by Gary Tollerfield
Portsmouth Cathedral has a long and interesting history, but a new extended Nave has been added at the end of the 20th Century to accommodate large congregations. (This extension completes work planned and commenced before World War 2 in the Romanesque style).
The main 1994 Nicholson organ, with its 1718 Jordon case, speaks East and a West Great was added in 2001 to support congregational singing in the Nave. It is the new case for this West Great, designed by Didier Grassin that is pictured on the front of this Journal.
The organ case is designed to mirror the architecture of the building, and with no pipe shades to mask the tops of the pipes in the Italian style. The case has shutters which close, as was the case in medieval times, and at Portsmouth they are shut in the church seasons of Lent and Advent.
The doors, here shown open, have paintings on the inside face by Patrick Caulfield which have much symbolism. Most noticeable is the likeness to waves and the lighthouse with its beam of light. This is particularly appropriate, as Portsmouth’s city motto is “Heaven’s Light our Guide”.
The polished tin pipes with their natural speaking lengths and sweeping mouths, echoed by the toe boards, make for an attractive design, well suited to the building.
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