Yesterday I had a real treat: a walk and talk about the stained glass in Christchurch Cathedral, led by Peter Cormack of the British Society of Master Glass Painters (BSMGP). It was marketed as part of the Oxford Festival, and I have made you a slideshow of some of my personal highlights, below.
Edward Burne Jones is the designer of the Cathedral's most famous window - the Frideswide Window, which tells the story of her eventful life and determined rejection of marriage to a Saxon Prince.
What I hadn't appreciated was the nature of the creative partnership between Burne Jones and William Morris, which began when they were students at the University. As soon as they graduated they created the murals in the Oxford Union, which was an adventurous commission for the Union. As they began their stained glass career, Burne Jones designed the window, but Morris chose the glass, with his exceptional eye for craft quality, colour and pattern. For instance, he selected 'spoilt' ruby glass for halos, using the variegated texture to best effect. Burne Jones' terrific design skills can bee seen in the panel showing the death of Frideswide, set in a lovingly detailed medieval interior. In the slideshow you can also see that compositional skill in David slaying Goliath.
Another element which Peter Cormack pointed out, so that I shall always see it, was the delicate use of yellow stain on blue glass in Burne Jones' 'Hope' (Spes) in 'Faith, Hope and Charity'.
In the Chapter House there are more square panels, this time completely contemporary. This is a chance to see the BSMPG's touring centenary exhibition of small, often intricate panels of glass made during lockdown. I have chosen three examples below. To see them all click here
The linked pages give a good overview, but nothing beats seeing the real thing. The exhibition will be at Christchurch until 10 July. Enjoy!
I am a glass artist based in Charlbury, Oxfordshire. I work in stained and fused glass. I work to commission and teach stained glass in my studio. I open my studio to visitors during Oxfordshire Artweeks.
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