Representations of the church have figured in libary bookplates and publications of the school for many years. The Church of St. Gregory the Great was designed by architect Pietro Belluschi in 1960. Modern Church Architecture, by Albert Christ-Janer et.al.., a book from 1962, includes a black and white sketch of the architect¹s design of the church. It is shown here.
In a recent bookplate newsletter they were shown. (see Bookplates in previous Newsletter Fall 2002)
James Burke of the class of 1980 did a very colorful representation, in oil , shown here as the class choice for the artistic part of their a signature panel. Beside it is the signature panel for the class of 1996. That work includes a unique representation of the church done by student Sae-Jung Lim. Viewed from the bottom stair of the church lookig up it is made in mosaic form from tiny chips of color cut from magazine covers. Pastel in color palette, and pointillistic in style, the Church of Saint Gregory the Great looks almost as if done by an Impressionist.
In the late 1980’s a local artist, Eileen Shanley, did a series of pen and ink sketches of all the churches of Portsmouth. Later she produced a watercolor tinted print of the Abbey church, which was on display for a show held at the school in 1990. That watercolor, shown here, viewed facing north, shows the church from the cobblestone walk with the wellhead on the left. This print is now hanging in the Library Director¹s office.
In 1993 Eileen McGuire painted a watercolor of the church. The view facing south shows the church as seen through the distinctive tall English oak trees. It was done in green washes on a cream background.
Her husband, the head of the art department, Donald McGuire, used a sketch of the church in a bookplate, but he also did a beautiful oil painting entitled “View from the Farm”. This now forms a poster size print and postcard, sold in the bookstore, proceeds from the sale of which are used to purchase art books.
An alumnus, James A. Zilian, class of 1995, son of faculty members Dr. and Mrs. Fred Zilian, did a woodblock representation of the church. It was once reproduced a Christmas card and is shown below. Most recently the church has been represented in a sparse graphics art style as a logo for the school¹s 75th anniversary. Seen here, the two-toned olive green background contrasts with the maroon, and the cupola, cross and Veritas logo are visible.
While there are many designs, the centrality of the church in the landscape of the campus, and, as seen, in the choice by these artists as their representation of its importance both as bookplate and visual depiction captures one essence of Portsmouth Abbey School.