All Saints, Jesus Lane, Cambridge, by G. F. Bodley (1827-1907): IV, Christ in Majesty

These photographs were generously contributed by Adrian Powter, Churches Conservation Trust area volunteer, whose copyright they remain. [Click on all the images to enlarge them.]

Christ in Majesty over the chancel arch of All Saints, Cambridge, a church designed by G. F. Bodley in 1863 and subsequently completed and decorated by William Morris and Company, Charles Eamer Kempe, and others. This mural was painted in tempera by Wyndham Hope Hughes (l849-l948), an artist associated with Kempe, in 1875. It was repainted by B. M. Leach, F. R. Leach's son, in 1904 (see Tricker et al., 4).

The painting is the supreme example of the painted decoration in here, which the listing text describes in general as "superb." Hughes seems to have been largely forgotten now, but Adrian Barlow, writing in the Kempe Trust's website, tells us that Kempe paid for Hughes to go to art school and that in the 1870s he "started – as an artist, not as a glass maker – to contribute to the development of the Kempe style" — so much so that John Betjeman would later (inaccurately) claim that it was Hughes who taught Kempe his skills as a stained glass maker.

With its semi-circle of cherubim and hosts of crowned angels around the central tableau of Jesus, flanked by the kneeling figures Mary and St John, this painting shows that Hughes certainly deserves more recognition. It was he, for instance, who designed the windows for the Royal Mausoleum at Darmstadt, one of the Kempe’s most important commissions. Among much else, says Barlow, "he painted, under Kempe’s supervision, the pulpit in All Saints, Cambridge" — as well as this magnificent mural.

Related Material


"All Saints Church." Historic England. Web. 3 April 2018.

Barlow, Adrian. "John Betjeman and Kempe." The Kempe Trust. Web. 3 April 2018.

Searby, Peter. A History of the University of Cambridge, Vol. III: 1750-1870. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Stavridi, Margaret. "Wyndham Hope Hughes l849-l948." Wheat Sheaf Newsletter of the Kempe Society. No. 49 (March l996): 5-8.

Tricker, Roy, and others. All Saints Church. London: Churches Conservation Trust, 2004 (kindly supplied by Adrian Powter).

Last modified 8 April 2018