SURVEY OF STAINED GLASS
SURVEY OF STAINED GLASS
LETTER FROM DAVID LAWRENCE 3rd October 2009
The survey which Meg and I have been carrying out, on behalf of the Representative
Church Body, of stained glass throughout the diocese, is now complete. I
am in the process of writing-up my report and will pass this on to the RCB
in a few weeks. I have some further archival research to do in the National
Gallery of Ireland and the British Architectural Library in London. We found
42 of the churches in your diocese to have stained-glass windows. The survey
included only windows with depictions of religious scenes and did not include
plain or decorative windows. In all we recorded 125 stained-glass windows.
Some of these are of outstanding interest. I photographed all of these churches
and windows, in the form of 35mm colour transparencies and the collection
for this diocese runs to 314 slides.
There are three entirely distinct aspects of the surveys and reports. One
is the photographic recording; then there are technical reports on the condition
of the windows with suggestions for any necessary remedial work. Finally
there is the art-historical report. As far as possible, we have identified
the artist, subject-matter and date for each of the windows and the architects
involved in each church. We have carried out research in various archives
and have put together an overall description of the churches and their windows.
The final report will occupy four volumes. The first contains tables of
historical information for each window, together with the descriptive overview.
The second contains floor-plans and technical reports for each church. Volumes
three and four contain the colour transparencies. These four volumes will
be kept at the RCB Library in Dublin, but I shall be making several spiral-bound
copies of the first two volumes and the RCB will send these to Mr Glenn
Moore, the Diocesan Secretary, who will kindly arrange for each parish to
have copies. The photographs can be consulted at the RCB Library and copies
are available on request.
All of the factual data and the photographs are also put into a searchable
data-base called Gloine. It already contains the information on the 1544
windows in the other seven dioceses which I have so-far recorded, together
with about 3500 photographs. This data-base can be accessed at the RCB Library
and at the Irish Architectural Archive in Merrion Square, Dublin.
Visiting the churches to carry out the fieldwork gave Meg and I a great
deal of pleasure. The work took us to some memorable churches in delightful
settings and gave us the opportunity to get to know your towns and countryside.
It was of particular interest for us to start to get to know Northern Ireland,
as the work to date has taken place entirely in the Republic. We were most
impressed by the County Fermanagh landscape – and had to work hard
to resist the temptations of that amazing tea-shop every time we passed
through Bellanaleck on our way to and from the cottage we had rented by
Upper Lough Erne! However, over and above all of this was the sense of privilege
we felt by meeting and being treated so graciously by all of you who met
us at your churches, allowed us to work in them and made us feel so especially
welcome. And for that, Meg and I would like to give you our most sincere