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Tablets of the Word, by Ralph Beyer

Inscription to stop you in your tracks

The Tablets of the Word, along with the Baptismal font and the greeting set into the floor of the New Cathedral, were all carved by Ralph Beyer (1921 - 2008) and his assistants, most notably Peter Foster. Beyer also carved the foundation stone of the New Cathedral. Born in Berlin, Beyer served in the British Army during WWII. His mother was murdered in Auschwitz.

““The most significant work of British public lettering of the 20th century.””
— The Guardian

Beyer’s work is deliberately irregular and often misunderstood as a result. Despite this, his work has endured because of its ability to stop people in their tracks and communicate. He was inspired by early Christian sculpture and inscriptions, particularly in Roman catacombs and sough to rekindle their primal, personal spirit.

Beyer saw every letter as a work of art. Peter Foster said that Beyer “treated every job as a deadly serious creative work, so his designs were very carefully made and beautiful in themselves. He would draw the letters on to the stone freehand and cut a line ... Whereas I was trying to get a perfect v-cut and tidy shape, Ralph was playing with light - he would chop into one side more than the other, deepening some places, widening others, cupping his hand over the letters to see how the light fell”.

There are eight Tablets of the Word set on the walls of the New Cathedral.

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