Francis Spear: Design for glass stained window, early 1940's - on Art WW I



Francis Spear:
Design for glass stained window, early 1940's

Unmounted (ref: 7063)
Signed with monogram
Black ink, gouache
30 x 12 1/2 in. (76.2 x 31.8 cm)

Tags: Francis Spear gouache ink design religion Sixty designs for Christmas and New Year

Provenance: Simon Spear, the artist’s son

During the War Spear ceased teaching at the RCA (which was evacuated to Ambleside in 1940) and served for three years as a fire-fighter in Shepherds Bush.  This  Wartime period was not a completely redundant time for Spear from a professional point of view -  he assisted on the removal, for protection, of windows at Canterbury Cathedral.  He also experimented with new designs which were more modern in feel, a change that he hoped would  'give the feeling of the subject with the greatest simplicity and with the elimination of all details.' and devised his distinctive monogram of an interlocking S with a sideways F.  When the War ended  Spear gained so many commissions  - to replace  stained glass windows destroyed during the Blitz.- that by 1947 he was employing four assistants.

During his career, he designed windows for over 130 locations; and a short list of notable designs include his earliest window, at Warwick School (1925), St. Olave's in the City (1929), Snaith (1936), Beckenham (1948), Canterbury (1949), Glasgow Cathedral (1951, 1953, 1958), Highbury (1955), Westgate (1960) and Penarth (1962).

The collection of the Prints and Drawings department of the Victoria & Albert Museum own all of  the surviving cartoons for the  300 extant windows he produced over his fifty year long career.

We are grateful to Alan Brooks and Simon Spear for assistance.

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