Spreading the Word: Bishops from across the Globe
15 July 2013 - 30 March 2014
Room 23: case display
William Moore Richardson
by Elliott & Fry
Joseph Sakunoshin Motoda
by Unknown photographer
The loss of the American colonies led the Church of England to seek to strengthen its role overseas. The Consecration of Bishops Abroad Act was passed in 1786 and the Church began a more concerted effort to appoint bishops for overseas dioceses. However, by 1840 there were only ten colonial bishops; this slow progress led the Bishop of London, Charles Blomfield, to publicly declare that ‘an Episcopal church without a bishop is a contradiction in terms.’
In the nineteenth century, despite a rapid increase in the consecration of overseas bishops, the Church was reluctant to give overseas dioceses any independence. By the end of the century interest in missionary work had waned, as had efforts to increase the number of native-born clergy. In the twentieth century the Church had renewed its overseas efforts and there was a gradual understanding of the need to give autonomy to overseas dioceses.
This display presents a selection of works from a collection of portraits of Anglican bishops that was donated to the National Portrait Gallery by the Corporation of Church House in 1949.