C.E. Kempe

Rose Windows by Sasha Ward

All Saints, Shrewsbury                                                                 Holy Cross, Ramsbury, Wiltshire

All Saints, Shrewsbury                                                                 Holy Cross, Ramsbury, Wiltshire

On the last four trips to look at stained glass windows, I've found myself looking at the same shaped rose in the centre of a design. These all have at leat one ring of five petals with a symmetrically folded edge and a spotty centre. They range from the most realistic at All Saints Shrewsbury (above left) to the most modern and heraldic one from the 1950s at Eltham Palace (below right).  The effect of three of them is rather ruined by one or two bars running right through the centre, but I like the combination of this basic 3D modelling surrounded by geometric patterns - as ever I'm focusing on the look of the design rather than its meaning. 

Moravian Church, Malmesbury                                            Great Hall, Eltham Palace

Moravian Church, Malmesbury                                            Great Hall, Eltham Palace

The Vyne, Hampshire                             St. Mary, South Hayling             St. Mary, Cheltenham

The Vyne, Hampshire                             St. Mary, South Hayling             St. Mary, Cheltenham

Unsurprisingly, I found more examples of the same in my files of recent stained glass photographs including the two above - the most lovely red on blue rose in a tudor window at The Vyne (NT, near Basingstoke) and one at the bottom of a Kempe window on Hayling Island. As this slightly blurry image shows, I wasn't concentrating on the bottom, or predella, of a window at this point even though this is where you can get an excellent close up shot. 

It's great to see more realistic roses too, like the ones in the triangular tracery from St. Mary, Cheltenham (above right). My all time favourites are in St. Johannes, also known as The Church of the Roses, built in Malmo in 1906. The rose is everywhere inside and is the subject matter of most of the windows, including a number of rose "rose" windows. Since my first visit to this church in 2012 I have been very influenced by its colour scheme in my work for interiors. The combination of every hue but in a pastel tone gives you a really peaceful, happy feeling.

panel rose 5.jpg
St. Johannes, Malmo

St. Johannes, Malmo

St John The Baptist, Kingston Lisle by Sasha Ward

Area of painted wall and brightly coloured glass, dated 1859

Area of painted wall and brightly coloured glass, dated 1859

I found this one by chance when church crawling in the Vale of The White Horse, near Uffington, the territory of William Morris, John Betjeman and John Piper. St John the Baptist is a small 12th century church, allegedly founded in response to pagan worship on nearby White Horse Hill. The interior was largely untouched by the Victorians and it has recently had a thorough restoration. There are relatively large areas of 14th century wall paintings, 15th - 17th century woodwork and an interesting selection of stained glass windows.

Detail of wall painting, lovely colours from the stained glass on the edge of right hand photo.

Detail of wall painting, lovely colours from the stained glass on the edge of right hand photo.

I'm getting better at guessing the makers of 19th century stained glass, but there is no need in this church. The obviously interesting window with the arts & crafts style red sky (below left) and foliage has a very legible makers' name handwritten in a way you don't often see (below right) under the title, as if it's a line in an exercise book. 

'Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life' by Heaton, Butler & Bayne, London

'Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life' by Heaton, Butler & Bayne, London

Left: great painting in detail from HBB window.  Right: St Raphael from the Kempe window

Left: great painting in detail from HBB window.  Right: St Raphael from the Kempe window

Next, at the belfry end of the church, there appeared to be a smallish Kempe window (below left). There is the general greeny yellowness of the glass and the peacock feather wings, but I mostly identify Charles Eamer Kempe windows by the facial features of, in this case, the three saints. I was very pleased to see his identifying maker's symbol in the bottom left of the window - a castle in a wheat sheaf (below right).

C.E. Kempe window and detail from bottom left panel with the identifying mark.

C.E. Kempe window and detail from bottom left panel with the identifying mark.

There are two fragmentary windows to the right of the altar, shown up beautifully on a dull day with soft light and trees as a backdrop. I would say the green man in silverstain is medieval glass. The other is a piece of painted and etched glass patched together, showing a crest with a fabulously easy latin motto: VIRTUS IN ACTIONE CONSISTIT. The date of this one is, for me, hard to guess.

Patchwork Windows by Sasha Ward

Cirencester Parish Church

I think I've found my favourite patchwork window ever, particularly the top left hand face that I spotted across the complicated interior of Cirencester Parish Church. It made me realise that it's the juxtaposition of images as much as the pattern making that is so appealing about these windows. My previous favourite was the one in Hereford Cathedral (below), where a hand skilled in design put together the section about Joseph's dream.

Pages from the Hereford Cathedral stained glass brochure (click to enlarge)

I've also admired windows put together by artists, like the one at Ripon Cathedral (below), featuring Kempe figures surrounded by beautiful Bridget Jones patterns in blue and sharp yellow. It has a huge impact from a distance and the modern glass is just as lovely as the old.

Pages from the Ripon Cathedral stained glass brochure (click to enlarge)

Although I occasionally make sheets of patterned glass to cut up for patchwork windows as if it were fabric, I really consider this to be cheating. My glass scrap boxes are full of pieces made as samples or ones that broke during manufacture. The birds below were fired in my first ever kiln for my first public commission. I don't know why they kept breaking - the result was a whole extra window.

My bird window, 1986

My bird window, 1986