Glasgow Cathedral Millennium Window
This project was and is a millennium project. I was asked to produce a design for this space in Glasgow Cathedral in 1998. I was very involved in a series of windows using text and symbolism at the time. The brief decided upon was "GROWTH". Physical, mental and spiritual. There was to be a focus on Christianity in our time. This is a church of Scotland building, so I decided to concentrate on the written word and particularly on the "Parable of the Sower" and related texts as the main theme.
This window, with the other text symbolism works, are amongst the most technically difficult works I have ever made and therefore have ever been made.
Glasgow Cathedral Millennium Window
Material - Mouth Blown, Flashed Lamberts Glass
Technique - Extensive multi-layered glass etching, glass painting and silver staining.
Dimensions - 3 lancets, 1 - 5Mt x 70cm, 2 - 4Mt x 50cm
This design for the Millennium Window completed in November 1997 has the theme GROWTH.
The year 2000 is the recognised or observed anniversary of the Birth of Christ,
therefore this window should relate to the life or teaching of Christ.
There are very few references on the theme of GROWTH in the New Testament.
One teaching that does seem relevant is the Parable of the Sower and some of
the related parables.
This parable works on several levels and deals directly with the three aspects of growth
that were outlined in the brief. It is also possible to symbolise which many teachings
The other parable included is the Parable of the Mustard Seed.
This parable can be interpreted to show that even the seemingly small and
insignificant can develop and grow and become important.
These parables seemed particularly relevant in the context of a work that is based
on GROWTH and is being funded mainly by three schools.
Another uniquely Christian concept is the Trinity and I wanted to make some reference
to this aspect of Christianity especially since this is a three lancet window.
To make this a Trinity window it is necessary to have three sections of equal proportion.
In this case the centre lancet is longer and wider than the two side windows therefore
I have inserted a smaller lancet within the central window to make this possible.
The Trinity is further symbolised by referring to a line in the Creed which states;
"...God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God,..."
In the upper section of each window are three representation of light;
The separation of the light from the darkness at the beginning of Genesis.
Christ as the light of Humanity.
The light of wisdom and understanding through the teachings of the Spirit.
There are also symbolic references to the Eucharist or Communion - wheat and a vine - and
a reference to Baptism.
The symbolism is only one aspect of this work.
The other part of my concept is contained within the Biblical Quotations listed below.
These quotations are thematically related to the main theme of Growth. For example,
the upper part of the right hand lancet contains the text
"let there grow on the earth plants which bear seed", this follows on from the main theme
of GROWTH. It also allows the inclusion of the symbols for the Communion, wheat and grapes.
The combination of text and symbol continues a series of works where I have combined the
elements of text and symbolism to create a very rich and vibrant image.
This can be read on both levels at the same time rather like the multi-layered qualities of
music, a quotation and the counterpointing of it with images or symbols.
It was part of my initial instruction that the work should be modern and of our time and
should be different from the other windows in the Cathedral.
This project is being funded by;
The Glasgow Academy
Hutchesons' Grammar School
The High School of Glasgow.
The Friends of Glasgow Cathedral
There is also an involvement by Historic Scotland.
Dedicated on St. Kentigerns' day. Jan. 2000.
Mouth Blown Antique Flashed Glass, multi layered etching, traditional black glasspainting and silverstaining.
God said, 'Let there be light,' Gen. 1 : 3
.. 'Let the earth produce growing things; let there be on the earth plants that bear seed,...Gen. 1 : 11.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil, and it sprouted quickly because it had no depth of earth; but when the sun rose it was scorched, and as it had no root it withered away. Mt. 13 : 5 - 6
A sower went out to sow. and as he sowed, some of the seed fell along the footpath; and the birds came and ate it up. Mt. 13 : 3 - 4
..the Word already was. The Word was in God's presence, and what God was the Word was. Jn. 1 : 1 - 2.
..In him was life, and that life was the light of humanity. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has never mastered it. Jn 1 : 4 - 5.
..I saw the Spirit come down from heaven like a dove and come to rest on him. Jn 1 : 32
..'The Sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. the field is the world; the good seed stands for the children of the Kingdom. Mt. 13 : 37
'The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. Mustard is smaller than any other seed, but when it has grown it is taller
than other plants; it becomes a tree, big enough for the birds to roost among its branches. Mt. 13 : 31 - 32
the wind blows where it wills; you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. Jn 3 : 8
..but look, I tell you, look around at the fields: they are already white, ripe for harvesting.. Jn 4 : 35
And some of the seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, and some thirtyfold. Mt. 13 : 8
A sower went out to sow, and as he sowed..
Some fell among thistles; and the thistles grew up and choked it. Mt. 13 : 7