Geoffrey Whiting’s Candlesticks for Canterbury Cathedral

You can find candlesticks made by Geoffrey Whiting in Canterbury Cathedral

It is always gratifying, but still all too rare when potters get major commissions. In 1982 Geoffrey Whiting was commissioned by the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral to make candlesticks for a new altar at the east end of the church, to mark the forthcoming visit of Pope John Paul II.

Geoffrey spent some weeks working on test pieces and finally came up with a design which was low and broad, with a wide bowl and short cylinder for the candle. The exterior of the design was left unglazed, matching the coloration of the altar frontal and surrounding stonework. The effect was deliberately minimal and low-key, in contrast to the more prominent candleholders made, for example, by Hans Coper at Coventry Cathedral and Robin Welch at Lincoln Cathedral.

The altar and candlesticks were dedicated by the Pope in an ecumenical service in the cathedral in May 1982. In 2017 it became necessary to replace one of the candlesticks, and a near match was found, utilising one of the test pieces Whiting had made. The replacement was dedicated by the Dean, Robert Willis, at Christmas 2017. 

Photographs reproduced by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury and the Whiting family.

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