So that’s the initial work all done. Six to choose from, though probably only two real contenders. I’ve made small images of them here so that they can be viewed and compared more easily. Any of the images that Marly would like as page divisions will be made again using only black ink on paper, so that they will not require colour printing. I may play around when I start working in black and white, perhaps turn up a few extra foliate head images for her to select from, and maybe a tailpiece or two and some vignettes. I’m like a terrier at a bone with this project, worrying away and unable to relinquish it!
Quite soon I must move onto the commission that has come my way for the Henry Vaughan commemorative window, the full-scale pattern for which has arrived by post scrolled into a giant cardboard tube. Rod Bender is the presiding master on this project, and it is he who has produced the pattern and hereafter shall be interpreting and transforming my design into glass. The pattern is presently still scrolled on the kitchen table waiting for me to quarry compositional solutions to its immensely long, though narrow proportions. I think that the foliate heads have been a good preparation for this work, as their pictorial simplicity and clarity of colour are germane to the consideration of imagery within the medium of stained-glass. Vaughan is one of the metaphysical poets… alongside Donne, Herbert and Marvell… and I came to love his poetry when I worked as a custodian at Tretower Court and Castle in the years between the theatre and painting. He’s lies in the graveyard of a country church a few miles from Tretower, and indeed his family once owned and resided at the Court, though the poet himself never lived there.
It seems that a circle is to close as I embark on the Henry Vaughan project. His poetry was a great comfort to me at a time in my life when I felt frozen and unable to move forward. Returning to him in preparation to designing his commemorative window is akin to visiting a well-loved friend to repay a long-outstanding debt of gratitude.
I saw Eternity the other night
Like a great ring of pure and endless light.
All calm, as it was bright;
And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,
Driv’n by the spheres
Like a vast shadow moved; in which the world
And all her train were hurled.
From The World by Henry Vaughan (1622 -1695)