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Charles Bernard Mortlock

5th May 2022

CB Mortlock knew the right people...

Ah C.B. Mortlock
not just Church of England priest but also
journalist and ballet critic for 
the Daily Telegraph. In forty-six,
the year of his appointment to St Vedast,
he was president of both the Critics' Circle
and the A.C.U., the Actor's 
Christian Union, and so a leading
figure in the arts. The Bishop, David
Wand, though Mortlock might bring 'interesting
folk' and certainly his friends were artists.
Sculptor Jacob Epstein carved his profile 
and displayed it in the garden. Mortlock,
who said Judaism was 'a monstrous 
work of human ingenuity',
and stated that the Jews were 'God killers'
urged Epstein to convert. He wouldn't. At
his passing, Mortlock asked his flock to pray 
for him as he'd 'died unbaptised'. And yet
he sermonised in nineteen forty-three
'gainst Nazi persecution of the Jews.
He had more luck with muralist Hans Feibusch
who adopted Christianity 
in B ritain and was hired to decorate
the post-war C of E in gaudy hues. He flattered 
M`ortlock by including him in what
may be his masterpiece - The Trinity 
in Glory at St Alban's Holborn. Sacred 
art goes pop. The style is nineteen sixties
born-again heroic, vibrant colours,
evangelical in tone, romantic
and idealised, the figures muscular
except in prison bottom right where they're
emaciated, glum. Charles Bernard Mortlock's
in the claret vestments, right xcheek profile,
eight o' clock. In front of him is Peter Priest,
the vicar of St Alban's (nominal 
determinism there) from sixty-five
to sev'nty-nine. The well-connected Mortlock
knew Hans Feibusch from the art world and 
had recommended him to Walter Hussey at 
St Matthew's Northampton. The latter in 
exchange gave Mortlock Jacob Epstein who 
had sculpted a Madonna for him there.