Holy Sepulchre, London EC1
AddressHoly Sepulchre, Holborn Viaduct, London EC1A 2DQ
HighlightThe Sir Henry Wood memorial window, central window of the north wall of the Musicians’ Memorial Chapel
Artist, maker and dateG.E.R. Smith, 1946
Reason for highlighting
The Musicians’ Memorial Chapel was re dedicated in 1940s in memory of the conductor Sir Henry Wood, the founder of the ‘BBC Proms’.
A beautiful St Cecilia as the patron saint of music, wearing her double crown of roses and lilies, and surrounded by musical angels appears above two views of Wood. We see him first by candlelight as a young boy learning to play the organ in the church itself and then again proudly conducting the Proms, his signature white carnation clearly on show in his buttonhole.
Holy Sepulchre, which is located within the parish of St. Sepulchre Without Newgate, has one of the most comprehensive ranges of twentieth century glass in the City of London.
Other windows in the Musician’s Memorial Chapel contain further musical references including a dynamic pair of windows designed by Brian Thomas and made by James Powell & Sons in 1962 and 1963. The first, to the east of the Sir Henry Wood memorial window, is dedicated to the Australian soprano Dame Nellie Melba, while the second, in the west wall, remembers the composer John Ireland.
Another window by Gerald E R Smith in the south aisle, made in 1938, commemorates the history of the making of stained glass itself and is part of a memorial window to A.K. Nicholson (1871-1937). This was Nicholson’s local church and he and Smith had worked together for over thirty years. There is an affectionate tiny detail of golf clubs, as a reference to Nicholson’s great passion for golf, to the left of the dedication.
In 1968 a complex window in a very different style was designed by Francis Skeat. It is to the west of the above and commemorates the Elizabethan explorer, Captain John Smith, who is buried in the church. It is notable for how much of the detail is based on a close study of contemporary sources.
Gerald Edward Roberts Smith FMGP (1883-1959) trained at Chester Art School and was apprenticed to Edward Frampton (1850-1929). He joined the A K Nicholson Studio in 1906, and took over running the studio upon Nicholson’s death in 1937.
Source: Stained Glass Marks & Monograms, complied by Joyce Little, and edited by Angela Goedicke & Margaret Washbourn (NADFAS, 2002)