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Entries in stone (2)

Friday
Jan272012

stone scotland

Charles Rennie MackIntosh. Glasgow Scool of Art, 1897-1909There is something of the black stony towns of Scotland to be found in MacIntosh's school of art in Glasgow.  Although pilgrims go to see its dried thistle-leaf steel window racks and its art nouveau arabesques, it is a hulk of a building – tough, and before it was cleaned, grim.  Less tea room and more castle keep.

William Daniell. Kinnaird Head Castle Lighthouse, Aberdeenshire, 1822.

Thursday
Mar312011

Laurence Whistler

Laurence Whistler. Engraved windows at St Nicholas Church, Moreton, DorsetLaurence Whistler, 1912-2000, younger brother of the more well-known Rex Whistler, was a glass engraver who, over 30 years, engraved all the windows of St Nicholas Church at Moreton in Dorset.  This church is also more well-known as the place that T E Lawrence was buried in 1935. 

The church itself is delicate, built in 1776 in a Georgian form of Gothic, it was hit when a German bomber jettisoned its load, blowing out all the windows. The engraved windows are equally delicate, like frost patterns.  There is little florid glory in these windows, but much that is elegaic. 

The double readings that one gets through engraved glass renders the world outside the church as the backdrop to all that is held within the Church.  Like Sigmar Polke, who said 'I can accept the power of nature as religious' Whistler, in dreary postwar Britain broke away from the stained glass tradition which screens the world but allows in a redemptive light. After two world wars and the loss of two generations of artists, to pursue the stained-glass tradition redemptive polychromed light must have felt, to Whistler, unreasonably bombastic.  Thus these windows, which ask little of the congregant other than to register a pale, persistent nature-based faith. ´╗┐

The Whistler windows, ca 1950-80. St Nicholas, Moreton