A sculpture made up of 50,000 keyboard keys, depicting one of Da Vinci’s most recognisable paintings, has gone on display at Dorchester Abbey. 

The keys create a mosaic effect on the artwork and also make up verses from the Bible as well as single words for visitors to discover. The sculpture, which took Peter Barnes five years to create, will be available during daylight hours at the abbey for the next six months. 

Revd Jane Willis was delighted to welcome the artwork to the abbey. She said: “It is slightly larger than life size. The outline is the shape of Jesus and his disciples sitting round the table. It’s quite dynamic – the way they are all moving and responding to one another in it. It is very rounded, very flowing in its appearance so it leaves your imagination to fill in the detail. It brings together the ancient and historic right into the here and now. When I saw it in real life it blew me away – quite surprisingly.”

Revd Willis spotted the sculpture when she visited a church in Windsor and knew it was something she’d like to host at the Abbey. Plans moved quickly and within two and a half weeks she was watching it being unloaded! Using a system of winches, pulleys and ramps the sculpture was slowly manoeuvred into place – with just a few centimetres to spare.

Revd Willis added: “I’m excited that we have the Last Supper with us for Lent, Holy Week and Easter. There’s so much we can do for adult discipleship, working with schools and beyond, as well as for day-to-day visitors. I’m finding seeing people engaging with the sculpture as fascinating as the piece itself! Every time I go into the Abbey I find myself having great conversations about it – it’s something you just want to reach out and touch.” 

Dorchester Abbey is open during daylight hours – find out more on their website