Sunday, 16 March 2014

Medieval windows in York Minster.

Until I went to York Minster earlier in the month, I had previously only seen fragments of medieval stained glass, usually joined together in an incomprehensible hotch potch to make a complete window. York minster offers a great chance for catch up here, with windows dating back to 1250. 

This window isn't as old as that, dating to around 1310. It features the Tree of Jesse, which is designed to demonstrate the ancestry of Christ back to the Jesse (the father of King David). It's quite a common theme in stained glass windows and this one is probably the oldest on that theme in England.

A panel has been inserted pointing out the restorations of the window and suggesting that the 1789 restoration wasn't quite what it could have been.

The virgin Mary apparently.

The 1789 restoration gets the blame for putting a male head on her!

The figure of Jesse is traditionally portrayed as lying along the bottom of the tree looking up at it. He's in red at the bottom of the middle panel in the first photo. Here's a close up of his face.

The Great East window has been removed for restoration. The guide tells us that a window needs a serious overhaul every 150 years or so. They've hung an enormous print of the window in it's place.

It was made between 1405 and 1408 by John Thornton. He was paid 56 pounds for the job and received a 10 pound bonus for completing the window on time.

One advantage of the window not being in place is that there is a rare chance to get a closer look at some of the Panels. A few have been set out in an exhibition in light boxes at floor lever. You'd have to have excellent eyesight to be able to see the detail in the glass when they were back in situ. 

This particular panel is St John sailing to Patmos. If you want to try and locate its position in the above photo, it's in the second column in from the left, ten panels up.

There was a small exhibition showing how stained glass was looked after. Until very recently any breakages in the glass would have had to have had a piece of lead installed to hold it together, now with the advent of new adhesives, the glass can be stuck together without lead. In the hull of the boat you can see two cracks where the original piece of glass has been broken into three. When it was taken down, the hull had two black leaded lines on it, which have now been replaced by just gluing the broken pieces together.

This pane is, St John Glimpses God in Majesty, from Revelations. It can be found 2 panels in from the right and 10 panels up.

This Panel is the seven churches, also from Revelations. It is 4 frames in from the right and 10 up.

I don't have any information about this window at all except what you can see here. It has incorporated some medieval glass into a more modern window. The figure of St Michael is obviously old but the shield below him looks to be much newer.

Some of the border looks like it has been made up of pieces of glass originally made for somewhere else.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Crear McCartney at St Michael's, Linlithgow

In the South Trancept, or St Katherine's Aisle, of St Michael's church in Linlithgow is this spectacular window by Crear McCartney. It was installed in 1992 to mark the 750th anniversary of the consecration of the church. It is full of Christian symbolry, not just in Mr McCartney's glass but in the geometry of the window, determined centuries earlier when certain numbers were viewed to be significant in the Bible. - for example, 3 for the Trinity and 12 for the Apostles.

The Lamb of God, standing on the throne from which issues the river of life. The Greek letter Alpha and Omega are for the beginning and the end.

The Tree of Life.

Here we see the symbols of two of the Evangalists. Matthew is represented by the winged man and Luke by the winged bull. In another pane we can see the winger lion of Mark and eagle of John.

Around the rose part of the window are the symbols of the 12 Apostles. In the first picture you can see the well known key of St Peter at top and cross of St Andrew at the bottom. Other symbols were less well know to me. Here is the flaying knife of Bartholomew, the club of James the Less and below that are the building tools of Thomas.

The fish for Simon, the Halberd of Jude and the scallop shell of James the Great.

The chalice and serpent of John.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

James Ballantine at Greenbank Parish Church Edinburgh

I drive past the Greenbank Parish Church two or three times a month on my wanders. Truth be told, I really park the car nearby and take a bus - the battle with Edinburgh traffic and finding a parking space just isn't worth the while and I have friends nearby anyway that I like to visit. It just so happens that one day last year I hadn't any change for the bus so set out on foot and as I was passing the church anyway, I popped in. There is a church hall and community centre attached and my thanks go to the lady in the office who let me into the church itself to take pictures.

Today's blog has only one of the several excellent windows there in it, The Ministry of Music Window by James Ballantine in 1928. It is based around St Cecilia who is the patron saint (perhaps that is patroness) of music. I've seen several windows featuring St Cecilia around the country, they tend to be fairly cheery affairs.

James Ballantine was the third generation of and Edinburgh Stained Glass making family. The company name changes slightly over the years but at the time of this window it would have been A. Ballantine and Son (this webpage offers a good little potted history of the Ballantines at the top). Ballantine windows are quite common throughout Scotland and further afield and I have several grand examples on file already which are destined to find their way into this blog eventually.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Sir Ninian Comper in Inverurie and Whiterashes

A couple of blogs ago (and back in October such has been my slow blogging), I mentioned that my coverage of the Sir Ninian Comper window in All Saints in Coventry was a little scant and that I would make it up to him. It also give me a chance to tie a few blogs together because during my visit to Jane Bayliss (in the last post), she was telling me that as well as making new windows she is also involved in the restoration and repair of old windows, and pointed me towards All Saints' Church in the village of Whiterashes near by where they had been involved in the restoration of the Ninian Comper windows there.

Unfortunately All Saints' Church was closed so I thought I would get my stained glass fix from St Mary's in Inverurie. Turns out that they have a window by Sir Ninian too. It features St Margaret of Scotland (that's her coat of arms above her in the window). I think the man in the window may be King David the first, her son, (also taken to be a saint) but I'm not sure.

The figurehead on Queen Margaret's ship looks rather pleased with himself.

The strawberry plant that is Sir Ninian's signature in most of his windows.

While I was in the church, I was chatting to a chap who turned out to be the priest of that church and also of All Saints' in Whiterashes which I had found locked earlier. Kind fellow lent me his key, so back I went, as much bolstered by the trusting act as getting to see the windows.

All the windows in All Saints' are by Ninian Comper and were installed between 1898 and 1919. Some do not have strawberries and I imagine they predate his using the signature.

This window is The Thanksgiving Window from the First World War. Whiterashes, quite remarkably, lost nobody in the war but amongst the injured was local laird, Quentin Irvine and his brother Alexander. Their mother donated this window, featuring St Michael, to the church and the three holly leaves in the window are part of the family coat of arms.

 St Bartholomew and St Nathanael (now as far as I can see, Bartholomew was Nathanael - says so here)

St Christina  with arrows and the millstone which was hung round the neck to try and drown her (it floated) and St Mary, sister of Lazarus, who, it seems, was also Mary Magdalene.

The chap with the sword here is St Quentin and the other fellow is James the Great who has a scallop shell on his staff to indicate he is a pilgrim.

St Hugh of Lincoln with his companion swan and St Francis of Assisi

Not sure I like the glint on St Hugh's swan's eye.

 A delightful little detail of the medal round St Hugh's neck.

The Great East Window, features the Virgin Mary with John the Baptist on her right and John the Evangelist on her left. John the Evangelist here holds a chalice with a viper in it, his symbol. I noticed that window at the beginning of the blog also has a chalice with a viper in it at the top - could it be that it is St John appearing in that window too and not St David.

It's not a window but for completeness I should mention that the reredos (the screen behind an alter) here is also designed by Sir Ninian. 

The figures on it photographed much better with the flash on.

Sir Ninian makes a couple of appearances in my other blog when I saw a window by him last year in Hardraw and the year before in Cromarty.