The Ascension, by Alexander Gibbs, 1866. This is the east window of St Augustine, Penarth, Glamorgan, South Wales. The ensemble of cross, high altar and east window (seen together on the left) was conceived by the church's architect William Butterfield, the window making, as John Newman suggests, "a calculated contribution to the whole," with its "primary colours in a bejewelled, Byzantinizing style" (490). It is a splendid focus for the congregation, as the scene of the ascension rises, glinting in rich colour, behind the cross. Significantly, in the lower parts of the window, the Virgin Mary, St John with the scriptures, and the other Biblical figures, attend the momentous event in calm devotion, as if confirmed in their belief rather than astonished at this outcome. At least for this visitor, it was hard to do justice to the entire window in anything like its full brilliance.

Photographs and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. 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.]


Newman, John. Glamorgan (The Buildings of Wales series). New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2004.

Created 2 June 2019