Thursday, 17 April 2014

Rossetti, Banstead & Morris

No it is not a firm of solicitors. Yesterday I gave a talk in Banstead which is what I would call an urban village, having a village feel about it but located indubitably in the suburbs of London. In the church there is a stained glass window which was designed by Rossetti and Morris and installed when the church was undergoing its nineteenth century restoration. My ignorance confused me. I knew of Christina Rossetti as a poet and that she had a brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti who also had a poetic bent but I did not know that he was a painter. My confusion was not ameliorated in any way by discovering that the designer William Morris whom I knew to be a painter was also a poet and that it was Rossetti who had persuaded him that he should develop his painting rather than his poetry. 

West window by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and
William Morris, All Saints Church, Banstead.

I don't know what I was expecting from the window -- perhaps something more flamboyant or 'decorative'. The figure on the left is Ezekiel, by Rossetti and that on the right, John the Baptist by Morris.

Just around the corner from the Banstead Community Hall where I gave my talk I found the old village well. This had supplied the water for the village until piped water had arrived in the late nineteenth century. So the workmen who had installed the stained glass window had used water from this well although they had probably drunk something stronger.

No comments:

Post a Comment