Lorna May Wadsworth (b.1979 -)
A Last Supper, 2009
Giglee print on canvas
284cm x 84.2cm
On loan from St Albans Cathedral
Original – oil on aluminium, 92cm x 366cm, St George’s Church, Nailsworth
A Last Supper
“As a response to the Black Lives Matter movement, the Dean of St Albans Cathedral, Dr Jeffrey John, requested a fine art print copy of Wadsworth’s A Last Supper be hung in the Altar of the Persecuted in the North Transept. Inspired by this important gesture, Lorna decided to offer to make further high-quality print copies of the painting – purely on a cost price basis – for other churches and religious organisations.
Wadsworth forged her career and reputations with a series of celebrated representations of sitters from the worlds of politics, entertainment and literature, but it is her 2009 depiction of the last supper, with Christ as a black man, that has most recently achieved iconic status.
The original version of the 12 foot long oil on aluminium reworking of Leonardo’s Last Supper currently hangs in St George’s Church in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire. It was painted entirely from life with Jesus represented by Jamaican- born fashion model, Tafari Hinds.
When he saw it, not long after it was painted, Dr Rowan Williams, then Archbishop of Canterbury, commented that Wadsworth’s Last Supper had “tremendous vitality, but also a really powerful tension between the agitation of some figures and the profound stillness and presence of others. All the faces repay long looking.”
In 2019, the painting made national news, when the artist discovered it had been shot whilst supervising the scanning, while in the situ behind the altar of St George’s. The damage occurred in Christ’s right side, the same place Longinus, a Roman centurion, pierced the body of Jesus with his spear as he hung from the cross.”