William Wailes

Details From Local churches by Sasha Ward

Sometimes it's the details in the windows that are so marvellous. Once you know how to make stained glass windows, it is easy to see the hands of the makers and menders at work: choosing pieces of glass then deciding where to cut them and where to add painted detail. These pictures are from the same churches as those in my previous blog post "Nine Churches in Two Hours", and they show a range of interesting stained glass skills and effects.

St Peter, Manningford Bruce                                                                     St James, North Newnton

In the top of the annunciation window (above left) is a dove in an exaggerated circle surrounded by a jumble of architectural detail and pieces of very flat foliage. Every piece of glass has been painted, etched or stained in a mixture of styles, which is not uncommon. I chose the angels at the top of another window (above right) partly because of the pink/yellow combination that I love in glass but also, because the windows are so small, most of the detail is conveyed through economical painting rather than endless bits of leading.

Below are details from two of the William Wailes windows that fill the church at Chirton with a glaring, mainly red and blue, light. These windows have a lot of harsh coloured unpainted glass; the details that I found were in the top of one window where the colours are mercifully separated by stonework and lots of neutral glass, and in the bottom of another. I had been hoping to find some local landscapes behind the figures in my local windows, instead I found some great textures in the painted wood, grass and rocks around their feet.

Both from St John The Baptist, Chirton (c. 1850)

St. Nicholas, Wilsford                                                                                            Saints Peter & Paul, Marden

These feet (above left) belong to "Dorothy, wife of the Revd. Charles Hewitt M.A. Vicar of this Parish, who fell asleep in Jesus, 13th May 1928". The colours here don't say Wiltshire to me, but there is one piece of glass painting I love - the floating flowerhead on the green/yellow streaky glass at top right of Dorothy's feet. The 1958 window (above right) by Jasper & Molly Kettlewell in Marden Church is great (as mentioned in my previous blog), these feet look as if they have stepped out of an art school life room, the background colours are just what I would want to use. 

St Nicholas, Wilsford

St Nicholas, Wilsford

And finally two pairs of satisfying panels. There is a variety of window styles in Wilsford Church; the lily and passion flower windows (above) are opposite each other in the chancel. I love the combination of the geometric and the organic where formal floral borders and medallions meet botanical detail. 

I hate to say that the windows I marvelled at most where these two small fifteenth century panels mounted one above the other in a window in St. Matthew's Church, Rushall. All the glass pieces look so smooth and rounded, the decay on the paintwork is lovely and subtle, as are the faint expressions on the faces. There's even a bit of my favourite type of scratchy decorative landscape either side of the crucifix.  

St Matthew, Rushall

St Matthew, Rushall