Chapters of Gold - The Life of Mary in Mosaics
Anyone who has tried will know how hard it is to photograph mosaics successfully, and the first thing to say is about this little book is that its photographs of mosaics in Westminster Cathedral's Lady Chapel are superb. The mosaics in question are to be found in the frieze around the upper walls of the chapel, and they tell the story of Mary's life, from the betrothal of her parents to her Assumption into Heaven, known by the Orthodox churches as the Dormition, or "falling asleep". Incidentally I wonder how many of my readers know that the Catholic Church has officially endorsed the claim that a little house on Nightingale Mountain south of Ephesus is the place where the mother of Christ spent her closing years and died? Mercifully no-one has yet built a basilica over it.
The text consists of a series of reflections on Mary by the author and others (including Sheikh Zaki Badawi, a Muslim), and the book concludes with a selection of Marian prayers, including Pope John Paul's recent addition to the Rosary, "The Mysteries of Light".
The mosaics, designed by Gilbert Pownall, were made by Basil Carey-Elwes and others, and were completed by 1935. The style is Child's Illustrated Bible - Mary, for example, is distinctly glamorous. It seems she used mascara, and didn't stint.
If you're looking for a present for a Catholic, look no further.