Screen over West door. Church of the Ark of the Covenant. Stamford Hill, London designed by Walter Crane. Manufacturer: J. S. Sparrow. Architect: Messrs. Morris & Son, Reading. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

“ 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.

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.

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 associa- tion of their hieroglyphic signatures is quaint. Birds of a feather! ” (The Art Journal, p. 200).

Other windows by Crane in this church

Formatting and text by George P. Landow [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Internet Archive and the University of Toronto (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print]


Day, Lewis F. “The Windows of a New Church.” The Art Journal. N. S. London: J. S. Virtue, 1893. Internet Archive. Web. 12 February 2012.

Last modified 12 February 2012