Window commemorating 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill. St Martin’s Church, Bladon, Oxfordshire.
3m high, 1m wide. Unveiled by Camilla Duchess of Cornwall 2015.
This was a huge privilege from start to finish. Finishing with Camilla Duchess of Cornwall unveiling the window in a big church service with the press and all the Churchill family. I got tongue tied when I shook Camilla’s hand, she was very nice. The brief was to make a window that matches an existing Whitefriars window in the church to provide a strong presence that celebrates Winston Churchill and draws people inside the church. Churchill is buried in the graveyard. St Martin is modelled by a Royal Horse Guards officer; that was exciting going to Horse Guards Parade to photograph him, as was all the research I did. Including being allowed to handle the original letters between Winston and Clementine at the Churchill Library archives in Cambridge.
In the window, as well as St Martin and St Alban’s saintly attributes, there are Churchill’s regimental badges, the Harrow Rifles cap badge and each border symbol represents an aspect of Churchill’s life, eg brick laying, the Nobel Prize for Literature and his Liberator aeroplane. The background glass is decorated with portions of Churchill’s speeches and words. I ordered glass jewels from America because Churchill was half American. The original vision for the window was that it would draw people together, and it does, with serendipitous connections happening during the making and continuing to do so. I was invited to pitch for the Churchill commission because the church warden saw me talking about my series of windows at St Nicholas’ church Radford Semele on Songs of Praise BBC1 TV program. I went on to win the Churchill commission which was serendipitous in itself, competing against leading stained glass artists to design and make this window for the Spencer-Churchill family church. I painted all the glass except the borders, which were painted by Zoe Angle.
MC Lead Glaziers helped build the panels and install the window. St Martin’s church further honoured me by commissioning me to make a stained glass gift for Camilla Duchess of Cornwall as a momentum of the day. She smiled a lot when they gave it to her and took it home with her, so there is a piece of my work in Clarence House as far as I know!
This window cost about £40,000 to commission. Including design, fabrication and installation.