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You are in: Jersey > People > Your island > Jersey's forgotten artist

Jersey's forgotten artist

Henry Thomas Bosdet is a internationally recognised artist, but not in Jersey it seems.

Bosdet

Bosdet's window at St Lawrence church

You might have heard of Henry Thomas Bosdet world-renowned 19th century artist and Jerseyman who worked with stained glass but you'd be forgiven if you think you can't see any monument or significant amount of his work here - there isn't any.

Seeking to correct this oversight are local enthusiasts photographer Mark Jones and Maya Hammarsal. They are in the process of compiling and shooting a film about the artist, which they hope will bring him back to life, metaphorically of course.

Maya describes Bosdet as a ‘Jersey lad made good’. His journey into the arts world began when he left Jersey to join the Royal Society of Arts in London.

Maya said: “He returned later as a tutor and became the curator of Life studies and he held that post for about 18 years. They have only ever had two people hold that position, so it was an extremely prestigious post for this young Jerseyman.”

World class glass

Maya and Mark’s interest lies in the fact that, despite his undoubted cultural significance, he remains relatively unknown in the island.

Maya said: “Certainly, he was a man of world class renown as an artist. He was very prolific. He has works all across Jersey, Guernsey, across the UK. There are Bosdet works in Holland and even Barbados. We want to bring him back to life.”

Artist cartoon

An original Bosdet cartoon

The pair have gleaned important background information from Aidan Smith’s book on Bosdet, The Glass Rainbow.

Maya said: “There is now a trust called the Glass Rainbow Trust, which is looking to promote the work of Henry Thomas Bosdet and other glass artists in the island.”

The trust has recently funded the restoration of Bosdet grave at St Saviour and has got a plaque at Hampton Place where Bosdet used to live.

Filming and research

Photography Mark Jones says the team have been filming in Jersey for about three weeks and calculates they are about halfway through.

Mark said: “We had one trip to the UK to find out some of his London addresses and track down some of the place were he actually worked.”

The research has so far taken them to a foundry in the Midlands to see how glass was made in the 19th century and explore how the process worked – from commission to sub-contracting to installation.”

“We are going to Hexham Abbey in two weeks time to film the Abbey. It was one of his major commissions – he did all four of the major windows. We are going to talk to the people up there about how he is looked upon in Northumberland."

Stained glass by Bosdet

Mark said: “We are at the point now that we have about two or three more interviews to do on the island. This Saturday at St Lawrence Church, Bosdet’s sketches are going to be exhibited alongside the finished works.

The pair plans to hold a sponsors' presentation in early July and have already piqued the interest of Jersey Heritage, who are reportedly keen to show the film. 

last updated: 15/06/2009 at 13:39
created: 15/06/2009

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