Church of All Saints, Clifton, Bristol
AddressChurch of All Saints, 68 Pembroke Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 3ED
Artist, maker and dateDesigned by John Piper and made by David Gillespie Associates, 1967
Reason for highlighting
An unusual scheme of windows by John Piper worked in fibre glass and polyester.
All Saints Church is a remarkable building, being an ingenious reworking of a major work of 1868 by architect George Edmund Street, which was devastated by incendiary bombs in December 1940. The remarkable reworking, carried out by Robert Potter, and consecrated in 1967 blended sympathetic conservation of surviving sections of Street’s original fabric, namely the narthex, tower and sacristy with a strikingly modernist statement. The new building was cutting edge in terms of its form, furnishings and liturgy. The Piper ‘stained glass’ panels formed from fibreglass and polyester are one of the most surprising elements of the building, externally they give no hint of the exciting explosion of colour and mood they give to the interior.
An exciting and unusual step away from convention.
A complete contrast in style and aesthetics can be seen in the Lady Chapel, which is part of the old church. Here is the last window designed by Christopher Webb, and made and installed in 1967, the year after his death. It is on the theme of Christ in majesty with saints.
A five minute walk from All Saints are the dramatic dalle de verre windows in the Narthex of Clifton Roman Catholic Cathedral by Henry Haig, created just a few years after Piper’s windows.
John Egerton Christmas Piper CH (1903 –1992) was an English painter, printmaker and designer of stained-glass windows and both opera and theatre sets. He began working in stained glass in partnership with Patrick Reyntiens, whom he had met through John Betjeman, from 1950
John Piper on Wikipedia
Stained Glass: art or anti-art by John Piper (Studio Vista, 1968)
John Piper and Stained Glass by June Osborne (Sutton Publishing, 1997)
David Gillespie Associates is now Gillespie UK. The company’s founder, David Gillespie, was a talented sculptor, who trained at The Royal Academy of Arts. From these distinguished artistic origins, the company has grown to become a pioneer in the development of modern day laminated Glass Reinforced Gypsum (GRG) products and construction techniques, working on major projects in the UK and middle East.