Chapel of the Ascension, Herbert Horne

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The Chapel of the Ascension’s exterior attests to Herbert Horne’s great architectural skill while the interior was done by an artist named Frederic Shields. A wealthy widow of a member of parliament named Emelia Russell Gurney commissioned this build that was completed in 1910 but unfortunately was demolished thirty years later during World War II (Frederick). Gurney paid for Horne and Shields to travel to Italy from London so that they could learn more about architecture and paintings (Liddiard). These trips had a large impact on the rest of Horne’s life as well as gave him inspiration for future work. After a couple of visits, his passion for art history was ignited and he decided to live there for the rest of his life, continuing to learn more, along with art dealing. This church is arguably Horne’s biggest commission which allowed him to pursue those other interests. Horne designed the architecture for this church with the inspiration of the British rediscovering the Italian Renaissance (Frederick). In fact, the facade of this church looks like Leon Battista Alberti’s, Santa Maria Novella (pictured below), which was a Gothic-Renaissance style church in Florence that was built hundreds of years prior to Horne’s ideas (Santa Maria Novella). Similarities between these two include an oculus, a circle-shaped window that allows a great deal of natural light to shine inside, as well as the arches that are closer to the ground that takes inspiration from ancient Greece and Rome. Although there are no architectural innovations in this church, the features of Renaissance architecture were revived in Horne’s execution of the Church of the Ascension, which made this work very important.

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Frederick, M. S. (n.d.). Margaretta S. Frederick, “on Frederic Shields’ chapel of the ascension, 1887-1910”. BRANCH. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from

Liddiard, J. (2021, February 15). Arts and crafts pioneers: Herbert Horne in Italy. Lund Humphries. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from

The facade of Santa Maria Novella. Santa Maria Novella. (2018, September 28). Retrieved April 5, 2022, from