Archive Item of the Week: Work in Progress

Welcome to Archive item of the week:  where we delve into Guildford Cathedral Archives to highlight sine if the unique items within the collection.

This week: Artwork


The collections at Guildford Cathedral do not just relate to paper documents of correspondence and photographs.  Within the collection there are some truly interesting items that you may not think belong within an archive.

We turn our attention to artwork for the focus of this item of the week and in particular the hidden work of sculptural maquettes.  These items are usually created by a sculpture as an initial model for an item they are going to create.

Within in the Archive we have a collection of maquettes created by the sculptor Vernon Hill.  Here is just one example.


It is a carved male head and torso with halo behind and outstretched arms. Wave motif along arms.  It is a really intriguing piece as there are so many intricate elements involved in the sculpture.  It is a stunning example of work in progress by a notable artist.


Who was Vernon Hill?


Vernon Hill was born 1887 in Halifax in Yorkshire, he became a renowned sculptor, lithographer, illustrator and draughtsman.

His most notable works were commissions by the architect Sir Edward Maufe, here at Guildford Cathedral as well as working on notable other buildings such as the Runnymede Memorial.

Guildford Cathedral is fortunate to have many examples of Vernon Hills work throughout the building, both internally and externally. And the work here has been described by many as his finest work.


He created the two outstanding bronze doors on the east door of the South Porch.  Each of the doors depict various occupations of both men and women.

He also produced the arms of Bishop Greig over the inside of the scarcity door and also the sculpture of St Ursula over the inside of St Ursula’s Porch.