One Honor Roll Among so Many …


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Dr Bronwyn Hughes OAM

It is hard to estimate how many Honor Rolls may have been erected across Australia in the wake of the First World War.  Temporary rolls, often made of paper, were well underway while war still raged and were periodically added to as more men enlisted and amended with a tiny cross as more men died.  During the post-war period many became permanent fixtures in churches, schools and hospitals, and even organisations such as banks, insurance companies and unions drew up long lists of their staff or members to permanently record their service.   

Horsham, and the smaller communities surrounding the town, were no less backward in honouring their enlistees.  As early as 1916, the Horsham State School listed 200 names that were painted on its Honor Roll by Mr Tom Young of Firebrace Street and in the post-years two of many more were unveiled at the Pimpinio school (50 names) and the Green Park Presbyterian Sunday School.[1]

In 1920, the Shire of Wimmera began plans to erect an Honor Roll in the Council Chamber in Firebrace Street.  This was to be an elaborate memorial that incorporated a stained-glass window as well as a Roll of Honor inscribed on the timber frame that surrounded it.  Negotiations were placed in the hands of the Shire’s architect, William Garsten Lucas, who approached Melbourne’s leading stained-glass artist, William Montgomery, to draw up a design and to seek quotes for the timber frame.[2] By mid-1920, an initial design was presented to Council.

The window was designed as a single large leadlight with a background of rectangular quarries, replacing an existing sash window in the building. The centre focus of the panel was a laurel wreath of green glass, loosely tied with a glass ribbon in shades of purple that surrounded the letters ‘A I F’, set against a red background. Below the wreath, the inscription ‘Their Names Liveth For Evermore’ was finely painted across another glass ribbon. 

The timber frame at either side of the glass was wide enough to list all the names submitted to council and was topped with a shallow triangular pediment in timber. The Commonwealth Military Forces ‘Rising Sun’ badge was designed to fill the apex of the pediment, but ultimately the Council decided to replace this with the Shire of Wimmera Coat of Arms.  Other small changes included the addition of the war years ‘1914’ and ‘1918’, one at each side of the base frame.

W G Lucas (supervisor/architect for the Shire of Wimmera) and William Montgomery (stained-glass artist) collaborated on the design. The change from timber pilasters to columns is difficult to see in the photograph.

Montgomery recommended another more significant, and costly, alteration. Timber pilasters were part of the frame’s original design, but this was changed to the more expensive option of turned columns thus adding an extra £7.10.0 to the woodwork quote and bringing the total cost of the timber framing to £42.10.0.  On top of this was the cost of signwriting- £24.7.6 – on the assumption that there were to be 300 or more names inscribed on the Honor Roll.  By comparison, the leadlight component was relatively inexpensive, a mere £21. 17.6.  It all added up to a grand total of £88.15.0 for the completed window.[3]   

Letters went back and forth between the architect, council and artist for some months, inevitably holding up the project, and it was not until Armistice Day 1920 that Montgomery received the full list of names from the Shire Secretary, James Hocking. Delays also drove up the price and the woodworker was asking an extra £24, insisting there was far more detail than originally quoted.  Montgomery asked Lucas to put the matter of the additional cost to council, as he considered ‘it would spoil the effect of a very fine piece of work to reduce the amount and quality of the carving…’.[4] With most design and technical problems solved, the timberwork was completed by February 1921, but the colour of the lettering  remained undecided; the Shire Secretary agreed with Montgomery’s recommendation to use gold lettering instead of white, and ultimately, this was approved.[5]

A small selection of the 325 names inscribed in gold leaf on the Shire of Wimmera Roll of Honor

Council invited Mr A S Rodgers, MHR to unveil the memorial but he was unavoidably detained, and   General Foott, CB, CMG, Deputy Adjutant-General, took his place on 2 December 1921.[6]  Despite poor weather, a large crowd gathered to hear speeches from Shire Presidents of Wimmera and surrounding shires, the Mayor of Horsham, the President of the Returned Soldiers and Sailors Imperial League of Australia (RSSILA), the Fathers’ Association and local clergy, before moving into the Council Chamber for the formal unveiling. The ceremonies concluded with a minute’s silent reflection and The Last Post.

As early as November 1915, the Shire Secretary was calling for relatives of servicemen to forward their names, which may give an idea of how the random collection of the 325 names who enlisted from the Shire was arrived at. It represents only a fraction of the men (and women) who, with many others, are listed in the comprehensive two volume publication, Strewth!…, compiled and edited by Gillian and John Francis on behalf of the Horsham Historical Society.[7]

The names of 320 men and five nursing sisters, roughly in alphabetical order, filled six columns on the wide timber: all 53 deaths were noted with a small gold asterisk next to the surname.  Not all Rolls of Honor included decorations, but at the Shire of Wimmera, they were recorded: Captain Thomas R Jagger MB BS, Military Cross; Private Thomas J Allen, Distinguished Conduct Medal; and Military Medals to Private Robert A E Carter who died of wounds in England; Corporal Frank S H Crafter, Gunner Eli J Ireland, Private John Matheson, Lance-Corporal Henry Leslie Pender and Lance-Bombadier John Dougald Wallace.[8]  

At  the Shire of Wimmera ceremony, the President of the Father’s Association acknowledged the pain felt by many mothers and fathers and noted that there could be no more fitting memorial to those men who went forth than ‘…a memorial that would last for all time…The window, being part of the building, would, except for an act of God, remain here for all time’.[9]  But he was not to know that more than half a century later the Firebrace Street building would be demolished.

The Borough of Horsham was also keen to see a lasting memorial to local servicemen, but it would take a different form.  In August 1918, aware that war’s end was in sight, the Mayor spoke to a large crowd that gathered to establish committees charged with the erection of  ‘a hall in memory of those who had fallen at the war, and which would also act as a club-room for those who were fortunate enough to return’.[10]  Fund-raising and collections began and by November 1919, the architect, W G Lucas, called for tenders and the contract secured by the builder, W E McGregor.[11]  Work proceeded slowly and it was not until 22 January 1921 that Brigadier-General Brand CB, CMG, DSO, laid the foundation stone of the ‘brick and tile’ building in McLachlan Street, to great ceremonial fanfare, attended by the President of the Victorian Branch of the RSSILA, Sergeant Martin, local dignitaries, parliamentarians and a large crowd of soldiers and Wimmera people.[12] The Federation-style Soldiers’ Memorial Hall opened just a month before the Roll of Honor was unveiled in the Shire of Wimmera Council Chamber.[13]

W G Lucas (architect), Returned and Services League of Australia, McLachlan Street, Horsham 2015. Note the old name – RSSILA – picked out in the pediments above the ‘Rising Sun’ dressings above the windows.

Many years later, the Roll of Honor and the Memorial Hall, now the Returned and Services League of Australia known generally as the ‘RSL’, would come together.  For the Roll of Honor to survive, it needed a new home: the leadlight was converted to a light box, still forming the centrepiece of the impressive Roll of Honor.  It’s history deserves to be better known beyond those who attend the RSL regularly, those who visit on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day each year and anyone with an interest in the military past of Horsham and the greater Wimmera district of Victoria.

This memorial, and all other Rolls of Honor, are more than a simple list of names. Every name on the list is shorthand for a personal story that reaches far beyond war service. Whether the serviceman (or woman) was killed in action, suffered injury or illness, or came home apparently unscathed, life changed irrevocably for them, their families and their friends they left in Australia and has impacted upon succeeding generations.[14]

[1] Horsham Times, 5 September 1916, p. 3; Age,3 April 1925, p. 7; 2 June 1925, p. 7.

[2] Horsham Times, 27 July 1920, p. 6.

[3] To give some idea of the cost in today’s terms, an average wage for a factory worker was less than £4.0.0 per week in the 1920s.  Lucas was invoiced for £126.7.6, which was paid on 4 August 1921.  Montgomery ledger, Montgomery Collection, State Library of Victoria (SLV).

[4] Montgomery letterbook 18 November 1920, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra ACT.

[5] Montgomery letterbook 4 February 1921, NGA ACT.

[6] Horsham Times, 25 November 1921, p. 4; 6 December 1921, p. 6. In 1925, Mr A S Rodgers unveiled the Haven School Honour Roll. Age, 3 April 1925, p. 7.

[7] Gillian and John Francis, project managers, researchers and editors, Strewth!: an insight into local involvement in World War One, Horsham Historical Society, Horsham, 2015.

[8] National Archives of Australia war service records.  Eli John Ireland is unconfirmed as the serviceman listed at Horsham.

[9] Horsham Times, 6 December 1921, p. 6.

[10] Ballarat Courier, 2 August 1918, p. 5.

[11] Horsham Times, 21 October 1919, p. 5.

[12] Horsham Times, 25 January 1921, p. 6.

[13] Ballarat Star, 25 October 1921, p. 6.

[14] With thanks to Helen Curkpatrick for her assistance in the preparation of this post.  Some stories may be added to this brief overview in time.

The Australian Digger in Stained Glass


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Soon after the first deaths on the battlefields of France and Belgium in 1914, families sought ways to ensure that their sons, husbands and fathers would be honoured and remembered. The ‘commemoration movement’ began as communities organised honour rolls, avenues of trees, arches, obelisks and stone soldiers in parks, crossroads and town centres, where  ‘their name liveth for evermore’.[1]

Although less visible than public monuments, hundreds of stained glass memorial windows were quietly installed by grieving families to honour their lost loved ones, mostly in churches and  chapels, in the decades that followed the First World War.

The most widespread subjects for memorial windows were saints and martyrs of the church, particularly St Alban, proto-martyr of the British Church, and Warrior Saints, St Michael and St George.  As this war was fought under the banner of God, King and Empire, it is not surprising that St George, with a long and illustrious history as patron saint of England and the Order of the Garter and, from the late nineteenth century, as a symbol of British Imperialism, was most popular of all.  After 1914, he symbolised the contemporary fighter for a just cause, chivalrous protector of the weak, and was generally depicted with the slain dragon at his feet, a powerful symbol of defeat over the enemy.

In the immediate post-war years, the figure of the Australian soldier was not seen in stained glass, but the gradual secularisation of Australian society that began during the war extended, somewhat unexpectedly, into the church. Not only was the image of the ‘digger’ accepted as a subject for stained glass, but also the Australian Military Forces badge, rifles and other symbols of war were additions to religious and secular windows throughout the 1920s and beyond.

Ipswich Soldier’s Memorial Hall, Qld

With due ceremony, General Sir William Birdwood laid the foundation stone of the Ipswich Soldiers’ Memorial Hall on 4 May 1920 and the grand three-storey building was officially opened on 26 November of the following year by the Governor of Queensland, Sir Matthew Nathan.[2]

Ipswich Soldiers Memorial Hall Darling Downs Gazette 30 Nov 1921 p7Ipswich Soldiers’ Memorial Hall, Nicholas Street, Ipswich built in 1920-21 on the site of the old pump yard in Nicholas Park.  Photograph: Darling Downs Gazette, 30 November 1921.

The interior was quite splendid with offices, a library, recreation rooms and other amenities, built around a lofty galleried-hall that was naturally lit through the glass-domed roof.  A marble ‘In Memoriam’ tablet inscribed with 153 names was accompanied by two silky oak honour boards holding the names of a thousand or more Ipswich men who served their King and Country.[3]  But when the Hall opened in 1921 there was no stained-glass memorial window.[4]  It was not unveiled until November 1922 when the Governor travelled to Ipswich once again to perform the ceremony of removing the Union Jack from its face ‘in the presence of a large number of relatives of deceased soldiers and friends’.[5]

Ipswich RSL 1921_0001Caption: William Bustard/RS Exton and Company Limited, Ipswich Soldiers’ Memorial stained glass window, 1922.

Once unveiled, the hemispherical window revealed a most unusual tableau, as described in the Queensland Times the following day.

The central feature of the design is a figure of St. Michael, representing the Angel of Victory, with outspread wings embracing four soldier figures, representing the 9th, 15th and 26th Battalions and 5th Light Horse. He is shown standing on a globe representing the earth, with the crushed German Eagle lying at the base and in his hands he is holding a sheathed sword and the Palm of Victory. The field of Flanders is shown in the background, with scarlet poppies and crosses while a band of cherubs forms a valuable line in the design. The whole is encompassed in a border of grape vine, symbolising life. A valuable feature of the colouring is the richness of the ruby robe of St Michael, which comprises the use of four varieties of antique ruby [glass], and the beautiful blending of colours in the wings ranging from rich blues to green, brown and yellows…[6]

The window came from the firm RS Exton and Company Limited, Brisbane and was designed by artist, William Bustard (1894-1973) under the supervision of Charles H Lancaster (1886-1959), also an artist and head of the stained-glass department. It must have been one of Bustard’s earliest designs for the firm as he had only arrived in Australia from England in 1921, choosing to emigrate after a stint in the (British Army) Royal Medical Corps during the First World War where he served in Greece and Italy. Bustard showed his ability to use coloured glass to great effect, setting the figure of St Michael ablaze as noted in the press release, which created a dynamic contrast to the sombre khaki of the quiet soldiers. The multiple shades of brown ensured that even these uniforms do not appear drab while signalling the solemnity of the scene. The soldiers’ units can be identified from their dress, various trappings and colour patches set high on the arms of the uniforms. To border his design, Bustard used a wide grapevine device, a decorative symbol of Christ’s sacrifice and a new introduction to Australian stained glass, although he would have been aware of its use as a secular emblem from European design journals.[7]

Funds for such a dramatic addition to the Soldiers’ Memorial Hall were raised by a dedicated group of women, the Ipswich Train Tea Society, led by its President, Mrs Elizabeth Cameron. Throughout the war and during the period afterwards when the men were repatriated home, the small band of Ipswich women met every troop train, no matter what time it arrived, offering free refreshments to the estimated 60 000 men who came and went through Ipswich. [8] No public appeals were made throughout the war but later they assisted the Hall building fund by organising numerous events, and afterwards ‘patriotic entertainments’ to raise enough money for the commemorative window.  Their role is recognised by a plaque that reads:

‘This window is erected by the Ipswich Train Tea Society and all the little children who helped them. In grateful memory of the men who gave their lives to keep our Empire, liberty and homes inviolate. Ipswich, 30 November 1922.’

Although the window was in a secular setting, it had an obvious religious connection through the decorative border, the band of cherubim and primary focus on St Michael. The Archangel was accepted as a warrior saint in different faiths – adopted by Christianity from the Jewish faith where he is seen as their guardian angel. He is also represented as the weigher of souls, measuring good and evil at the Last Judgement.

Melbourne Teachers’ College, Vic.

No such religious connotations can be made with a second secular stained-glass window, which was installed in the Lecture Hall of the Melbourne Teacher’s College (now the 1988 Building, University of Melbourne) in 1920. Here, the robust figure of the Australian digger fills the opening of the central of three windows, thrusting his rifle as if preparing to go forward into battle. Behind him a voluminous Australian flag billows out, although at first glance it seems to be the Union Jack until one realises that stars of the Southern Cross appear at either side of the figure. The round head of the window was filled with a pared-back version of the Australian Commonwealth Military Forces badge, giving the digger the appearance of a secular saint. The outer lights of the window served as an Honour Roll, in which the 39 men who paid the Supreme Sacrifice were identified in a separate roll, as well as the 190 who enlisted and returned.[9]

  1888 Building cropped William Wheildon/George Dancey for Brooks, Robinson & Co., Lecture Hall, Melbourne Teachers’ College, now the 1888 Building, University of Melbourne, 1920.

The commission was carried out by the prominent Melbourne firm, Brooks, Robinson & Co and placed in the capable hands of William Wheildon (1873-1941), head of the stained-glass department.

At first he thought the central figure should be more symbolic – a medieval knight, a Roman soldier, a figure representing courage – but in the end he confessed there was no reason why an Australian soldier could not express all the ideas suggested.[10]

1888 Building Digger

The larger-than-life figure was drawn up by George Henry Dancey (1865-1922). It is not known who proposed the unusual (if not at that time, radical) idea for the very human Australian soldier instead of a symbolic or traditional figure but possibly it was Dr Smythe, head of the College, who was fiercely proud of all the teachers who enlisted. Throughout the war years he kept current students aware of the men’s experiences and wrote regularly to his former charges. At the unveiling ceremony in September 1920, he noted that the first soldier-teacher died on 27 April 1915 and the last was killed in action in the final engagement of the war, at Montbrehain on the Hindenburg line on 5 October 1918.[11]

The window was only one part of the Teachers’ College memorial and at either side of it a large tablet pictured small identified images of each man and the two nurses who enlisted, each painted on a vitreous tile about the size of a carte de visite.[12] Individually painted from photographs by freelance artist, Vincent Brun for Brooks, Robinson, the tiles were then kiln-fired to make the image permanent before they were cemented together like a mosaic in a process known as Opus Sectile.

Sometime in the 1970s, when the old Lecture Hall was converted into the Gryphon Gallery, the tablets were relocated elsewhere in the building and the window boarded up. It was indicative of a lack of interest in a far-distant war fought five decades earlier that no outcry accompanied these changes. At Ipswich, a comparable lack of interest in commemoration saw the removal of the memorial but it was not hidden. Instead it was installed in a light box inside the building, powered by fluorescent tubes that created vertical green stripes of light (if and when all tubes were working).

Fortunately, the importance and value of these significant memorials has been reconsidered and recognised and both have been brought into the light again; the shuttering is long gone at Melbourne Teacher’s College and the Ipswich window once again graces the façade of the Soldiers’ Hall where its colour and  meaning can be fully appreciated.[13]

Methodist Church, Ballarat, Vic.

The first known ‘Digger’ window to be erected in any Australian church was for a Methodist Church, Ballarat, a three-light window that filled the openings above the gallery and facing Barkly Street.

Ballarat Barkly St Methodist church and hall c1910 SLV Barkly Street Methodist Church, Ballarat, c1910.  Ten years later the war memorial window would be inserted into the three lights facing the street.

In March 1920, the Ballarat Star reported the unveiling ceremony in detail and noted that ‘the windows are said to be unique of their kind in Victoria, if not Australia’.

The central light of the three holds the figure of the Australian digger, his bare head bowed over a mate’s fresh grave, marked by a makeshift cross, broken sword and wheel that symbolise his earthly war is over and a life eternal awaits him. Behind the soldier the battle continues to rage in almost darkness amid blackened forest remnants and bursting gun fire. The three lights together tell the story of all 24 men of the congregation who died in war: the trumpets in the left hand light represent the “Call to Arms’, the grave scene represents ‘Sacrifice’ and the dove in the right hand light symbolises ‘Peace’.

Ballarat Barkly St Uniting Church 1920Caption: Frank Warner/Fisher & Co Pty Ltd, War Memorial, Barkly Street Methodist Church, Ballarat, 1920.

To commit to such a large and expensive memorial was a huge undertaking, but in 1919 the Barkly Street Young Men’s Club took on the task and asked leave to raise funds to pay for the project.[14] (It is worth mentioning that the cost, which included transport, installation and the wire protective screens, cost 171 pounds.  It today’s terms this is likely to be around $60,000!)

The commission was undertaken by the small Melbourne firm, Fisher & Co Pty Ltd of Watson’s Place, a business set up by Auguste Fischer (1860-1916), an English artist who came to Australia in the 1880s.[15] Anti-German feeling increased during the war and the name of the firm changed, possibly around the time of Fischer’s unexpected death in 1916. Although the business was purchased by Brooks, Robinson & Co, Fischer’s draughtsman Frank Warner is believed to have continued to operate the studio for some years and to have been the designer of the Barkly Street war memorial.

Ballarat Barkly St Uniting Fisher 1920 digger

From this time onwards the Australian soldier appeared in stained glass commemorative windows in most Protestant denominations.[16] Among the churches were St George’s Presbyterian, Geelong (1921), St George’s Anglican, Malvern (1926), St James’ Anglican, Heyfield (1921) all in Victoria; St John’s Anglican, Buckland Tas (1921); St James’s Anglican, Toowoomba Qld (1922); and St Mark’s Anglican, Nyngan NSW (1926). These later installations differ in every way from the Barkly Street soldier pictured grieving at the loss of a comrade and validates the Ballarat Star’s claim to the Barkly Street window’s ‘uniqueness’. It remains as the sole example of a digger in a Methodist church window.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT.

Canberra Hall of Memory dome view

The last great secular space to include the digger in stained glass was Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. The scheme of three, five light windows evolved over years, with the Second World War intervening before the fourteen representations of the Australian serviceman and one nurse of the First World War were finally unveiled in the 1950s.[17] Considered to be a masterpiece by Melbourne artist Mervyn Napier Waller, these larger-than-life figures combine secular subjects with Christian symbols, similarly to Bustard at Ipswich.  Waller has woven a complex tapestry that combines the qualities of the fighting man, the First World War uniforms and equipment that symbolised their roles and skills within military forces with emblems of Australia, the Aurora Australis, the Southern Cross and the AIF Badge. Together they embody the Australian digger in stained glass.

AWM Detail copy cropped

Mervyn Napier Waller, detail, Hall of Memory, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT.

Anzac Day 2020

Australia, along with the rest of the world, is fighting a different battle to that faced in 1914, a microscopic organism instead vast armies and hideous weaponry. So, instead of coming together at Dawn Services here and overseas, marching in the streets to the drums of masses bands, or visiting a Shrine or Cenotaph to lay a wreath, we will remember in different and separate ways.  We may be apart but, as always, – we will remember them.

Anzac Day 2020

Dawn, Mount Eliza, Victoria, 25 April 2020


[1] These words from Ecclesiastes 44:14 were selected to be inscribed in stone at all Commonwealth War Grave Cemeteries from 1915.

[2] Darling Downs Gazette, 30 November 1921, p. 7; Table Talk, 8 February 1923, p. 25.

[3] Darling Downs Gazette, 30 November 1921, p. 7.

[4] Reports at the time of opening in 1921 gave a figure of ‘nearly’ 1000 servicemen, but later reports indicate it had climbed to ‘a thousand or so’.

[5] Queensland Times, 1 December 1922, p. 4.

[6] Queensland Times, 1 December 1922, p. 4.

[7] Corner and Border Designs 1900, Pepin van Rooger, Amsterdam, 1900.

[8] Queensland Times, 19 August 1922, p. 10.

[9] Herald, 14 October 1919, p. 13.

[10] The Trainee, Vol VIV No 5, October 1920, pp. 8-9. Thanks to Bart Ziino and Jay Miller.

[11] Lieutenant John Foster Gear, 24 Battalion, KIA, 5 October 1918, had been awarded the Military Cross only one month earlier ‘for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in charge of the brigade sniping section during an attack…’. NAA: B2455, Gear JF. The Australians were retired the following day and did not enter the front line again before the Armistice signing on 11 November 1918.

[12] It is highly likely that Brun painted the images of the soldiers and nurses from Algernon Drage’s photographs taken shortly after enlistment, of which 19 000 are now held in the Australian War Memorial collection.

[13] Brenton Waters, 9 November 2017.

[14] Barkly Street Methodist Church archives, courtesy of Mr Lindsay Harley.

[15] He trained in stained glass in Warwickshire before working in London and travelled in Europe and America. National Archives of Australia MP 16/1/0, File No. 1914/3/521.

[16] The Catholic Church, which had a precedent for saints and biblical subjects maintained that practice.

[17] See Susan Kellett, ‘Truth and love: the windows of the Australian War Memorial’, Journal of Australian Studies, Vol 39, No 2, 2015, pp. 125-150.


Visions of Captain Cook in Stained Glass


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by Karla Whitmore

James Cook RN, the renowned navigator and mapmaker, has been commemorated in several stained glass windows in Australia and one each in New Zealand and England.  This reflects the perception of Cook as integral to European settlement in Australia, a perception that has been subject to a progression of prevailing views of him and his influence following his death. The stained glass windows depicting James Cook RN were installed in Australia between 1859 and 1937, the New Zealand one in 1938 and the one in England in 1951.  There were other windows in Australia that have not survived.

Cook’s death in 1779 at Kealakakua Bay, Hawaii, was followed by accounts of his voyages and death by different authors, an authorised edited version of his journals published from 1773, and continuing scholarly debate about the man and his influence. The Life of Captain Cook by Andrew Kippax published in 1788 remained in print for over a century. Cook’s journals edited by Dr J.C. Beaglehole, published from 1955-1974, are based on his original journals.  Paintings of Cook were done by Nathaniel Dance in 1776 following the second voyage and, in 1874, by John Webber who was official artist on the third voyage.  Different versions of his death were painted in the decade following, including one by Webber who was not an eyewitness to the event.

Public memorials in the form of statues were initiated in Australia, the earliest being erected in 1874 in the Sydney suburb of Randwick.  A larger than life statue in Hyde Park, Sydney unveiled in 1879 before a crowd of thousands, includes an inscription of Cook as the discoverer of the land before him which overlooks the earlier visits of William Dampier and  Dutch navigators and the existence of the country’s original inhabitants.  Controversy continues around his reputed responsibility for colonisation.

The statue in the Mall, London, was erected in 1908 on the recommendation of the then Premier of New South Wales Sir Joseph Carruthers, an avid Cook supporter. Statues in England, Victoria, New Zealand and Hawaii typically show Cook as the explorer gazing outward.

Following his death Cook was celebrated, not only in England, but across Europe in the papers, poems and theatrical events. In death ‘the explorer was accorded tributes he had never known in life’.[1] Recent studies look at the heroizing of his reputation and the idea of unified national myth-making as a contested one.[2] A controversial aspect of his reputation has been the suggestion of the veneration of Cook by natives in Hawaii.  In 1785 a pantomime was staged at Covent Garden called ‘Omai, or, a Trip round the World’ based on Omai, a native from Huahine who travelled with Cook to England. The ending had a backcloth based on an engraving called The Apotheosis of Captain Cook which showed Cook being lifted to heaven on a cloud by Britannia. La Mort du Capitaine Cook, a grand-serious-pantomimic-ballet was staged in Paris in 1788 and in London the following year.

Cook was commemorated at the 1870 centenary in New South Wales by a public holiday, the Metropolitan Intercolonial Exhibition and music and sports festivals.  News reports focused on his life, discoveries and progress made in the colony. In 1874 a pageant was advertised at Queen’s Theatre, Sydney depicting Captain Cook’s landing at Botany Bay where he supposedly planted the English flag.[3] A re-enactment of Cook’s landing there was the main event of the 1970 bicentennial commemoration in Sydney attended by members of the Royal Family. An interpretive centre at Kurnell, Botany Bay in Sydney, including a statue, is proposed for 2020.

Great Hall University of Sydney KW

Fig. 1: Clayton and Bell, Captain Cook, Great Hall, University of Sydney 1859  Photograph: Karla Whitmore

From theatrical spectacle, Cook became the subject of scholarly debate from the second half of the nineteenth century and continues to be subject to reassessment. A recent study focuses on the geopolitical factors of national, particularly Anglo-French, rivalry in exploration of the Pacific in framing Cook’s account of his 1770 voyage and posits strategic considerations in the recording of some events.[4]

The earliest depiction of Cook in a stained glass window is in the Great Hall at Sydney University.  It was installed in mid-1859 as part of a suite of windows with life-size figures of historical, literary and scientific figures from British history, from the Venerable Bede to Cook.  They were made by the London firm, Clayton and Bell, which also made the 14-light Cambridge and Oxford windows and the Royal Window depicting monarchs from William the Conqueror to Queen Victoria for the Great Hall.  In the nineteenth century England was the main source of cultural imports and colonists took pride in being part of a greater Britain. As Federation approached the emphasis widened to express national sentiment within this context.

The southwestern window in the Great Hall has physician and chemist Dr Joseph Black, judge Sir William Blackstone and Captain James Cook. The figure based on the portrait by Nathaniel Dance, standing rather than seated, is a realistic portrayal. Cook’s hand gesturing over an outline map of Australia has been emphasised in the only instance in the windows of proportion being of secondary importance to the message. Cook’s hand is over the east coast which he was seen as visiting and then as discovering.  The gesture reflected, as noted in a lecture given in the hall in 1947, the passage in Cook’s journal about the land being ‘ín a pure state of nature’ with potential for agricultural development.[5] It is a restrained depiction which focuses on the possibilities of a harsh but still largely unknown land. The window sets Cook among the esteemed men of history in a public building earlier than in England where the memorial to navigators Drake, Chichester and Cook was installed in Westminster Abbey in 1979.

The University of Melbourne had the large Stevens (South) window in Wilson Hall from 1928 until its destruction by fire in 1952.  Twenty-four lights contained figures from English literature, arts and science, half being full-size figures and the rest were busts set into medallions.  Four lights depicted navigators James Cook and Matthew Flinders. The original design was incomplete when its artist, William Montgomery, died in 1927 and it was completed by Mervyn Napier Waller and realised by Brooks, Robinson and Co. Waller’s design included more figures around Cook and Flinders in a naturalistic yet formalised grouping style which he refined in his later memorial windows and art deco murals. At the unveiling ceremony the window’s donor, Edward Stevens, noted with pride that it was designed and made in Melbourne.[6] 

Like the windows at Sydney University, the Stevens window expresses Australia’s cultural ties with England seventy years on.  The subject was in line with the university’s view of its place, aspirations and attainments.  At the unveiling ceremony Stevens noted that arts and sciences were the province of all while stressing the English connection and the inspiration the men shown would be to future graduates.  Cook and crew members were depicted taking possession of the east coast by planting a flag, a subject that reinforces the idea of Cook as discoverer.

Hillside NSW KW

Fig. 2: John Ashwin and Co. Captain Cook landing at Botany Bay, Hillside, Edgecliff, (NSW) 1935        Photograph: Karla Whitmore

The landing of Cook at Botany Bay is the subject of a residential window in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and two roundels at Sydney University.  The five-storey ‘Hillside’ in Edgecliff has stairwell windows which extend over 18m.  In an unusual combination, two figurative panels are set in art deco backgrounds of amber and pale cathedral glass with Renaissance touches. They have Australian wildflowers in narrow side panels.  The figurative panels depict Cook’s landing and Governor Arthur Phillip.  Cook is shown extending a conciliatory arm towards his crew facing two menacing Aboriginals after the painting by E. Phillips Fox (1902) in the National Gallery of Victoria.  Colour is sparingly used with Cook shown in a white jacket and breeches indicated by flesh tone shading on clear glass. The depiction suggests Cook as portrayed following his death as a moral figure of the Enlightenment. His own journal describes the initial contact as friendly with a less than friendly exchange with two Aboriginals, although no one was killed, when shots were fired.[7] The brightly garbed figure of Governor Phillip is based on the painting by Francis Wheatley in the National Portrait Gallery, London.

The painting on which Cook’s landing is based infers the Red Ensign (the Union Jack is shown minus blue) is to be planted in the act of possession.  From the 1870s reports in the colonial press asserted that this took place at Botany Bay rather than at Possession Island off Cape York as recorded in Cook’s journal.  One report queried this interpretation some thirty years later on the basis of Cook’s journals, suggesting it may have come from the painting by T.A. Gilfillan[8], an image that was circulated as a print and engraving from the 1880s.  Nonetheless, the idea continued into the 1920s.

Hillside NSW 2 heraldry KW

Fig. 3: John Ashwin and Co., Cook’s coat of arms, Hillside, Edgecliff, (NSW) 1935        Photograph: Karla Whitmore

The lowest of the ‘Hillside’ windows has a depiction of Cook’s coat of arms which were awarded in 1785, the only award made posthumously.  It contains the signature ‘Made in Australia by John Ashwin & Co. (J. Radecki) Studio Dixon Street Sydney 1935’.  John Radecki had trained with Frederick Ashwin at Ashwin and Falconer before setting up in business with John Ashwin in 1910.  The choice of subject suggests the pending 150th anniversary of Phillip’s arrival in 1938.  A design with the same figure of Phillip plus coats of arms and naval ships and flags was prepared by John Ashwin & Co. for this anniversary but   it is not known where this window was to be located.[9] 

The coat of arms has a shield with two polar stars above and below the globe.  On either side are two flags and below four cannons and cannon balls.  Above the shield a naval uniformed arm on a wreath holds the Union Jack.  Inscriptions in banners are Circa Orbem (around the world) and Nil Intentatum Reliquit (he left nothing unattempted). The city of Sydney’s coat of arms granted in 1908 included the globe and pole stars. Curiously the shield and adjacent flags are shown in the window in monochrome and Cook’s voyages are not outlined on the globe.  The shield is azure and the two rear adjacent flags blue and red respectively.  A panel below the coat of arms with Renaissance style design seems to have been included to compensate for the lack of colour.  Although those of the Union Jack would be known, the artist may not have had access to a source showing the colours of the coat of arms.

Nicholson vestibule Univerity of Sydney KW

Fig. 4: Detail St Nicholas window, Nicholson vestibule, University of Sydney (NSW) 1921      Photograph: Karla Whitmore

Two World War I memorial windows from 1920 at Sydney University are situated in the Nicholson Vestibule stairwell.  They were made by Archibald Keightley Nicholson, the son of the first Chancellor Sir Charles Nicholson and are signed AKN, 105 Gower Street, London.  The main figures in the 3-light windows are set in a neo-classical architectural setting with wreaths, coats of arms, badges and cherubs.  Curiously, there are some anomalies of detail in the roundels.  In the depiction of Cook’s landing, colours are restricted to yellow, black, white, brown against a blue background. His attire of loose black jacket, long yellow tunic with a musket in his waist sash is at odds with his naval uniform. Non-menacing Aboriginals are shown with one kneeling before Cook in a gesture that can be seen as welcoming.

Two stairwell windows at St Andrew’s College, Sydney University were installed in 1937. These triple lancet windows are designed with scenes in roundels and quatrefoils set in patterned backgrounds and borders to complement the earlier windows by Lyon, Cottier & Co. in the adjacent library.  The roundels include historical and contemporary Australian subjects.  In one Cook is shown handing beads to an Aboriginal while a crew member looks on.  The artist was Norman Carter, a successful portrait painter who also taught drawing and art history at the university for twenty-five years.[10]  Cook noted in his journal that on landing he threw nails and beads to the natives, who were initially non-menacing, and later that ‘they seem’d to set no value upon any thing that we gave them’.[11]

St Andrew's College University of Sydney KW

Fig. 5: Norman St Clair Carter, Detail staircase window, St Andrew’s College, University of Sydney (NSW) 1937   Photograph: Karla Whitmore

Carter had designed similarly on this theme in 1930 for in a window at All Saints’ Cathedral, Bathurst.  The windows in the Warrior’s Chapel were to be designed by William Montgomery but again had to be completed after his death.  Carter’s heroes’ series include explorers in the Heroes of the Lonely Way window.  Cook is depicted as the solid naval figure of history handing beads to a kneeling Aboriginal amid decoratively lush foliage with waratahs.  Between 1945 and 1956 Carter designed a series of windows for St Andrew’s Cathedral clerestory including the mission to indigenous Australians. In this depiction the kneeling figure of an Aboriginal before a bishop is balanced in the adjoining light by a soldier kneeling before an Aboriginal.

From earliest encounters Aboriginals were represented in different ways by artists and in the 1930s some sought to record individuals who were seen as part of a dying race. This idea was, however, starting to change.  Later paintings by artists such as Russell Drysdale and Sidney Nolan saw them more as an part of an ‘authentic national vision’.[12]  Carter’s depictions correspond to the artistic context of their time.

A window with Cook was made for the residence of John Lamb Lyon who ran the prominent interior decorating and stained glass firm Lyon, Cottier & Co. in Sydney.  Lyon, Cottier & Co. was established in 1873 by John Lamb Lyon and Daniel Cottier, who was based in London, with a branch also in New York. Prominent in interior design and stained glass the firm introduced a decorative style influenced by aestheticism in their work for public buildings, residences and churches in New South Wales. The window made for Lyon was exhibited in Melbourne in 1875 and 1878, in Queensland in 1876 and the same year in Philadelphia.  It remained in place from c.1884 when he moved to Birchgrove till 1950 when it was destroyed in a gale.

The window was described as Cook seated at a table ‘in deep meditation…quadrant in hand, and nearby a globe with his latest achievement – Australia – conspicuously brought out’[13] with his hand  resting on the globe.  The borders featured wildflowers, possum and kangaroo reflecting the botanizing of Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander during the voyage.  On the Endeavour’s return to England they quickly became celebrities; Banks went on to become President of the Royal Society, a baronet and was knighted. They can be seen in the window made by Lyon, Cottier & Co for Cranbrook, a residence at Bellevue Hill in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.[14] It was installed in 1874 for parliamentarian and racehorse owner and breeder James White. Subsequently Cranbrook was home to state governors and Governors-General before becoming a private school for boys in 1918. The window is notable for its narrative design and decorative quality.

Cranbrook School 1 KW

Cranbrook School 2 KW

Fig.6 and 7: Lyon, Cottier & Co., Details from Captain Cook window, Cranbrook School (NSW) 1874    Photographs: Karla Whitmore

Cranbrook School 3 KW

Fig. 8: Lyon,Cottier & Co., Banks and Solander, Cranbrook School (NSW) 1874     Photograph: Karla Whitmore

The window is composed of three rectangular panels deeply recessed in masonry, each with three scenes.  Five feature Cook on board, in a longboat and looking through a telescope.  Two depict his ship, one Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander botanizing and one a slightly out of proportion kangaroo as in early illustrations.  Realistic portrayals are second to the activities portrayed: Cook is shown directing his crew and Banks and Solander show intense interest in a plant specimen which, like the luxuriantly large flowers at their feet, is exotic rather than realistic.[15] The background colouring is soft with darker browns and blues for garments and vibrant yellow in the Renaissance style borders with flowers, fruit, shells and garlands.  The painting is detailed and realistic.

Rather than the seasons, English pastoral scenes or heraldry that were popular in domestic settings the residential window at Cranbrook has romanticised depictions of Cook at Botany Bay.  It shows the virtue of leadership of his men, whom he kept free of scurvy, and his connection with national identity.

A five-light window at the Great Hall at Brisbane Grammar School has a young Queen Victoria portrayed as a scholar in the central light with twelve portrait busts in roundels of statesmen, men of letters and science.  English coats of arms and those of Brisbane, the Governor and the school seal and add to the imperial connection also seen in Sydney University’s Great Hall windows.  This sense of connection and its importance to students was prevalent in the country’s colonial academic institutions. The window was made by prominent Melbourne firm Ferguson & Urie in 1880.[16] The depiction of Cook follows the Nathaniel Dance portrait, and line engravings based on it, and the sepia coloured portrait is set in a geometrical patterned background of glowing colours.

The heritage-listed former Young Australia League memorial hall in central Perth, Western Australia, has busts of eight Australian historical figures including Captain Cook in large circular windows installed from 1924-28. The Young Australia League was an Australian initiative designed to foster patriotic ideals of citizenship.  The windows are now obscured. The one with Cook was dedicated in 1927 by Colonel Amery, Secretary of State for the Dominions, on a visit from England. Cook appears among Australian statesmen, literary, artistic and scientific figures from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. They represent nation building in the time of strong ties with and allegiance to Britain.

Cook is shown after the portrait by Dance in a medallion-style setting framed by a wreath and anchor against a ruby and blue background with a pale border and outer ring of clear ripple glass bordered by green.[17]  The windows were designed by Perth artist Arthur Clarke and one of Sir Galahad in the same location is by H.H. Eastcourt.[18]  Both Clarke and Eastcourt worked for Perth stained glass studio Barnett Bros.

Sydney Town Hall 1 KW

Fig. 9: Goodlet and Smith, Captain Cook staircase window, Sydney Town Hall (NSW) 1889      Photograph: Karla Whitmore

The centenary of 1888 was marked in stained glass by two windows in Sydney Town Hall installed in 1889, one depicting Cook and the other an allegorical figure Oceania representing New South Wales.  They were designed by French artist, Lucien Henry, who came to Sydney after being deported as a communard from France to New Caledonia.  Henry’s decorative designs were executed by the Sydney firm of Goodlet and Smith.  A European perspective is seen in the figure of Cook who is a resolute but more refined figure than the sturdy Yorkshireman depicted by Dance or Webber.  He is portrayed on board ship, spyglass in hand with the other resting on a railing.  The border of the central round-headed window has rose and thistle floral emblems, the ships Endeavour and Discovery, seven pointed stars, ship’s wheels and anchors.  The seven-pointed star predates the seven-pointed Commonwealth star on the Australian flag and coat of arms.  The inscription commemorates Cook 1728 to 1779, John Harris, Mayor of Sydney and Lord Carrington, Governor of NSW.  Exuberant English floral displays in urns are in the rectangular side panels. The companion Oceania window has Australian wildflowers, particularly the waratah, which appears in later windows by Goodlet and Smith.

The Cook window is an illustration of civic pride and progress. A French artist with a flair for design showcased Cook as forerunner of colonial settlement in the lead up to Federation.

Christchurch NZ Arts Centre KW

Fig. 10: Martin Travers, Central section of War Memorial window, Christchurch Arts Centre (NZ) 1938      Photograph: Karla Whitmore

Cook’s place in imperial and national myth-making is clearly seen in the large 5-light window in Canterbury College Hall, now the Christchurch Arts Centre, New Zealand.  It was designed by Martin Travers who from 1925 to 1948 taught stained glass at the Royal College of Arts, London and also designed churches and church furniture.  Travers’ original design for the war memorial window from 1924 showed humanity’s upward progress to a female figure representing the mother of virtues.  Cook is one of many figures moving up a rocky outcrop projecting from the sea.  Most of the historical figures are based on portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, London with modifications to suit the design of the window.[19]

The College Council thought this war memorial window should have greater emphasis on English men of letters and science and New Zealand soldiers keeping the enemy at bay. The window is signed MT (letters overlaid) 1938.  Cook has become a major figure in the design, featured in the central light to the fore of Scott of the Antarctic and above a banner remembering the sacrifice of 1914-18 and soldiers repelling the red dragons of brutality and ignorance.  He holds a telescope and compass and his ship Resolution is shown in a side light. At the apex of the design are figures representing the mother of humanity and values action, justice, truth and thought.

The need to incorporate layers of meaning resulted in a busy design but, by skilful draughtsmanship and painting, the window maintains clarity and interest in its details.  It reflects a post-war celebration of British and imperial civilisation; even the shape of the rocky outcrop has been suggested to represent Britain.[20]

The most recent window featuring Cook was installed in 1951 at St Cuthbert’s, Marton in Middlesborough, England, the church where he was baptised.  It was made by Gerald Edward Roberts Smith of London. Smith worked at the studio of A.K. Nicholson and in 1937 took over running the firm.

Marton KW

Fig. 10: G.E.R. Smith, St Cuthbert’s Church, Marton (UK) 1951                    Photograph courtesy of St Cuthbert’s Church

The window depicting Cook is signed G.E.R. Smith with the London studio address.  It commemorates members of the Bolckow family who were prominent in industry and local development.  The Hon. H.W.F. Bolckow had in his library at Marton Hall Cook’s journals, the Admiralty’s secret instructions and other manuscripts for fifty years until they were sold at auction in 1923 to the Australian Government and deposited in the Australian National Library.[21]

This round-headed window focuses on Cook as explorer and navigator.  He is shown striding forward, hat and sword in hand, while a sailor raises a Red Ensign. Above Cook is a roundel with New Zealand, which Cook circumnavigated, and which may have been chosen for design reasons as it complements the curve of the roundel through to Cook’s outstretched leg. The decoration draws on early maps with sea creatures, a cherub blowing wind, ship’s anchor and Renaissance style border.  The design in red, blue, yellow and white on a clear glass background conveys a sense of lively activity and purpose.

The Red Ensign features prominently in the design. Cook’s journal notes that he took formal possession of two localities at Mercury Bay and Queen Charlotte Sound.  New Zealand press reports from around 1900 diverge as to the time and place, status and scope of these events from specific locales to the whole country.  Notwithstanding, the defining moment in the relationship with England was the ceding of sovereignty in 1840 by Maori chiefs under the Treaty of Waitangi, a document that is subject to ongoing debate.[22]

Depictions of Captain Cook in stained glass reflect sentiment at the time of their creation; Cook as navigator, geographic and scientific discoverer, symbol of membership of the British Empire and of national identity.  In this milieu the windows’ makers used their artistic and design skills to adapt and create a notable series of representations of Cook in the medium of stained glass.


[1] Glyn Williams (2008), The Death of Captain Cook, a hero made and unmade, Profile Books, London, p.61.

[2] Ruth Scobie (2013), ‘The Many Deaths of Captain Cook, a Study in Metropolitan Mass Culture 1780-1810’, PhD thesis, University of York, p.20.

[3] Sydney Morning Herald, 22 April 1874, p.12.

[4] Margaret Cameron-Ash (2018), Lying for the Admiralty, Captain Cook’s Endeavour Voyage, Rosenberg Publishing, Sydney.

[5] F.W. Robinson MA, PhD (1947), ‘The Great Hall of the University of Sydney and Voices of the Past’, Sydney University Extension Board, Sydney University Archives, p.7.

[6] Waller’s c.1935 art deco window made for Wilson Hall survived the fire and is in the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne.

[7] A. Grenfell Price (Ed.) (1958), The Explorations of Captain James Cook in the Pacific as Told by Selections of his own Journals, Georgian House, Melbourne, p.65.

[8] The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, 6 May 1908, p. 1192.

[9] The design, which is signed, is in the collection of Kevin Little, formerly of Arncliffe Glass.

[10] The windows by Norman Carter were funded from a bequest by Roy Noel Teece, an alumnus of St Andrew’s College who had a distinguished career in law.

[11] Grenfell Price, p.85.

[12] Geoffrey Dutton (1974), White on Black, the Australian Aborigine Portrayed in Art, MacMillan, Melbourne, pp.58, 65.

[13] Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, 4 May 1878, p.5.

[14] The window is listed as by Lyon, Cottier & Co. in The Australasian Decorator and Painter, 1 August 1909, p.264.

[15] The panel with Banks and Solander featured on an Australian stamp in the 1986 bicentennial series of Cook’s voyage to New Holland.

[16] Before coming to Sydney John Lamb Lyon had been a partner at Ferguson & Urie, Melbourne.

[17] Email from Tammy Rae-Schaper, Chief Executive, Young Australia League, 22 March 2019.

[18] Register of Heritage Place Assessment Documentation, Young Australia League, 13 December 1996 .

[19] Fiona Ciaran (1998), Stained Glass Windows of  Canterbury, New Zealand, University of Otago Press, Dunedin, p.84.

[20] Arthur Pomeroy (2014), The Portrayal of the First World War and the Development of a National Mythology in New Zealand, Journal of  New Zealand Studies NS18, p.46.

[21] Peter Cochrane (Ed.) (2001), Remarkable Occurrences: The National Library’s First 100 Years 1901-2001, National Library of Australia, Canberra, p.6.

[22] Michael King (2003), The Penguin History of New Zealand, Penguin Books, Auckland, p.157.


William Warrington’s Connections with Australasia


, , , ,

by Karla Whitmore

William Warrington (1796-1869) was a stained glass artist working in the Gothic Revival style whose one known window in Australia is at St Paul’s Church, Cobbitty, southwest of Sydney. Another one in New Zealand, now at the Christchurch Art Gallery, appears to be by his son James Perry Warrington. The lancet window at Cobbitty depicts the Raising of Jairus’ Daughter, installed in 1857, and in Christchurch Three Angels Carrying a Child to Heaven, installed in a church there in 1864.

William Warrington trained with his father as an armorial shield painter and was a pupil of Thomas Willement, the well-known early Gothic Revival stained glass artist. In the 1830s Warrington made windows for A.W.N. Pugin.  In the 1840s Pugin and John Hardman established the stained glass department of John Hardman & Co. which became one of the largest studios of the time. In the London Post Office Directory of 1839 Warrington was listed as Artist in Stained Glass, Heraldic and Decorative Painter, Plumber, Glazier and Paperhanger. It was after working for Pugin that Warrington’s career in stained glass developed. In the 1840s he was elected to the Cambridge Camden Society (the Ecclesiological Society from 1845) becoming its most influential arbiter of a return to medieval ecclesiastical architecture.  He fell out of favour with the Ecclesiological Society as it became known when he published a History of Stained Glass in 1848 which he illustrated with his own designs. At the International Exhibition of 1862 in London he exhibited  examples of stained glass from the twelfth century.

Warrington retired in 1866 and the firm carried on under his son James Perry Warrington, who joined the firm in the 1860s, for around another decade. Warrington is known in England for windows such as the one he donated in Ely Cathedral depicting the Annunciation and Birth of our Lord and the Salutation of Mary and Elizabeth. The firm’s windows that are signed have variations on the name Warrington.

The window at Cobbitty was commissioned by John Perry (1802-1880) who was a warden at St Paul’s, Cobbitty when his youngest daughter, Caroline Isabella Perry, died of scarlet fever in 1855.[1] Caroline’s death was followed by her brother Alfred in 1856 and mother Susannah in 1857.  Their gravestones are in St Paul’s Church cemetery.

Perry arrived in New South Wales as a convict in 1820, was pardoned and became a businessman and landowner.  In 1847 he purchased Orielton Park at Narellan NSW which comprised around 160 hectares (400 acres) of farm and grazing land, a homestead and steam mill which he was already operating. The property was described as resembling the beautiful scenery of the mother country. It was advertised for lease in 1859 and later for sale. Perry was also involved in coach services, one of which passed to son Thomas, and was landlord of hotels at Penrith and one at Mt Victoria at the time of his death.

In the window an angel holds a banner that is inscribed with Caroline Perry’s name.[2] Warrington was reportedly Caroline Perry’s uncle, as noted in a news report of the visit of descendants to see the memorials to the Perry family in the church.[3]

There is another connection with John Frederick Warrington, ‘son of late Wm Warrington, artist in stained glass London’ who was working in Sydney as a law stationer in the 1860s.[4]   He is listed as being at 128 Elizabeth Street in Sands Directory for 1865. Two years earlier Warrington married Mary Gertrude Boyd in Sydney and had two children, Mary and Maud. Intriguingly his family in England, who reported him missing to the police, advertised for news of him in a Sydney paper in 1909.[5] However, it seems he died in 1901 at St Leonards (NSW).  John Frederick Warrington appears to have had some experience in stained glass as ‘T.F. [sic] Warrington, Elizabeth-street’ was reported as having two stained glass exhibits  in the Sydney Intercolonial Exhibition of 1870.[6]

Warrington Fig.1-1

Fig. 1: William Warrington, The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter, St Paul’s Church, Cobbitty (NSW) 1856         Photograph: Karla Whitmore

A letter to the editor of a Sydney paper in 1857 by an unnamed writer describes the window at Cobbitty as by William Warrington and designed in the perpendicular style of the fifteenth century.[7] The style of tall canopy used developed in the fourteenth century when windows became larger with long thin panels of glass. Above the figures a grape vine and leaves form a canopy below an architectural one.  Photos provided by Christopher Parkinson shows a grape vine and leaf design canopy in Warrington’s 1853 baptistery window at Kendal Holy Trinity Church, Cumbria. Warrington espoused medieval style decorative design using more naturalistic figures with muted painted features and deep folds in garments. The limited colours used in the Cobbitty window – bright brown, green, red and mulberry with touches of yellow – are typical of the High Victorian period and hark back to the medieval. The well balanced colouring is a prominent aspect of the window. It is signed in script ‘Wm Warrington. London 1856’. The panel below the angel with symbols of the Eucharist is not by Warrington and was added later to fill the aperture.[8]

Warrington Fig. 2

Fig. 2: Warrington’s signature on the window at St. Paul’s Church, Cobbitty (NSW) Photograph: Courtesy of Jill Lummis

The letter identifying the window as by Warrington serves as an advertisement for him suggesting that anyone interested view the window and see John Perry for information on it. Yet this window appears to be the only one by him in Australia.

The lancet window in Christchurch was made for the Barbadoes Street Cemetery Chapel which was demolished in 1955 but the window preserved through the efforts of Dr Fiona Ciaran.  It commemorates the infant son of Dr Edward Batt and has the inscription ‘Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven’.[9]  Dr Batt worked as a surgeon in Cathedral Square, Christchurch where he became Surgeon of the Canterbury Rifle Volunteers in 1862.  In early 1864 he applied for the position of surgeon of Christchurch hospital, noting in his application experience in charge of a large private practice and lunatic asylum in England.  However, he returned to England with his wife and two children a month later.[10]

The window is signed in script ‘Warrington. London 1864’. It has three angels beneath an architectural canopy with an angel above holding a flag with a St George cross and banner and inscription below. The angel holding the child may have been inspired by an engraving of The Mother’s Dream by Thomas Brooks which was for produced for sale in 1853.[11] A grape vine design features in the border and geometric design in the background. Mauve, red, green and yellow predominate with the similar treatment of hair and faces to the Cobbitty window but more contemporary features, less detailing in garments and broader treatment of backgrounds. Similar treatment and colour scheme can be seen in the windows of St Peter’s Church, Brampton, Suffolk from 1863, most of which are by J.P. Warrington ( Judging by the date and style, the Christchurch window is his work. Later windows of his are signed with joined initials JP and W.


Fig. 3: Manufactured by Warrington, Three Angels Carrying a Child to Heaven, Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū

There is another connection with William Warrington in the arrival in Sydney in 1856 of John Falconer from Glasgow who established the first professional stained glass firm in Sydney.  Falconer was reported as having worked for Gibbs and Warrington in London.[12] This refers to the studios run by Alexander and Charles Gibbs and that by William Warrington. In Sydney Falconer’s brightly coloured patterned and figurative windows were noted for their craftsmanship.  In 1875 he was joined by Frederick Ashwin from London. They ran a successful partnership in Sydney, which later became F. Ashwin & Co., fostering the careers of other artists and designers.

The window at St Paul’s, Cobbitty is a rare example of an early medieval-inspired style window in a small church on the outskirts of Sydney, and the later window in Christchurch is the only recorded example by the same studio in New Zealand.


[1] Sydney Morning Herald, 31 July 1855, p.8.

[2] Cobbitty 1827-1927, Records of the Parish of Narellan (2nd ed.), compiled by Rev.A.F. Pain, p.25. http// The 11-year-old girl commemorated is noted here as ‘Charlotte (Sophia in register)’. Sophia was born in 1829 whereas Caroline was born in 1844.

[3] Camden News, 19 November 1953, p.10.

[4] Sunday Times, 4 April 1909, p.4.

[5] Evening News, 23 September 1909, p.3.

[6] Australian Town and Country Journal, 3 September 1870, p.11.

[7] Empire, 3 October 1857, p.5.

[8] Cobbitty 1827-1927, p.25.

[9] Lyttleton Times, vol. XXIII, issue 1399, 13 May 1865.

[10] Lyttleton Times, vol. XXI, issue 1207, 10 March 1864 and issue 1216, 31 March 1864.

[11] Fiona Ciaran, Stained Glass Windows of Canterbury, New Zealand, University of Otago Press, Dunedin, 1998, p.128.

[12] The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, 29 April 1871, p.281.

With thanks to Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū for permission to publish the image of the Warrington window held in its collection.

George Hedgeland: one life – in two parts


, , , , ,

Angela Phippen

George Hedgeland’s stained glass has divided opinion. Charles Winston, barrister, stained glass artist and historian, considered him the only true artist amongst stained glass artists, the rest of them being ‘a herd of glass-wrights’[i]; others considered George incompetent and his work a ‘travesty on stained glass’.[ii] Not only did his work divide opinion but his life was divided between two hemispheres: his first 34 years spent in England, his last 38 years in Australia. What is his story?

George Caleb Hedgeland was baptised at St Mary’s, Guildford in Surrey on 22 September 1826, the son of John Pike Hedgeland and Harriet Hedgeland (née Taylor).[iii] He was one of seven children, four of whom survived into adulthood.

His father, John, was an architect, later a stained-glass artist. His work included the restoration of the medieval windows of St. Neots in Cornwall; creation of windows in the Dining Hall of Kings College, Cambridge and a new window, The Brazen Serpent (1847), in Kings College Chapel. His most significant commission was the restoration of eight windows in that location. This work, undertaken during the 1840s, proved to be so controversial that he was dismissed by the College. From 1830 John lived in and worked from 2 Grove Place, 43 Lisson Grove, London.[iv]

George Hedgeland date unknown

Fig. 1: George Hedgeland, as a young man, date unknown.  Photographer unknown

In 1845 George was admitted to the Royal Academy of Arts as an artist. Tuition was free, though students had to have lodgings in London. Commencing as a probationer on 15 January, he had three months to prepare, within the Academy, a set of chalk drawings, and was accepted as a student on 2 April.[v]  Full tuition of ten years was rarely completed, as was the case with George. In the 1850 London Post Office Directory [vi] he was listed as a stained-glass artist, so, at least from 1849, George was working in the trade, which probably means he worked with his father on the Kings College Chapel window restorations.

George became a stained-glass artist at an exciting time. The late 1840s/early 1850s was a period of investigation and experimentation by chemists, glass manufacturers and interested individuals to discover and recreate the qualities of medieval glass, the result of which was James Powell’s ‘re-discovery’ of pot metal glass. Foremost of these was Charles Winston, George’s mentor.

George submitted an entry to the Great Exhibition in 1851. It was described by Winston as ‘the best piece of English glass there’,[vii] though that praise is not as significant as it sounds as many major firms were not represented. A newspaper report referred to George having ‘made a late application’ and that ‘he was a young artist working against difficulties’. [viii] The nature of those difficulties is unknown.

As a result of his Great Exhibition entry, George received the commission for the west window of Norwich Cathedral, preliminary drawings for which were on display by the end of 1851.[ix]

From 1852 to 1859 he created at least 36 windows in 27 locations, initially working out of Grove Place and later from York Place, now part of Baker Street near Portman Square.[x] When George emigrated to Australia in 1859 the York Place studio was taken over by architect and stained-glass artist Frederick Preedy.[xi]

In terms of identifying George’s stained-glass work, there are four broad categories:

  1. Windows which are signed or for which there is contemporary source material that confirms the identification;
  2. Windows for which there is non-contemporary attribution (for example, surveys of churches from the 1860s);
  3. Windows attributed on stylistic grounds by modern commentators;
  4. Windows described as being by ‘Hedgeland’, but it is unclear if the reference means father or son

Also, there are ‘phantom’ windows; those ascribed to him that he did not create, for instance, windows for Glasgow Cathedral. There may be more windows in England yet to be identified as being by George. There is the strong possibility that there are windows in Wales that fall into this category. In an obituary published in 1898 there is reference to his windows in ‘England and Wales’.[xii]

In this brief survey of George’s work four windows will be highlighted: the earliest (Hasfield); his first use of the newly developed James Powell pot metal glass (Sharow); his largest commission (Norwich Cathedral) and the most interesting, archaeologically speaking (Ely Cathedral).


The earliest known George Hedgeland window is in St Mary’s, Hasfield in Gloucestershire.[xiii] This is signed and dated 1852. It is a two-light window and depicts two angels with scrolls; similar images would later be used in the tracery of the west window of Norwich Cathedral. There is no memorial dedication obvious on the photographs of this window nor contemporary newspaper reports to provide any further detail.


George used the newly developed James Powell pot metal glass for the first time in his window at St John’s, Sharow, a small village outside Ripon in Yorkshire. The use at Sharow, whilst the first by Hedgeland, was the fourth time it had been used, the three earlier instances being at the Temple Church, a church in Staffordshire and the east window of Buckland church near Dover.[xiv]

Sharow 1

Fig. 2: George Hedgeland, east window, 1853, St John’s, Sharow, Yorkshire, England. Photographer: Angela Phippen

Figs. 3, 4, 5: George Hedgeland, Descent from the Cross (after Raphael); The Ascension (after Raphael); The Resurrection (after Raphael); details of east window, 1853, St John’s, Sharow, Yorkshire, England. Photographer: Angela Phippen

Figs. 6, 7, 8: George Hedgeland, Christ disputing with the doctors; Nativity (after Guido Reni); Christ’s baptism by John the Baptist (after Raphael); details of east window, 1853, St John’s Sharow, Yorkshire, England. Photographer: Angela Phippen

The Sharow window consists of six major images: Descent from the Cross; Ascension; Resurrection; Christ disputing with the doctors; Nativity; Christ’s baptism by John the Baptist. It was the gift of Catherine Mason of Copt Hewick in 1853. Four of these images Descent from the Cross, Ascension, Resurrection and Christ’s baptism are after Raphael; the Nativity, after Guido Reni and no artistic match has been located for Christ disputing with the doctors. At some point in its history it was covered with a wash to dull its colours. Now, as part of a Heritage Lottery funding grant, that wash has been removed and the original colours revealed, though the images reproduced in this article were taken before that occurred.


In September 1854, George’s masterpiece, the west window of Norwich Cathedral, was unveiled. It was a memorial to Bishop Edward Stanley who had died in 1849. It consists of six major scenes, each of which is based on a known artwork: Adoration of the Magi (after Raphael); Ascension (after Raphael); Christ blessing little children (after Benjamin West); Finding of Moses (after Raphael); The Brazen Serpent (after Charles Le Brun); Moses and the Tablets of the Law (after Raphael).

Norwich 1

Fig. 9: George Hedgeland, west window of Norwich Cathedral, 1854, Norfolk, England.  Photographer: Angela Phippen

 This window was heavily criticized by Mr Harrod, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (FSA).[xv] He espoused artistic, philosophical and ecclesiastical arguments including the disunity of the subjects, the unnatural size of the human figure, and the inappropriate use of the ‘spreading picture’ whereby figures were being ‘impaled and amputated by the mullions’. Sir Samuel Bignold, while neither agreeing nor disagreeing with Mr Harrod’s thesis, stated it would be difficult to raise £1500 to replace the newly installed window![xvi] Though a lively debate with counter arguments ensued in later issues of the Gentleman’s Magazine, Harrod was by no means the only critic.

Figs. 10, 11, 12: George Hedgeland, Adoration of the magi (after Raphael); The Ascension (after Raphael); Christ blessing little children (after Benjamin West); details of west window Norwich Cathedral 1854, Norfolk, England.  Photographer: Angela Phippen 

Figs. 13, 14, 15: George Hedgeland, Finding of Moses (after Raphael); The Brazen Serpent (after Charles le Brun); Moses and the Tablets of the Law (after Raphael), details of west window Norwich Cathedral, 1854, Norfolk, England. Photographer: Angela Phippen

‘Mr Hedgeland, a friend of Mr Winston’s, labours in the naturalistic style, having unfortunately been led away by the delusion that stained glass is to be regarded as a kind of transparent canvas, and to be dealt with accordingly. The great western window of Norwich Cathedral, the memorial to the late amiable Bishop Stanley, is this gentleman’s most ambitious work.’[xvii]

Norwich 6 Hedgeland signature

Fig. 16: George Hedgeland, Signature, west window, Norwich Cathedral, Norfolk, England. Photographer: Angela Phippen

It was not merely an argument of the 1850s:

It was filled by Hedgeland nearly sixty years ago with the strangest medley of stained glass ever passed by a complaisant memorial committee. In one hotchpotch are jumbled together feeble copies of half a dozen paintings by men as diverse as Raphael, Le Brun and Benjamin West. This travesty on stained glass serves as a memorial of good Bishop Edward Stanley, Evangelical divine and ornithologist, father of the more distinguished Dean of Westminster. [xviii]

Similar to Sharow, the window suffered insensitive restoration during the second half of the nineteenth century, whereby its vivid colours were diluted in accordance with the taste of the times.

In 1980, Martin Harrison FSA, in his seminal work Victorian stained glass, commented ‘While the end result undeniably takes little account of its architectural setting it is nevertheless a triumph in its own way, glittering and dramatic’.[xix] During the 1990s Keith Roy Darby FSA was employed to remove the effect of the ‘restoration’ and the window was restored to its original colours.[xx] Now, visitors to the Cathedral see an explosion of colour, which is so bright, the window appears to be back-lit, even on dull Norfolk days.


In the north aisle of Ely Cathedral is a window dedicated to the memory of Maria Mendham Steggall née Kempton who died in 1857; the window was installed in 1858. She was the wife of Charles Steggall, and the daughter of William Kempton. It depicts Jonah and the Ninevites. This window is interesting because George visited the British Museum and used some of the archaeological finds that had been excavated by Henry Layard as models for details such as costumes and architecture.[xxi]

Ely Jonah and Ninevites

Fig. 17: George Hedgeland, The repentance of Jonah or Jonah and the Ninevites, north aisle, 1858, Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire, England.  Photograph: Angela Phippen.

Ely 2 detail of Iamassu

 Fig. 18: George Hedgeland, detail of the Iamassu, The repentance of Jonah or Jonah and the Ninevites, north aisle, 1858, Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire, England. Photograph: Angela Phippen 

Ely Stone Iamassu

Fig. 19: Stone Iamassu, Nimrud, northwest palace, room S, door E, British Museum, London, England. Photograph: Angela Phippen 

George had a pictorial or naturalistic style which, as noted, was criticised at the time and by many subsequent commentators. While Martin Harrison called on him to be better appreciated, he was not the only author of the 1980s who appreciated George’s work. Birkin Haward’s monumental surveys of the stained glass of Suffolk and Norfolk contained comments such as ‘he made many outstandingly original and interesting works’ and referred to a ‘fine later window’.[xxii] Both Harrison and Haward are a long way from considering George’s work ‘a travesty on stained glass’.

In Australia

George emigrated to Australia in 1859, leaving England on board the Lincolnshire in September and arriving in Hobson’s Bay (Melbourne) in December.[xxiii] Rev. Gatty, the longtime minister at Ecclesfield in Yorkshire where George had created a window, said he left England ‘because of his health’, though the nature of his ailment/s is unknown.[xxiv] However, George’s brother James Frederick had already emigrated as had members of the Tucker and Henning families who had lived close to George’s extended family in Exeter, Devon.

From 1860-1868 George lived in Queensland, working with and for Edmund Biddulph Henning (known as Biddulph) on three of his properties: Marlborough, south of modern-day Marlborough; Exmoor, south-west of Bowen and Lara, north of Julia Creek. In addition, George had interests in other properties though no evidence has been found of properties in his own name, so they were probably held in association with his brother.

Some of the details of his life on these properties are known from The Letters of Rachel Henning, first published in 1952, a book of the letters sent by Biddulph’s sister Rachel to various family members.[xxv] In 1866 George married Annie Henning (Biddulph and Rachel’s sister) in Sydney at St Mark’s, Darling Point and in 1867 their first and only child, a son, Edmund Woodhouse Hedgeland was born, also in Sydney.[xxvi] After each of these events they returned to Queensland. By 1868 Biddulph had relinquished his leases on his properties and George and Annie relocated permanently to Sydney.

George Hedgeland 1898

Fig. 20: George Hedgeland, date unknown. Photographic studio: D. Scott, 140 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW.

George’s artistic life did come to the fore for a brief time in 1870. In that year there was an Intercolonial Exhibition staged in Sydney, in a newly built exhibition building in Prince Alfred Park, near modern day Central Railway Station. There was a Fine Arts division which consisted of a competitive section and a non-competitive section. George exhibited two oil paintings in the latter section: one of the Norwich window, the other of his window from St Leonard’s, Rockingham in Northamptonshire.[xxvii]

By July 1871 he had retrained as a surveyor and spent the next 16 years undertaking street alignment surveys in newly created municipalities in the Sydney area on behalf of the New South Wales Surveyor-General.[xxviii]

One wonders whether he tried his hand at his former profession, but there is no evidence to suggest this is the case. By the time of George’s relocation in 1868, there was one professional stained-glass artist in Sydney: John Falconer from Glasgow, who had opened a studio in Pitt Street in 1863. It was not until 1875 that there was a second stained glass artist operating in Sydney: Frederick Ashwin from Birmingham.[xxix] There would have been an opportunity for George to establish such a business: perhaps he simply didn’t want to.

Why did he choose surveying? It could have been because Annie’s relative Lindon Biddulph was a surveyor or because a family friend, George Armytage, was a clerk in the Surveyor-General’s Department. Whatever the reason, his sister-in-law Rachel commented frequently that he was being very well paid.

Because he wanted to live close to where he worked, he and Annie moved – often. In his 16 years as a surveyor they moved ten times.[xxx] After his retirement they lived at Canley Vale, in what was then the urban fringe of Sydney with George being described as a ‘fruitgrower’.[xxxi] Later they moved to Denistone, a suburb of Sydney, and lived with Rachel and her husband Deighton.

George Hedgeland Creelman

Fig. 21: George Hedgeland, 1898. Photographic studio: Creelman, Sydney Arcade, Sydney, NSW.

It was here on 28 September 1898 that George died of cardiac failure, though he had been ill for several weeks with influenza. He was buried in the Field of Mars Cemetery, in North Ryde, Sydney.[xxxii]

There is no evidence that George undertook any stained-glass work in Australia. However, there may be Hedgeland work in Australia, that is, created in England and shipped out. In 1866 a Resurrection window was inserted in St John’s, Launceston.[xxxiii]  ‘The gift of the Rev. Dr Browne, chaplain in memory of the Venerable Archdeacon Hutchins, the first Archdeacon appointed to the Diocese. This window is of common glass by Headsland of London’.

‘Headsland’ is obviously Hedgeland but which one, John Pike or George? Research suggests it was by John.[xxxiv]  Also, in 1866, a window depicting the Crucifixion, originally intended for another Victorian church was inserted in St Peter’s, Tarrawingee. There have been suggestions that it too may be a Hedgeland window. The window is no longer in situ and when it was examined in 1998 no definite conclusions were drawn.[xxxv]

A plaque installed in St Paul’s Anglican Church, Canley Vale to honour George’s memory quoted Hebrews 11:4, He being dead, yet speaketh. The major re-appraisal of his work began 80 years after his death and continues into the 21st century. The recent restoration of the Sharow window and a publication about the west window of Norwich Cathedral (both the tracery and the glass) planned for 2019 prove that he is speaking to us still.


[i] Charles Winston, Memoirs illustrative of the art of glass-painting, (London: John Murray, 1865) p. 23.

[ii] E. W. Harvey Piper (Hon Member), ‘Two Benedictine Minsters’, a lecture given before the Society, 16 May 1907 in The Architect’s Magazine, July 1907, p. 166; also, in The British Architect, 24 May 1907.

[iii]  Church registers of St Mary’s Guildford, Surrey accessed on

[iv] In the baptismal register of Christ Church, Marylebone for his son William Martin who was baptised 16 July 1830, the abode is given as Grove Place.

[v] Royal Academy of Arts admission register, information provided by research assistant Royal Academy of Arts Library.

[vi] London Post Office directory, 1850.

[vii] Charles Winston, Memoirs illustrative of the art of glass-painting, (London: John Murray, 1865), p. 22.

[viii] Bury and Norwich Post and Suffolk Herald, 12 November 1851.

[ix] The Norfolk Chronicle and Norwich Gazette, 8 November 1851.

[x] London Post Office directories, 1852-1858.

[xi] Michael Kerney, The stained glass of Frederick Preedy, (1820-1898); a catalogue of designs, (London: Ecclesiological Society, 2001) p. 6.

[xii] The Surveyor, vol. 11, No. 11, 11 November 1898, p. 274.

[xiii] The east window at St Nicholas’, Gayton, attributed to George on stylistic grounds, is likewise dated to 1852 because the dedication intimates it was placed there (posuit) in that year. The window at Hasfield, however, is the earliest signed and dated work known to be by George.

[xiv] Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 15 October 1853.

[xv] Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 196, December 1854, p. 574-578.

[xvi] Comment about the cost of replacing the window by Sir S Bignold in The Builder, 11 November 1854, p. 586.

[xvii] The art journal, no. 50, February 1859, p. 39.

[xviii] E. W. Harvey Piper (Hon Member), ‘Two Benedictine Minsters’, a lecture given before the Society, 16 May 1907 in The Architect’s Magazine, July 1907 p. 166; also, in The British Architect, 24 May 1907.

[xix] Martin Harrison, Victorian stained glass, (London: Barrie & Jenkins, 1980), p. 37.

[xx] Obituary of Keith Roy Darby who died 6 February 1996 was published on the website of the Society of Antiquaries.

[xxi] Cambridge Independent Press, 11 September 1858, p. 7.

[xxii] Birkin Haward, Nineteenth century Suffolk stained glass: gazetteer, directory: an account of Suffolk stained glass painters, (Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 1989) and Birkin Haward, Nineteenth century Norfolk stained glass: gazetteer, directory: an account of Norfolk stained glass painters, (Norwich: Geo Books, Centre of East Anglian Studies, 1984).

[xxiii] Public Record Office of Victoria, shipping list of the Lincolnshire. Victorian unassisted passenger lists record series number VPRS 947 for 1859.

[xxiv] Dr Alfred Gatty A life at one living, (London: Bell & Sons, 1884) p. 155.

[xxv] The original letters are held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales. Edited versions were serialized in The Bulletin, 1951-1952 with pen drawings by Norman Lindsay. In late 1952 the edited letters and the pen drawings were published as a book The Letters of Rachel Henning. There have been many subsequent print editions. It is now also available as a free download, minus the pen drawings, from Project Gutenberg Australia and digitised versions of The Bulletin serialisations are available on Trove

[xxvi] NSW Registry of BDMs: marriage registration 1157/1866; birth registration 3750/1867.

[xxvii] Catalogue of exhibits, Metropolitan Intercolonial Exhibition, held in Prince Alfred Park, August 1870, (Printed by Gibbs, Shallard and Co., 1870).

[xxviii] George’s appointment New South Wales Government Gazette, 14 July 1871 p. 1535; his career has been traced in subsequent NSW Government Gazettes, survey field books and correspondence files held at New South Wales State Archives and Records.

[xxix] Beverley Sherry, Stained glass, Dictionary of Sydney, 2011 Viewed 29 August 2017

[xxx] Traced through Sydney Sands directories and entries from The Letters of Rachel Henning.

[xxxi] Hall’s Mercantile Agency, Business, Professional and Pastoral Directory of New South Wales for 1895, (Sydney: James Best, no date), p. 498. In the profession section under Fruitgrowers, Geo. Hedgeland and Edmund Hedgeland, both of Canley Vale, are listed.

[xxxii] NSW Registry of BDMs death registration 11305/1898.

[xxxiii] Launceston Examiner, 25 September 1866, p. 2.

[xxxiv] ‘Window on our sacred past’ by Jenny Gill in The Examiner, 11 February 2018.

[xxxv] Email correspondence between the author and Martin Harrison FSA and the author and Dr Bronwyn Hughes.

Note from the Editors

Since writing the excellent article on George Hedgeland for Glaas Inc Research, Angela Phippen has completed another, which was uploaded to the Dictionary of Sydney in March 2019. Naturally, it has a different emphasis and concentrates more on George’s Australian life. Angela has received constructive feedback through the web articles, and she is now in contact with others, including a researcher who completed his Masters on 18th and 19th century Norwich churches. She is delighted that aspects of her extensive research reach out and touch fellow researchers in adjacent and intersecting fields of study.  A very positive outcome after years of research into George Caleb Hedgeland and maybe the start of a new phase in her research.

See Angela’s DoS article here:

The story continues… Angela Phippen encouraged George Hedgeland’s descendants to place his surviving works on paper into repositories where they could be conserved and potentially used by other researchers.  Some works are now with the Stained Glass Museum at Ely in England (See link in Ray Brown’s comment below) and also in Norwich Cathedral.  A short article can be viewed here:


‘New’ Windows from 13th Century Fragments


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While preparing new galleries at Westminster Abbey, a treasure trove of medieval glass fragments was discovered under the floor boards.  The Cathedral Studio at Canterbury was entrusted with the task of cleaning and cataloguing all the fragments before designing the stunning ‘new’ work that has now become the centrepiece of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries.

The conservators, designers and makers respected the medieval glass while employing state-of the art techniques to ensure an elegant solution to the display of such remarkable fragments from the Abbey’s past.     It is worth taking a few moments to watch this short explanation:

Remember Them


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An ANZAC Day Tribute

The small First World War Memorial window at Broughton (Vic) may seem insignificant, hardly a worthy representative of the many hundreds of stained-glass commemorative windows for publication on Anzac Day 2018.   True, it is not especially dramatic or eye-catching, simply a list of five men who did not come home, but it embodies the service and sacrifice of one country district and stands as a significant reminder of war’s impact and aftermath on rural Australia.[1]

Broughton former Methodist Church War memorial 3

Fig. 1: Brooks, Robinson & Co. (attributed), Faithful Unto Death, Memorial to five local men who died in the First World War, Methodist Church, Broughton (Vic).  Photograph: Bronwyn Hughes

The window was installed in the tiny Methodist Church at Broughton, a district in north-east Victoria, about 30 miles north of Nhill and Kaniva, close to the Big Desert country further north again.  No longer used for services, Broughton’s only church sat abandoned at a crossroads with the telephone exchange and community hall on adjacent corners and little else to catch the eye of anyone passing by the paddocks and long fence lines in every direction.

Broughton former Methodist Church 1

Fig. 2: Former Methodist Church, Broughton (Vic).  Photograph: Bronwyn Hughes

From the road outside the church, the window was barely noticeable in the gable above the entrance porch and even after entering the church, it was not immediately visible; only after turning and raising one’s eyes does this small window become the primary focus of the small space.   Its symbols are those seen in many memorial windows, honour rolls and town monuments: the crossed flags of Australia and Britain, the text ‘Faithful Unto Death’ and the badge of the Australian Military Forces indicating that these men were all soldiers, serving God, King and Empire.  At the heart of the memorial, the names of the dead are painted on a simple rectangular panel: ‘S.P. Allen. T. Dickinson. A.R. Dickinson. L.R. Etherton. C.J. Williams’.  Each name represents a loss for each family, and with profound impact on the wider community.

Broughton former Methodist Church War Memorial exterior 1

Fig. 3: Exterior view of Faithful Unto Death, former Methodist Church, Broughton, (Vic).  Note makeshift repairs, buckling and distortion of the panel and frame.  Photograph: Bronwyn Hughes

At the outbreak of war in August 1914, Broughton and the surrounding towns and district immediately signalled its patriotic credentials and throughout the war fundraising events, such as bazaars, concerts, processions and working bees were supported by the community in aid of the Schools Patriotic Fund, Red Cross and Caulfield Military Hospital, among others.  With most young men fully employed running farming enterprises, it is not surprising that recruitment in the district was relatively slow at first and only three young men enlisted in those first months.

Broughton former Methodist Church War Memorial names detail

Fig. 4: Names of the fallen, Faithful Unto Death, former Methodist Church, Broughton (Vic).         Photograph: Bronwyn Hughes

One early recruit was 25-year-old farmer, Thomas Dickinson, the second son of Lowan Shire Councillor Richard and Mrs Dickinson of Boyeo (just down the road from Broughton).  Tom, a popular young man according to the local press, enlisted on 29 September 1914 to become a trooper in the 9th Light Horse.[2]  After training in Egypt the regiment was sent to Gallipoli, without their horses, landing in May 1915.   Held in reserve in the disastrous attack on the Nek, the regiment was at the forefront of fighting in the attack on Hill 60 in August. Tom, promoted to Lance-Corporal only the previous month, was killed in action on 28 August 1919 when he was shot in the spine.  He was one of the hundreds killed or wounded over three days of fighting, for no territorial advance.

Breaking this terrible news to the family was the unenviable task of Reverend Sidney G Davis of St George’s Church of England, Nhill who rode to ‘Rosedale’, the Dickinson property.[3]

When the Broughton school unveiled its Honour Roll on Anzac Day 1917, Lance-Corporal Thomas Dickinson’s name was first of the dozen already inscribed.  Despite personal loss, (three nephews were also among the casualties), Cr Dickinson chaired many district events in support of the war effort and was a prominent speaker in favour of the ‘Yes’ vote’ in the conscription referenda.

However, news of the Gallipoli Campaign (before casualty lists began to grow) spurred many others to ‘join the colours’, and by mid-1915, 110 men from Nhill and surrounding districts were among them.[4]  On 26 July 1915, 32-year old farmer Stephen Percy Allen enlisted in 8th Battalion AIF.[5]  He was one of four sons of Frederick Allen, who had selected land near Broughton in 1883 and was reputed to be one of the finest stock breeders in the Wimmera.[6] Too late for the Gallipoli campaign, Stephen went to France and soon after was in hospital with mumps, along with many of his old Broughton friends and comrades in his unit and later the same year, he was wounded in the right shoulder.[7]  Just as the war was turning in the Allies favour with the Battle of Amiens, Stephen was reported ‘wounded and missing’; this was later amended to ‘killed in action’.[8]

22-year old farmer, Charles John Williams, son of Daisy and Arthur Williams of Sandsmere, enlisted on the same day as Stephen Allen and was also one of the 8th Battalion.[9]  It seems possible that, despite the difference in their ages, the two were friends. Not surprisingly, he too contracted mumps in France; and he was wounded on 26 July 1916, two days after Stephen.  On his return to the unit, he transferred to the 2nd Light Trench Mortar Battery and worked in a team of three men, generally firing Stokes mortars.  On 10 February 1917, Charlie received another gun shot wound which proved fatal.   His commanding officer, Captain James D Johnstone wrote to Mr and Mrs Williams a few days later.

…Your son had been for some months in the battery… and from the very first was known and respected by every man in the battery as “pure white”.  On the night of the 10th we were undertaking some operation against the German trenches, and Charlie was one of these, with his corporal (Brennard) and his chum Wiffen, from Drysdale, manning one of the mortars in the attack.  Just after the attack commenced a shell burst in their gun pit, mortally wounding all three.  Charlie, who was the worst hurt of the lot, crawled 20 yds along the trench to seek assistance for his comrades, and refused to be attended to until the others had been dressed.  There is little doubt he knew his chance of recovery was small, and meant to let his comrades have a better chance.  I think it was the bravest thing I have ever known; he gave his life for his friends…there was not a man in the battery but would have given all he had to save Charlie’s life, but he passed away despite effort, cheery to the last… [10]

Captain Johnstone recommended Charlie, unsuccessfully, for the Victoria Cross.

Three farming brothers Herb, Fred and Ben Etherton, sons of Isaac and Elizabeth Etherton joined up in 1915.[11]  After a fourth son, 22-year old Leslie Russell Etherton, enlisted on 25 March 1916, Cr. Dickinson chaired a Farewell Concert at the Broughton Hall in his honour. [12] Leslie was a Private in the 59th Battalion and probably took part in the now-legendary turn-around at Villers-Bretonneux on 25 April 1918.  He was killed in action on 29 June 1918.

Archibald Richard Dickinson, Tom’s cousin, son of Joseph Brown Dickinson of Condah (although later he moved to Yanac), was a 20-year old farm labourer when he enlisted in the 7th Battalion of the AIF on 26 March 1916.[13]  Later he went into the 2nd Machine Gun Company, which was attached to 2nd Brigade, when he would have been one of three men manning a Vickers machine gun.  He was killed in action in the Battle of Menin Road, Belgium on 21 September 1917.

A Committee of local gentlemen met to arrange Peace Celebrations for Broughton, Peechember, Yanac North and Yanac schools.  Councillor Richard Dickinson took the chair at the service and Mr JH Dickinson organised the procession.  The school children (and their generous families) once again excelled themselves with their annual gift of fresh, canned and cured products to Caulfield Military Hospital.[14]

No details of the window’s commissioning survive but it was almost certainly designed and made by Brooks, Robinson & Co for the Methodist church.  Not all the men who died identified as ‘Methodist’ on their attestation documents: Charlie Williams wrote ‘Church of Christ’ and Leslie Etherton was Church of England.[15] This suggests that the window was seen as a community memorial embracing all those families who lost loved ones whatever their denomination.  The sentiment is echoed in the plaque installed in front of the old church.

Broughton former Methodist Church plaque

Fig. 5: Commemorative plaque, unveiled on Remembrance Day 2007, Broughton (Vic.).     Photograph: Bronwyn Hughes

Since visiting the former Methodist Church in 2014, there have been some changes to the landscape.  The building, which was in a dilapidated condition, has been dismantled and a new CFA Station erected on the site. The window was removed, sandwiched between chipboard to protect it, and is stored on a local property, along with all the salvageable timber from the little building.   The custodian, having taken great care to preserve Broughton’s commemorative window is willing to pass it on to someone or an organisation willing to conserve and house it and ‘who would appreciate it for what it represents’.  It should remain as tribute and testament to the men and their district for another 100 years.

[1] Thanks to Brett Wheaton for access to the former Methodist Church, Broughton and permission to photograph the window.  The Nhill Free Press was published from 1914-1918 but has proved to be a valuable source of information on the community of the Broughton district and families of all the men who went to war.

[2] NAA: B2455, Dickinson T.  His elder brother offered his services but was rejected. Nhill Free Press, 13 July 1915, p. 2.

[3] Nhill Free Press, 27 October 1918, p. 8.

[4] Nhill Free Press, 25 June 1915, p. 2.

[5] NAA: B2455, Allen SP

[6] Horsham Times, 14 April 1933, p. 5.

[7] Herb and Fred Etherton, their cousin Creal Etherton, and Charlie Williams all contracted mumps in France. It was the third most recorded disease among the troops (after trench foot and gonorrhoea).

[8] Stephen Allen’s remains were recovered and buried at Fouquescourt British Cemetery.

[9] NAA: B2455, Williams CJ

[10] Nhill Free Press, 24 April 1917, p. 3.

[11] The eldest Etherton son [William?] was rejected for service, Nhill Free Press, 11 April 1914, p.3.  At least three Etherton families participated in the First World War. David Etherton, another of the local men in 8th Battalion, was awarded the Military medal for his part in a successful raid on 30 September 1916.

[12] NAA: B2455, Etherton L R; Nhill Free Press, 11 April 1916, p. 3.

[13] NAA: B2455, Dickinson A R

[14] Nhill Free Press, 22 November 1918, p. 3.

The Long and the Short of Heaton, Butler and Bayne Windows in Sydney


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Karla Whitmore

Heaton, Butler and Bayne’s work in New South Wales can be found in seven locations, four in Sydney and three in the regional towns of Young and Scone and Goulburn’s Anglican Cathedral. In Sydney they are in St Augustine’s Church, Neutral Bay, All Saints Church, Woollahra, St Martin’s Church, Killara and St Andrew’s Cathedral.[1] Although a relatively short list, it includes examples of styles from the 1860s to the early twentieth century plus some interesting local references.

St Augustine’s Church, Neutral Bay has twelve windows installed from 1926 to c.1940. The 1926 windows were reported in the press as far afield as Cairns and Hobart. The majority of the windows follow the firm’s Gothic Revival style with groups of carefully modelled figures whose gestures and flowing robes create a sense of movement, decorative architectural canopies and borders and bright attractive colours. A three-light window in the north transept, Sermon on the Mount, (Fig. 1) has waratahs, Christmas bells and bottlebrush nestled in foliage beneath the figure of Christ. A two-light window on the north wall Christ Preaching from the Boat (Fig. 2) c.1940 recalls the clear colours and linear painting of Robert Bayne’s earlier designs.

HBB Fig.1 KW

Fig. 1: Sermon on the Mount, St. Augustine’s Anglican Church, Neutral Bay, NSW c.1932     Photograph: Karla Whitmore

HBB Fig.2 KW

Fig. 2: Christ Preaching from the Boat, St. Augustine’s Anglican Church, Neutral Bay, NSW c.1940     Photograph: Karla Whitmore

Bayne joined Clement Heaton and glazier James Butler in their London studio becoming a partner and their designer of ecclesiastical windows from 1862 producing aesthetically pleasing designs. Three years earlier they shared premises with Clayton & Bell whose designs they executed for a time. Clement Heaton designed secular and heraldic windows and pursued research on techniques of glass making and pigmentation, considerably expanding the range of colours available. The firm increased in size and range to include church decoration, mosaics and tiles and memorial brasses. Its artists trained at art school at the same time as they trained with the firm.[2] It continued into the twentieth century with the involvement of the sons of the founders finally closing in 1953.

First World War memorial windows on the south side at St Augustine’s are of particular interest. The 3-light window at the entrance to the church depicts Christ with figures representing the branches of the armed services and, prominently, a nurse. The significance of the iconography has been discussed in detail in a thesis.[3] Heraldic motifs feature in the tracery and lower band: the State Badge of Western Australia and South Australia, the arms of Victoria and Tasmania, New South Wales, Australia and Queensland[4] and Australian Military Force badges. In the south nave is a memorial to William Charles Jones (Fig. 3) whose death in 1919 the inscription places at Chanak. It includes the arms of New South Wales and Australia and Christmas bells. The style of figures in both windows is similar to those of the firm’s contemporary war memorial windows in English churches.

HBB Fig. 3 KW

Fig. 3: William Charles Jones Memorial, St. Augustine’s Anglican Church, Neutral Bay, NSW 1926     Photograph: Karla Whitmore

St Martin’s Church, Killara has six windows dating from c. 1930-1940, two of which are signed.   In the two-light window, I am the Resurrection and the Life, (Fig. 4) the figure of Christ is again shown in a red robe beneath stylised architectural canopies and the background colours denote early morning. Interestingly, the window based on the Pre-Raphaelite artist’s Holman Hunt’s celebrated painting The Light of the World (Fig. 5) is not dark and atmospheric, places Christ further forward and includes a snake at his feet. The same figure, without the snake, appears in an earlier Heaton, Butler and Bayne window in the Church of St Cadfarch, Penegoes, Wales c.1904.[5]

 HBB Fig.4 KW  HBB Fig 4a Signature KW

Fig. 4: I am the Resurrection and the Life, and detail of Heaton, Butler and Bayne signature, St. Martin’s Anglican Church, Killara, NSW 1935 Photograph: Karla Whitmore

HBB Fig5 Light of World KW

Fig. 5: The Light of the World, St. Martin’s Anglican Church, Killara NSW 1930s     Photograph: Karla Whitmore

The artistic value of contemporary movements such as the Pre-Raphaelites and Arts and Crafts Movement exemplified by William Morris was acknowledged by the firm and some influence can be seen in their work in Sydney. Although the impressive window of St Martin (Fig. 6) on the west wall at St Martin’s Church is undocumented there are stylistic pointers to its being by Heaton, Butler and Bayne. The life-sized figures of St George, St Martin and St Michael have some of the romantic flourish of Morris & Co. That of St George is seen in some of the firm’s English windows dressed in the same garments and in St Peter’s Church, Glenelg in South Australia.[6] The crown with shimmering stars appears in the Jones window at Neutral Bay and in English windows which have similar foliage and background treatment. The window commemorates Lieutenant Geoffrey Campbell Scarr RAF who was killed in an aircraft accident in England in 1918.  Above the figure of St Martin is the RAF insignia of gold crown and bird with outstretched wings over four feathers. During the Second World War the window was removed and stored for safekeeping.[7]

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Fig. 6: St. Martin, St. George and St. Michael, St. Martin’s Anglican Church, Killara NSW 1922     Photograph: Karla Whitmore

The Women at the Sepulchre (Fig. 7), a 3-light chancel clerestory window nearest the south transept in St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, commemorates Michael Metcalfe, businessman and active supporter of the cathedral and church organisations who died in 1890. The window was the gift of Metcalfe’s eight children and the design was selected by one of his daughters during a visit to England.[8] The window is a Pre-Raphaelite style depiction of the Women at the Sepulchre, Mary Magdalene in the central light with the Virgin Mary, Mary Salome to their right and the angel and tomb to their left. Behind the figures is a landscape of hills, trees and three crosses in the distance. The figure of Mary Magdalene also appears in the window by Heaton, Butler & Bayne c.1893 at Christ Church, Chalford in England and the same angel and Mary Magdalene, mirror reversed, are in two lights of their west window at St Mary Magdalene Church, Chewton Medip.[9]  

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Fig. 7: The Women at the Sepulchre, St. Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral, Sydney NSW 1894     Photograph: Karla Whitmore

The window has deep colouring of browns, greens and yellow with white to suggest sunrise.  The figures are expressively drawn with great attention paid to folds of garments which swirl around the bodies. Above the figures are tracery windows containing symbols relating to Metcalfe’s business and religious affiliations: a crossed hammer and pliers indicating industry and honour and a shield with spear and sponge, the instruments of the passion of Christ.  The shield also has the Latin SPQR (the Senate and People of Rome) indicating the Roman state.  Gold crowns are in the two outer tracery windows.

The largest number of windows were made for All Saints Anglican Church, Woollahra, and installed over a long period of time from 1876 to 1926. On their completion one interstate news report suggested that church authorities may be unaware of the capability of local firms when they continue to approach English ones.[10] However, as with St Augustine’s, the idea was to have a uniform set of windows from the same studio which is seen in the city’s cathedrals rather than churches. The scheme of the All Saints’ windows as laid out by the first rector, Canon Mort, was adhered to; the only modification was that one figure was redone by Sydney artist Norman Carter.11[11] Two windows by him were added in the 1930s.

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Fig. 8: Ascension, All Saints Anglican Church, Woollahra NSW 1876   Photograph: Karla Whitmore

The longevity of manufacture is evidenced in some variations of style. The five 3-light chancel windows from 1876, including the central one of the Ascension, (Fig. 8) are brightly coloured as is the south transept window. Twelve 3-light nave windows with sextfoil tracery mostly have saints depicted sedately in more muted colours including Moses, David and Melchizedek (Fig. 9). Some are more animated biblical scenes such as the Martyrdom of St Stephen (Fig. 10) and St Paul Preaching at Athens. Two adjacent windows on the north wall differ again, one in using light bright colouring and decorative rather than architectural canopies above Saints Matthew, Mark and Luke. The other has richer colouring, particularly an undecorated ultramarine background, to frame St John the Baptist. Stylistically, this window may have come from another firm, possibly Mayer of Munich.

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Fig. 9: Moses, David and Melchizedek, All Saints Anglican Church, Woollahra NSW   Photograph: Karla Whitmore

Three narrow lancet windows on the west wall sit below a rose window with strongly defined sandstone tracery. It depicts Christ in Glory above the Angel of Judgement surrounded by archangels. Overglazing was applied to the rose window in 1934 and in 1946 a fire destroyed the roof and two small window panels at the western end, the stained glass otherwise escaping damage.

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Fig. 10: Martyrdom of St. Stephen, All Saints Anglican Church, Woollahra NSW     Photograph: Karla Whitmore

Heaton, Butler and Bayne’s windows in Sydney display their ability to produce attractive, varied and high quality windows over half a century. Also notable amongst their Australian windows during this period are the 7-light east window at St Saviour’s Cathedral, Goulburn in New South Wales (1885) and the Great West Window at St Peter’s Glenelg in South Australia (1913).

[1] Mrs S.B.M. Bayne (1986), Heaton, Butler & Bayne: Un Siecle d’Art du Vitrail, Mrs S.B.M. Bayne, Switzerland.

[2] Advertiser (Adelaide). 2 January 1900, p.5

[3] Susan Kellett, ‘Australia’s Martial Madonna: the army nurse’s commemoration in stained glass windows (1919-1951)’, PhD thesis, the University of Queensland, 2016, p.67-74.

[4] Email from Stephen Szabo, Secretary of the Australian Heraldry Society, 12 September 2017.

[5] http://stainedglass.llgc/org/uk/person/188.

[6] Heaton Butler and Bayne photo pool. www/

[7] St Martin’s Church, Killara Record of Church Furnishings, Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society 2003.

[8] Clarence and Richmond Examiner, 17 February 1894, p.7.

[9] Heaton, Butler and Bayne photo pool. www/

[10] The Advertiser (Adelaide), 16 June 1926, p.11.

[11] Watchman, 29 April 1926, p.8.







The low key career of Frederick Tarrant


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Karla Whitmore

A glass painter and maker of stained glass windows in early twentieth-century Sydney, Frederick James Tarrant was responsible for a larger body of work than is immediately apparent.  He was originally from Melbourne where in the 1890s he was head journeyman painter at Hughes and Rogers of Carlton where he had been apprenticed.  There he formed an ongoing friendship with Norman St. Clair Carter who went on to a successful career in Sydney as a portrait painter and stained glass designer and maker.[1]

Tarrant moved to Sydney where he advertised as Tarrant & Anderson in 1898 at 191 Elizabeth Street, near the Great Synagogue.[2]  In 1898 the firm was reported as making a window at the Presbyterian, now Uniting Church, Waverley and the Catholic Church, Wee Waa. The following year he advertised for apprentice ‘Glass Stainers and Art Painters’ for Tarrant & Co., located at 83 William Street, Sydney.[3]  In 1906 he wrote to the Melbourne-based stained glass artist William Montgomery to say he was doing fairly well but had little glass painting work.[4]

The firm expanded with a move to 24 Taylor Street, Darlinghurst around 1913. Tarrant made windows for Norman Carter, the earliest being two 1917 windows for the Presbyterian, now Uniting Church, Neutral Bay. They commemorate an elder of the church who was a sea captain with lively depictions of Viking ships. The windows are signed designed by Carter and painted by Tarrant.  The east window at Christ Church, Queanbeyan (1923) and two windows at St James’ Church, Pitt Town (1928) were made by Tarrant to Carter’s designs. A window depicting the Good Shepherd was made for the Methodist Church, Young (1921).

Ttarrant-st-stephens-willoughby-1911-kwarrant made a 4-light window for St Stephen’s Church, Willoughby (1911), to a design by J.S. Watkins, a member of the Royal Art Society who ran ‘Wattie’s’ art studio in Sydney. Four depictions of Christ are painted in strong linear style.

Figure 1: J.S. Watkins (designer), F.J. Tarrant (glass-painter), Christ (detail), St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Willoughby, N.S.W. 1911

Three lights of a 5-light window at St Michael’s Church, Surry Hills, depicting the Good Shepherd (1918) are signed by Tarrant. The outer two lights were much later 1940 additions which are signed by John Ashwin. Three windows with saints at St John’s Church, Darlinghurst (c.1916) have been attributed to Tarrant by stained glass artist and restorer Kevin Little.  A signed window depicting St George at St George’s Church, Hurstville (1918) is a memorial to soldiers who died in World War I. The rich red, magenta and blue complemented by yellow and bright green make an effective colour scheme.


Figure 2: F.J. Tarrant, St. George, St. George’s Anglican Church, Hurstville (NSW) 1918

 The only interstate windows appear to be those designed by art teacher Amalie Field which were made for St Andrew’s Kirk, Ballarat (1921).  More work was done for regional churches in New South Wales.

The largest number of windows by Tarrant are in the Baptist Church, Auburn (1928), including six lancet nave windows, two triple transept windows a triple-light window above the choir gallery depicting the Christ as the Light of the World, the Sower and Reaper as naturalistic figures with a sense of movement and vibrant colours. Tarrant collaborated with the architect and pastor in selecting subjects for the windows which include Hope and Light of the World.  An unusual arched leadlight skylight framing the sanctuary has the same border pattern as other windows around the words ‘I am the vine ye are the branches’.  It has regular and irregular shapes of textured and opalescent glass, a contrast also seen in his painted windows.


Figure 3: F.J. Tarrant, detail of the Sower, Auburn Baptist Church, (NSW) 1928

A striking window was made for historic St Luke’s Church, Liverpool. It was dedicated in 1913 and is signed ‘F. Tarrant Stained glass artist Taylor Street Surry Hills’. The bold design and colour scheme emphasise the richly garbed three-quarter figure of a knight in the foreground being blessed by Christ. The knight has a blue suit of armour with gold trim, garland of leaves and a standard with the flag of St George who is usually depicted in armour with a white tunic and red cross. The figures are set in a landscape with water and distant green and brown mountains.

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Figure 4: F.J. Tarrant, St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Liverpool (NSW) 1913

Tarrant’s large-scale work can be seen at All Saints’ Church, Singleton, where he remade Clayton & Bell’s windows from the original church and designed and made an additional two windows (1913). One donated by F.H. Dangar of London is a 5-light window which has Christ holding the banner of Christianity with around thirty figures including apostles, prophets, wise men, crusaders and angels in a sweeping arc below.  Their focus is the Celestial City on a hill to which Christ gestures. An interesting feature of the design is a sole figure in a small boat in the far right panel while the figures occupy the other four panels.

The Masonic Hall in Castlereagh Street, Sydney, was remodelled in 1915 including a dome with masonic symbols in stained glass by F.J. Tarrant.[v] Four windows with symbols of freemasonry and one with the Masonic coat of arms were made for the earlier hall in 1898. The masonic symbols were possibly remade as the border of the dome. When the building was demolished, 24 of the symbols were incorporated into the present Masonic Centre panel by Kevin Little.


Figure 5: F.J. Tarrant, Masonic Hall, Sydney (NSW)  remade in 1915  and in the 1970s)

A stained-glass ceiling survives intact in the former Bank of NSW building, now retail premises, in Pitt Street, Sydney. Opened in 1913 it has a tiled entrance floor by the well-known Melocco Bros. The ceiling ‘was made by W.F. Tarrant (sic)’.[6] The colouring and glass are similar to the skylight at Auburn, though the design is more delicate. The central focal point is the Advance Australia coat of arms, an unofficial one widely used since the nineteenth century up to 1908. This depiction includes an atypical ox in place of a garb of wheat along with the fleece and sailing ship and an anchor in place of a miner’s pick and axe.

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Figure 6: F.J. Tarrant, Skylight, former Bank of NSW, Pitt Street, Sydney (NSW) 1913

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Figure 6a: F.J. Tarrant, Detail of skylight, former Bank of NSW, Pitt Street, Sydney (NSW) 1913

An art nouveau window was made for the former Presbyterian Church, Katoomba, now a café, in 1914.  It has three rectangular panels, the semicircular topped central one with a motif of a particularly lush burning bush set in art nouveau leadlight designs with opalescent glass and bullseyes. Three similar art nouveau panels are between the interior doors to the former church.

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Figure 7: F.J. Tarrant, Burning Bush, former Presbyterian Church, Katoomba (NSW) 1914

Tarrant’s largest church window is the 6-light altar window at Holy Trinity Church, Dulwich Hill (1925) which depicts Christ Feeding the Multitude. The focus is on the five large-scale figures in the four central lights facing inwards while smaller figures in the background represent the multitude.

Bright red, blue and green of garments and landscape are balanced across the design and opalescent glass used for the rocks in the distance adds interest. The composition is framed by bunches of grapes in the tracery above religious symbols and in the lower border. The window is signed Tarrant & Co. Taylor Street. A single lancet window depicting the Baptism of Christ at the rear of the church (1925) is also signed by Tarrant.


Figure 8: F.J. Tarrant, Christ Feeding the Multitude, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Dulwich Hill, N.S.W. 1925

As well as stained glass Tarrant designed and painted a tiled mural behind the altar at St Luke’s chapel, Sydney Hospital in Macquarie Street. The mural is signed ‘F. Tarrant, Taylor St Darlinghurst 1913’. It depicts the Good Shepherd rescuing a sheep which has become entangled in a bush. The figure is painted in Tarrant’s strong linear style and the treatment and colouring is reminiscent of nineteenth century religious painting.

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Figure 9: F.J. Tarrant, Good Shepherd, Sydney Hospital, Macquarie Street, Sydney (NSW) 1913

Tarrant’s firm continued into the 1920s but after a few years he advertised glass counters, mirrors and shelves for sale. Two years later, Tarrant and Co. was declared bankrupt and the firm’s contents auctioned.[7] J.C. Chalmers and J.H. Kirkpatrick were named as partners along with Tarrant, who died in 1929.[8]  The firm continued for a time run by his wife Margaret, as evidenced by a window provided for St Aidan’s Church, Lindisfarne (Tas) in 1931, and reported in The Mercury (Hobart), 7 September 1931, p. 3.

Frederick Tarrant’s  work demonstrates the significance of versatility and collaboration to sustain a 30-year career in Sydney.

[1] Norman Carter, Notes for an Autobiography, p.19, ML MSS 471/5, Mitchell Library, Sydney.

[2] See The Catholic Press throughout 1898 -99, for example, 20 August 1898, p. 12.

[3] Sydney Morning Herald, 28 September 1899, p. 10.

[4] Email from Bronwyn Hughes, 15 November 2016. Correspondence from Herbert Grimbly to Montgomery, 4 October 1906. William Montgomery Collection MS15414 Box 6/3, State Library of Victoria.

[5] Sydney Morning Herald, 21 September 1915, p.4.

[6] Building, vol 6, no 69, 12 May 1913, p.52.

[7] Sydney Morning Herald, 26 July 1928, p.13.

[8] Sydney Morning Herald, 20 April 1929, p. 1

Shakespearean Characters in Stained Glass


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 Beverley Sherry

Portraits of Shakespeare himself in stained glass are numerous, and in an earlier essay I wrote about a notable Australian example, Ferguson & Urie’s 1862 Shakespeare window for George Coppin’s Apollo Music Hall in Melbourne.[i] Here I wish to focus upon actual characters from the plays, those portrayed at Cumbooquepa, Brisbane and Southwark Cathedral, London.

Shakespeare’s Women at Cumbooquepa

Now part of Somerville House, a girls’ school, Cumbooquepa was built as a residence in 1890 by William Stephens for his mother, widow of a leading Brisbane pioneer, Thomas Blacket Stephens (1819-1877). Stephens, whose monogram is inscribed in the windows at Cumbooquepa, was a member of the Legislative Council and held posts as Colonial Secretary, Postmaster-General, and Secretary for Lands, and was also an influential newspaper proprietor, owning the Brisbane Courier and founding The Queenslander. The name “Cumbooquepa” was chosen by him for his first (modest) home on this site in recognition of the local Aborigines’ name for waterholes behind the house.[ii]

This first Cumbooquepa was demolished, to be replaced by the present building in 1890, designed by G.H.M. Addison of the Brisbane and Melbourne firm of Oakden, Addison & Kemp. The stained glass is attributed to William Montgomery (1850-1927), who worked with the same firm at this time in designing stained glass for North Park (1889) at Essendon, Melbourne. In 1890 Montgomery had also designed the huge Shakespeare window at Norwood in Melbourne, now unfortunately no more because Norwood was demolished in the 1950s.[iii]

The Norwood window included a vast assemblage of characters from the plays. The handling of Shakespearean characters at Cumbooquepa is quite different and more dramatic, although the design does suggest the work of Montgomery, especially the interest in costume and the handling of lead-lines.[iv] Montgomery was a masterly draughtsman and placed a high value on lead-lines, as he explained in an address to the Victorian Institute of Architects in 1907:

It is not easy to over-rate the extent of the gain this black line adds to the colour. I imagine a window, a coloured window, one blaze of contrasting hues, brilliant, as only glass can be, with the light streaming through it – how the mass of conflicting and dazzling rays could confuse and hurt the eye if they were not sorted out, as it were, and given coherence and repose by the strong, dark lead-line.[v]

Whether Montgomery was indeed the artist for Cumbooquepa or not, the stained glass there exemplifies his ideas on design.

The house was designed with an imposing foyer paved in black-and-white marble, and stained glass has been imaginatively incorporated into this architectural space.


Figure 1: Entrance of Cumbooquepa (1890), Brisbane  Photo: Courtesy of Somerville House

Set in alcoves around the foyer are four life-size figures of Shakespearean heroines: on either side of the front door, Viola from Twelfth Night and Rosalind from As You Like It; Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing and Portia from The Merchant of Venice at the opposite end of the foyer, which opens onto a breezeway.  All four figures are defined boldly through the lead-lines and rich colours; at the same time, the individual character of each heroine is skilfully evoked.


Figure 2: Rosalind  Cumbooquepa, Brisbane. Attributed to William Montgomery, c.1890. Photo: Courtesy of Somerville House


Figure 3: Detail, Rosalind  Cumbooquepa, Brisbane. Attributed to William Montgomery, c.1890. Photo: Courtesy of Somerville House


Figure 4: Detail, quotation below Rosalind  Cumbooquepa, Brisbane. Attributed to William Montgomery, c.1890.   Photo: Courtesy of Somerville House

This is a purposeful Rosalind, the dominating character of As You Like It. She holds a written paper in her hand, presumably one of Orlando’s love poems that she has removed from a tree (Act III. ii). As suggested in the play (Act III. ii), she is distinctly blonde. A strong but complex heroine, she confesses, in the quotation below her portrait, “I could find in my heart to disgrace my man’s apparel . . .” (Act II. iv), a reminder of her disguise in the Forest of Arden, although the artist has chosen not to show her in male attire. The elaborate monogram TBS is for Thomas Blacket Stephens.


Figure 5: Beatrice  Cumbooquepa, Brisbane. Attributed to William Montgomery, c.1890. Photo: Douglass Baglin

The man-hater Beatrice looks with a disdainful backward glance, presumably at Benedick, who calls her “My dear Lady Disdain” in the opening scene of Much Ado About Nothing. In a reversal, later in the play, he declares to her, “I do love nothing in the world so well as you. Is that not strange?” A softened “Lady Disdain” replies edgily with the quotation (not reproduced here) below her portrait: “As strange as the thing I know not. It were as possible to say I love nothing so well as you. But believe me not, and yet I lie not; I confess nothing, nor I deny nothing” (Act IV. i).


Figure 6: Detail, Viola  Cumbooquepa, Brisbane. Attributed to William Montgomery, c.1890. Photo: Courtesy of Somerville House

This portrait, which can be magnified on screen, exemplifies the artistry at work in these windows: the confident handling of lead-lines and striking use of pot-metal glass, red and gold predominating, but note the two jewel-like blue buttons. In addition, details are finely painted onto the surface of the glass – the book, the pot and delicate flower, the curtain, the back of the padded chair, the fluted columns, the elaborate folds of Viola’s costume, her collar and necklace, her hands, and above all, her facial features. The artist has captured the spirit of Viola, the saddest-looking of the four heroines at Cumbooquepa. Her short hair and cap suggest her disguise as page-boy to Duke Orsino in Twelfth Night.


Figure 7: Detail, quotation below Viola  Cumbooquepa, Brisbane. Attributed to William Montgomery, c.1890. Photo: Douglass Baglin

The disguised Viola is in love with Duke Orsino but cannot reveal her love, as evidenced in the quotation below her portrait: “She never told her love . . . ” (Act II. iv). This is one of Viola’s most moving speeches, imbued with dramatic irony, because she is here speaking to the Duke with veiled reference to herself. The quotation applies perfectly to the mournful figure of Viola portrayed in this window.


Figure 8: Portia Cumbooquepa, Brisbane.  Construction behind the window obscures Portia but this photograph shows well how stained glass has been incorporated into the architecture. Attributed to William Montgomery, c.1890.    Photo: Courtesy of Somerville House


Figure 9: Portia Cumbooquepa, Brisbane. Photograph taken from behind and reversed. Attributed to William Montgomery, c.1890. Photo: Courtesy of Somerville House

A strikingly beautiful Portia holds a golden casket in her hands – “All that glisters is not gold” (The Merchant of Venice Act 11. vii). Below her portrait the quotation (not reproduced here) refers to the dictates of her father’s will and the caskets from which her suitors must choose: “In terms of choice I am not solely led / By nice direction of a maiden’s eyes. / Besides, the lottery of my destiny / Bars me the right of voluntary choosing” (Act II. i).

These four windows demonstrate the imagination and skill of an artist who knew the text of Shakespeare’s plays, understood the differences of these four heroines, portrayed them in stained glass accordingly, and chose quotations that add meaning to each portrayal.

A bust of Shakespeare appears above the four female characters. In addition, two jesters, Feste from Twelfth Night and Touchstone from As You Like It, are depicted in fanlights.


Figure 10: Shakespeare  Bust surmounting the portrait of each Shakespearean heroine Cumbooquepa, Brisbane. Attributed to William Montgomery, c.1890.Photo: Courtesy of Somerville House   


Figure 11: Touchstone   The jester from As You Like It, above the front door of Cumbooquepa, Brisbane. Attributed to William Montgomery, c.1890. Photo: Courtesy of Somerville House

That early pioneer of Brisbane, Thomas Blacket Stephens, has left his mark everywhere in the windows, his monogram TBS worked elaborately below every portrait. Stephens did not live to see this splendid residence nor was he to know that the Brisbane High School for Girls (founded in 1899) moved to Cumbooquepa in 1919. The official name of the school then became Somerville House, in honour of Mary Somerville (1780-1872), a distinguished Scottish scientist and mathematician. There is a nice fitness that the stained glass portrays four of Shakespeare’s characteristically enterprising women.  

Shakespearean Characters in Southwark Cathedral, London

The later nineteenth century, when the Cumbooquepa windows were made, was a buoyant period for stained glass and in 1897 a Shakespeare memorial window was made for St Saviour’s Church in Southwark; the church became Southwark Cathedral in 1905. Historically, Southwark is known as Shakespeare’s stamping ground, where his plays were performed in the Globe Theatre on the south bank of the Thames. In more recent times, the association with Shakespeare has been strongly revived through the New Globe Theatre, which opened in 1997 and is a few blocks from Southwark Cathedral.[vi]

The 1897 window was made by the firm of Charles Eamer Kempe in three lights. It depicted the Muse of poetry in the centre light with the dove of the Holy Spirit above her, flanked by Shakespeare in the left light and the poet Spenser in the right.[vii] This window was destroyed in an air raid during World War II. A sculpture beneath it, portraying a relaxed Shakespeare, survived.


Figure 12: Statue of Shakespeare, Southwark Cathedral.   By Henry McCarthy, 1912. Photo: Christopher Parkinson

To replace the lost 1897 Shakespeare window, a new window was made, and signed, by Christopher Webb (1886-1966) and installed in 1954. It has been considered “stunningly unusual”.[viii] Also in three lights, this window has no religious associations and does not include a portrait of Shakespeare. Rather, it is devoted solely to celebrating Shakespeare’s creative genius: 21 characters from the plays are portrayed and, across the base of the window, Jaques’ “Seven Ages of Man” from As You Like It are represented. When magnified, the photographic image reproduced here reveals the mass of detail delineated by the artist.


Figure 13: Shakespeare window, Southwark Cathedral, London   By Christopher Webb, 1954.  Photo: Christopher Parkinson

The dominating figure is Prospero in the centre light, the lordly magician of The Tempest, sometimes seen as the older Shakespeare’s alter ego. The figure of Ariel flies upwards in a stream of light above Prospero and a grotesque Caliban cringes at his feet. To the left and right of Ariel, the initials W and S (for William Shakespeare) appear, and worked across two quatrefoils at the top are lines from a speech of Prospero, “These our actors, / As I foretold you…” (The Tempest Act IV.i).  With his mouth open, eyes and hands directed upward, he seems to be speaking the lines. Flanking Prospero, in the left and right lights, are characters from the comedies and the tragedies. From the top of the left light these appear in order: Bottom, Puck, and Titania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream); Malvolio, Olivia, and Maria (Twelfth Night); Falstaff (Henry IV); Portia (The Merchant of Venice); and Jaques and Touchstone (As You Like It). The right light portrays: Romeo and Juliet; Richard II; Richard III; Othello; King Lear; Lady Macbeth; and Hamlet.[ix]

The photographing of this window – as of all stained glass and works of art in general – relates to a landmark essay of the twentieth century, Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1935). Benjamin laments the depreciation of the authenticity, the “aura”, of an original work of art through photographic reproduction. At the same time he acknowledges that photography “can bring out those aspects of the original that are unattainable to the naked eye yet accessible to the lens”.[x] Benjamin lived too early for the internet and might have marvelled at today’s digital technology. True, the unique “aura” of Christopher Webb’s window exists only in its setting at Southwark Cathedral but the extraordinary detail of his work is accessible through Christopher Parkinson’s photography.

The artist, Christopher Webb, has endeavoured to encompass as much as possible in this window and, while the overall effect might seem crowded, the work has been meticulously planned.


Figure 14: Detail, Shakespeare window, Southwark Cathedral   From A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Bottom, Puck, and Titania; from Twelfth Night: Malvolio, Olivia, and Maria. By Christopher Webb, 1954. Photo: Christopher Parkinson

Figure 14 shows Bottom with his ass’s head, the trickster Puck who has managed this metamorphosis, and Titania asleep. The scene from Twelfth Night shows Malvolio smiling, in yellow stockings, and cross-gartered – three things Olivia cannot abide (Act II. v) – while Maria, the deviser of the joke, titters in the background.


 Figure 15: Detail, Shakespeare window, Southwark Cathedral    Falstaff (Henry IV); Portia (The Merchant of Venice); Jaques and Touchstone (As You Like It). By Christopher Webb, 1954. Photo: Christopher Parkinson

Figure 15 shows Falstaff typically larger than life. Portia is disguised as a young lawyer for the trial scene in The Merchant of Venice (Act IV. i). The philosophical Jaques, who gives us the “Seven of Ages of Man” (As You Like It Act II. vii), is deep in thought; his subdued attire and rather cynical expression contrast with the gaiety of the jester Touchstone, whose colourful costume is in tune with Falstaff’s.


Figure 16: Detail, Shakespeare window, Southwark Cathedral   Romeo and Juliet; Richard II; Richard III; Othello. By Christopher Webb, 1954. Photo: Christopher Parkinson

In Figure 16, the little tableau of Romeo and Juliet at the top, in gentle golden colours, suggests the balcony scene (Romeo and Juliet Act II. ii). Richard II is anguished, looking in a mirror as in Richard II Act IV. i; and a despairing Richard III is un-horsed (Richard III Act V. iv). Othello, a figure of heroic dignity, has a darker skin tone than the other characters; his stockings match the pink of his Moorish cummerbund; and he is tense, speaking in anger.


Figure 17: Detail, Shakespeare window, Southwark Cathedral   King Lear; Hamlet; Lady Macbeth. By Christopher Webb, 1954. Photo: Christopher Parkinson

King Lear is portrayed as a wild old man who has discarded his crown. A serious young Hamlet contemplates Yorick’s skull as in the graveyard scene of Hamlet (Act V. i). The barefoot, blank-eyed Lady Macbeth, her hair down in plaits and a long taper in her hand, is sleep-walking (and talking). All this is noted, particularly her eyes, by witnesses (Macbeth Act V. i). The crow and bat are her appropriate companions.


The Shakespeare windows at Southwark Cathedral and Cumbooquepa share a delight in Shakespeare’s characters and manifest both artists’ knowledge of the plays. Yet they are very different works. The Cumbooquepa windows focus upon women, four individual characters in four separate windows that are defining elements of an architectural interior; stained glass as an architectural art is on display here. The Southwark work provides a cornucopia of characters – the noble, the vile, the comic, the tragic – within one window, all drawn with acute attention to detail. The unique “aura” of both works can never be lifted out of their respective contexts in Brisbane and London, but digital photography and the internet have made possible the pictorial reproduction offered here.

Finally, the Cumbooquepa and Southwark Cathedral Shakespeare windows have a common connection with the Second World War. The original 1897 Shakespeare window in the Cathedral was destroyed by German bombing in 1941 and replaced with the new window by Christopher Webb. In 1942, Australia was under threat of Japanese bombing and Cumbooquepa was commandeered by the United States Army, East Asian Command as their Headquarters. Brisbane did not suffer bombing but the 1890s Shakespeare windows at Cumbooquepa were carefully removed and stored. At the end of the war, the school returned to Somerville House and the windows were reinstalled in Cumbooquepa.[xi]

[i]  “Shakespeare in Stained Glass”, Glaas Inc Research 2016: here /06/22/shakespeare-in-stained-glass/

[ii]  An interesting article on Cumbooquepa appeared in The Queenslander 11 February 1932, p. 5:; see also Elgin Reid’s entry on Stephens in the Australian Dictionary of Biography

[iii]  On Norwood, see my essay, “Shakespeare in Stained Glass”

[iv]   I have made this tentative attribution in my book Australia’s Historic Stained Glass (Sydney: Murray Child, 1991), p.45.  For a comprehensive study of Montgomery, see Bronwyn Hughes, “Designing Stained Glass for Australia 1887-1927: The Art and Professional Life of William Montgomery” (PhD thesis, University of Melbourne, 2007).

[v]  Royal Victorian Institute of Architects’ Journal, 5 (1907), p. 156.

[vi]  Southwark Cathedral has long claimed Shakespeare as its “most distinguished parishioner” – Kenneth London, Stained Glass in Southwark Cathedral (London: Southwark Cathedral, 1993), p. 32.  Shakespeare’s birth place naturally claims him too and stained glass windows in the Swan Wing of the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon portray particular actors dressed for their favourite Shakespearean roles, while another series of windows depicts the “Seven Ages of Man’ – see

[vii]  For a photograph of the 1897 window, see Brian Walsh, “Shakespeare in Stained Glass: The Shakespeare Memorials of Southwark Cathedral and ‘Local’ Bardolatry”, Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation 7.1 (2012): This essay focuses mainly on the appropriation of Shakespeare by the Cathedral in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

[viii]  Walsh, “Shakespeare in Stained Glass”, p. 22.

[ix]  London, Stained Glass in Southwark Cathedral, identifies the characters more fully than Walsh.

[x]  Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1935), in Illuminations, trans. Harry Zohn (New York: Schocken Books, 1968), p. 220. Also at;

[xi]  Janet Hogan, Historic Homes of Brisbane (Brisbane: National Trust of Queensland, 1979), p.79.

Acknowledgements. Thanks to Somerville House, especially the school’s archivist Kate Bottger, for help with the Cumbooquepa windows. Photographs by the late Douglass Baglin are gratefully acknowledged. Christopher Parkinson has generously provided his photographs of the Shakespeare window at Southwark Cathedral.

Beverley Sherry is an Honorary Associate at the University of Sydney