Scotland led to the Book of Common Prayer revised for Scottish use being introduced in St Giles’. Rioting in opposition began when the Dean of Edinburgh, John Hannah, began to read from the new Book of Prayer, legendarily initiated by the market-woman or street-seller Jenny Geddes throwing her stool at his head. The disturbances led to the National Covenant and hence the Bishops’ Wars; the first part of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, which included the English Civil War. In the late 17th century a carillon was made for the cathedral by James Meikle. On the day in 1707 that the Treaty of Union was signed to merge the Parliament of Scotland with the Parliament of England and create the Kingdom of Great Britain, the carilloner in St Giles rang the bells in the tune Why should I be so sad on my wedding day? 5
By 1800, with the removal of the Luckenbooths from the High Street, the exterior of St Giles was fully exposed for the first time in centuries and could be seen to be in poor condition and an embarrassment to the city. In 1829, architect William Burn was appointed to carry out a restoration of the building to preserve and beautify it. This demolished some chapels to improve the symmetry of the external appearance, inserted new, more standard, window openings and tracery, and encased much of the exterior in a skin of smooth ashlar.
During the years 1872-83, Sir William Chambers, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, planned and financed a further major restoration with the aim of creating a national church building: “a Westminster Abbey for Scotland.” Chambers hired architects William Hay and George Henderson to do the restorative work. The building was cleaned and old galleries and partition walls were removed, creating a single interior space for the first time since the reformation.

Stained glass began to be put into the windows which had been largely clear or plain since the reformation. This was a radical move in a Presbyterian church where such decorations were regarded with great suspicion. They were finally allowed on the basis that they illustrated bible stories and were as such an aid to teaching, and not flippant decoration, or worse still idolatry. Only a small number of windows were completed as part of the restoration, but this begun a process that has resulted in the vast majority of windows containing stained glass by the middle of the 20th century. The windows were planned to form a continuous narrative starting in the north-east corner and finishing on the north-west side. One of the last windows of this plan depicts St Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, holding his cross with, on either side of him, St Columba and King David (erroneously labelled St David). The depiction of saints, rather than bible stories, by the mid 20th century shows how much attitudes to decoration had changed in the intervening period. St Andrew wears a flowing peacock-blue cassock and his features are modelled after prominent Edinburgh physician James Jamieson. Unusually, this window was funded by a grateful patient who insisted that St Andrew bore the features of the good doctor. Below St Andrew are depicted St Giles, with his hind, and St Cuthbert. The dedication beneath the St Andrew window states: “James Jamieson Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh and Elder of the Kirk, born 1841, in Bowden, and died 1903”. (St Giles info from Wickepedia)

Artwork Comments

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