Isaiah and David, by Edward Burne-Jones

Left: Isaiah and David, whole window. Right: Close-up of David.

Designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898), and made by the Morris Co., this window in the Victorian south aisle of St Mary the Virgin, Merton Park, southwest London (then Surrey) was designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, and executed by the Morris Co. It was dedicated in 1907. It is one of four installed in the aisle to commemorate the life of the property developer, horticulturalist and philanthropist John Innes, who had died in 1904. Photographs, text and formatting by 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 UR or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. Click on the images to enlarge them.]

The Morris Firm's workshops were then close to the church on the bank of the River Wandle in Merton. Although William Morris (1834-1896) and Burne-Jones himself had also passed away by this time, their style, approach and designs were still in use. The firm was being run now by John Henry Dearle (1859-1932). Peter Cormack explains:

Notwithstanding the deaths of Morris and Burne-Jones in the 1890s, the firm of Morris & Company continued in business — with its shop in central London and studio-workshops at Merton Abbey, Surrey — until its voluntary dissolution in 1940. Although it was reorganised in 1905 and registered as "Morris & Company, Decorators Ltd.," a large measure of continuity was maintained through Dearle's role as chief designer. Having joined the firm as a teenager, and having worked with Morris in almost all branches of its production, Dearle identified closely with its stylistic ethos and tradition of workmanship. In stained glass he revered the later collaborative work of Morris and Burne-Jones, and it is clear that under his supervision the Merton Abbey workshop rarely deviated in any significant way from the style and technique of the windows made during their lifetimes.

In effect this was an implicit acceptance that, in its last stylistic phase of the 1880s and 1890s, Morris & Co.'s stained glass had reached its apogee, and that this would therefore be the idiom employed for all subsequent work in the twentieth century. (2-3)

Isaiah does seem almost identical to the Isaiah at the chapel of Cheadle Royal Hospital (see Cormack's figure 10), and Cormack tells us that this cartoon was adapted for use at several important places, here and abroad, including the chapel of Jesus College, Cambridge. Other Burne-Jones versions of David seem to be more common though. Compare (or rather, contrast) this part of the window with the early King David the Psalmist, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Burne-Jones's Other Windows in the church

References

Cormack, Peter. An Exhibition of Morris & Co.'s Stained Glass for the Chapel of Cheadle Royal Hospital. London: Haslam & Whiteway, 2008. (Exhibition Catalogue.) Web. 2 January 2013.

Eberhart, Robert. "Stained glass windows at St. Mary's." Church Stained Glass Windows. Web. 2 January 2013.


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Last modified 2 January 2013