Photographs by John Salmon, Art Journal text downloaded by George P. Landow, and formatting by Landow and Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. Click on the images to enlarge them.

Nave windows in the (Former) Church of the Ark of the Covenant, which was designed by the architectural firm Joseph Morris & Sons for the Agapemonites in Upper Clapton (Stamford Hill), London N16 6SS. The windows were designed by Walter Crane and manufactured by J. S. Sparrow. They were installed in 1896.

Commentary in the Art Journal

"The side windows of the nave, nine in all, are filled with flower and fruit designs, in considerably paler colour than the figure compositions. These include the rose, the fig, the pomegranate, the bay, the lily, the vine, the olive, corn and poppies, and the iris. They are naturally of less interest than the subject windows; but they are boldly, simply, and effectively treated, and in a fashion that is thoroughly glass-like, without too nearly following the lines of old work. Perhaps they are a trifle large in scale. It is characteristic of the thoroughness of the artist that no two of these windows are alike; and, more than that, there is absolutely no repetition whatever in them: even when one light seems at first sight to be the counterpart of the other, it is not actually so; each, it will be seen upon comparison, has been separately drawn.

The Art Journal's illustration of the traceried screen at the west end of the church, which was also glazed.

In these more strictly ornamental windows there is very little painting; and one can the better appreciate the beautiful quality of the material employed — a comparatively recent manufacture of Messrs. Britten and Gilson, delightfully uneven in quality and admirably chosen. So good is much of this glass that it wants no painting, and is, indeed, better without it, as may be seen in the screen over the West door (headpiece), which is executed in simple glazing. The effect of this pattern-work in white and green upon a strong yellow ground is all that could be desired. Some still simpler lights in the passage, by the South entrance, show how conscientiously the work has been designed, to the slightest detail.

Apart from the nave windows, another one of which is shown here, and the traceried screen at the west end, there is stained glass inside the west entrance, in the corner vestries, and even in the basement. The single light here is one of these extra ones which have also been "conscientiously" designed.

It need hardly be said of Mr. Crane that, even in the least orthodox of his designs, the treatment is that of an accomplished craftsman. He is indebted, as he quite frankly admits, to Mr. Sparrow for his assistance in the execution of the work; but had he not designed in abso- lute sympathy with his material, it would not have been possible to translate his cartoons into such glassy windows as these....

Finally, the effect of these windows, as a whole, is such as to make one thankful that Mr. Crane and Mr. Sparrow should have come together. The association of their hieroglyphic signatures is quaint. Birds of a feather!" (The Art Journal, p. 200).

Other windows by Crane in this church


Day, Lewis F. “The Windows of a New Church.” The Art Journal, N.S. Vol. 58. London: J. S. Virtue, 1896. Internet Archive. Web. 12 February 2012.

Last modified 13 October 2016