Sunday, March 13, 2005

Henry Holiday windows at Trinity College Cambridge

Quite a few years ago I had occasion to visit my son, Robert, who was (and indeed still is) studying at Cambridge and we had the good fortune to venture into the chapel of Trinity College. I say 'good fortune' because our stay there was woefully short and there is so much to see that it was sheer luck that took us into Trinity College.

At that time I was still in the very early stages of my photographic pursuit of stained glass and in fact it was on that trip that I purchased June Osborne's "Stained Glass in England" which gave me the means of identifying some of the windows I had seen and photographed.

The windows in Trinity College are simply magnificent. On that particular visit we did not have the time to pay them the attention which they deserve and we had to cut short our time in the chapel because a choir practice was due to start but I did make a later visit with a little more time to spare.

I counted 132 full length figures going back to early Greek and Roman times, early Christianity, Kings and Queens of England, important historical figures and significant scholars with connections to Trinity College itself. The designs are the work of Henry Holiday and they are truly stunning.

June Osborne dates them 1871 but I find it hard to believe that such a significant undertaking was completed in less than a year.

Due to the nature and duration of my trip I only shot a few frames and would really like the opportunity to do a thorough and comprehensive shoot but that will have to go on my ever-lengthening 'to-do' list.

I had the negatives scanned some time ago but had not got around to posting any of the images on the website. My only real excuse has been that there are only a few and several of them depict figures whose identity I neglected to write down. However, this weekend I stumbled across something which led me to upload these few images.

I was doing some searching and happened to visit the Trinity College Cambridge website. I thought that while I was there I would see if there were any images of the windows posted online. To my amazement and disbelief I found that not only are there no images of these magnificent windows but the mention of them is limited to the following: "The coloured glass windows are Victorian" Now admittedly some of the buildings date back to the 16th century and perhaps "Victorian" was not impressive to whoever wrote the guide but I do wonder at the lack of appreciation of such a beautiful and significant set of windows by one of the greatest stained glassmakers of his time.

To at least balance the record I thought that the least I could do was to post the few images I have and I have done so in this
folder here.