Papal Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature to Great Britain

Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See, London, United Kingdom

In 2010, Brian Clarke was commissioned to design an artwork for the Papal Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature in London to mark the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom and to commemorate the Beatification of John Henry Newman. This was the first time a pope had visited the United Kingdom at the invitation of the sovereign.

The artwork is a triptych in the form of a three-light stained glass window, overlooking Wimbledon Common, on the street-side of Winkfield Lodge, the diplomatic office of the Holy See in Great Britain. Three candles represent, respectively, Thomas More, John Fisher and John Henry Newman. The Grade II-listed building at 54 Parkside was designed in 1897 by architect C. W. Stephens. It was blessed by Pope Benedict XVI in a private mass, celebrated on the second day of his visit.

Clarke explained in 2010:

‘When I started working in the medium of stained glass, it was a dying art. I knew from a very early age that the future of the medium would only be assured if it had an application in public buildings and was not limited to ecclesiastical architecture. I looked for opportunities in all kinds of public buildings and declined opportunities in the church. I fought for that and continue to fight for that. It's a lifelong pilgrimage. Churches only call on me if they want me to do something challenging and exciting. As a consequence, with a long history behind me of substantial secular and public works, I feel now that I can re-engage occasionally, working in the church and giving it my best on a level that it deserves and I demand.’