Reredos, Christ the Consoler, Skelton-on-Ure, Yorkshire. Carved by James Redfern. 1874. Alabaster: the painted and gilded portraits are carved in "recessed medallions" (Leach and Pevsner 701), with delicately varied buff tesserae in the backgrounds. William Burges, the architect of the church and designer of the interior, may well have sketched this for Redfern, but the latter was a gifted "fine art sculptor" (Read 266) who would no doubt have developed the details in his own way. The craftsmanship is superb. [Click on photographs to enlarge them.]

Close-up of central medallion: one of the Magi offers a gift to the infant Christ.

Figures on either side of the central medallion. These are prophets holding scrolls. On the left is Jeremiah, whose scroll bears a text from Jeremiah 23, 6, translated in the St James version as "He shall be called, 'THE LORD OF OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.'" On the right is Isaiah, whose scroll bears a text from Isaiah 7, 14, translated in the same version as "Behold a virgin shall conceive." The facial expressions are very natural. The other two prophets shown on the reredos are Ezekiel (far left) and a younger-looking Daniel (far right).

Photographs by Robert Freidus. Formatting, perspective correction (as far as feasible), and commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. [Click on the images for larger pictures.]

Related Material


Leach, Peter, and Nikolaus Pevsner. Yorkshire West Riding, Leeds, Bradford and the North. The Buildings of England series. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2009.

Read, Benedict. Victorian Sculpture. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1982.

Last modified 2 December 2011