Lavers & Barraud Building

Jewell and Withers Building, London, United Kingdom

In 1981, Clarke was commissioned to design and fabricate a stained glass artwork for the Grade II-listed Jewell and Withers Building at 22 Endell Street in Covent Garden, London. The polychrome brick building was originally designed by Jewell and Withers in 1859, in the early Gothic Revival style and was the former location of the Lavers & Barraud stained glass studio.

Part-funded by the Crafts Council of Great Britain, Clarke's modern stained glass gable window, located on the Betterton Street elevation and visible along much of Endell Street, fills what was the nineteenth-century workshop's viewing window. The colour scheme was derived from Clarke's analysis of Lavers & Barraud's own colour palette, and the work was designed to be as striking by daylight viewed from outside as from within, and to have a nocturnal presence when lit internally at night.

In his essay 'Eloquence from Intractability', from the 1994 monograph Brian Clarke: Architectural Artist, Martin Harrison writes:

‘In place of biblical scenes in his 'medallions' Clarke reverses the historical precedent by making the ten rectangular 'medallions' the negative passages in his design. Against a deep blue background and set off by ruby borders (a colour scheme which, in ironically quoting one of their conventions, makes humorous reference to the building's Victorian occupants), the only incidents the 'medallions' frame are the pale blue streaks inherent in the texture of their white opalescent glass. As he has often stated, colour and line can be as eloquent as the human figure.’