"Therefore go and makes disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" Matthew 28:19
As soon as you walk through the doors into All Souls Church your senses are bombarded with objects of beauty, however ones eyes are drawn immediately across the vast expanse of Nave to the Baptistery situated at the base of the tower. There's a link to The Victorian Society site in Links.
The Font is manufactured from Frosterly Marble to the design of John Oldrid Scott in 1880.
The gilded oak spire cover was designed by R.J.Johnson of Newcastle and was given by the artist Emily Ford as a thank offering to commemerate her baptism in 1890. She was converted to the Church of England from Quakerism and baptised at the age of 39, painting the eight folding panels of the new cover herself. The cover is regarded as of the finest quality gothic revival work and incorporates a figure of Saint John Evangelist carved in Oberammergau.
Emily Ford (1850 - 1930) was born in Leeds and studied at the Slade School of Art. She exhibited at the R.A. and the Grosvenor Gallery and is now regarded as a once excluded member of the group of Pre-Raphaelite artists of the 19th century. Much of her religious work, particularly in the form of fresco painting has now perished. The All Souls' panels are painted in a 'primitive Italian' style on oak boards and form the inner compartments of the font cover.
The panels illustrate mainly religious themes, crossing of the Red Sea, Entombment of Our Lord etc. but many of the faces in the scenes are portraits of well known personages of the time e.g. E.J.Arnold the publisher, self portraits of the artist herself , local clergy and dignitaries of the time, R.J.Johnson the architect etc. There are also small scenes of All Souls' before the tower was built, the interior of the chancel and the cloisters and a representation of the old font ( now vanished) detailing an amazing insight into the social history of All Souls.
In 2013 the Victorian Society initiated a campaign to restore the paintings and the funds came in quickly and with some to spare! Restoration by David Everingham of York was completed in 2014 and they were re-opened on June 7th 2014.