Circular yellow / by Sasha Ward

Circular Yellow                                                                  Detail of window in the Morris Room (tearoom), V&A Museum

Circular Yellow                                                                  Detail of window in the Morris Room (tearoom), V&A Museum

"Circular Yellow", as I call it, is the type of ex-front door textured glass that I have hanging around in the studio waiting to be used. I have more often seen it installed in mid twentieth century churches, imparting a machine made and frankly repellent yellow glare. I think of it as the poor relation to crown glass windows, or the circular backgrounds that William Morris and Philip Webb made for the firm's stained glass windows. 

Yellow - or "gold" to make it sound more attractive - can really overpower the other transparent colours. In the most lovely crown glass windows, my favourites are in the Doge's Palace, Venice, rows of pale pastel glass circles convince you they are in the most perfect windows anywhere. 

Inside the Doge's Palce, Venice                                                                         Chapel window, Gualdo Tadino, Umbria

Inside the Doge's Palce, Venice                                                                         Chapel window, Gualdo Tadino, Umbria

However, in Umbria recently, I found three good examples of "Circular Yellow". The first, a chapel window (above right): in combination with other machine textured glass the circles looked good. The second, a view through a connecting bridge (below left): higgledy-piggledy with the direction of the circles but a good yellow/pink combination going on. The third in the huge basilica of Santa Maria Degli Angeli (beneath Assisi): I was shocked to see lowly "Circular Yellow" in such a lavish interior! However one side chapel (below right) was decorated with all kinds of golds and yellows, the strong glow from the semi circular yellow roof light above was really effective even on a dull day.

Gualdo Tanino                                                                                                   Basilica of Santa Maria Degli Angeli