Church stages special events for Barker’s 120th anniversary

Cicely Mary Barker: noted artist and illustrator who attended St Andrew's Church most of her life

Cicely Mary Barker: noted artist and illustrator who attended St Andrew’s Church most of her life

The 120th anniversary of the birth of Cicely Mary Barker, the author and artist who devised the flower fairies, is to be celebrated at her parish church, St Andrew’s on Southbridge Road, next Sunday, June 28, and then next month with a new original drama, written by a Croydon headteacher, performed by professional cast in the church’s new performance venue.

Barker’s artwork adorns the church, with the panels on the font and with the special display of one of her major religious works, “Out of Great Tribulation”.

An endowment from the commissions earned from Barker’s books was received by the church and used to pay for its most recent building and restoration work.

Next week’s celebrations at the church –  which was where former Waldrons resident Barker worshipped for most of her life – will be attended by the community and members of the artist’s family.

The day will include a formal opening of the Flower Fairy Garden in Park Hill Park, with a healthy walk from the park at 1.30pm, calling in at St Andrew’s from 2.30pm to view the paintings, then on to St George’s church in Waddon to see CMB’s other great religious work, “The Great Supper”.

Ciceiy Mary Barker's work as an illustrator, especially with her tree fairies work, was hugely popular in the inter-war years

Ciceiy Mary Barker’s work as an illustrator, especially with her flower fairies work, was hugely popular in the inter-war years

And St Andrew’s Church will stage the world premiere performances next month of Under the Shadow of Your Wings, a play written by David Matthews, the headmaster of St Andrew’s School. The performances will be on July 9, 10 and 11.

Under the Shadow of Your Wings explores the relationships between three women: Mary Barker and her daughters, Dorothy and Cicely. Cicely is a talented artist and the other two women are obliged, for different reasons, to define themselves in reaction to that.

The play, set between the two World Wars, also looks at art, its purpose and the inspiration behind what Cicely paints. References to fairies, Peter Pan, angels and swans are charged with a cultural and spiritual importance.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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