St Catherine of Alexandria

Designer: Sir Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898)

Firm: Morris & Co.

Stained glass


Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

Central figure in the window of the Remembrance Chapel, at the end of the S Choir Aisle

The window as a whole is dedicated to the memory of Edith Liddell, and her face is modelled on Edith's portrait: Edith was one of the daughters of the Dean of Christ Church, and sister of Alice Liddell, who inspired Lewis Carroll's Alice books. Tragically, Edith had died at the age of twenty-two, a matter of days after announcing her engagement.

This is one of the later, simpler windows here by Burne-Jones, illustrating his more mature and graceful style — the figures in his earlier "Faith, Hope and Charity" window at the west end of the S. Aisle, only his "second essay ... in this craft," were criticised in the Rev. Percy Dearmer's book about the cathedral, as were their faces (63). There could be no such criticism here.

St Catherine of Alexandria, who also appears in Burne-Jones's early and much admired St Frideswide window in the cathedral's Latin Chapel, teaching St Frideswide to read, is the patron saint of students, young women and philosophers, so there are a number of allusions to her in the chapel.

  • Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford (Coloured view of interior)
  • Carroll's photograph of Edith Liddell as a child, in 1860
  • Photograph by Colin Price. Text and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee. [Mouse over the text for links.]

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