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18 September 2014
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The Nativity Window at St Mary's, Iffley, Oxfordshire

Changing styles | John Piper | The themes | The making of the window


Changing styles

A less figurative approach to stained glass became apparent in the works of a designer called Alfred Wolmark: for the first time stained glass was created like an abstract painting, a mosaic of colour without iconography. Bomb damage in World War Two had destroyed many windows (though in England, Canterbury for instance, many of the ancient ones were taken out and stored) and this created opportunities for new designs and commissions. In France, eminent artists like Chagall were called upon to design windows for the great cathedrals; in England Ervin Bossanyi (from Hungary) made two impressive windows for Canterbury, and John Piper with Patrick Reyntiens created a stupendous Baptistry Window for Basil Spence’s new Coventry Cathedral.

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