Peter Marlow English Cathedrals Exhibition – Peterborough Cathedral

15th May 2024

Peterborough Cathedral is the latest cathedral to host the touring exhibition of the late Magnum photographer Peter Marlow’s work, ‘The English Cathedral’.

Peter Marlow, English Cathedrals Exhibition – Peterborough Cathedral

Peterborough is the twentieth Anglican cathedral to host this unique set of photographs of the nave of each English Cathedral taken in natural light throughout 2010 during what Peter himself described as ‘a kind of reflective pilgrimage’.

In hosting the exhibition, Peter Marlow: The English Cathedral, Peterborough Cathedral invites its visitors to embark on a visual journey through the lens of Peter Marlow, capturing the essence of the Cathedral and its Gothic architecture in a play of natural light with all modern artificial lighting turned off. Peter’s portrayal of the cathedral evocatively transports the viewer back to the site’s medieval roots by inviting contemplation of its dramatic interior.

The Very Reverend Chris Dalliston, Dean of Peterborough, said:

“We are delighted to be showcasing the exquisite exhibition by the late Peter Marlow, featuring 42 photographs of all Anglican Cathedral Naves in England. 

“These timeless images captured beautifully in natural light, not only celebrate the architectural grandeur of our sacred spaces but also offer a profound reflection on the relationship between light and spirituality.

“We hope this exhibition may serve as a beacon of inspiration for fellow photographers and visitors alike, inviting them to explore and interpret the beauty that surrounds us with reverence and creativity.”

Peter Marlow (b. UK, 1952 – 2016) was commissioned in 2008 by Royal Mail on the 300th year anniversary of the completion of St Paul’s Cathedral to photograph six Anglican Cathedrals that were issued as commemorative stamps.

So taken was he by these initial magnificent interiors that he set out to photograph all 42, guided over the next three years by a copy of English Cathedrals (1989) by Edwin Smith and Olive Cook and a pack of Anglican Cathedrals of England Top Trumps Cards!

“What I thought was going to be incredibly simple became intricate, complicated, and utterly absorbing. The journey was memorable and wonderfully hypnotic, a kind of reflective pilgrimage. My cathedral days involved hours of driving and thinking, with my reference Polaroids drying in the sun on the dashboard.”

The photographs were published as a book by Merrell, with a foreword written by Martin Barnes, Senior Curator of Photographs at the V&A. The first edition in 2012 and second edition in 2015. A full set of the prints are held in the V&A’s permanent collection.

With generous funding from the Victoria and Albert Museum and their Photographs Acquisition Group, a touring exhibition followed the book.

It is the ambition of the Peter Marlow Foundation to fulfil Peter’s desire for the exhibition to be hosted by all 42 cathedrals.

The exhibition has so far been hosted by Coventry, Ely, Blackburn, Portsmouth, Carlisle, Winchester, Ripon, Southwell, Bradford, St Albans, St Pauls, Hereford, Newcastle, St Edmundsbury, Wakefield, Lincoln, Wells, Manchester & Rochester and the tour dates for 2024 are: 

Peterborough: 14 May 2024 – 13 June 2024
Derby: 23 July 2024 – 1 September 2024
Chester: 10 September 2024 – 1 October 2024
Worcester: 8 October 2024 – 17 November 2024