The Chancel Screen

Figures on the Chancel Screen of St John the Baptist Church, Holland Road, Kensington, London, by John Edward Taylerson. The architect of this Grade I listed church was James Brooks (1825-1901), and he had more funds at his disposal here than he had had when building churches in the East End of London. The church was therefore fitted out in a grander style. According to the listing text, the elaborate stone screen dates from 1894-1900. After Brooks's death, his assistant John Standen Adkins added his own embellishments too. These figures were among the later additions (Cherry and Pevsner 458). Carved by Taylerson in Corhsam stone on the two side-chapel screens as well as the chancel, they "form a single iconographic programme illustrating the spread of the Catholic Church throughout the World" (St John the Baptist"). The listing text describes the figures on the central screen like this: "censing angels and foliage in the tympana, then a tier of niches with small statues of Christ and the Apostles, and crowning the whole a great Rood with angels and archangels bearing the Instruments of the Passion." [Click on all the images for larger pictures.]

The Three Screens Together

From left to right: (a) The screen for the chapel of St Peter and St Paul, on the north. (b) The chancel screen as a whole. (b) The screen for the Lady Chapel on the south.

The Lady Chapel Screen

Close-up of Taylerson's figures on the south chapel screen.

According to the listing text again, the side chapel screens are "of the same date as the chancel screen and similar in design" with "figures (again by Taylerson) representing missionary saints," further illustrating the church's reach into different countries. The combined effect of these figures and others on the chancel arches at each side — sculptures of musician angels and other Biblical figures associated with music — is to surround the chancel with a veritable heavenly host. The congregation, with the Baptistery screen at one end of the nave and three more at the chancel, as well as various other carvings and mosaics, is similarly encompassed by uplifting examples of faith and its spiritual reward.

Photographs by John Salmon. Formatting bythe author. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.

Related Material


Cherry, Bridget, and Nikolaus Pevsner. London 3: North West. London: Penguin, 1991.

"List Entry" (for St John the Baptist, Holland Road). Historic England. Web. 18 May 2015.

"St John the Baptist, Holland Road" (Church website). Web. 18 May 2015.

Created 18 May 2015