St Albans artist the focus of Harrow faith craft symposium

Ian Howgate's Stations of the Cross. A faith craft symposium is being held on April 6

Ian Howgate's Stations of the Cross. A faith craft symposium is being held on April 6 - Credit: Photo supplied

FAITH craft, an ecclesiastical pastime which is considered a “St Albans phenomenon” is the focus of a symposium this weekend.

The day-long event is being held months after a wooden set of Stations of the Cross carved by “forgotten” St Albans artist Ian Howgate was painstakingly restored for a church in Harrow.

St George’s church, Headstone, acquired a set of Ian’s designs, carved in the mid-1930s, without knowing their history until recently.

The set of designs depict scenes from Jesus’s condemnation to his crucifixion and being laid in the tomb.

Vicar of St George’s Stephen Keeble said they were in a “rather sorry, dirty state” when purchased from a shop in Walsingham, the dealer of which had acquired them at little cost at an antiques fair.

The church was surprised to learn about the panel’s creator, following research.

Stephen said: “Faith craft is a St Albans phenomenon.”

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Ian Howgate, an ecclesiastical artist, attended the St Albans School of Art in Victoria Street.

In the 1930s he worked for Faith Craft Works in St Albans, a high quality ecclesiastical stained glass and furnishing enterprise owned by the Anglo-Catholic society of the faith.

The works were based in St Albans from 1921 until closure in 1969 and produced high quality church furnishings and stained glass.

It was owned by the Society of the Faith, an Anglo-Catholic Trust which destroyed all its Faith Craft records in the 1970s.

Stephen said that the society was hosting the symposium as it was keen to uncover further history about faith craft.

Speakers include Elain Harwood, English Heritage’s leading expert on 20th Century architecture.

He added: “The first managing director and chief designer [of Faith Craft Works] was William Lawson, 1894-1946, some of whose fine work, and that of his son John, can be seen in St Saviour’s, Sandpit Lane.”

The Symposium is being held from 10am-5pm at St George’s on Saturday April 6 and costs £25 to attend.

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