On local church crawling trips (which I really prefer to do without a guidebook) you mainly see stained glass windows made either in the nineteenth century or the year 2000. On my last trip across the Wiltshire border and into Berkshire, there were two classic examples of these millenium windows.
The first is in St Mary Kintbury, a church that is clean and bright and was open on both my visits. The millenium window (above), by an artist I don’t know, is tucked to the left of the altar and partly obscured by something directly behind it in the churchyard. In terms of stained glass, I would call its style naive, with thin paintwork and deliberately wobbly lead lines. You can see what I mean when you compare the figure in it of The Good Woman to the figure of St Peter in a truly accomplished window in the same church by Heaton, Butler & Bayne (below).
In the church are three windows by H,B&B, this one to the right of the entrance door is my favourite. The colour is luminous even through the extensive paintwork, with lovely detail in the sky, water and clothes - there are even drops and stains from the water on St Peter’s robes (click on image below to enlarge).
The second church is in a beautiful spot outside the village of Hamstead Marshall and open on two out of three recent visits. It’s a simple, lovely brick building with a shock of a millenium window at the east end of the nave. This one, again partly obscured by stuff growing outside, is by the instantly identifiable artist Mark Angus. All of the glass is bright, the colour combination is similar to the bottom of my favourite H,B&B window (see below) but unrelieved by any neutral or pale colours. There is some painting and also some screen printing in his literal depiction of the pair of columns that are in the field next to the church.
In the Mark Angus window a bright red X literally marks the spot where Hamstead Marshall sits on a map of the local area. I would call the style of this millenium window typical of the late twentieth century, with disconnected angular lead lines, graphic details and emphatic geometry. Although shocking and incongruous in the church’s interior, I don’t want to be too hard on the composition which is at least bold and may, of course, come back into fashion.