Left to right: (a) Whole window, showing the Annunciation. (b) Left-hand panel, showing the Angel Gabriel with his scroll. (c) Right-hand panel, showing the Virgin Mary. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]
The Annunciation, by Lavers & Barraud (possibly designed by N. H. J. Westlake), in the north chapel of St James' Church, Weybridge, Surrey. The whole window depicts the scene in which the Angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will miraculously bear a child, a saviour for the world in fulfilment of ancient prophesies. He is reading with the help of a pointer, as in a Jewish synagogue, the words, "highly favoured the Lord is with thee" (from Luke 1: 28). Mary is cradling a dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit, and a lily blooms plentifully in front of her, as a symbol of her purity.
Commemorating the life of someone who died in 1852, this window is adjacent to a later one of the Visitation, so that they seem to make a pair. This one has been attributed to the firm of Lavers & Barraud on stylistic grounds (see Eberhard), while the Visitation window is actually signed Lavers, Barraud and Westlake. The windows are similar in style, but this one of the Angel Gabriel and Mary is very much denser than the other. Depending on when it was actually commissioned and made, it could have been designed by Westlake as well, because Westlake designed for the firm for about ten years before he actually went into partnership with Lavers and Barraud in 1868. In fact, Jim Cheshire counts Lavers, Barraud and Westlake as one of the "operations" that "appeared in the late 1850s (172).
Westlake seems to have worked in the firm's style for some time, but gradually evolved his own, as invariably happens. His own style, influenced by his interest in medieval work, and PreRaphaelitism, would indeed become less dense, with a greater simplicity and clarity (see Campbell 2: 21). It is interesting that the two adjacent windows by the same firm, which is not represented elsewhere in St James', should show different phases of their characteristic style. Even if this earlier window is not by Westlake, therefore, it does help to show how the firm's style evolved under his influence.
Photographs and text 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 URL in a web document or cite it in a print one.
Campbell, Gordon., ed. The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
Cheshire, Jim. Stained Glass and the Victorian Gothic Revival. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004.
Eberhard, Robert. "Stained Glass Windows at St James, Weybridge, Surrey." Church Stained Glass Windows. Web. 18 November 2014.
Last modified 18 November 2014