Tuesday, December 23, 2014
By Gabriel begun it was, right as the sun shone through the glass
The church at Yarnton has an outstanding collection of stained glass, mostly quite small pieces, and ranging from 15th-century saints and angels to an impressive number of pieces of 17th-century heraldic glass. Much of this was not made for the church but was donated in the early-19th century by Alderman William Fletcher of Oxford. This lovely feathery angel is one of the earlier pieces. Along with much English medieval glass, he’s paler and less colourful than he probably was originally. But the drawing of the face, hair, hands, and feathers has much charm and the deep red and blue of the glass above and below the figure gives some indication of the rich colours medieval glaziers could produce. He comes with Season’s Greetings to all my readers, and my very best wishes to you all for the coming year.
Although the angel in my photograph is not Gabriel, he reminded me, at this time of year. of the Annunciation, so to go with this medieval panel of glass here’s some 15th-century English music: a carol, “Alleluya: A newe werke”, concerning the Annunciation and the coming of Christ: “By Gabriel bygone hit was, ryzt as the sunne shone thorwe the glas.”
It’s sung by Ruth Cunningham, Marsha Genensky, Susan Hellauer, and Johanna Rose, whose four pellucid voices make up the group Anonymous 4.