Details from the Peter and Paul Window by Joseph Bell of Bristol, in the the Chapel of Nine Altars, Durham Cathedral. The photograph on the left shows the figures of St Peter and St Paul themselves, and the one on the right focuses on the roundel below them, giving a closer view of St. Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus. This window was inaugurated in 1865. Curiously, the entry for it on the World Heritage site ascribes it to "Clayton & Bell of Bristol," but that firm had no premises in Bristol, and, while it is known to have produced the other windows in this chapel, it did not produce this one. According to Roger Norris:

On the east wall the nine windows above the Nine Altars ... all have glass by Clayton and Bell of 1877 except for no.1 [the southernmost, shown here]. This window by Bell of Bristol was inaugurated on 21 September 1865 in memory of Michael Angelo Taylor M.P. The glass has rich deep colours, especially in the large central figures of Peter and Paul. There are four scenes, two of the testing of Peter's faith - walking on the sea and Jesus's instruction to feed his lambs, and two of Paul - his conversion and his arraigning before Agrippa. [Norris 18]

This lancet, then, with its trademark brilliant colours, and its particularly dramatic scene of St Paul's conversion, is clearly by the "other" Bell, with which Clayton & Bell had no known connection. But the confusion is understandable. The lancet is problematic in another way, too. Like most of the windows on this wall, it can only be seen from a challengingly oblique perspective.

Photographs and text by Colin Price. You may use the 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.]


Norris, Roger. The Stained Glass of Durham Cathedral. Photography by Neil Jinkerson. Norwich: Jarrold, 2001.

Peter and Paul Window. Durham World Heritage. Web. 9 February 2023.

Created 8 February 2023