Christopher Whall (1849-1924)

Pictured: Christopher Whall (front row, in morning dress) and students at the Royal College of Art, 1902.

Christopher Whitworth Whall died on 23rd December, 1924.

From Wikipedia: “Whall was a British stained-glass artist who worked from the 1880s and on into the 20th century. He is widely recognised as a leader in the Arts and Crafts Movement and a key figure in the modern history of stained glass…

The Central School of Art and Crafts was founded by the London County Council in 1896. Whall was hired by the school’s directors, George Frampton and William Lethaby, to be among the eleven teachers at the school. He taught the craft of stained glass. Students taking Whall’s class were a wide assortment of ages, backgrounds and level of experience. During the first school year, Whall taught his classes alone, but by 1897 he had hired Alfred Drury, an experienced glazer to teach the crafts of leading and glazing. Whall’s method of teaching, which he called the “Ruskin method”, taught students to combine close observations and detailed workmanship along with more traditional artistic skills. He encouraged students by giving them small tasks to perfect before working up to large, more complex work. Whall was a gifted communicator and a popular teacher…

In 1896, with increasing demand for work and the necessity to spend more time in London, Whall and his family moved to Eyot Cottage, Chiswick, London where they shared the residence of architect, Charles Spooner. Whall and Spooner were professional associates and good friends. They often collaborated on commissions and (both) shared a (mutual) interest in leaded glazing…

In 1907, Whall decided to establish his own studio-workshop and took over the building at 1 Ravenscourt Park, Hammersmith. The site was formerly used by his friend Charles Spooner, the architect, as a furniture making workshop…”

William Morris Gallery catalogue:

“Christopher Whall’s windows in Gloucester Lady Chapel are arguably the finest post-medieval stained glass in any of our cathedrals, and, with the possible exception of the unexecuted Christchurch Priory designs, his finest large scale work”

Fiona MacCarthy: William Morris (1994) Chapter Four: Northern France 1855-56

“What did Morris make of the glass in Chartres Cathedral?…In a later essay he suggests the twelfth century as the beginning of the real history of stained glass as art…

In the back of his mind one senses the lingering intense reds and blues of Chartres, and the narrative content of those windows: the groupings and the bustlings of knights and priests and peasants, fishmongers and butchers, vintners and cobblers, a community in action.”

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