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.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Jane Bayliss

Some months ago while unexpectedly finding a free day on my hands on Aberdeenshire, I went for a run in the car to see what I could find. Fintray Parish Church I found not to be the most exciting looking in the world or even open that day but, had I not been stopped at the church's gate, it is unlikely that I would ever have noticed the sign hanging in the neighbouring drive. It was for the Jennifer-Jane Stained Glass Studio and, being open, I went in for a look. It is run by Jane Bayliss and her assistant Brian Innes, who very kindly let me take a few pictures, gave me a cup of tea and a generous slice of their day.

Most of the stained glass I see is in churches so it's nice to see a little domestic stained glass from time to time. The piece below is one of a number of small windows that were in the studio, some of which were still for sale when I was there.

Jane Bayliss had come to my attention before when I visited Crathie Kirk the previous year (mentioned briefly here) as she made one of the windows in the church.

A small window based on A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Landseer's Monarch of the Glen in Glass

Apart from windows she has made these fascinating bowls.

And this half egg shell which to my mind is quite gorgeous.

This large window was ready to be installed. Leaning against a table isn't the best way to see a stained glass window but the top is catching the sunlight and you can see the rest well enough to have a good idea how it will look in situ.

This window looks like it's still for sale too as it bears a price tag and the title Silver Darlings. Silver Darlings is the name of a novel by  Neil Gunn who was an author from the North East of Scotland. Silver Darlings refers to herring.

 These two windows are two of three that were made for the Migvie Chapel in Aberdeenshire in 2001. The symbols on the characters here are some of the mysterious Pictish Symbols which appear many ancient stones in the area and elsewhere in the North East. (my thanks to Caroline Parr and James Dyas Davidson who own the copyright for these photos and have given me permission to use them)