Thursday, 29 September 2011

St. Modan's Church

The Session House was changed to being a chapel in 1957. About that time Charles E Stewart of Glasgow designed and installed these windows depicting the adoration of the Magi.

These two windows seem to me to be reminiscent of late 19th century work in composition and rendering. The setting is more modern and has less need to fill every available space.

The last window to be installed was by Crear McCartney in 1996. It was presented in honour of Mr Hugh Taylor in recognition of his contribution to the music of St. Modan's

This brilliantly shining, but hidden window completes my tour of the church.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

St. Modan's Church

The right side of the window depicts the ascension into heaven. He is supported by two elderly persons and watched in varying degrees of emotion by three others.

Above his head an angle is trumpeting his arrival while the Commandments and the Word are held by the supporters.

There still is little visible sign of joy or relief. The face of Christ remains as sombre and at repose as in the rest of the scenes.

However there seems to be something haunted and harried in the look of the person carrying the Commandments.

And the keeper of the Work is keeping his head down. Perhaps he is looking at the people below.

Friday, 23 September 2011

St. Modan's Church

The right side of the window depicts the resurrection from the tomb.

Christ is depicted emerging from the tomb holding a staff with a St. George style flag. The soldier guarding to tomb bows low while the angel bangs the cymbals in celebration.

Christ does not seem to be very excited by the whole event though.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

St. Modan's Church

The War memorial window is at the West, chancel end of the church. It was made by Stephen Adam and Son, a long established Glasgow firm with windows in many other churches and houses. The window was installed and dedicated at the end of 1921 - remarkably quickly after the end of the war. This was helped by an initial donation of £100 from the Princess Louise.

As befits a war memorial window, the theme is "the glory of sacrifice" as the local newspaper puts it.

This window has a curious older feel about it than the Strachan windows. It seems more like the Maitland and Clayton and Bell compositions than early 20th century windows. There are a number of panels each with a scene or a separating plain panel of lambs or angels.

The central portion of the window is of the crucifixion of Christ.

One Angel weeps while the other takes away a cup - possibly of his blood, or representing the sponge of vinegar Jesus was offered during his ordeal. He is supported by two people - the one on the right with a remarkably clumsy hand.

At the same time the face depicts a serene, even tired Jesus. Perhaps this is the end of the ordeal.

The woman seems to pray quietly.

The holder of the Word or possibly a Jewish or Roman law book looks merely pensive. On further examination of the hand, it looks as though it was originally intended as the palm with the hand behind the back.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

St. Modan's Church

The first set of Strachan windows are known as the R H Storey Memorial Window. The Rev Story was minister here before leaving for a Glasgow University professorship and then became the Principal of Glasgow University. These have the twin themes of cleaning the temple of the money changers and of teaching in their former place, and were installed in 1908.

At the head of the scourging of the temple, is this fine representation of "zeal". It presents a peaceful counterpoint to the scene below.

The calm face of the person joins with the dove to present a sense of peace.

Below the tracery the violence of the cleansing of the temple goes on.

Some seem to be relatively calm about the disturbance.

Others seem to be oblivious to the disturbance.

The stern features of Jesus wielding the branches to drive people from the temple are evident.

More people look on in some concern about what Jesus is doing.

But only one person seems really frightened of the actions.

This is a window with a lot of action and movement. It has a strong composition with a significant amount of tension.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

St. Modan's Church

There are two Douglas Strachan windows in the South transept. The first you come to is a window dedicated to Mr Lorne Campbell, the factor to the Duke of Argyll, who walked with his family each Sunday the four miles over the moors to the church. His widow presented the window to the church. Princess Louise is said to have had great influence in choosing Strachan as the artist.

The windows relate to the text "and with his hands he healed them" and to the text referring to Christ carrying the cross "For us men and for our salvation"

The Lorne Campbell Window

You can see from this general image that these windows are a big departure from the earlier ones. This window was installed in 1915 and follow the artistic conventions of the time. As in all Strachan's work there is a clear Arts and Crafts influence, but with a distinctive Scottish expression.

Healing, Upper

Healing, Lower

There is a strong composition within the two windows as a set and also within each window. But I find myself drawn to the faces.

Healing, Detail

This, I presume, is a father bringing his son to be healed. The determination shown in the father's partially turned head combined with the uplifted head of the son exhibiting an enduring nature is affecting.

The peaceful appearances of the angels above the whole scene provide assurance all will be well. Still not all of theme are serene. Some seem to be pressing to get a view too.

Here you have two figures looking on critically. Are they the religious leaders making certain all is done within the appropriate bounds? A thin lipped Jesus proceeds to lay his hand on a daughter while raising her up with the other.

The exhausted father looks hopefully toward Jesus while the daughter seems to be wide-eyed with trust.

In the other part of the window Strachan uses the theme of salvation through the crucifixion.

Crucifixion, upper

Crucifixion, Lower

Here Christ takes the weight of the cross, staring at the ground. The soldiers are not impassive, one seems to be full of grim determination to see it through, while the other through the glance to the side seems to have some sympathy.

Is this his mother, full of despair supported by Joseph or one of his brothers?

All of this is watched over by the crowd of angels, again they jostle each other for a view.

Much more information about Douglas Strachan and his works can be found on Wikipedia and Ecclesiart.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

St. Modan's Church

There is a small window just opposite the entry to the church and next to the large Clayton and Bell window in the East transept. This also is by Clayton and Bell. It was dedicated by his father in memory of Captain McLeod Campbell who was drowned at sea in 1888.

The image is of Christ walking on the water. I am not sure this was entirely appropriate, but I assume the father approved.