More good news – this time, that the definitive guide to Marga’s windows in Shrewsbury Cathedral is back in print.
‘Letting in the Light of Christ’ by Roger Hall was originally published in a small run in 2008, at the expense of the author; and sold for a nominal price of just £1. The even better news is that the cover price of the reprint remains the same!
Roger Hall was a parishioner at the Cathedral up until a few years ago when he moved away to East Anglia. His familiarity with the building is astonishing, and it is no surprise to learn that he was involved in the Cathedral’s 150th Anniversary Exhibition back in 2006.
The laminated information sheets, which visitors will find at each Margaret Rope window in the building, were also written by Roger.
The ‘Letting in the Light of Christ’ booklet, which is 34 (A5) pages long, has an absolute wealth of detail about the stories in all seven of the windows completed by Marga. One can of course just enjoy the windows as breathtaking works of art in themselves, but Roger also tells the lives of the saints and scenes depicted in them.
These details are important too, as Marga deliberately created scenes which can involve very complex imagery – not to mention tiny ‘disguised’ references that might go unnoticed otherwise (one thinks here, for instance, of the catacomb scene in the St Laurence Window, in which there is a cryptic reference to the Cathedral chaplain killed in the First World War).
One’s understanding is greatly enhanced by Roger’s backgrounding … and anyway, the stories are just fascinating in themselves!
However, the booklet is designed as an on-the-spot guide, so it is basically all text – and none the worse for that.
(Anyone wanting a book of photos of the windows will have to wait until next year, when a really stunning photo-book – we’ve seen the proofs! – is promised).
The new edition has been supported by the Shrewsbury branch of The Catenians, which is why the cover price can be kept so low. It was important to all concerned to keep the price down, as the idea was, and is, to encourage publicity for Marga’s work.
However, it is only a limited run – of 150 copies. It seems likely it will sell out sometime next year. If anyone wants to sponsor a further run…. do let us know!
The booklet is on sale in the Cathedral (see Shrewsbury Cathedral Visiting Hours), or by mail-order post. Write to Cathedral Offices, 11 Belmont, Shrewsbury SY1 1TE, and enclose a book of six second-class stamps to cover the costs. All profits from sales go to the work of Shrewsbury Cathedral.
Interestingly enough, Roger’s work is not the only one on sale at the Cathedral bookshop to feature Margaret Rope.
Written jointly by Jane Gillett, a parishioner at Shrewsbury Cathedral, and Canon Jonathan, the dean of the Cathedral, a new tract called The Prodigal Son – a series of reflections on the virtue of Mercy and how it has been observed in religious writings and in religious practice – has just been published. The meditations are entered around images made by Margaret Rope, including her Prodigal Son stained-glass series in Lanark Church and her glass-panels on the lives of the English Martyrs now in Tyburn Convent.
Although primarily meant as a guide to religious contemplation, the photos of the windows in the booklet may attract purchases by stained-glass enthusiasts too.
Other similar booklets – i.e. ones that use images by Margaret Rope – on sale at the Cathedral are Saint Peter and Our Lady Help Of Christians (which also has a short account of the installation of MR’s windows in Shrewsbury Cathedral).
For more information, contact the Cathedral Administration