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Watts Cemetery Chapel

Glorified Wallpaper

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Entering a mortuary Chapel, one might expect to find a sombre interior. Here swirling tendrils – roots of the Tree of Life – float around the circular walls like, the tentacles of an octopus in a deep dark sea, engulfing the mourner (or visitor) while organic highlights glisten above.

Turn on the lights and in a kaleidoscope of reds, blues, greens and golds, cherubim and seraphim beckon, their arms raised drawing one’s eye heavenwards to the Eternal Circle, the Sun of Righteousness, in the centre of the wooden cross-ridged roof. Subdued natural light filters through the four pairs of stained glass windows and their six-foot reveals. Although the circular drum is only 13 ½ inches thick, these window reveals create the impression of deep medieval castle walls.

Above the oak parquet floor, the circular drum rises two thirds of the height of the Chapel walls, surmounted by the dome. Wreaths of cherubic faces decorating the arched vaults rise from golden corbels to the Eternal Circle in the roof. Curvilinear benches of Portland stone line the walls and this material also forms the alter step and table. There are two scrolling wrought-iron arched doors.

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