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Hockney’s first stained glass design is unveiled in the Abbey

28 September 2018

westminster abbey

A COUNTRYSIDE scene in vivid primary colours is David Hockney’s response to a commission from Westminster Abbey for a stained-glass window to celebrate the Queen’s reign.

The Queen’s Window, unveiled on Wednesday in the north transept, was designed by the artist on his iPad. He was asked by the Dean and Chapter to “provide something symbolic or representational of the subject, rather than a heraldic or figurative design, and for it to be recognisable as his work” (News 25 November 2016).

The result — his first stained-glass design — depicts a Yorkshire scene, including hawthorn blossom, and “reflects the Queen as a countrywoman and her widespread delight in, and yearning for, the countryside”, a press release said.

Hockney had expressed his wish to use block colour, “following the simplicity of Matisse’s windows in using traditional techniques of glass and lead without the use of glass paint, enamels, acid etching, or plating”.

Its depiction of a path running through trees is reminiscent of Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire, a series of paintings also produced on his iPad, in 2011.

“The iPad is back-lit like a window,” he told the Telegraph this week. “It’s a natural thing to use.”

The Dean, the Very Revd John Hall, said: “There’s absolutely no harm at all in having something which is particular and vibrant and different.”

Stained-glass artists and craftspeople at Barley Studio, based in York, created the window.

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