Saint George

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Listed in chronological order of installation

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Empty Tomb by William Aikman
Empty Tomb by William Aikman

Empty Tomb by William Aikman
In accordance with the new system of Church government drawn up after the Great War, the first meeting of the Parochial Church Council of St George’s, Headstone was held on 22 April 1920. On the agenda was the question of a suitable war memorial, and eventually it was decided that the congregation would erect a stained glass window in the Lady Chapel with a biblical resurrection theme. After inviting designs and quotations from six firms, and detailed inspection of the work of two artists, the PCC entrusted the memorial window to William Aikman.

William Aikman, the son of the landscape painter George Aikman, was born in Edinburgh in 1868. After serving his apprenticeship with Ballantyne of Edinburgh, in 1892 he came to London with a view to going to Munich in search of a more progressive studio. However, while in London he visited the studio of James Powell and Sons where he was offered a position which enabled him to work with leading artists at an interesting and innovative period in the history of the firm. One of these artists was Sir William Richmond, for whom he painted many windows at St Paul’s Cathedral. In 1913 Aikman set up his own studio at a house in Camden Square, where he worked until 1934. He then moved to a new studio at Sutton, where he continued to work until the time of his death in 1959.

‘His windows are always beautifully painted and he was a notable teacher of his craft at the Camberwell College of Arts and Crafts – his most illustrious pupil was James Hogan RDI, who designed many of the windows for Liverpool Cathedral and for St Thomas’s, New York. The window at St George’s is a characteristic example of Aikman’s use of rich colours – in the figure subjects – combined with quarry glazing in ‘streaky’ white glass. The glass itself is of the very highest quality, doubtless made by James Powell & Sons (Whitefriars), by whom Aikman was employed for many years before establishing his own studio.’ - Peter Cormack

The window, depicting the angel and women at the empty tomb, was unveiled by Sir Philip Lloyd-Greame, KBE, MP, at a special service on 17 July 1921.

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Faith Hope and Love by Maile and Son
Faith Hope and Love by Maile and Son

Faith Hope and Love by Maile and Son
The English Heritage schedule records: ‘In the second bay from the west, north aisle stained glass of good quality by Maile and Son, 1934, representing Faith, Hope and Christ as Love’.

Unfortunately the firm’s records were destroyed following its closure in the early 1990s after two hundred years of passing from father to son. Maile and Son did not have its own stained glass studio but used a number of independent artists. Mr David Maile, the last owner of the firm, has suggested that the window may have been by Vernon Spreadbury. It was the gift of an anonymous donor.

‘The idiom is similar to that used by designers such as F C Eden and Horace Wilkinson in the 1900-30s period, ie essentially conservative and with reference to 15th century English glass in the patterned borders and tracery lights.’ - Peter Cormack

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Te Deum by Martin Travers
Te Deum by Martin Travers

Te Deum by Martin Travers
For information see Martin Travers and The Great East Window.

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Decent of the Holy Dove by E Liddall Armitage
Decent of the Holy Dove by E Liddall Armitage

Ascension of Christ by E Liddall Armitage
Ascension of Christ by E Liddall Armitage

Descending and Ascending by Liddall Armitage
The quatrefoil windows at the west end of the side aisles were designed by E Liddall Armitage and installed in 1964. They are a memorial to William Cowen Wilson and were presented to St George’s by his widow and two daughters.

Liddall Armitage was a pupil of the Arts and Crafts stained glass designer Karl Parsons and later worked with Henry Holiday, completing some of his commissions after his death in 1927. For some time Liddall Armitage was Chief Designer of the James Powell & Sons/Whitefriars Studio, and his book 'Stained Glass: History, Technology and Practice' became a standard work on the subject following its publication in 1960.

The Whitefriars Studio provided the following description of his window at St George’s:

‘In these two quatrefoil windows the artist has attempted to symbolise in line and colour two events of outstanding importance to the human race. In one, at the Baptism of Christ, the Dove, symbol of the Divine Spirit, is seen descending on to earth, our human consciousness, reminding us of the inner voice of God which tells us that Jesus Christ is His Beloved Son.

The colouring suggests that of Springtime with life and hope surging to fulfilment. The time of fresh endeavour is also indicated by the rays of light, the highest thoughts and feelings breaking through the clouds of apathy into the routine of our mundane existence.

In the other light the symbolism is of the Ascension of Christ when, his earthly material manifestation being completed, his spirit reunites with the eternal and everlasting will of God, as a permanent potential inspiration to all human beings.

Here the colours are richer suggesting fulfilment and accomplishment which is visually manifest in the latter part of the yearly life cycle. The hands represent the aspiration, the yearning and the striving of all men to achieve some measure of improvement and perfection.

The rhythm of the two panels is designed to suggest descent, the higher thoughts becoming apparent, and ascent, the subsequent achievement, and to pattern in colourful symbolism an everlasting truth. Each year the life cycle gives opportunity of accomplishment and service in the everlasting will of the Almighty.’

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Good Shepherd by Alfred Fisher
Good Shepherd by Alfred Fisher

Good Shepherd by Alfred Fisher 
Alfred Fisher joined James Powell and Sons (known as Whitefriars from 1962) in 1951 after studying at the Liverpool Institute and Liverpool College of Art. In 1967 he succeeded E Liddall Armitage as Chief Designer of the Whitefriars Studio.

When Whitefriars closed its stained glass department in 1973, Alfred Fisher founded Chapel Studio where, continuing to design extensively, he also fulfilled a long-standing ambition of establishing a separate workshop for the conservation and repair of historic glass. After retiring from Chapel Studio he has remained active as a designer, and also a conservation adviser working in collaboration with the National Trust and English Heritage.

Alfred Fisher’s window depicting Christ as the Good Shepherd is situated in the south aisle of the church, and dates from 1965. It is a memorial to Wilfred Barnes Barratt, and was given by his family and friends.

At the time of the commission budget constraints did not allow the tracery panels at the top to be included in the scheme. The window was finally completed to a new design by Alfred Fisher in 2003. Submitting his design on 24 June 2002 Alfred Fisher wrote:

‘When I first designed the window in 1964, there were very limited funds available, hence the large areas of plain glass, and to me it always had a rather unfinished look, which I am now delighted to be able to rectify. I have tried to integrate the new tracery with the figure, and have introduced a warm glow of colour into the top, instead of the bleak empty spaces. There are two leafy shapes of blue to tie up with the figure, and small chips of bright ruby glass to give vibrancy. The design involves the temporary removal of the tops of the three main lights, but to provide the tracery only without these areas would make it impossible to unite the lights and the tracery effectively as they do now …

I look forward to your reaction in due course and hope very sincerely that the work can go-ahead. It is a fascinating prospect to complete a work started 38 years ago but does tend to make me feel a bit of a dinosaur!’

In completing the window, Chapel Studio was able to incorporate Whitefriars glass, acquired when the firm closed its stained glass department and sold its stock.

 

headstone, harrow