Horatio Herbert Kitchener, Lord Kitchener
St Paul's Cathedral - Virtual Tour
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The chapel which occupies the space at the base of the north-west tower was dedicated in 1925 to the memory of Field-Marshal Lord Kitchener, who had died off the coast of Orkney in 1916. Through him, it honours all the fallen of the First World War.
The effigy of Kitchener lies on the floor of the chapel, its feet pointing towards an altar in the east wall.
On the wall above the altar is a sculpture of the Virgin Mary with the body of Christ, a composition known as a pietÃ, a theme showing the mother of Christ lamenting over the body of her Son.
This theme has no source in literature, but grew to be immensely important in Christian iconography, especially in its supreme representation of 1499 by Michelangelo, which is housed in St Peter's Basilica in Rome. This outstanding work, like the figure of Kitchener, is by the sculptor Sir William Reid-Dick.
Below the figures of Christ and the Virgin, the front of the stone altar bears a frieze of putti, beneath a cut-stone inscription in Latin, which asks for the souls of the dead to be admitted to the heavenly kingdom.
At Kitchener's head stand the figures of two military saints, St George and St Michael.
They stand vigil over the body of the military hero as he awaits Resurrection.