22 September, 2020

Photograph of Archbishop Polding

Image : Downside Abbey UK.

This photograph of Archbishop Polding is believed to have been taken during the Archbishop's visit to Europe 1866-1867.  At that time, he would have been about 72 years of age.  

He is wearing those robes of a prelate's dress which were required when a bishop visited the Holy See, namely, a cassock, a rochet (being a prelate's surplice), a mantaletta (a knee-length, sleeveless cloak) and, over the top of all of these, a mozzetta.  Because the Pope had conferred upon him the Dignity of Assistant at the Pontifical Throne, the Archbishop, during his visits to Rome, had the right of wearing the violet-coloured robes which pertained to bishops.  We cannot be certain, nevertheless, whether for the purposes of this photograph, the Archbishop's robes were black (as was required of a Benedictine bishop) or violet.

This image was kindly supplied to the Guild of Archbishop Polding by the Heritage Officer of the Benedictine Abbey at Downside, Bath, UK, which had been the residence of the Archbishop before he began his Episcopal ministry in Australia in 1835.

After Archbishop Polding's death in 1877, a copy of this photograph held in Sydney was engraved and published in tribute to him - a form of memorial card.  Quite some years later, the engraving was used as the basis for a painting which is held in the Convent of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, Glebe NSW.  The artwork - a quite accurate representation of the original image - shews the Archbishop wearing black prelatical dress, but this is based on conjecture, since it was painted many years after his death.

Painting of the Archbishop held in the Glebe Convent.


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