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Church of the Holy Trinity

Philadelphia, PA

Three-panel mural on rear wall of chancel

Shepherds (left); Nativity (center); the Magi (right), 1942

Commissioned by: Paul CretMedium: oil on canvasExecuted by: Hildreth Meière

Three-panel mural on rear wall of chancel

Three-panel mural on rear wall of chancel

Architect Paul Cret asked Hildreth Meière to decorate the chancel of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia with a three-part mural depicting the Nativity in reference to the nineteenth-century Christmas carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” The words to the carol had been written by the nationally known Rev. Phillips Brooks, who was pastor at Holy Trinity from 1862-69. Brooks wrote the carol in recollection of a visit he had made to Bethlehem by horseback on Christmas Eve in 1865. Lewis H. Redner, organist at Holy Trinity, composed the music in 1868. Meière’s murals were dedicated in 1942, almost a century later.

Meière always had her work photographed before it left her studio:

Three panels for Holy Trinity Church in Meière’s studio. ©Peter A. Juley Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

Three panels for Holy Trinity Church in Meière’s studio. ©Peter A. Juley Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

She signed a matted 8 x 10 black-and-white photograph of the right panel depicting the Magi and displayed it at the Art Students League exhibition “50 Years on 57th Street” in 1942.

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Commission Location

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Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square
Rittenhouse Square
1904 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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