Jane Gray (b.1931)

St Oswald’s Church, Oswestry, Shropshire, Design for Stained Glass Window (2001)



28 x 27 cm

Signed, dated and studio stamp verso.

St Oswald’s Church in Oswestry, Shropshire has been a place of worship for nearly 1000 years and commands a prominent position in the Town Centre. The church has a rich history, with William Morgan, who famously translated the whole Bible into Welsh, appointed Vicar of Oswestry in 1599, and the renowned Victorian architect G E Street substantially renovating the church between 1872-74. The church and town receive their names from Saint Oswald, the Christian King of Northumbria, who was killed at the Battle of Maserfield in 642 AD by the pagan King of Mercia, a mere 400 metres from the site of the present church. One of Oswald’s severed arms was allegedly snatched by a raven and dropped “a bowshot” away, causing a well to spring up that would be visited for centuries for healing and still exists today. The present-day name of Oswestry is a corruption of the original name Oswald’s Tree, which derives from Oswald’s body being nailed to a tree in mock crucifixion. In Gray’s design, a large O fills the central four windows, a continuum (symbolising eternity) depicted at its centre, and a tree branching out across the central lights. Within them are also small roundels representing groups connected with Oswestry, including: Cambrian Railways, Round Table, Royal British Legion, Shropshire County Council, Oswestry Town Council, Rotary International, Lions International, Women’s Royal Voluntary Service, Orthopaedic Hospital, Royal Artillery, and Oswestry Borough Council. This window was installed and dedicated in 2004.

Provenance: the artist’s studio sale.

Literature: Jane Gray, Playing with Rainbows. (Shropshire: Ellingham Press, 2011), pp.63, 88-9.

Condition: very good.

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