East Window

 
 

The great East Window of St Michael’s, depcting the throne of God attended by angels and archangels, is the work of Charles Eamer Kempe. Kempe was a long-time collaborator of GF Bodley, and worked prolifically in the late 19th Century.

At the foot of the throne stands the Archangel Michael as he appears in the Book of Revelation:

 And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

Kempe-St-Michael

To either side of St Michael stand the Archangels Gabriel (holding a banner inscribed ‘Ave Maria gra ple’ [Hail Mary, full of Grace]) and Raphael.

The Angels surrounding the throne offer incense, hold the Lord’s train, or bear scrolls inscribed with the following phrases from the Psalms (in Latin):

‘O praise God in His holiness,’ (Ps. 150) ‘The sea is His and He made it, and His hands prepared the dry land,’ ‘O come, let us worship and fall down, and kneel before the Lord our Maker, for He is the Lord our God,’ (Ps. 95) ‘The Lord is King, and hath put on golrious apparel.’ (Ps. 93).

The East Window was a gift from Fr. Penfold on his death. The inscription reads ‘Remember before God Edward Bainbridge Penfold, first Vicar of this Parish, who died 29th July 1907, by whose desire, and at whose charge, this Window is here placed in praise of Almighty God and in honour of His holy Angels.’

The window displays many features typical of Kempe’s work. The faces of the figures are wonderfully detailed and expressive:

Kempe-face-detail

The deep, rich colours used for the robes and other details are contrasted by a light, airy quality provided by the extensive use of light-coloured glass:

Kempe-contrast

Many of the angels are depicted with peacock-feather wings, another typically Kempe feature:

Peacock-wings