Posted by: Glassartist | June 26, 2009

Contemporary stained glass unveiled by Bishop

St John’s School, Leatherhead, Surrey UK




The new contemporary stained glass window for St John’s School Chapel has been unveiled.


The dedication sermon for the new stained glass commission was given by Rt Revd Ian Brackley, the Bishop of Dorking. He describes the contemporary stained glass window as “startling, dramatic and colourful.  It is also strong in symbolic depiction”.


Contemporary Stained Glass East Window Dedication at St John's School Chapel

The Bishop joined pupils, the school chaplain Revd Clive Case, the Headmaster Nicholas Haddock MBE, and parents at a choral evensong where the window was unveiled in a service held to celebrate the foundation of the school….“the energy and vibrancy of the new window inspires us to look beyond ourselves and seek those things which are above”. The window includes symbolism of the Eagle of St John the Evangelist and Apostle and of the Eucharist, wine and corn.

 The Bishop offered this apt quotation by the early 17th century priest and poet George Herbert:

 A man that looks on glass,

On it may stay his eye;

Or if he pleaseth, through it pass,

And then the heaven espy.

The large 6M x 6M apex window is comprised of 37 sections of single-glazed leaded panels.  The design is executed in acided flashed antique glass and uses streaky and single pot colour hand-made antique glass with kiln – fired traditional oxide pigments and silver stain.

The design depicts a central Golden Eagle which is soaring upwards and symbolises St John the Evangelist and Apostle, because of his ‘lofty and soaring’ gospel.  It is also symbolic of the resurrection and ascension of Christ, and of baptised Christians who have symbolically died and risen with Christ.  The Eagle of St John is the school emblem.

The Eagle rises from the image of a palm frond, recalling Jesus’s Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem before the Last Supper and Passion. Below are the symbols of that feast and of the Eucharist, the wine and corn.  The palm of victory and the Eagle move up towards the Holy Spirit in the apex of the window, which is descending as a blessing.


Eagle of St John


Bishop Ian Brackley commented “Light, colour, shape, design all transformed by the alchemy of kiln firing as stained glass into a wonderful and arresting kaleidoscope of images.  The eagle, symbol of St John the Evangelist, as alluded to in our second Reading from the Book of Revelation, where the four creatures surrounding God’s throne were soon to be identified with the four canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the eagle soars upwards to meet the fiery Holy Spirit of God’s inspiration depicted by the descending dove at the top.  The soaring upwards might also reflect the school motto from St Paul’s writings, “Seek those things that are above”.  This window is something for the eye and the imagination.  “A man that looks on glass, on it may stay his eye; or, if he pleaseth, through it pass, and then the heaven espy.” There is more than meets the eye.  Like all good art, there is more always to be discovered, more to be understood, more to be grasped and explored by the beholder……”

 For more photos on this new stained glass window commission see Flickr:


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