Sunday, July 21, 2002

July 2002 Update

21st update

was in Europe on business this past week. It was a painfully short trip which
had me arriving in and transitting the UK on Wednesday morning, flying to Brussels
and then driving to Cologne where I had several meetings. However, I did manage
to stop along the way and took some pictures in two churches before the trip
back on Friday.

first church was in a place called Warenne in Belgium. I had stopped to break
the journey from Brussels to Cologne and there was an old Catholic church which
was open to exploration. It is a tall structure and I was travelling light with
only my 28-200mm zoom but I did take a few shots of two sets of windows high
above the north and south transepts.

second church I visited was Cologne Cathedral or the Dom, as it is more often
known. I had some free time in between meetings and the hotel I was staying
at was only about half a mile from the Dom and so I went to take a look around.
I have been to Cologne countless times in the last 15 years but I cannot recall
having spent much time in the Dom and I have certainly never paid any serious
attention to the glass there.

first thing which struck me was the range and quality of the stained glass.
The building had been very severely damaged by bombing in WWII and I suppose
that I had assumed that most of the glass would have been destroyed but this
clearly was not the case. I can only speculate but perhaps the glass was removed
for safe-keeping, as I know was the case with some important windows in Cambridge,
or perhaps by some miracle the glass survived the devastation but in any event
there appear to be surviving examples of the original 13thC glass as well as
glass which appeared to be from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

took pictures of 3 sets of windows, all dating from the 1850's or slightly later
and all in rich, beautiful colours. As with the windows in Warenne these were
high up and challenged my less than adequate equipment but, again, it was angels
which caught my eye and which I tried to capture for the CD. When I got to the
3rd window I thought that I had struck lucky. There was a raised platform which
had been erected underneath them for an orchestra or choir and I was able to
get relatively close and almost level to the window. Unfortunately this also
made me more conspicuous and after only taking 3 or 4 frames one of the wardens
in a bright red robe rushed up to me speaking harshly in German. Eventually
he made it clear that he wanted to see my permit and when I admitted to not
having one he ushered me off the platform. Photography is certainly allowed
in the building - there were flashes constantly firing as tourists walked around,
individually and in guided parties. However, it seems that either the use of
tripods is frowned on or my particular use of a platform was an issue - in any
event I did not venture to take further pictures in the Dom.

had time to look briefly in 2 other churches before resuming my meetings but
in both cases the glass must have been destroyed during the war. As is commonplace
there were pictures on display of the churches which had been taken immediately
after the war, alongside earlier pictures from, say, 1900 and the war-damage
was truly catastrophic. Both had modern glass in many of the windows but time
was short and it was not to my taste so I made no attempt to record it.