Christopher Whall 150th Anniversary
Peter Cormack, deputy curator at the William Morris
Gallery, London, the 1997 Orin E. Skinner annual lecturer has kindly written
following article for this newsletter.
Right lancet of the Captain
Simpkins Memorial window, St.
John's Church, Beverly Farms,
MA, 1919. The irregular pattern
of the quarry-glazing, the gritty
painting style and the use of
thick, ‘streaky’ slab glass in this
Connick window are all
characteristic features of
Christopher Whall's Arts idiom.
Photograph courtesy of Trustees,
Boston Public Library
|"...I gloried in the discovery of Christopher
Whall. His text-book on stained glass work was so charming and enthusiastic
that I became his convert overnight." Thus Charles Connick, in his Adventures
in Light and Color (1937), paid tribute to the impact of Christopher
Whall (1849-1924) on his own early career. Whall was the foremost British
teacher and maker of stained glass in the Arts & Crafts Movement of
the 1890s and 1900s. His personal approach to the medium - exploring its
fullest expressive potential through a deep understanding of its technical
disciplines - has been an inspiration to craft-workers throughout this
1999 is both the 150th anniversary of Whall's birth and
the 75th of his death. A programme of commemorative events has been organised
throughout the year, based at London's William Morris Gallery which has
the largest archive of the artist's work. An exhibition from April to July
focussed on Whall's early career and a substantially larger exhibition
at the Gallery, from 16 November until 2 April 2000, will present a comprehensive
survey of his work. It will include drawings and cartoons for the huge
Lady Chapel windows of Gloucester Cathedral - described by Connick as 'a
glow of silvery light' when he saw them on his first visit to England in
1910. Also displayed will be Whall's designs for the five clerestory windows
in the Church of the Advent, Boston, as well as many other designs for
cathedrals and churches throughout the U.K. and elsewhere. Panels of stained
glass on show will include part of Whall's earliest commission, for St
Etheldreda's church, Ely Place (1879-80), and a fine window of 1903 (recently
conserved with great skill by Jonathan Cooke AMGP) rescued from a disused
church in Kent. Work by some of those most
|profoundly influenced by Whall's work and
teaching will also be featured, among them his daughter Veronica Whall,
Mary Lowndes, Hugh Arnold, Mabel Esplin and Karl Parsons. A panel by Charles
Connick - possibly the only example of his work in the U.K - will be exhibited,
underlining Christopher Whall's significant influence in the U.S.A.
Another commemorative project is the re-publication of
Whall's Stained Glass Work. The new edition of this Arts & Crafts classic
is a facsimile of the 1905 original, with the addition of an Introduction
by the present writer) to the life and work of Christopher Whall, a list
of major windows and 14 new full-colour plates. The book is available from
William Morris Gallery, Lloyd Park, Forest Road, London E17 4PP, U.K.
Telephone 01144 181 527 3782 or Fax 01144 181 527 7070.
Publication of Peter Cornack’s lecture on Christopher
Whall by The Boston Public Library and The Connick Foundation will soon
be available also.
Mary and Her Little Lamb, small panel
by Charles J. Connick, will be part of
the Christopher Whall exhibition.
Photograph: Peter Cormack
||The Orin E. Skinner Annual Lecture sponsored
by the Boston Public Library and The Connick Foundation will be presented
by James Yarnell on Tuesday, November 9th at 6:30 pm in the Rabb Lecture
Hall, Boston Public Library, Copley Square. A reception will immediately
follow the lecture. This event is free and open to the public. (See overleaf.)
||The Connick Foundation has received a $500 grant from
the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities that will help The Connick
Foundation begin to prepare a major grant for planning an exhibition of
the Connick Studio's history and practice of stained glass.
||The Connick Foundation has set up a web site: www.cjconnick.org.
||Please address questions, comments and/or gifts to The
Charles J. Connick Stained Glass Foundation, 37 Walden Street, Newtonville,
MA 02460. Telephone (617) 244-2659.
| The Light of
John La Farge's Stained Glass at Trinity Church and Memorial Hall
Panel from Virgil and Homer
window by La Farge, Memorial
Hall, Harvard University
Photograph: James Yarnall
|Boston served as a primary arena for the commissions
for one of America's foremost stained-glass designers, John La Farge (1835-1910).
A dozen commissions for glass in two major architectural monuments - Trinity
Church on Copley Square and Memorial Hall at Harvard University - form
a panorama of his opalescent glass art. Innovative, complex, inspired,
conflicted, erudite, and even disaster prone -- the prismatic light of
other days that La Farge left as his greatest artistic legacy provides
a provocative and glorious glimpse into his life and work.
James L. Yarnall received a Ph.D. in Art History from
the University of Chicago in 1981 for his dissertation on John La Farge.
As director of the La Farge Catalogue Raisonne, he has devoted his career
to research, writing, and lecturing on John La Farge, working in conjunction
with the artist's descendants. His numerous publications on La Farge include
four monographs and dozens of articles. He has also worked at the Smithsonian
Institution in Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New
York, and currently teaches in the Department of Cultural and Historic
Preservation at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island.