Work

Thomas Beckett Chapel, Linköping Cathedral

Linköpings Domkyrka, Sweden

2006

An unrealised scheme of six stained glass windows for Sweden’s oldest Gothic cathedral, with a series of studies and designs prepared in in watercolour and collage (2006). Brian has described Linköping Cathedral, which dates back to 1230, as "one of the most spiritual buildings in Europe. It’s Gothic without flourish, big but not massive, and it is calm. It had a sense of Latin mysticism that it is very rare to find in Northern Europe. The Thomas Beckett Chapel is one of the most poetic architectural spaces built in that period of extraordinary spaces.Two other, related windows were designed by Brian in 2005 for the north and south porches of the cathedral, as part of the larger scheme with the Beckett Chapel; the porch windows were fabricated and installed in 2010.

"Three of the windows designed for the Thomas Beckett Chapel are like the world being born out of fire, out of flames, but then with the coolness of those collaged elements of oak leaf and birds moving across in green and blue. Volcanic, but with soft, organic, beautiful tender life coming out of it – glowing like it has light inside itself. That golden element is the reflected sun in the doves’ wings, and rendered in stained glass the leaves underneath would be just glowing with life, like life out of the firmament of fire. Feathers and leaves are like nature's own stained glass: I've photographed each thousands of times, and the idea of illustrating nature's 'first' stained glass in my own is such a great feeling; I keep chasing after it. I'd long had an interest in Thomas Beckett, and was attracted to this project for that reason, but I had this idea in the Beckett Chapel of making it almost like you're in an aquarium, the stained glass itself like a snapshot of water in motion, with its liquid light moving around you, genuinely medieval in colouration, to stimulate and trigger a sort of half memory of heraldry without 'saying' heraldry." – Brian, 2020