Work

Grisaille Fleurs de Lys

2003

The 'Grisaille Fleurs de Lys' are a group of four autonomous artworks in stained glass: calligraphic drawings in lead and mouthblown glass, framed within their frames by an irregular border of solid lead or coloured glass. Each is a 'portrait' using the graphic device of the medieval emblem: Clarke’s friends and collaborators, the architects Jan Kaplický, Oscar Niemeyer, Norman Foster, and Zaha Hadid, referred to in the title of each: 'Drawing for Zaha Hadid', '[...] for Jan Kaplický', et cetera.

These are part of a quite large group of paintings, drawings, tapestry and stained glass projects and pieces in which I have taken this medieval heraldic symbol and used it as a route map to journey through my own preoccupations and interests. Considering the design perfection of the millennium-old original fleur de lys, my works are like the modern remains or wreckage of ancient masterpieces. I’m involuntarily drawn to the symbol, and it has served me as a metaphor, model and springboard for spontaneity for years.” – Brian, 2021