I’ve seen a lot of dalle de verre recently - that’s the french name, also used in english, for the slabs of coloured glass that are made into windows when they are set in concrete or resin panels. The quality of the glass, with characteristic shelling where the glass has been broken into smaller blocks, is amazing. The look you get when you design for the medium goes well with chunky style buildings, both old and new. The 1965 modernist Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament tacked on to the back of Buckfast Abbey contains one of the most well known examples in England. All of its windows were made in the 1960s by Dom Charles Norris, monk and graduate of the Royal College of Art, who went on to make dalle de verre windows for many other Catholic churches throughout the UK.
The famous window that I knew from a postcard I was sent in the 1970s is the truly horrible east window, shown below. It’s eight metres across, that makes Christ’s head more than one metre wide, and it’s not a pretty sight. I have seen massive stained glass figures before (e.g. Wispianski in Krakow) and I’ve also seen wonderful dalle de verre figurative windows (e.g. Gabriel loire in Chichester), so it is possible - just so much harder to do than an arrangement of luscious colours in attractive patterns.
The glass in the north wall particularly appeals to me and it demonstrates another stained glass truism - that coloured glass looks better without direct sunlight coming through it, the beautiful yellow with grey combination glows on its own. I also like the mysterious empty rectangle encircled by the glass. You can see the arrangement of shapes flowing across the solid blocks in the detail below which shows the same section from inside and out.