Jane Gray (b.1931)

Shrewsbury Abbey, Design for Stained Glass Window Dedicated to St Winefride (1990)



39 x 19 cm

Signed, dated and studio stamp verso.

The red sandstone Abbey that resides over Shrewsbury is a welcoming landmark to visitors entering the town and dates back to the Norman era. Despite many renovations and alterations over the years, the medieval and Victorian elements marry remarkably naturally in this grand yet dignified place of worship. Shrewsbury abbey is home to several notable tombs and monuments as well as the remnants of a medieval shrine to St Winefride who was once venerated there. The central light at the top depicts the Trinity, where the Holy Spirit is represented by a dove, God by a vortex (left) and Christ by a lamb (right). The trinity remain linked throughout the design by a blue ribbon decorated with crosses and water droplets. St Winefride’s spiritual strength is represented by the large, central red cross, and her initial rests at its foot. In the left light, beneath the vortex, is corn, and to the right, grapes, both symbols uniting to form a timeless reference to the Eucharist. Below is the ship, a symbol of thee Ecumenical church, and on the right are seven doves representing the seven gifts of the holy spirit: wisdom, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. Two small roundels with Alpha and Omega (‘I am the beginning and the end’ as God notes in the Book of Revelations) unify the upper and lower windows in the design. The central lower light depicts St Winefride, set against a starry backdrop, holding the Martyr’s Palm and Cross beneath her martyr’s crown. The water that is said to have spewed forth from her decapitated head is symbolically illustrated in the fountain at her feet that flows into the adjacent lights. Further symbols to Saint Winefride adorn both the left and right lights. The crossed keys and inverted cross (left light) represent Saint Peter, and the sword, book, and anchor rounded cross represent Saint Paul, the saints to whom Shrewsbury Abbey is dedicated. The window was installed in 1992.

Provenance: the artist’s studio sale.

Literature: Jane Gray, Playing with Rainbows. (Shropshire: Ellingham Press, 2011), pp.47, 81.

Condition: very good.

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