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Arnold Quellin

In College Garden, in the precincts of Westminster Abbey, were displayed until recently four large statues carved by Arnold Quellin. These were part of the altarpiece designed by Sir Christopher Wren and made by Grinling Gibbons and Quellin by order of James II for Whitehall Palace in 1685. In 1706 Queen Anne gave the altarpiece to the Abbey to be set up as the high altar (later removed in 1821). But several parts of the original altarpiece did not fit in the space and the large statues were taken to the garden. The statues are now obviously very decayed (although covered over in the winter months) and have had various positions around the garden. St Peter and St Paul were either side of the steps out of the garden leading to Great College Street and St Faith and another female statue (possibly representing Hope or The Church) flanked the gates into Little Dean's Yard.

They have now been conserved and, although not part of the new Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries display in the Abbey, they will be seen in the opposite aisle of the triforium. 

Two of his carved alabaster panels, also part of the Whitehall altar and depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary and Christ, are on display in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries. They are shown with a pair of angel wings and a cherub head. These are all that remain of the old altar at the Abbey.

Other parts of the altarpiece were given to St Andrew's, Burnham on Sea, Somerset.

Quellin also did the carving for the Thomas Thynne monument in the Abbey.

Further reading about the altarpiece

A lost Grinling Gibbons masterpiece by David Green in Country Life Jan.25 1962

An account of the marble altar Burnham..Somerset by Walker King, Bishop of Rochester, 1826


Artist; architect



Material Type


Arnold Quellin
Quellin panels in Galleries

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Arnold Quellin
St Faith statue by Quellin

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

At different times of the day, or in different seasons, the light falling in the Abbey will light up something that you have walked past a million times and never seen before.


Vanessa, Head of Conservation

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