The Crib

You can view the Wakefield Crib from early December, no booking necessary.

The Wakefield Crib
by Austin Wright

The unique nativity scene hosted at Wakefield Cathedral was commissioned back in 1955 and has held pride of place over Advent, Christmas and Epiphanytide ever since.

The sculpture is a rather different take on the traditional looking Christmas Cribs you may find in cathedrals and churches up and down the country (see image above), celebrated by one review as "reviltalising what has become a conventional Christmas gesture".

The sculpture was designed and made by the distinguished sculptor Austin Wright (1911-1997).

What does the sculpture show?

The sculpture tells the Christmas story.

The sculpture shows in the central scene Joseph and Mary with the newborn Jesus and with them the Wise Men. To the left are oxen and a cockerel perched on the manger. On the other side a little family group with a donkey gazes in. Above, shepherds playing pipes look down wonderingly upon the scene, while choristers, young and old, carol a welcome to the newly born child.

Restoration

The Wakefield Crib was restored during 1999 by the conservator Yvonne Adamson of Leeds and safe storage was designed and produced.

Over many years the delicate sculpture had become too fragile to use without expert conservation. The Wakefield Crib Restoration Fund was set up in October 1998 to ensure that once again the Crib could be used at the cathedral for Christmas 1999, and at the dawn of the millennium, to celebrate the birth of Christ two thousand years ago.


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