Saturday, November 17, 2012

The interior of Ely Cathedral

click photo to enlarge
Can there be anyone who, having walked below the crossing tower of Ely cathedral, hasn't stopped and gazed up in wide-eyed wonder at the work of the medieval builders? I do just that each time I visit, and even though I've got lots of photographs of the vaulting and arches (and have posted a couple), I take a few more. I did it again when we were last there.

In my recent post about this Fenland cathedral I said that, to my way of thinking, the unusual exterior made Ely something of an ugly duckling. However, as everyone knows, the ugly duckling grew into a beautiful swan, and the transformation of Ely comes about when you step through the doors into the wonderful interior space. The crossing with its glazed lantern is the star of the show, of course, but the sturdy Early Norman nave has an austere beauty too, one that is lit up by the painted ceiling above.

To the east of the crossing is the choir, and here the relative simplicity of the nave gives way to rich materials, colours and textures, and the soaring forms of Gothic replace the sturdiness of Norman. There are many fine details to pore over inside Ely, but for me its success comes not from individual pieces but rather the all-embracing spatial experience.

Unusually for an English cathedral Ely makes no charge for personal photography. I've got used to paying anything between £2 and £4 to take photographs. Here a charge is made if a tripod is used. All my shots were taken with a hand-held camera!

photographs and text © T. Boughen

Photo 1
Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
 Focal Length: 40mm
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/30
ISO: 1250
Exposure Compensation:  -0.67 EV
Image Stabilisation: On