Divine design: how to collect ecclesiastical antiques

Salvaged items from deconsecrated churches – from elaborate candle holders to chapel chairs – can make impressive centrepieces in your home. Here's how to buy them and style them...

Ecclesiastical feature shot on location
1

Take a pew: make a feature of a quiet corner of your home, such as a hallway or even in the kitchen, with a bench and selection of ceremonial candle holders. Incorporate hand-embroidered kneelers as extra seating options for children.

An antique bench surrounded by religious statues, candles, a cross and an alter.

2

In a garden room or boot room, embrace a sense of flourishing new life with plenty of fresh greenery entwined around candle holders and perhaps a font. A decorative stonework panel grounds the look.

An alter and piece of stonework with a dried flower wreath and swathes of ivy.
19th-century wooden font, £950, Lorfords. Wreath, £40, Lily Violet May. Gothic panel, £220, Maison Tetbury. Candelabra, find similar at Antique
Church Furnishings
.
3

Bless this house: a mixture of communion dishes offset with bold, cream ceramic pitchers, adds interest and a fun sense of feasting to the dining area. Choose items of different heights to keep the effect intriguing. The candle chandelier is a dramatic finishing touch, which brings the room to life as night falls.

An antique statue of Jesus blesses a dining table.
18th-century trestle table, £3,800, Lorfords. Egham Hythe elm and beech early 1900s classic church chapel chairs, £55 each; Sacred Heart statue of Jesus with removable hands and cuffs, £265, both Antique Church Furnishings. Plain rimmed pewter plates, £75 each; 19th-century silver communion dish on stand, £350, both Lassco.Pewter mugs, from £28 each, Focus on the Past. Swedish ceramic jugs, £1,950 for two (as part of a collection), Brownrigg. Communion chalice, £1,200 for a pair, Lassco. Early 19th-century pewter bowl, £245, Josephine Ryan Antiques. Plates, £2,500 for a large set of tableware, Brownrigg. Three large silver plate forks with monogram, £25 for four; three French black-handled silver collared knives, £85 for 12, both Number 52 Antiques. Iron hanging candle chandelier, £450, Josephine Ryan Antiques. Blush pink tablecloth, £37.50; blush pink napkins, £14.40, both La Redoute.Pewter footed bowl, £150, Focus on the Past.
4

In this cosy snug, a lectern has been cleverly refashioned into a lamp, complete with table. The finely detailed minister’s chair  is not only a stylish addition to the room but also provides a comfy seat, with help from a sumptuously beaded cushion.

An antique church chair beside a contemporary upholstered velvet armchair.
Trinity oak period minister’s chair, £295, Antique Church Furnishings. Late 1800s Italian altar cushion all glass beaded, £135 for a pair, Antiques Centre York. Bible, £2,000, Peter Harrington. Decorative floor lamp lectern, £980; orange silk lampshade 50cm, £210, both Lorfords. Rare Joseph and Mary antique French chalkware, £80 for the pair, Beau Chateau Boutique.   Hymns ancient & modern book, £250; bible, £2,250, both Peter Harrington. Red book (on lectern), stylist’s own. Plants and pots, stylist’s own. Capital, £950 for a pair with columns, Brownrigg. Izzy two-and-a-half-seat sofa in Dusty Rose cotton matt velvet, £1,940, Sofa.com. Amara small velvet cushion, £35, Graham & Green. Cushion with saint image, stylist’s own. 1930s Turkish Kayseri kilim, £1,695, Rare Rugs.
5

Simple velvet cushions are instantly transformed into something much more striking with the addition of maniples in contrasting colours.

Simple velvet cushions are instantly transformed into something much more striking with the addition of maniples in contrasting colours
Rug, find similar at Joshua Lumley. Amara small velvet cushions, from £35 each, Graham & Green. Red maniple (on pink cushion), £20; pink maniple (on orange cushion), £15; white maniple (on mustard cushion), £15, all Luzar Vestments. Plain rimmed pewter plate, £75, Lassco.
6

The bathroom is ripe for incorporating salvaged pieces. Use the window sill to display statement candlesticks and small statuary. Be creative with other items such as columns and capitals – they make unusual soap holders or a spot for trailing plants.

An indulgent bathtub surrounded by salvaged church antiques.
Arched window mirror, £750, Lorfords. Bath and copper taps, find similar at Heritage Bathrooms. Painted wooden column, £495 for a pair, Lorfords. Savon de Marseille olive block soap, £12, Trouva. 18th-century Italian wooden cherub, £2,900 for a pair, Lorfords. Brass candlesticks, find similar at Lorfords. Tea lights and holders, stylist’s own. Towels, from £9.99, Zara Home. Books, stylist’s own. Natural sponge, £5, Homesense. Glastonbury chair, £450, Robert Mills Architectural Antiques.
Spanish terracotta jug, £245, Josephine Ryan Antiques. Plaster and gilt frieze, £250, Maison Tetbury. Rug, find similar at John Lewis & Partners.
Advertisement