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Summer exhibition at Glastonbury Abbey

22nd June 2014

Categories: News

An exhibition of letter cutting and stone carving by two Somerset artists has gone on show at Glastonbury Abbey for the summer.

John Rowlands-Pritchard and Kate Semple are combining their skills and drawing inspiration from the abbey ruins to produce a joint exhibition, entitled Stone and Scribe.

It will take place at the historic site until Sunday, September 28.

John's lettering work is already familiar to many in Somerset and beyond, as it can be seen in an inscription carved around the altar at the Bishop's Palace Chapel in Wells, inscribed memorials in the cloister windows at Wells Cathedral, besides a tombstone at Winchester Cathedral and windows at St David's Cathedral in Pembrokeshire.

Stone carver Kate learned her craft as a mason with Wells Cathedral Stonemasons and, among her commissions for sculptures, has created pieces for the grounds of FromeCommunityHospital and the town’s Millennium Green.

For the Stone and Scribe exhibition, John is producing stone inscriptions commemorating St Dunstan, the 10th-century abbot, and showing psalm verses the saint chanted and meditated upon daily.

The 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth is also celebrated in a series of lettered panels, while John’s other pieces include engraved glass bowls and windows.

Kate, who also leads carving workshops for community projects, schools and adult centres, has been inspired by the abbey's own sculptures and is working on pieces incorporating elements of the Norman decorative style seen in the ruins of the 12th-century Lady Chapel.

Visitors this summer will also be able to enjoy a sculpture trail in the abbey grounds, with work in metal, stone, wood and willow by a number of local artists displayed in the orchard from early July until the end of September.

Mary Gryspeerdt, assistant curator at Glastonbury Abbey, said: “We are delighted to welcome artists Kate Semple and John Rowlands-Pritchard. Their beautiful work has been created using traditional skills mastered with great dedication over many years.

“Glastonbury Abbey is the ideal setting for John and Kate’s exhibition and the ruins have provided rich inspiration for both of them. We are particularly looking forward to showing visitors the pieces created especially for the abbey display.

“There will be a number of events to accompany the exhibition for members of the public to enjoy. Kate Semple is leading a two-day stone-carving workshop at the abbey on July 26-27, and the Abbot’s Kitchen will provide the backdrop to a Gregorian Chant workshop on September 20 and a concert by Opus Anglicanum on September 27.

“At the same time, the Sculpture in the Orchard trail will provide a wonderful opportunity for our visitors to enjoy artwork in the peace and tranquillity of the abbey grounds this summer.”

To book for these events, either visit Glastonbury Abbey’s ticket shop or find more details online at

To find out more about John Rowlands-Pritchard and Kate Semple, visit and

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