Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Yarnton, Oxfordshire

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.


David said...

And a Merry Christmas to you: many thanks for the as-ever fascinating ad illuminating posts this year. All best wishes for 2015.

Hels said...

Why do you think the collection of stained glass consists mostly of quite small pieces? Were the windows once full sized and only small bits and pieces survived the centuries?

Philip Wilkinson said...

Yes. These fragments would have been parts of larger windows, most of which have succumbed to the depredations of time, neglect, or iconoclasm.

Joe Treasure said...

Beautiful glass. And wonderful singing. I'm afraid I'd never heard of Anonymous 4 (clearly I should get out more) and I see now they've been at it for 30 years already.