ENJOY a virtual tour of Salisbury Cathedral's largest contemporary art exhibition for nearly two decades.

The virtual exhibition, Celebrating 800 years of Spirit and Endeavour, launches today (April 28) - eight centuries to the day after the first foundation stones of the cathedral building were laid and just over a month after the real-life launch was halted by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Patrick Price from Heads Above The Cloud was called in to scan the entire exhibition, inside and out, before the cathedral closed. And since then curator Jacquiline Creswell has been working with the cathedral team to launch an interactive virtual tour of the exhibition. The catalogue is also available online.

Three years in the planning, Celebrating 800 years of Spirit and Endeavour brings together work from artists including Antony Gormley, Shirazeh Houshiary, Henry Moore, Grayson Perry, Conrad Shawcross, Stanza and Mark Wallinger.

Jacquiline Creswell, Salisbury Cathedral’s visual arts adviser and curator said: “It does strike me as profound that commemorating the placing of a stone 800 years ago, something so physical and monumental at the time, is now taking place on a virtual, online platform – something the original Cathedral builders could not have imagined. The exhibition was conceived as a celebration of the human spirit and human endeavour, manifested through the faith and skill that drove the Cathedral builders and their community on. That shared humanity and capacity to create and endure holds today and, whether online and offline, I hope this exhibition encourages viewers to look forward with hope.”

The actual exhibition Celebrating 800 years of Spirit and Endeavor was originally part of Salisbury 2020 City on the move, a year of events and activities planned to celebrate the cathedral’s move from Old Sarum and its foundation on the present site. Sadly, many of those events have had to be deferred or cancelled but plans are underway to move some online.

Dr Robert Titley, Salisbury Cathedral’s Canon Treasurer and chair of the cathedral’s arts advisory committee said: “Christianity is a religion of redemption and salvation. We planned this exhibition to celebrate a landmark birthday for our Cathedral and city but the coronavirus overtook us. Now – thanks to this virtual realisation - the exhibition lives anew, to bring hope and delight in a time of trouble, passing through the closed doors of isolation and lockdown. It’s a sign of what is possible when the Spirit of God fuels human endeavour.”

The virtual tour consists of two parts - the external tour created using ‘panorama’ technology with click-through thumbnail links that take the viewer to the relevant catalogue page and offer an opportunity to watch 360 videos of each piece while the internal exhibition allows visitors to enter the cathedral virtually and navigate their way around it using thumbnails of each work with links to the relevant catalogue pages.

For more information go to salisburycathedral.org.uk