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David Hockney designs The Queen’s Window for Westminster Abbey

PUBLISHED: 00:00 29 October 2018

The Queen's Window by David Hockney - his first stained glass work

The Queen's Window by David Hockney - his first stained glass work


Artist David Hockney honours the Queen and celebrates the Yorkshire countryside

David Hockney and the Queen's Window at Westminster AbbeyDavid Hockney and the Queen's Window at Westminster Abbey

A new stained glass window designed by David Hockney has been revealed to the public for the first time at Westminster Abbey. The window depicts a vividly coloured country scene reflecting the Queen’s deep affection and connection to the countryside.

The new window, called The Queen’s Window, is in the Abbey’s north transept, and was commissioned by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster to celebrate the Queen’s reign.

David Hockney, 81, one of the most influential artists of the Queen’s reign and whose contribution has been recognised with an Order of Merit and as a Companion of Honour, crafted the work on his iPad. It is his first work to appear in stained glass.

The brief to the artist was to provide something symbolic or representational of the subject, rather than a heraldic or figurative design, and for it to be recognisable as his work.

Panels of the new Queen's Window at Barley Studio, York destined for Westminster AbbeyPanels of the new Queen's Window at Barley Studio, York destined for Westminster Abbey

Hockney’s response was to design a country scene, set within Yorkshire featuring hawthorn blossom, using his distinct colour palette of yellow, red, blue, pink, orange and greens. The subject reflects the Queen as a countrywoman and her delight in, and yearning for, the countryside, said a Westminster Abbey spokesperson.

Stained glass artists and craftspeople of Barley Studio created the window using traditional techniques, working with the artist to translate his vision into glass. Barley Studio are a leading stained glass studio of over 40 years based in York.

During the process the artist expressed his wish to depict his design in block colour, following the simplicity of Matisse’s windows in using traditional techniques of glass and lead without the use of glass paint, enamels, acid etching or plating.

Hockney said during an interview with the BBC that he used an iPad to create the work because it was backlit (as is a window) and added: ‘It was a very nice thing to do.’

Helen Whittaker at Barley Studios, York works on panels of the stained glass window designed by David HockneyHelen Whittaker at Barley Studios, York works on panels of the stained glass window designed by David Hockney

Westminster Abbey has a rich tradition of commissioning stained glass which includes windows by Sir Ninian Comper, Hugh Easton and John Piper. The last stained glass to be installed was in June 2013 by Hughie O’Donoghue RA who designed two of the Lady Chapel windows, which were translated into glass by Helen Whittaker of Barley Studio.

The window was formally dedicated by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall in the presence of the artist, his family, friends and invited guests.

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