Hutton, John

John Hutton, detail of The Great West Screen (1961), Coventry Cathedral.
Photo: Peter Hildebrand

John Hutton, the muralist and glass engraver, was originally destined for a career in the law but he and his wife decided to come to England in 1936 and joined an artists’ commune at Assington Hall in Suffolk where he worked on several mural commissions. When the war broke out in 1939 he joined one of the army camouflage units where he met the architect Basil Spence who was later to recruit him among other artists working on the new Coventry Cathedral.

After the war Hutton turned to glass engraving and in 1947 received his first commission of four panels for the restaurant on the Cunard ship Caronia. In the 1950s he developed a new technique for engraving using grinding wheels on a hand-held flexible drive.

The Great West Screen which Hutton designed and made for Coventry Cathedral was his chef d’oeuvre and took about seven years to complete between the mid-1950s and the consecration of the cathedral in 1962. The screen is seventy feet high and comprises sixty-six panels depicting stylised images of saints and angels engraved in clear glass. The success of this led to further similar commissions including those for Guildford Cathedral, the National Library and Archive Building in Ottawa, the Shakespeare Centre in Stratford-on-Avon and Civic Centres in Newcastle-on-Tyne and Plymouth.

Source: University of Warwick Art Collection – John Hutton

This artist's work is mentioned at the following locations