The Henry Vaughan window part 4: ‘I saw eternity the other night…’

I cut the letters and lay them out, just to get the feel of how the text will lie, and how it will ‘read’.

I want a sense of it flowing down through the window.

Some of the letters are re-cut in patterned paper.

I take some reference photographs before disassembling the layout.

The foliate background is drawn in, and the text is reinserted… using the reference images as a guide… and securely pasted into place.

The foliate patterning is intended to form a soft, brocaded background to the imagery and text floating above it.

Initial laying-out of the second line of text. Just trying an idea here.

A roundel intended to hold an image of Tretower Castle.

The shadows are from the sash-windows here at Ty Isaf, but add random elements of light similar to what might be expected in the Vaughan window when it’s in place.

Below: reference image of the lay-out before I begin to recut some of the letters in patterned paper.

Lettering adjusted to take account of where the leading for supporting the roundel must run.

My preparatory drawings for the ‘Tretower Roundel’

Below: letters for the ‘Tretower Panel’ cut and pasted down, and main leading-lines added.

Below: added leading-lines and ‘chips’ of red glass

The idea is that the fragments of red glass could splash ‘jewels’ across the pews, floor and walls of the church.

I’m going to try a different version of this panel. I’ve learned a lot, but it’s not yet right.

15 thoughts on “The Henry Vaughan window part 4: ‘I saw eternity the other night…’

  1. Thinking of George Herbert’s “anneal in glass thy story” and man as a “brittle crazy glass” who may yet “be a window” by grace, full of glory. He’s so kindred to Vaughan…

    Love the way there is no element in this that does not point strongly to your past work, yet looks so surprising and fresh as a plan for glass. And Phil is right, it is already “glassy.”

    • Good call, Marly, on George Herbert. Lovely references. ‘Brittle crazy glass’. I can taste that!

      Important whenever challenged with new modes of expression, for an artist not to forget what he/she is about. I need to produce a window, and yet I’d be failing the commission were it not to look like one designed by me. The text takes the lead, and I’m pleased to have found a way to incorporate Vaughan’s lines in what is, by any consideration, a challengingly tall and narrow shape.

      All those years in Tretower with a copy of Vaughan’s collected works in my back pocket, constant companion through the long seasons in my custodian’s hut. It seems another world now. But here I am, twenty years on, drawing, reading, re-visiting, remembering and dreaming Vaughan, just as before.

  2. As a child I loved the stained glass in the Brownlow Rd Synagogue and to this day love them very much. I have my own slightly naff chunky glass flower, hanging in the bathroom, by the window to catch the light. It seems to me that a painted window is like a poem playing with light and shapes and I, as they say, ‘await with interest’ the next ‘exciting installment.’
    Love as ever
    B xxx xxx xxx

    • I like your notion of a poem playing with shapes and light in the way of a painted window. A pretty thought, and an apt one. Thank you, little chum. You and I have been playing with words for a long time now!

  3. Oh yes, I agree with Judith, the process of work is fascinating, don’t stop, please! The lettering looks absolutely right for the piece, nothing else would do. The words, and their meaning, are perfectly represented by the way you have chosen to display them in the gothic shape.

    • When the measured drawing of the window shape arrived in the post a couple of years ago, my heart sank at the proportions. I figured I’d never be able to make a design to fit it. But it just goes to show that sometimes the ideas cook all by themselves in the back of the mind. I was right to set it aside back then, because when the window began of its own accord to surface in my mind again, it was no longer such a fearsome challenge. Quite suddenly I could see clearly what it might be. Never give up. never give in.

    • Glad you like it Phil. I feel I’m on the right track, However, once the design is finished there are a number of people who will have to ‘sign off’ on it before work can begin on the window, and so I hope that I can persuade them, too.

  4. I really like this Clive, makes me think a little of film titles from the 60’s, a little bit of a Saul Bass influence maybe? I know how much you love his work (me too!)

    it’s going to really catch the eye of all the church visitors!

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