Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Reflecting on church brass

click photo to enlarge
It's customary for Anglican churches to have a raised pulpit and a separate reading lectern from which sermons and readings take place. Pulpits have an inclined shelf that traditionally holds The Bible, a prayer book or any other document that the officiating clergy wishes to use. The reading lectern is a humbler (and usually lower) affair, often a simple wooden post with feet surmounted by the inclined shelf. However, in many churches the material is brass rather than wood, and the piece often dates from the Victorian or the Edwardian period. In these cases the shelf is frequently decorated with foliate or cross patterns, and many are pierced. I've photographed such lecterns before because the reflective glow of the brass in the darkness of the church makes an attractive subject for the camera.

The other day we visited a Lincolnshire church, one very near the border with Leicestershire, a building that we'd not been in before. It had a rich and fertile interior for a passing photographer. But, despite the fine tombs, interesting woodwork, unusual font and column capitals and much else, my eye was once again drawn to a brass reading lectern. What caught my attention on this occasion was the reflection of a south aisle stained glass window in the polished surface of the brass. The shelf had a quatrefoil design, each leaf filled with a flower stem with two leaves, and in the centre, a cross. These raised brass shapes were emphasised by black paint or lacquer and the out of focus colours of the window gave the yellow brass a jewel-like glow, inviting the close-up shot that I post today.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 52mm (78mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f4.8
Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec
Exposure Compensation: 0. EV
Image Stabilisation: On