On Wednesday, 26 September, a new stained glass window at Westminster Abbey designed by David Hockney was revealed to the public for the first time, depicting a vividly coloured country scene reflecting The Queen’s deep affection and connection to the countryside.
The new window, called The Queen’s Window, is in the Abbey’s north transept, and was commissioned by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster to celebrate the reign of Her Majesty The Queen. David Hockney, one of the most influential artists of The Queen’s reign, whose contribution has been recognised with an Order of Merit and as a Companion of Honour, was chosen for the commission. It is his first work in stained glass.
The brief to the artist was to provide something symbolic or representational of the subject, rather than a heraldic or figurative design, and for it to be recognisable as his work. Hockney’s response was to design a country scene, set within his beloved Yorkshire featuring hawthorn blossom, using his distinct colour palette of yellow, red, blue, pink, orange and greens. The subject reflects The Queen as a countrywoman and her widespread delight in, and yearning for, the countryside. Stained glass artists and craftspeople of Barley Studio created the window using traditional techniques, working with the artist to translate his vision into glass. Barley Studio are a leading stained glass studio of over forty years based in York.
During the process the artist expressed his wish to depict his design in block colour, following the simplicity of Matisse’s windows in using traditional techniques of glass and lead without the use of glass paint, enamels, acid etching or plating. Westminster Abbey has a rich tradition of commissioning stained glass which includes windows by Sir Ninian Comper, Hugh Easton and John Piper. The last stained glass to be installed was in June 2013 by Hughie O’Donoghue RA who designed two of the Lady Chapel windows, which were translated into glass by Helen Whittaker of Barley Studio. The window will be dedicated formally by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall in the presence of the artist, his family, friends and invited guests on Tuesday 2nd October at 11.30 am.
Picture Credit: Westminster Abbey