A Tour of the London Oratory: The Lady Altar

In the previous piece we gave consideration to the high altar and sanctuary of the London Oratory. Today we turn our attention to what is probably the next most well known altar of the London Oratory, the Lady Altar, located just to the right of the sanctuary.

One of the wonderful practices associated with this altar is that the mantle on the statue of the Virgin is changed to the liturgical colour of the day or season. Thus, in these photos it is white, whereas in others you might see green or red for example.

The altar and altarpiece itself date from the late 17th century (1693 to be precise) having been brought to the Oratory from an Italian church in the 19th century after the aforesaid church had been closed and repurposed as a result of the French Revolution in 1797. Almost 100 years later, in 1883, it was re-erected in the London Oratory.

A detail of the exquisite marble work on the front of the altar proper, executed by Francis Corbarelli and his sons.
The well known statue of Our Lady was not part of the original 1693 altar, but instead came from the Oratorians first London church.

Above this are marble statues of two Old Testament prophets, thought to be Elijah and Jeremiah -- works of the 17th century Italian artist, Tomasso Rues -- which are meant as allegorical representations of the virtues of Fatih and Charity.

To either side of the statue of Our Lady are statues St. Rose of Lima and St. Pius V -- a friend of St. Philip Neri -- by another 17th/18th century Italian artist, Orazio Marinali.

Here is another view of the altar in its entirety.

And a final detail of some of the secondary images found on the altarpiece.

Photo Credits: Charles Cole

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