Paternoster Square, London, England
Paternoster Square hasn’t always been Paternoster Square. Before the Great Fire of London in 1666, it was Newgate Market. Vendors would come from miles around to sell their wares. Fabrics, wines, fruit, vegetables, and because of the market’s proximity to St Paul’s Cathedral, rosary beads and prayer books. The market was also famous for its livestock. And it’s livestock that artist Elizabeth Frink chose to represent when she was commissioned to create a work of art to sit at the centre of Paternoster Square back in 1975. A farmer, guiding his sheep to market and hoping to get a good price for them. Except, is it? Paternoster Square sits in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral, redesigned and rebuilt by architect Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire. In fact, the square got its name from the Pater Nosters, or the Our Fathers, that would be recited quickly by priests and clergy as they hurried to services inside the great cathedral building. Could Elizabeth Frink actually be showing us the Good Shepherd and his flock? Could she be showing us Jesus Christ? ‘I am the good shepherd,’ Jesus told his followers in the Book of John. And like a good shepherd cares for his sheep, so Jesus loves us, nurtures us and protects us. Our Shepherd, our Father…Pater Noster.