| Charles Eamer Kempe
Stained Glass Windows
|St. Mary Magdalene, Hucknall has the largest collection
of stained glass from the Kempe Studios in any building in England. With no
less than 20 impressive examples of his work, a visit to Hucknall Church is a
necessity for all lovers of stained glass. C E Kempe is a key figure in 19th
century decorative art in this country and his windows give his own
interpretation of medieval stained glass. He had wanted to be a Priest but a
serious speech impediment prevented this so he devoted his life to glorifying
God in worship through his windows and other decorative, mainly religious, art.
His studios grew rapidly in the last twenty years of the nineteenth century and brought new refinements to the art of stained glass making. His work can be found in churches all over the world.
The windows here are important because they all date from the Studios middle, dominant, period (1883-1895) and show the full range and variety of subjects and styles. They repay detailed study. In particular, notice the finely drawn facial features, the rich colours, the amount of detail in the background of the scenes depicted, and the angels' peacock feathers. The Kempe "autograph" of this period (the Wheatsheaf) is also present in four of the windows. One Kempe window is an exact copy of one commissioned by Princess Alice after the death of her children, and the east window is reputed to contain a portrait of Byron.
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