Tag Archives: Stained-Glass

#Getty Museum, Los Angeles – #Treasures from Church & Cloister – THE EXHIBITION

I had a welcome message this week from the #Getty including a selection of fine views of the exhibition installation in LA.  Wow! It looks like they and the #CanterburyCathedral Stained Glass team have done an exemplary job.  It is wonderful to see how the images have been used and it is gratifying to see how fantastic the exhibition as a whole and my pictures in particular look  – roll on New York!

And thanks Leigh for sending them across.

Canterbury Cathedral, St Albans, Treasures from Church & Cloister Exhibition, Getty Museum, LA

Canterbury Cathedral, St Albans, Treasures from Church & Cloister Exhibition, Getty Museum, LA

Canterbury Cathedral, St Albans, Treasures from Church & Cloister Exhibition, Getty Museum, LA

Canterbury Cathedral, St Albans, Treasures from Church & Cloister Exhibition, Getty Museum, LA

Canterbury Cathedral, St Albans, Treasures from Church & Cloister Exhibition, Getty Museum, LA

Canterbury Cathedral, St Albans, Treasures from Church & Cloister Exhibition, Getty Museum, LA

Canterbury Cathedral, St Albans, Treasures from Church & Cloister Exhibition, Getty Museum, LA

Canterbury Cathedral, St Albans, Treasures from Church & Cloister Exhibition, Getty Museum, LA

Canterbury Cathedral, St Albans, Treasures from Church & Cloister Exhibition, Getty Museum, LA

Canterbury Cathedral, St Albans, Treasures from Church & Cloister Exhibition, Getty Museum, LA

Canterbury Cathedral, St Albans, Treasures from Church & Cloister Exhibition, Getty Museum, LA

Canterbury Cathedral, St Albans, Treasures from Church & Cloister Exhibition, Getty Museum, LA

Canterbury Cathedral, St Albans, Treasures from Church & Cloister Exhibition, Getty Museum, LA

Canterbury Cathedral, St Albans, Treasures from Church & Cloister Exhibition, Getty Museum, LA

Canterbury Cathedral, St Albans, Treasures from Church & Cloister Exhibition, Getty Museum, LA

Canterbury Cathedral, St Albans, Treasures from Church & Cloister Exhibition, Getty Museum, LA

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Quimper’s Saint Coretin Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral and the local church of Locmarie

On a recent stay at Quimper in Brittany we devoted some time to the Cathedral:  Cathédrale Saint-Corentin de Quimper and it was interesting to experience this building and compare it both to our local Canterbury Cathedral that I know so well and also to the local and much less grand church around the corner from Saint-Coretin.  (Coretin was the city’s first bishop by the way)

Saint Coretin Cathedral, Quimper with the Odet River

Saint Coretin Cathedral, Quimper with the Odet River

Chapel at Saint Coretin Cathedral, Quimper

Chapel at Saint Coretin Cathedral, Quimper

Side Aisle of Saint Coretin Cathedral, Quimper

Side Aisle of Saint Coretin Cathedral, Quimper

Nave of Saint Coretin Cathedral, Quimper

Nave of Saint Coretin Cathedral, Quimper

Flying Buttressing at Saint Coretin Cathedral, Quimper

Flying Buttressing at Saint Coretin Cathedral, Quimper

Both the Canterbury cathedral and Saint-Coretin share an unusual feature:  Both buildings have unusually kinked aisles and whilst they are both of elderly – Canterbury has the edge in being more than a few hundred years older –  and Canterbury is significantly larger I found the spaces contained within Saint Coretin  curiously un-mystical and they left me cold. This may be slightly unfair as my favourite part of Canterbury is the crypt and whilst I feel sure Saint Cortetin has one, it isn’t open to the casual visitor so I didn’t get to experience it.  The building is altogether a more uniform structure, the whole comes across as being conceived by one mind or at least one conception and seems to be of a time which contrasts strongly to Canterbury that is a really cobbelled together structure and as Jonathan Foyle puts it is a journey through time.  I found the grey local stone rather unappealing lacking the warmth of the limestone used at Canterbury (that ironically was imported from Caen in Normandy!)  The inside however did have some marvellous colours that Canterbury does not have.

And not surprisingly, given Canterbury’s position as home of some of the finest medieval glass in existance, the stained-glass was universally poor by comparison, with some of the best examples being quite modern and I use the word “best” relatively.  (I note that Wikipedia suggests that the 15C glass is “exceptional” but then I guess that is a relative term) So overall, I came away feeling very happy to have visited the Cathedral but rather unmoved by the experience.

This was not the case at the church of Locmarie just across the Odet from the cathedral.  Here we found a marvellous space with no stained-glass at all and none of the grace to be found at either Canterbury or Saint Coretin but with so much more spirit than the latter. The church of Locmarie predates the cathedral by some three or four hundred years and is an entirely Romanesque structure featuring the massive walls, round arches and tiny windows that define the period.  But although its rough hewn interior had none of the finesse of St Coretin,  it does hold a truly magical feel that more than makes up for it’s inadequacies in other respects.

The church was built in 12C and there is surprisingly little more information about it.  The west wall was rebuilt a few hundred years after it was originally built but that aside, it kind of just is.  This is in itself refreshing as it allowed us to simply appreciate what was there, rather than thinking about who did what when and where etc etc.

Side Aisle of the Church of Locmarie, near Quimper

Side Aisle of the Church of Locmarie, near Quimper

Side Door at the Church of Locmarie, near Quimper

Side Door at the Church of Locmarie, near Quimper

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Side Chapel at the Church of Locmarie, near Quimper

Side Chapel at the Church of Locmarie, near Quimper

Nave of Side the Church of Locmarie, near Quimper

Nave of Side the Church of Locmarie, near Quimper

#Getty Museum, Los Angeles – #Canterbury Glass and St Albans Psalter

Over the weekend a little package arrived from the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Getty1LR

The package contained all the bumpf from the exhibition except the book which will be following shortly and it wasn’t entirely unexpected as the “Treasures from the Church Cloister” exhibition opened on September 20th.  Last week I met up with Leonie (Director of Stained Glass at the Cathedral) who gave me a full rundown of the exhibition and it’s installation.  She also said the some of my images are 7m high and they all look great :-)

By all accounts Leonie and her team have done an outstanding job and everybody at the Getty are delighted – it looks to be a sellout show and will be in Los Angeles until February before moving to New York after which the glass panels wend their way back to the Cathedral.

I feel blessed and privileged to have played a part in the project!

Getty2LR

All Saints Church, Icklingham, Suffolk

Granted, All Saints was built as a church but given that this building hasn’t been in use for over 100 years to call it a “Church”  is perhaps something of a misnomer.

I swung by Icklingham on my way back to Kent after a shoot in Suffolk a week or so ago as it was only a 3 mile detour. All Saints Church is a Churches Conservation Trust museum piece and whilst it certainly was a church it has more of a museum feel now.   It is interesting that while I wholeheartedly support the work of the CCT they are effectively creating a network of little museums across the country, preserving the structures of buildings that have lost their spirit and in a sense their way too.  However this church remains a fine example of a thatched Suffolk Church and is positioned on what once was an ancient and important trade route.

The setting of this particular building is rather plain, pretty but nothing extraordinary although the key guardian was exceptionally cheerful and friendly which did add a kind of warm glow.

Inside, the building has a slightly curious kind of double nave which is in fact a nave plus side aisle but the huge window at the end of the side-aisle kind of elevates it’s visual significance to me.  Unfortunately nearly all the stained glass is long gone that the little that remains is not in the same league as the Canterbury Cathedral glass I have been photographing for the Getty Museum recently.  So I guess the space is very much brighter than it would have been originally, no doubt the fact that it was a gloriously sunny day when I visited, added to this.

Side aisle with large winbdow

Side aisle with large window

There were a few things that caught my eye:

I liked the well chewed pews, no doubt worn down by generations of small children (pre 1900) anxious to get out and play.

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A gnawed Pew

I was also intrigued by the curious short spiral staircase built into the wall dividing the main nave from the (single) side aisle.  This didn’t seem to go anywhere except to a small opening a few metres above the entrance which presumably was used as a pulpit, giving the priest a commanding view of his gathered flock.

The spiral staircase and pulpit

The spiral staircase and pulpit

The early 14C font had some crude but pleasing carvings around it’s perimeter and I particularly liked the faint but lovely octopus-like carving on the sarcophagus by the side door.  This door also sported a fine anchor shaped knocker.

All Saints Details

All Saints Details

The thatched roof was also interesting:

Icklingham Church, Suffolk, CCT, Conservation, thatch roof

You can read the CCT blurb about this church here:  http://www.visitchurches.org.uk/Ourchurches/Completelistofchurches/All-Saints-Church-Icklingham-Suffolk/

And I’ll let the pictures do the talking now:

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The Nave

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Looking across the nave towards the side aisle

Icklingham Church, Suffolk, CCT, Conservation, thatch roof

Light from the side Aisle Wndow

Icklingham Church, Suffolk, CCT, Conservation, thatch roof

Those chewed pews again

Icklingham Church, Suffolk, CCT, Conservation, thatch roof

Side aisle window

Icklingham Church, Suffolk, CCT, Conservation, thatch roof

The story behind the Chagall Windows at All Saints Church, Tudeley, Kent

Stitched Panorama

I didn’t have time earlier to write about the story behind the Chagall windows at All Saints, Tudeley.  The story is an interesting one.  In 1963, Sarah D’Avigdor Goldsmid drowned in a sailing accident.  She was only 18 years old and her distraught parents (Sir Henry and Lady d’Avigdor-Goldsmid, established 20C art collectors) commissioned Chagall to create the memorial window which was given to the church. The work was created by Chagall with his student Charles Marq in Reims and was installed in 1967.  The window shows Sarah as the figure floating at the base whilst her soul ascends a ladder to Heaven, where a crucified Christ awaits. Other figures represent the grieving family.

The windows are inspired, said Chagall, by the words of Psalm 8, especially verses 4-8:

“What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?  You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.”

Apparently the artist was so taken by the East Window in it’s setting that he agreed to do all the windows to create the only church to completely contain his work.  This project was not without local opposition, some of whom were reluctant to see their Neo-Gothic windows replaced and this is the reason why the final completion of the project was so delayed.  The original windows are pretty mundane so I for one am delighted that the Chagall creations found their way to their places, even if it took 15 years.

Leonie commented on my earlier post that the windows seem to colour the air within the Church and this is indeed the case.  But what makes it even more amazing is the combination of the warmth of the nave area which greets you as your enter the building and cool Chancel with the blue glass creating an almost underwater feel.

What a wonderful tribute to Sarah D’Avigdor Goldsmid.

This panorama clearly shows the different feel between the two halves of the church.

Tudeley, Chagall, Stained Glass, Kent