Gallery: Sophie Arquette – Colloquy

Colloquy The artist Sophie Arkette created Colloquy for an exhibition at the Temple Church as a response to the ongoing celebrations of Magna Carta. This remarkable work is now on loan to the Priory Church, and its various parts have been positioned around the building in what is only a first attempt to find the right location for each. The glass elements are etched with text, which is both illuminated and distorted by the effects of light – both from candles that are in some cases lit within the element, and the light from sources around the building – and water, which is also included within parts of the work.

Sophie Arkette worked in conjunction with Alan Freeman of Parndon Forge, and Jon Lewis of Orbic Glass in creating Colloquy The glass etching was undertaken by Norfolk Resists.

Sophie Arkette has written about Colloquy as follows for this presentation at the Priory Church:

Colloquy is a project celebrating the letters and poems of medieval visionaries, such as Bernard of Clairvaux and Hildegard of Bingen, and Lanfranc Cigala and Guillelma de Rosers.

Against a backdrop of the Magna Carta and the political wrangling between King John and his disaffected barons, Colloquy is a commentary about the importance of the rule of law, of love and of chivalry. The word 'colloquy' in legal definition is the conversation between barristers and a judge.

In 1146, Hildegard of Bingen, a Benedictine Abbess, wrote to Bernard of Clairvaux seeking his advice about the authenticity of her religious experiences. Clairvaux's response arrived with assurances and encouragement, written in a hand that was both humble and respectful. For those familiar with Hildegard's work, her allegories of Justice, her songs and poems, her music and paintings and her many correspondences, often in response to those, such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, who sought her wise counsel, her letter to Clairvaux is no surprise. Nor did she stop at Clairvaux, politically speaking, for there are records of letters she wrote to Pope Eugenius III between the dates of 1148 and 1153, and to Pope Hadrian IV in 1155.

Each of the glass candle-holders that form a single piece has been inscribed with the text from an ongoing correspondence, be it literary or poetical. Bernard of Clairvaux's letter to Prior Guigo of the Grande Chartreuse is a meditation on the meaning of divine law.

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Click here to see a higher resolution version of the photograph above (taken by Sophie Arkette) of part of Colloquy in the Priory Church. or else click the image itself above and to the right.

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Colloquy at the Temple Church
Colloquy at the Temple Church