Thursday, January 5, 2012

David O'Connell

Morning in the office, then back to Sudbury Hill in time to welcome Liz & the girls who'd driven up from Cornwall, then immediately off to Chichester. Very windy. In fact, the Midhurst road was blocked by a fallen tree so we had to go via Petworth.

On arrival, we called in on St Richard's church to go through tomorrow's service with a very young looking, coolly coiffured priest, Father Paul. Afterwards, he took us through the sacristy and into the modernist church which has a large number of paintings by David O'Connell, my grandfather on my mum's side: the main altar-piece, 14 stations of the cross and a few others in the Lady Chapel. They were painted in the early 60s and are very distinctive and quite radical ("not everyone's cup of tea" says the church's own website), sort of Vorticist meets Cubist. Here's no.8 of the Stations, and you can see the others here.

Needless to say, the church hasn't changed much since the days Paddy and I were altar boys in the 70s. I can still remember putting on the cassocks, ringing the gong and the smell of incense. I'm a classic lapsed Catholic: don't really believe anymore but retain a minor fascination with the mysticism of it all.    

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I noticed that you haven't posted anything in a while so I don't know if you will get this message or not. I live in the United States and I'm pretty sure I own one of your grandfathers paintings. I've been searching for years for more information about him and I have only ever been able to find the website for st Richards parish. Other then that I've never found any other pictures or links to anything until today when I looked again and found your blog. Did he do many paintings? Were any of them ever sold? How would one of them end up in the US? ��