Astoft

St James's Church, Piccadilly, London

17th Century, by Sir Christopher Wren
         
St James, Piccadilly, Interior
         
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Notes in italics are from London 6 Westminster by Simon Bradley and Nikolaus Pevsner (2005)
Yale University Press, New Haven and London.
         
St James, Piccadilly          Tower of St James's, Piccadilly          St James 2, Piccadilly         
         
  St James's Piccadilly. Of 1676-84 by Wren, a large church built in connection with Lord St Albans's great plan for St James's. (Henry Jermyn, Earl of St Albans, K.G. (1605-1684))  ... Heavily damaged in 1940-1 it was restored in 1947-54 by Sir Albert Richardson, who reversed some alterations and introduced others.
Wren's materials are red brick with stone quoins and dressings; the copper-covered roof is Richardson's. ... The church sides have windows in two tiers, segment-headed below round-headed. On each central window are volutes and a keystone carved as a cherub's head: relics of the transverse axis Wren introduced in deference to the S approach from St James's Square. Doorcases below them have been removed ... Wren's church had a timber cornice; now the N side has a plain parapet by Richardson, the S side a modillion cornice by J.T. Wimperis, 1884 ...
 
         
East end, St James's, Piccadilly               
         
  At the E end a broad tripartite window with a Venetian window immediately above, and oval windows to the upper aisles, blocked in 1743. ...  
         
                              Tower of St James's, Piccadilly
         
  Plain W tower in front of the W front, with the Jermyn arms carved over the door.   The spire, as so often, came later. The present one is a fibreglass replica, completed 1968, of the lead-covered spire of 1699-1700. ... It has a square clock stage supporting an octagonal open arcade and a tall obelisk and weather-vane. ... The top stage of the tower is a harsh facsimile, also of 1968. ...  
         
                             
         
  The rebuilt interior is wide and spacious. Its special interest is that, according to Wren, it was the most practically arranged of his large 'auditory' churches (allowing 2000 people to hear clearly). Five bays, with galleries on square pillars. Corinthian columns on them carry the barrel vault of the nave. This setting of columns above piers was a breakthrough for Wren, and he repeated it in the City, e.g. at St Andrew Holborn. The aisles have transverse barrel vaults penetrating into the main vault. No acknowledgement is made of the former cross-axis. The restorers reproduced Wren's plasterwork convincingly, and also some big roses introduced in 1836-7. One change Richardson made was to run the upper cornice across the E wall, in line with the lower tier of windows. ...
Pews by Richardson, of oak, with integral uplighters.
 
         
Grinling Gibbons, St James, Piccadilly                              East Window, St James, Piccadilly
         
  Fittings. The key pieces escaped destruction. They are more courtly and luxurious than those of the City churches. Reredos with carving by Grinling Gibbons, given by Sir Robert Gayer in 1684 (restored 1846). John Evelyn, overwhelmed, wrote: 'There was no altar anywhere in England, nor has there been any abroad, more handsomely adorn'd.' Low and broad, under a big segmental arch. The exuberant limewood garlands of flowers and fruit are composed like one of Gibbons's secular overmantels.
Stained Glass. E window by Christopher Webb, 1954, traditional.
 
         
                   
         
  Organ. By Renatus Harris, from the chapel at Whitehall Palace, 1686; presented by Queen Mary. Case with three towers and segmental flats. Six angelic figures on top by Gibbons. Choir cases added 1852 by J.C. Bishop.
Pulpit. c. 1862. Showy.
 
         
Font, St James. Piccadilly                   
         
  Font. By Gibbons, 1686; Arnold Quellin, his collaborator, may also have worked on it. Of marble. The stem is the Tree of Knowledge, and Adam and Eve stand to its sides. Bowl with reliefs of the Baptism of Christ, the Baptism of the Eunuch, and the Ark on the Waters. The whole has a somewhat Victorian-looking opulence, influenced presumably by pulpits in the Netherlands. The C17 cover, with large flying angel, is lost.  
         
         
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