Left: Window in its whole setting, an historic photograph showing the Resurrection. Right: Recent photograph showing the window as it is now.

The west window of St George's Church, Jesmond, is much more dramatic than the east one: it is rightly described as "superb" (Pevsner et. al., 509). Originally designed to show the Last Judgement, it was the work of the Newcastle-born artist John William Brown (1842-1928) in 1888. But architect Thomas Ralph Spence (1845-1918), who was responsible for the overall scheme, was unhappy with it, and had the upper part altered in 1889, probably to his own design, apparently in order to place the emphasis on the Resurrection instead (see Moat x, 175). Two angels blowing mightily on crossed trumpets look down from each side on the scene of people struggling upwards towards heaven. A young family on the right, father, mother with infant, and young child, look up yearningly. But there are tongues of flame beneath and there is a sense of despair on the faces of the people struggling on the right, who seem to be tipping backwards. The angels on this side look angry too (though it is hard to judge from a distance). At any rate, the element of judgement still seems very strong.

The window's effect is augmented by its context. The setting is absolutely magnificent, as it is framed by the very tall and detailed carving of the stone tracery screen rising above the baptistry arches — the work of Robert Beall (1837-1892), who worked on the sanctuary of St Nicholas Cathedral. Just above the central arch is Spence's bronze statue of St George, to whom the church is dedicated. All this contributes to the impact of the scene, which stand out vividly with its splashes of red.

Historic photograph reproduced on our website by kind permission of Newcastle City Library. Recent photograph and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use this image 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 both images for larger pictures.]

Related Material


"Chancel and Sanctuary." St George's Church website. Web. 18 October 2015.

Moat, Neil. A Theatre for the Soul: St George's Church, Jesmond: The Building and Cultural Reception of a late-Victorian Church. Newcastle University: Doctoral thesis, 2011. Web. 18 October 2015.

Pevsner, Nikolaus, and Ian Richmond. The Buildings of England: Northumberland. 2nd ed., rev. John Grundy et al. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002.

created 18 October 2015