Artists in Action: Historic lithographs at St. Michael’s Church
by Hervey Folsom
Special to The Star
Jan 13, 2013 | 2946 views |  0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Anniston history comes alive when you tour St. Michael and All Angels Church. You learn of the care the craftsmen took in building the church. Inside, you see hand-carved angels, stained glass windows and a first-class organ. All speak of John Ward Noble’s commitment and enthusiasm in giving this gift to the town in 1888.

With all of the architecture and artistry in this historic site, it may be easy to overlook another treasure, one within the walls of the Parish Hall on the west side of the main church building: a 17-piece lithograph series that was part of a larger collection used in 19th-century England as visual aids in schools.

The lithographs are valuable not only for their English church history — from Stonehenge to “The Preaching of St. Paul’s Cross, A.D. 1547” — but they are rare, according to church records. The lithographs have been praised for the delicacy of their tints, and they are a reminder of the Nobles’ English heritage.

The prints are said to have been brought over when the church was built.

Kings, monks, martyrs, barons, crusaders and saints are subjects of the prints. To the viewer, they provide a collection of true and dramatic stories.

Over the years, artist Marian Freeman, a member of the church, repaired one of the prints. The series was treated and framed by the late Floyd and Bertha Tyson of Tyson Art & Frame.

A booklet, “These Pictures On Our Walls,” is the best guide to understanding the lithographs. According to an article by Jim Lowrey in The Anniston Star in 1959, the idea of printing the booklet came from Col. Harry M. Ayers, then publisher of the Star and a friend of St. Michael’s.

In 1955, two congregants, J. Andrew Doyle and Frederick F. Duerth, had given a series of addresses on the lithographs. Duerth was employed at the lumber mill owned by the late Redding Perkins, who was a grandson of John Ward Noble. “Pictures” was adapted from this information.

John Ward Noble, who was involved in every aspect of the building of the church, would be pleased that the pictures have been preserved and still hold their special place in a room where people from the church and the community gather.

Information on self-guided and docent-led tours is available by calling the church at 256 -237-4011. The booklet can be found in the Alabama Room of the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun.

AHS Band Stars perform at library

The Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County presents an All Star Band Concert at 3 p.m. Thursday in the Ayers Room, with three Anniston High School band members who will compete for a place in the Alabama All State Band.

Anniston High School Band Director Ruben Mitchell is showcasing his students Caleb Andrews, Christopher Fantroy and Ethan Simmons.

The highest scored performers go to the All State Band Festival in April at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville.

Everyone is invited and support for the students will be appreciated.
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