Vacation Surprises : (1) Craigie Aitchison in Glass
I travelled up to London during my summer holiday to attend a wonderful celebration of marriage of Robin and Sezgi Amos at St Mary the Bolton’s in Chelsea. It was a sunny day and I managed to arrive at the church early to catch up with friends. As I wandered around the church building I looked through one of the windows on the north side of the church to discover this shot of colour which really intrigued me !
I thought that I recognised the distinctive images of a Craigie Aitchison and indeed I was not disappointed. I am familiar with his work and a great admirer of the simplicity and depth of colour in his paintings and wondered to myself as I moved inside of the church how successful his work might be executed in the glass. Here are some of my pictures:
St Marys shares this information about the window:
‘The window, Crucifixion 2008: A Memorial Window, was created by the stained glass artist, Neil Phillips, following a design Craigie set out for stained glass. Craigie had been planning a collaboration to produce a window for the church at the time of his death in 2009 and the finished piece is a fitting testament to his huge achievements as an artist. Among those who gathered for the dedication were the Deputy Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea, Councillor Elizabeth Rutherford, and the President of the Royal Academy, Christopher Le Brun.The window was to have been Craigie’s first stained glass window in a London church, the city where he had lived and worked for almost the whole of his adult life. The project was initiated through Craigie’s friend and champion, Edwina Sassoon, who is a parishioner at St Mary The Boltons. Though Craigie sadly died during the discussions, the executor of his estate gave permission for the design to be adapted by Neil Philips after Craigie’s death, in recognition of his enthusiasm about creating an artwork for St. Mary’s. The window now stands in his memory for visitors to enjoy.’
This work, and incorporates familiar motifs such as his customary star, the Italian Cypress tree inspired by his second home in Montecastelli, and his beloved Bedlington Terrier.
The tree and dog act as Christ’s comforters in his final agony on the Cross.
A wonderful discovery –