Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Wednesday 21st December - An Angel (Obviously)

Today is the shortest day of the year and as I type it is still really dark.  Mind you, the sun doesn't rise until something like half past twelve this afternoon, then sets about ten minutes later. I have to do the food shopping later and have so far written and lost two shopping lists, so I'm doing well.  Let's crack on...

An Angel (1902) Henry Thomas Bosdet
This red-winged stunner was fluttering around the Art UK website (formerly the PCF catalogue on the BBC website) and caught my eye.  Those wings are fairly impressive and so I wanted to know more about the artist...

2015 Jersey Christmas Stamps
I do love a nice stamp.
Henry Thomas Bosdet (1857-1934) was born in St Helier on Jersey, but his family moved to London when he was 10 years old.  He attended the Royal Academy School in London for his artistic education.  He became the Director of the Islington Art School and Curator of the Life School at the Royal Academy, but his painting career was relatively short.  Instead, he focused his talents on stained glass. 

Detail of Two Archangels,
St John's Church, Jersey

Whilst teaching, one of his students was William Heath Robinson, who described him thus - 'He wore a black velvet coat and an artistic tie. His head was that of a pale young Moses adorned with a long silky beard moustache and waving hair. The finishing touch to this artistic personality was the gold-rimmed monocle with continually dropped from his eye and was replaced as he took a broader or closer view of your drawings.' (My thanks to this page by Maya Hammarsal for the details).

Henry Thomas Bosdet, looking rather spiffy
He returned to Jersey in 1920 and many of his windows can be seen throughout the Island today.  In many ways we have Henry VIII to thank for Henry Thomas Bosdet's fame as it was due to the Reformation that Jersey lost so much of its stained glass.  I can't imagine what it must have been like to attend your familiar church which used to be plainly glazed, only to have that jewelled light suddenly pouring through those beautiful windows.

Interior of St Brelade's Church, Jersey
The Walker family have been discussing a holiday in Jersey and I think a tour of all the stained glass seems a very splendid idea.  A note about the above church, St Brelade's, which I think some of you would appreciate - apparently, when it was being built the fairies didn't appreciate it being constructed in the middle of their land and so they moved it every night until the builders got the message and built it where the fairies dumped it. Seems sensible to me, you don't want to go messing with fairies.

Angel design for stained glass window
Stained glass windows are an inexhaustable resource for angels.  You can buy those little sticky panels for windows to illuminate your home if you can't afford the real thing and they always make me smile.  There is something about the medium that suits the luminous beauty of angels, their wings alight with sunlight on even the coldest day.  I sometimes wonder if stained glass was put there to give you something to look at during a long sermon, and however you feel about religion, going into a church gives you the chance to admire some fascinating workmanship and artistry, especially of the Victorian period.

It's still dark so I'm off to write another shopping list.  See you tomorrow...

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Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx