History of the Parish - Stained Glass

The artist, PATRICK REYNTIENS OBE (born 1925), is considered by many to be one of the finest European stained glass makers of the last 50 years. He has worked closely with the artist John Piper. Together they were responsible for the great baptistry window in the new Coventry Cathedral (once described as the greatest example of stained glass since the Middle Ages) as well as for the glass in Liverpool's Roman Catholic Cathedral.

The Stained Glass

The form of the windows is connected with flowers - not particular species or shapes, merely a suggestion of flowers.

 

The vaguely spiral movement which is faintly discernible calls to mind the genetic principle whose agent is DNA.

 

Emmaus WindowThe tiny Emmaus window attempts to convey the extraordinary experience of the disciples at Emmaus; surely one of the most electrifying in the whole Bible - that moment when the Lord has just broken the bread.

 

This window is not intended to be 'decorative' in the way that stained glass is usually considered decorative. It is meant to move the spectator just as a painting by Rembrandt might do.

 

Patrick Reyntiens has tried to create an atmosphere entirely in greens, the whole composition is saturated in an all-embracing green light. Technically, this involves several layers of glass, some added in one way, some in another; a method only appropriate and physically stable on a very small scale.

The figure on the left is that of a man of action, jerked into recognition by a violent experience. The figure on the right is that of a more passive, contemplative man, who has slowly become intuitively aware of the situation and is not so much surprised as enlightened. His intuition is confirmed.

 

"Peter's denial of Christ"Red, the characteristic colour-motif of the Lord, spreads from His head and encompasses the elements of the meal on the table. The shape thus created is roughly that of an equilateral triangle.

The Penitence window in the Reconciliation Room recalls the Gospel account of St Peter's betrayal of the Lord and his subsequent remorse. The colour scheme is symbolic of sin and despair, but the cock's head is silhouetted against the dawn.

 

The red of the cock's comb, which immediately attracts the eye, is the 'moment of truth' in the composition. St Peter holds his head. He cannot bear to hear the sound of the cock's crow.

 

The pattern of the leadwork is designed to suggest vertigo and instability. Again, this window is a work of fine art seeking to move the spectator and to be appropriate in its setting.

 

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