It's the first non-Catholic church being built in Rome after the Unification of Italy.
It was designed by the English architect George Edmond Street, a popular practitioner of the Victorian Gothic revival, known for his work on the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand in London.
In the colourful pick for the stonework of the facade, the sturdy yet charming composition of the groin vaults of the lateral naves combined with the unexpectedly simple vault of the middle nave and the touching use of stained glass window we can see in this tiny, yet flowery church a nice example of Neo-gothic architecture with Neo-romanesque insertions.
They are the work of George W. Breck, an American mural artist known at the time for being the director of the American Academy in Rome.
Around the rose window we can spot the angelic creatures rappresenting the Four Evangelists: the angel of St. Matthew, the lion of St. Mark, the ox of St. Luke, and the eagle of St. John.
Over the West entrance, is a mosaic portraying Saint Paul while preaching to the people in Rome: it's kinda moving how even the Roman soldier posted with guarding him looks as if enjoying the Saint's teachings:
After this first look around we continue with checking out the mosaics of Breck.
On the rear wall of the church you can find the rappresentation of the Nativity with the Adoration of the Shepherds and the Kings.
The borders of the rose window is decorated again in the inside, sporting the celestial cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem under a starry sky.
We talked about stained glass windows and here we go.
As you know, it's quite impossible to use glass walls in a church with the climate of Italy without turning it into a sort of greenhouse, so the architect used these tiny yet charming windows to give the idea of the "romantic" gothic style.
The windows were commissioned to the British firm of Clayton & Bell, and I'm delighted by how they turned out, the general vibe coming out from the simply decorated walls:
And now, dulcis in fundo, the reason for my interest in this church: the preraphaelite mosaics of my beloved Sir Edward Burne-Jones!
The first arch is dedicated to the Annunciation. Burne-Jones decided to set the scene at sunset, to suggest the hour of the Angelus.
The second arch rapresents the "Tree of Life", how the sacrifice of Jesus is a mean for salvation and forgiveness, symbolized the moving devotion of Adam, Eve and a baby Cain.
Finally, the "Christ Enthroned" of the apse, showing the glory of a thriumphant Christ in front of the Heavenly City, guarded by his angels and supported by the Saints.
Quite interesting are the rapresentations of the ascetics, matrons, saints, virgins and warriors in the lower register of the mosaic: