Christianity in 10 objects
Have you heard the phrase practice makes perfect? Before a sculptor makes a life-size stone figure statue, it makes sense that they would make a practice model. This object is a half life-size plaster cast called a maquette. It is created after the artist has looked at photographs of the person and has made a small clay model. This maquette is one of the ten modern statues of Christian martyrs from the twentieth century that are above the Abbey’s Great West Door. Do you have any idea who this might be?
This maquette shows Dr Martin Luther King Jr, an American civil rights leader and church leader who fought for equality regardless of race and most famously gave a speech beginning “I have a dream”. Have you heard of it?
A martyr is someone who dies because of their beliefs. These life-size stone statues help us to remember 10 Christian martyrs, men and women from around the world, who died during the 20th century.
Just above the Great West Door, you can’t miss these life-size statues. Whilst we may think of people dying for their faith as something that happened in the past, modern martyrdom shows that there are still places across the world where people are punished for their faith. It is important that we remember those who stood up for what they believe. We can learn about and share the lives of martyrs, as well as listening to the beliefs of all people of faith and those who have none.
Visit the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries to see the modern Christian martyr maquette, and many more objects, in real life. High above the Abbey floor, come face to face with the Abbey’s greatest treasures covering over 1,000 years of faith and history. Along with worship, examine objects that teach us about the building of Westminster Abbey, its role in national memory and its relationship with royalty.
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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.