Peel Cottage Window, 1982

The Stained Glass Museum, Ely Cathedral, United Kingdom


The 1982 Peel Cottage Window was the first of several works Clarke designed for the same space in his home studio, which now houses the 1996 Peel Cottage Window. The abstract composition, in two panels, is made up of a regular matrix of squares of mouthblown glass in varying shades of transparent green, and opaque white, overlaid with his signature, Constructivist 'reticules', and progressions of amorphic forms with calligraphic lead-lines laid over the stable structure, which is punctuated by a single red cross.

"This was the first of the three works I’ve designed for the same window in my home studio/living room. It comes from a particular period in my work, when I was very preoccupied with the grid and ways of undermining it. Grids have always been a source of pleasure for me, probably because they deliver a reliable basis for art to challenge the idea of the constant. If you begin with order, disruption or even chaos will inevitably follow. At the time, I was listening to Ligeti, plus Brian Eno and Kraftwerk, both of whom I worked with. I was appropriating the musical ideas of repetitive structural rhythms being punctuated by sounds that leap free from a matrix. I listened to this kind of music while I was working: Norman Foster and I had many stimulating conversations on the implications of this idea to architecture. Now this window is on loan to The Stained Glass Museum, in Ely Cathedral, and I have the fleur-de-lys window in its place." – Brian, 2019