We are beta testing our new website and would love your feedback. Click here to visit it.

Press Releases

Show me items from:


Other pages in News:

Press Releases

Diocesan News

Committee News

Bishops' Advisory Commission on Doctrine

Bishops' Appeal Committee

Bishops' Selection Conference

Board of Education (N.I.)

Board of Education (R.O.I.)

Broadcasting Committee

Central Communications Board

Church in Society Committee

Commission on Ministry

Council for Mission

Disability Working Group

Hard Gospel Committee

Literature Committee

Liturgical Advisory Committee

Marriage Council

Parish Development Working Group

Priorities Fund

Standing Committee

Synodical Reform Committee

Irish Times Notes

RCB Library Notes

Upcoming Events

RSS news feed

View latest news as RSS

Printable version

Striking Portrait of Morris Harding, sculptor at St Anne’s Cathedral, presented to the Cathedral and now on display

Press Releases

Added on 23/01/2013

Dean John Mann admires the portrait of Morris HardingThe craftsman George Frederick Morris Harding, PPRUA (1874–1964) spent many years as sculptor of the impressive capitals and corbels of the nave pillars at St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast. Recently, a rare portrait of Harding by the artist Poppy Mollan which had come onto the local art market was generously purchased and presented to St Anne’s by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. This striking portrait of Harding is now hanging in the ambulatory of the cathedral. The Dean of Belfast, the Very Revd John Mann, who only last year unveiled a Blue Plaque in commemoration of Morris Harding outside the artist’s home at Church Road, Holywood, said, ‘I am delighted that the Cathedral has been so generously presented with this painting by a philanthropic donor. Morris Harding made a remarkable contribution to the visual impact of this special sacred space and it is fitting that his portrait is now on display here.’

As an accomplished craftsman, the English–born Harding was invited in 1925, at the age of 51, to work on designs for many of the capitals and corbels in the nave together with other carvings and the bronze soldier on top of the memorial lectern to the fallen of the 36th (Ulster) Division. This body of work became the major undertaking of his career. For more than twelve years Harding worked high above the floor of the cathedral completing the work. The carvings include depictions of the philosopher Bishop George Berkeley; Bishop Jeremy Taylor, author of the spiritual classic Holy Living and Holy Dying; and the hymn–writer Mrs Cecil Frances Alexander who wrote ‘There is a green hill far away’, ‘All things bright and beautiful’ and ‘Once in royal David’s city’. Shipbuilding, the linen industry, agriculture, science and the arts are also represented. Dean Mann considers the carved stonework in the nave of St Anne’s to be ‘both spectacular and fascinating: spectacular because of its complexity and variety, fascinating because of its relationships – both to the City of Belfast and to the Church and Christianity’.

Once living in Belfast, Harding joined the Belfast Arts Society and later became President of the Royal Ulster Academy. He shared a studio in Holywood, Co. Down with the noted artist Rosamond Praeger whose work is also integral to the cathedral’s decorative scheme in both the baptistery and on the bronze plaque at Carson’s tomb.

The portrait of Harding is thought to be the one exhibited by Belfast–based artist Poppy Mollan at the Ulster Academy of Arts in 1936. Mollan and John Luke assisted Harding in 1938 with a commission for the Northern Ireland Government’s pavilion at the Glasgow Empire Exhibition. Mollan went on to exhibit at the Royal Hibernian Academy between 1927 and 1940.


Issued on behalf of St Anne’s Cathedral Belfast by:
The Church of Ireland Press Office


Church of Ireland
For further information please contact: 
Church of Ireland Press Office
Church of Ireland House
61–67 Donegall Street
Belfast, BT1 2QH
Tel: (028) 9082 8880 (from NI)
Tel: (048) 9082 8880 (from RoI)
Fax (028) 9032 3554
Email: Press Office


Paul Harron: (duty phone) +44 (0)7787 881582 
Peter Cheney (duty phone) +44 (0)7774295369
Janet Maxwell: (duty phone) +353 (0)87 948 4412