Lulled into the tranquil streets of South Kensington, the Catholic Oratory of order of St Philip Neri, dedicated to Immaculate Heart of Mary is an unusual sight for a church built in Britain.
A composition of Neo-Classical styles was ordered as Italian Renaissance revival, it ended up having more eclectic appearance with a clear Baroque influence. The Royal Portal of the church is actually a portico supported by coupled Ionic order pillars and closed by the decorative pilasters of same order on the forward flanks. The gable of the church is positioned just above the entrance, leaving an impression of the church being wrapped by an outer architectural layer, actually the side aisles. Large segmented flamboyant Baroque dome topping the temple reaches the height of 200 ft just enough above the neighboring buildings to enrich the sight of London roofs.
The coupled columns continue throughout the interior to display structural and decorative cohesion and back the lavishly gilded nave opened with skylights. The interior is a feast for the marble specialists and enthusiasts, as it is plated with dozens of stone plates from different parts of the world in manner of Italian stone masters, to conjure up this little whiff of Italy in England. The author went a step further, bringing figures of apostles made for Siena Cathedral and Lady Altar from Brescia, making the already authentic architecture even more convincing.
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