A church in London's east end has been transformed by the relocation of five paintings by Hans Feibusch, once painted for the West London Synagogue.
In the 8th century, an Englishman born in Devon was sent over to German lands to evangelise the people. Objecting to this imposter, they did what they felt was appropriate and killed him. He would later be venerated as St Bonifatius. In 1933, a modernist, Jewish German artist called Hans Feibusch (1898-1998) came over to Britain, fearing for his life as the Nazi regime took hold. He made a new life for himself here. He was to become the pre-eminent British muralist of Christian art, painting scenes of Christ's Passion and other subjects in about 30 Anglican churches, some of which had been badly bombed in World War Two. Despite recent world turmoil, the artist also contributed to bringing back the lost Catholic tradition of didactic mural painting, with the encouragement of Bishop George Bell of Chichester.
The church of St Boniface (current building, 1960) now houses five large panels by Feibusch, which he originally painted in oil in 1973 for the West London Synagogue but which were removed in 2012. The paintings, of Old Testament subjects, have been installed on the nave walls of the church, either side of its east wall, where Christ Pantocrator is rendered in sgraffito with, below, St Bonifatius opposite a group of his converted. Feibusch's panels fit neatly between the shallow groins, three on one and two on the other. Their themes include sacrifice, courage and redemption with scenes from Genesis, Exodus, 1 Samuel and the Book of Ruth.