Jane Gray (b.1931)

Church of the Holy Nativity, Bristol, Design for Stained Glass Memorial Window, Commemorating Frank Ernest Pring (1997)



25 x 9.5 cm

Signed, dated and studio stamp verso.

The Church of the Holy Nativity in Bristol started out as a Mission Chapel in the latter half of the 19th century, when the population of hamlets surrounding Bristol expanded into suburbs—the result of industrial growth around Temple Meads railway station. The site chosen was close to Arnos Vale Cemetery in Knowle, where a wooden church was built to serve the local residents, opening in 1865. From the start the Mission Chapel was well attended and grew significantly in size until it became necessary to find a larger, more permanent building to accommodate the congregation. In 1867 the Chapel was moved to a new site in Wells Road, Knowle, and an appeal for building funds started. To save money the new church was developed in sections, and the Mayor of Bristol laid the foundation stone of the new church in June 1870, it was dedicated on Holy Cross Day, in September, 1871.  Tragically, during the first heavy air raid on Bristol on 24th November 1940, Holy Nativity became the first church in the city to be destroyed, however, by some stroke of luck, the Tower, Clock and Bells survived the destruction and it was said that as flames consumed the church the clock continued to chime. Approval  to rebuild the church was given in December 1950 and the new church was completed in November 1955. The church was consecrated on the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul, in January 1958. This window was dedicated to the memory of the late churchwarden emeritus, Ernest Pring. In this window, Gray incorporated many significant features of Ernest’s life such as his churchwarden’s staff, the Boy Scouts, his favourite biblical text and the Bristol landscape. A cross dominates the design and a star beams light across the whole design from above. Adjacent to the window is a memorial to Phyllis Pring, Ernest’s wife, also designed by Gray. This window was installed in 1998.

Provenance: the artist’s studio sale.

Literature: Jane Gray, Playing with Rainbows. (Shropshire: Ellingham Press, 2011), pp.50, 60, 85.

Condition: very good.

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