Linköping Cathedral

2005 - 2010
Linköping Domkyrka, Östergötland, Sweden

In 2005, Brian Clarke was approached to design two suites of stained glass windows for the thirteenth-century Linköping Cathedral in Sweden. For this project, he created a pair of three-light windows, each situated above one of the cathedral's porch entrances, and an unrealised scheme of six windows for the Thomas Becket Chapel.

The porch windows, measuring a total of 312 square feet, were installed in 2010. These stained glass works had to be adapted to the original windows, designed in the 1850s and of great cultural-historical significance. The lancets incorporate photographs from Clarke's studies of Swedish oak leaves made between 2005 and 2008.

Speaking in conversation in 2020 about his designs for the windows, Clarke said:

‘At Linköping, when the light comes through those cast iron diamonds found in the fenestration throughout the cathedral, it throws a really appealing pattern onto the stonework, a bit like the pattern you get when you can see light reflecting off a calm lake with just a little bit of top breeze on it – a flat, even ripple everywhere, a flicker like you used to get in old films. And it's very nice, that, the warmth and sort of democratic calm flicker of this light coming through. And I didn't want to disturb that, so it was also very straightforward for me to deal with: if I could keep the same pattern of flicker in my work it would be even more coherent with the rest of the building.’

The windows are described by Gunnar Lindkvist, former head of Östergötland Museum:

‘The window on the north side (the window of the Spirit) has its diamond quarries penetrated by a dove flying against the sky and clouds. In the southern window (the Son’s window) nature, in the form of decorative oak leaves, breaks through the rhombic pattern and creates a dramatic change. But above all it is the strong colours that carry the artwork. It is a colouristic effect that reverts to the medieval stained glass windows that created a splendour of colour in cathedrals like Linköping in the Middle Ages, whose windows were destroyed by fires during the 16th century. The new stained glass windows give a clue as to what was lost, while being a unique Swedish artistic work for our own time.’