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Black Christ’s side pierced by air-rifle pellet, in Nailsworth

15 November 2019

Lorna May Wadsworth

The Last Supper, by Lorna May Wadsworth (detail)

The Last Supper, by Lorna May Wadsworth (detail)

A BLACK Christ in a painting of the Last Supper has been damaged by what appears to have been an air-rifle pellet.

The painting, which has hung as an altarpiece in St George’s, Nailsworth, near Stroud, since 2010, was being moved by the artist, Lorna May Wadsworth, for an exhibition in Sheffield, when she noticed the damage.

A ballistics expert who was shown photos of the impact on the side of the Christ figure, said that it was a “perfect match” for damage by an air-rifle. The painting is on aluminium, so the pellet left a dent rather than a hole.

Ms Wadsworth told the Stroud News and Journal: “I couldn’t begin to speculate why someone has done this. I can’t get into the mind set of someone who would go into a church and shoot something.

“I would prefer it if it was random vandalism. It’s too horrible to contemplate the alternative.”

Equality call. The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, has criticised the Church of England for its lack of urgency over promoting black and minority-ethnic people to senior positions. The issue of race had been put “on a back burner”, he said.

Dr Sentamu was interviewed in The Times last Saturday. “When you have some congregations that are 90-per-cent black, you would expect that to be reflected in the leadership. If it isn’t, you’ve got to start asking questions.

“There was a time when everybody was embarrassed by the lack of black leadership. I’m not sure that the embarrassment is there any more, but it must be revived.”

“Gaze: A retrospective of portraits”, an exhibition of paintings by Lorna May Wadsworth, is at the Graves Gallery, Sheffield, until 15 February 2020, Tuesday-Saturday, entry free. http://www.museums-sheffield.org.uk/

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