Photographs by John Salmon, and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use the images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit John Salmon and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. Click on the images to enlarge them.

Left: An elaborately canopied, painted statue of the Virgin and Child, outside the South or Lady Chapel of St John the Baptist, Holland Road in Kensington, London. Right: The interior of the vaulted chapel, by James Brooks (1825-1901), with additions by J. S. Adkins. As the listing text notes, the blind arcading to the south wall has ballflower ornamenting, and is lined with memorial tablets, with mosaics and a broad frieze of quatrefoils and angels above, the angels holding shields. On the other side can be seen a canopied figure of St George, and the range of musician angels and Biblical figures over the Sanctuary arcade. In this photograph the altar is covered.

The Lady Chapel Reredos filling the chapel's apsidal sanctuary.

The sanctuary here has black and white marble floor tiles and a stone reredos almost as elaborate as that of the main sanctuary — moreover, it is gilded. Dating to 1907, this was designed by Adkins after Brooks's death (see Sheppard), and carved by a Mr Clarke ("Brief History"). The listing text describes it as having "canopied figures of the Virgin and Child with Faith, Hope, Charity and Ecclesia (the latter holding a model of the building)," alternating with "reliefs of the Annunciation, Nativity, Purification and Assumption."

Left: Detail of the reredos — the relief depicting the visit of the Magi. Right: The altar frontal.

The altar frontal was a little earlier than the reredos (1905), and the church website says it was executed by the firm of Grosse & Sons, probably the Belgian firm of church furnishers with a branch in Baker Street, seen in various advertisements. It is a painted wooden tableau in medieval style with figures representing the history of the Church, from "pre-Incarnation to the left and post to the right" ("Brief History"). The figure second from the right in the foreground wears the habit of a Cistercian monk: this is interesting because "Brooks's original conception at St Johns owed much to the great English Cistercian abbeys of Yorkshire" ("Brief History"; see also Sheppard, specifically on the nave). The church website tells us that standing in the row above him on the extreme right is a bishop modelled after the Bishop of London. Adkins's hand is felt particularly in this ornate chapel.

Related Material


"List Entry" (for St John the Baptist, Holland Road). Historic England. Web. 25 May 2015.

Sheppard, F. H. W., ed. "The Holland Estate: Since 1874." Survey of London: Volume 37, Northern Kensington. London, 1973: pp. 126-150. British History Online. Web. 25 May 2015.

"Brief History of St John the Baptist." The Church of England. Web. 25 May 2015.

Created 25 May 2015