the way to address an impressively big audience at the UK’s newest branch of
the Classical Association, founded in Lytham St. Anne’s a couple of years ago by
the enterprising (and then only 17-year old) Katrina Kelly, I stopped off in a
hailstorm at Preston. In the Harris Museum
I stumbled across this jaw-dropping stained-glass window celebrating ancient
Greek achievements in philosophy, science, art, literature, and riding horses
bareback to the Parthenon.
had heard of the artist, Henry Holiday, because I’ve done some research on
women from classical history in British art. He painted Aspasia, Pericles’ intellectual girlfriend, sitting on the Pnyx Hill where the
Athenian Assembly met. But I didn’t know, until The Best Window in Britain
sent me scurrying off to read his memoirs, that Holiday was a sterling supporter
of women’s suffrage (which explains the significance of the Pnyx).
|Holiday's Aspasia on the Pnyx|
was a colourful character. He also campaigned for Irish independence, socialism
and dress reform. He believed that sartorial uniformity was destroying homo
sapiens and that we should all wear different clothes. He personally liked to
wear an outfit of medieval chain-mail.
years he kept a cast of Praxiteles’ Hermes and an enormous model of the Acropolis
he'd constructed for himself in his studio. The latter, he says, he sold to the
Royal Ontario Museum: Toronto readers, is it still on display there?
He had an
intense relationship with all the many hundred figures he portrayed in stained
glass in churches, town halls and universities in the USA as well as Britain.
The clean-shaven patristic writer Tertullian, whom he designed for Trinity College,
Cambridge, had to be revised when a friend told him that the worthy Church
Father thought shaving was effeminate.
Greek window was commissioned in 1905 by the Harris Museum, founded in memory
of the longstanding Headmaster of Preston Grammar School, the Reverend Robert
Harris. He was the upwardly mobile son of a ‘goods carrier’. He had
read a few classics books himself.
|Robert Harris reading|
|Homer with line 1 of the Iliad|
lowest panel portrays Sappho, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Homer. The
middle panel, with its Greek inscription The
Great Panathenaea, is a vivid rendition of some Parthenon horsemen.
|The classics-mad GCSE Drama set from Lancashire Technology College|
But I need help on the top panel (thinkers and artists) because my arms couldn’t hold
my camera high enough to include all the names. I think the information on
display has got some of the names against the wrong figures and that Aristotle,
of whom I’m collecting portraits, is actually second from the left at the top. There is no guide book available offering any discussion.
|Which Sage is Which? |
to the Harris is free. If anyone in the north-west taller than I am can get a good photo of the
top panel, with all the names, I would be grateful.
I want to discuss it in my
forthcoming book from my Classics & Class project, A People’s History of Classics, co-authored with Henry Stead, which has been accepted by
Routledge under their Gold Open Access scheme and will be made available,
entirely free, online. This is only appropriate for a study addressing the
historic exclusion of the working class from intellectual property. But I need
a good image of Holiday’s top panel! You will be warmly thanked in the caption.
|Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston|
Not enough photo to go on here, Edith. Have you recorded the names separately?ReplyDelete
No! Because they are underneath the figures on top row and I couldn't get in close enough.Delete
Current ROM Acropolis "model shows the complex of buildings known as the Acropolis of Athens, as it was during the Athenian “Golden Age”, about 400 BC. It was made in Athens in the 1940s under the direction of G.P. Stevens of the American School of Classical Studies. Additions were made by Sylvia Hahn, working under the direction of J. Walter Graham at the ROM. Scale 1:200."ReplyDelete
However, ROM has the design sketches for the 3 windows by Holiday at UofT, see http://torontopubliclibrary.typepad.com/trl/2014/02/100-years-of-light-the-stained-glass-story-at-the-lillian-massey-building.html
Thanks so much for this! The Holiday windows are wonderful. He had a great passion for ancient Egypt and it is nice to see his Egyptians doing so much cooking!ReplyDelete
Edith, I've been researching the Acropolis model in the ROM (the one currently on display), and I'm not sure it's the one about which Henry Holiday writes. It's my understanding that an original was created by Greek artists under Gorham Stevens' direction, and then a copy was made and donated to the ROM by W.C. Laidlaw (with additional copies sent to the Met and Cuba, of all places). Then additions/elaborations were made to the model by Sylvia Hahn (whom I've been researching). I've found Holiday's mention of this model on p. 308 of his memoirs, but I've found no mention of him in ROM publications related to their Acropolis model - see, for example, Phoenix 1960 (vol. 14, no. 3), 146-150. If you've found anything more to suggest that these two models are one and the same, I'd be much appreciative. Many thanks, Jacquelyn Clements.ReplyDelete