The artist and producer of a stained glass window commissioned for St Katharine’s Chapel in Leicester Cathedral has been visiting Leicester.
Thomas Denny was born in London, and studied painting at Edinburgh College of Art in the 1970s. He has been responsible for some sixty stained glass commissions for churches and cathedrals, including the Traherne windows at Hereford Cathedral (2007), the Transfiguration window at Durham Cathedral (2010), and the Wisdom window at St Catharine’s College Cambridge (2012). He combines the themes of Richard lll with all our human experience and with bible references.
Tom Denny writes: ‘How would these windows be made? All of the materials and most of the processes to be employed are as found in windows from the time of Richard III, or from the nineteenth century. Leadlines have their own rhythmic quality that can re-iterate rhythms in the colour and light of the glass; the subdivision of glass by lead also reduces the assertiveness of very large sheets of glass. Acid etching, whereby a variety of tones within a piece of coloured glass is achieved, can be especially interesting if the artist is using two layers of glass, of different colours, treated in this way. The addition of glass paint and stain develops form, description and tonality.
‘In theme they represent an interweaving of history and spirituality, and suggest the idea of a particular life as embodying, for all of us, themes from scripture. History; Life; the possibility of revelations; encountering God – these things run together through the various sections of the windows, and there is no separation, essentially, between them.
‘With Richard III there does seem to be an extraordinary and unexpected feeling of closeness, of history being almost within touching. In Leicester itself the excitement is remarkable. In many ways, as a figure from a divided and destructive England, Richard could embody themes of overcoming animosity, of acceptance of one another as we are! And his life stories could well encompass those of any of us: loss, anguish, division, love, being reviled, being acclaimed.’
Watch Tom talk about the windows below:
Artist Tom Denny talks to David Monteith, Dean of Leicester about his designs for a Richard III stained glass window to be installed in Leicester Cathedral