Happy Christmas 2018 and a lovely Leonard Evetts stained glass window


Stained glass window from St Barnabas Church, Beckenham, Kent (Leonard Evetts?)

Christmas morning found us at the local parish church in Beckenham in Kent, an unspoilt red brick building with more than a hint of the Arts and Crafts movement about it.  About 50 people gathered in the choir rather than in the body of the church which made for a feeling of greater involvement in the service. David’s four year old half Chinese granddaughter behaved beautifully, partially helped by being in the very midst of things yet also able to sink back into the depths of the choir stalls and soak up the atmosphere.  Much of the church’s glass, including the west window and some behind the altar was clear and undecorated as the windows had been blown out during WWII.  There were, however, two exquisite stained glass panels above the altar – one of the Virgin and one, probably, of St Barnabas, the church’s patron saint.  We were entranced by them and their fine detail – I couldn’t take my eyes off the pile of flowers and especially the little red roses at the Virgin’s feet. No one we spoke to knew anything about these windows. To me they looked like the work of Leonard Evetts, the watercolourist and stained glass artist who died in 1997 – and research when we got back to where we were staying confirmed this impression. Yet, most of Evett’s work is to be seen in churches in the North-East of England – why should he have done these two little windows in an ordinary parish church in Kent? Fascinated my husband is going to delve further. How grateful I am that our daughter-in-law took this picture of what may be an important and possibly little documented work of art. An exciting discovery for Christmas morning, as good as any present!

Cheltenham 28 December 2018

Leonard Evetts: Preparatory drawing for window in Saint Barnabas Church Beckenham (from the book Leonard Evetts Master Designer, privately printed 2001)

Now home in Cheltenham, I’ve been able to look at a book we have on our shelves Leonard Evetts Master Designer (Privately Printed, 2001). In it is a sketch for the windows of St Barnabas, Beckenham but interestingly the sketch looks quite different from the finished windows. This seems to be partly because of the strong colours used, especially blue and red, and I now realise – somewhat sadly – that what I thought were angel heads surrounded by roses and flowers beneath the Virgin’s feet are possibly no more than the brightly coloured bodies of the angels themselves! Nevertheless it is an excellent work of art  and deserves to be photographed by something better than a phone camera.

Leonard Evetts Master Designer (Privately Printed, 2001)

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  1. Posted December 27, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    How lovely! And such a discovery!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted December 28, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it’s always so life affirming when you make discoveries like this when you weren’t expecting it.

  2. Linda Pennell
    Posted December 28, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    I passed your post to Jane Brocket, the queen of stained glass, who sen this really helpful link. Hope this gets researches off to a good start. Happy New Year

    • Mary Addison
      Posted December 28, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Linda. We do have the book you linked to and now I’m back home and have it to refer to, I’ll just add a bit more to my post.
      My husband remembers Evetts from university as he taught fine art at Newcastle University when my husband was studying there (at that time it was part of the University of Durham and confusingly was known as King’s College, Durham).

  3. Ann Chapman
    Posted June 22, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I love Evetts work and have seen may of his window in the North East. This was a new one to me so lovely to see

    • Mary Addison
      Posted June 22, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Sorry it’s not a good photograph. I love his work – he has a great style all of his own.

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