The High Altar
The reredos on the theme of the Resurrection appearances of our Lord is the work of George Tinworth the chief potter of the Doulton Works in Lambeth.
Tinworth came from a wheelwright’s family and was encouraged by his mother to develop his artistic gifts when his father wasn’t looking!
He attended evening classes at the Lambeth School of Art and in due course won medals at the Royal Academy. When his father died, initially he had to support his mother by working as a wheelwright but soon his gifts won recognition and his work received such acclaim that he was eventually commissioned to design the High Altar at York Minster.
His work in terra cotta is characterised by its lifelike attention to detail and lack of sentimentality. The central panel is set within a frame of Caen stone with pierced tracery and 4 granite colonettes which is surmounted by stone angels.
The relief depicts the post resurrection appearance of Our Lord on the shore by the Sea of Galilee. The disciples had fished all night without success but now having followed our Lord’s instructions they can scarcely haul in the net for the weight of the catch. The scene is dominated by the figure of Jesus in the centre but each disciple is named and individualized. In the foreground we can note the bulging net while in the background we can see the charcoal fire on which breakfast is being prepared.
In the left panel, Mary Magdalene has gone to the tomb with the alabaster jar to anoint the body of Jesus but has found it empty with the stone rolled away. Suddenly, she is confronted by the figure of Jesus whom she at first believes to be the gardener.
In the right panel, the two Marys have gone to the garden tomb and been told by an angel that “Jesus is not here.” Suddenly, Jesus is in their path and they prostrate themselves.