St Paul's Cathedral: Commemorative Book



Commission: To create and publish a co-branded book celebrating the St Paul's Cathedral WWI altar frontal, recounting the remarkable story of it's creation and reproducing it's accompanying 'memorial book'.

Format: Full-colour, 92-page hard cover A4 book.

Source of content: St Paul's Cathedral archive; Memory Lane research.

Author: Stephen Barnard

Publisher: Andrew Humphries

Date of release: 2016 

Product details:  During the First World War, convalescing servicemen in Britain’s military hospitals were aided in their recovery by a remarkable kind of therapy: embroidery. Some of these war-hardened men worked on a project for the altar of Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece, St Paul’s Cathedral. Newly restored, The First World War altar frontal is currently on display in St Paul’s for the duration of the Great War centenary. The quiet splendour of what these men produced – and the story of its creation – is presented, explored and honoured in FROM THE HANDS OF HEROES - a full-colour hardcover book that reproduces the original altar frontal and every hand-crafted page of its accompanying memorial book.

Published in remembrance of all who lost their lives in the First World War, FROM THE HANDS OF HEROES reproduces the memorial book in its entirety along with a stunning representation of the frontal in its restored state. It allows us a century later to marvel at the contrast between the colour and vibrancy of what these men produced and the deathly mud-soaked landscape in which they lived and fought. It also throws new light on the therapeutic use of embroidery by disabled and shell shocked servicemen during the First World War. The abiding message of these pages is one of how hope can overcome despair and beauty can mitigate tragedy. FROM THE HANDS OF HEROES is a tribute to the skill and resilience of a group of damaged men who found solace and meaning in the making of a unique memorial.


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