Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Chagall Stained Glass at All Saints Church, Tudeley






















As I opened the door of the small, unassuming, 12th century Kent country church and stepped out of the bright June sunshine into the quiet peace of the interior, I gasped with pleasure at the sight that met my eyes! It was like stepping into a box of jewels.

Although I had been aware for many years that there was a stained glass window painted by Marc Chagall at All Saints Church in Tudeley, Kent and had meant to visit one day, bizarrely it took a move to Suffolk and a random diversion on our way home after a family wedding, which brought us here. Knowing the lie of the land, we had diverted into the network of country lanes, trying to avoid the traffic jams on the A21, and it was pure serendipity that I spotted the signpost to Tudeley as we flashed past.  

What I hadn't realised was that there was not only one Chagall stained glass window here but 12! The entire church has been re-glazed with his painting and the effect is simply stunning.  The only other building in the world which is completely glazed with Chagall's work is a synagogue in Jerusalem.  

Chagall was commissioned by the parents of Sarah d'Avigdor Goldsmid who sadly drowned off the coast of Sussex when she was only 21 years old.  Her grieving parents, a local family, knowing she loved his work, asked Chagall initially to paint the window above the altar, which symbolises death and resurrection, in 1967.  He was so pleased with this work (the first photo) that he asked if he could paint all the other stained glass windows in the church.  Despite local opposition to replacing the existing Victorian stained glass, permission was eventually granted and he completed the work in 1985.  All the paintings are biblical and follow the theme of creation, the fall and redemption, and the promise that God gives us of restoration and recreation.  

I find some comfort in that thought today in the midst of the turmoil we are currently experiencing here in the UK.  

14 comments:

  1. Someone was talking about these windows just the other day. I'd never heard of them but when I saw your post I immediately remembered. I really must go and see them.

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  2. Someone was talking about these windows just the other day. I'd never heard of them but when I saw your post I immediately remembered. I really must go and see them.

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  3. Marianne, I'd not known of these beautiful windows before, and so I thank you very much for the introduction. Your photographs are very fine. It was good for you all to have the slight detour on your way home after the wedding.

    As you wrote, it's a fine time to be reassured about the good that can fill our days, with our encouragement. xo

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  4. I love Chagall and one of my favourite places is the Musee Marc Chagall in Nice which I think you would like too. I had heard of these Chagall windows but didn't realise where they were. It is good to snatch these quiet, refective times at the moment.

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  5. Never realised Chagall did stained glass as well. The windows look beautiful!

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  6. That was a lucky detour to avoid the traffic. Those windows are amazing! Sarah x

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  7. The stained glass is so beautiful. Glad you posted these gorgeous photos.

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  8. Just beautiful and the scale and shape of the windows is also very fitting.
    Thanks for sharing
    Helenx

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  9. These windows are beautiful I would like to see them myself one day.

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  10. So many windows! What a glorious surprise! I love hidden treasures like this. I remember ducking into the French Notre Dame church in a little alley near Leicester Square in London, and finding the mural by Jean Cocteau - again, a delightful discovery.

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  11. Serendipity again! We have friends who live in Les baux de Provence. In April we visited an amazing light show of Chagall works deep in some caverns in the village. Never knew there was anything of his in Kent but there it is. Another thing for the list.

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  12. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. So pleased to show you these gorgeous windows and hope that some of you will be able to visit one day. A lovely discovery.

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  13. A method used for embellishment and gilding is the decoration of one side of each of two pieces of Window Repairs Wellington thin glass which are then placed back to back within the lead came.

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