I vividly remember when Frances Nuttall gave ‘The Prayer of the Chalice’ card to the Chalice Well Trust. I felt this was a momentous event for her (and us too). It was a kind of completion for her, a coming full circle, a process which took about twenty years from 1961 when she produced the prayer card to when it finally ‘came home’ as she put it, to the Chalice Well, to her delight in 1981.
Being a close friend and Companion of the Chalice Well back in the early days of the Trust when Wellesley Tudor Pole was still alive, I can only imagine what it must have been like when Frances was inspired to create the Prayer card in the unique way it was ‘received’. She was quite passionate about this and always remained very clear about its simple purpose, layout, size, colour and even the quality of card used. There was a copyright put on the card yet she still ran up against those who abused it from time to time.
I sensed the passion surrounding this whole process one sunny morning at Little St. Michaels when Frances arrived with some prayer cards, printing plates and blocks, papers, notes, letters and her original sketches to pass over. It was wholeheartedly agreed to uphold and maintain her wishes. Completely! Thus a legal document was drawn up. As time went on it was under consideration to have international copyrights set in motion on the Prayer card, as it was being used (or misused) in different countries to promote and finance other private organisations. It was important that the original intent was respected. The Prayer card was always available to purchase at Chalice Well and to be sent anywhere as cheaply as we could to ensure whoever wanted one could obtain it.
When I told this story recently to the current Chalice Well it was immediately looked into and I am personally relieved and glad to hear that the original Prayer of the Chalice card is still being honoured and is available in the shop. It is honoured according to the original agreement made back in 1981 and even further than that, in 1961 when Frances Nuttall first was inspired to create this lovely piece. I have a strong feeling that the Prayer Card has once again ‘come home’.