It’s a sad fact that the life and works of Margaret Agnes Rope are barely heard of, despite the fact that her windows are to be found in churches over three continents.
However, a new, beautifully-presented art-book, published this month, seeks to right that wrong, and to remind us of the unique vision of this unique woman.
‘Margaret Rope Of Shrewsbury’
In its fifty glossy pages, this book, ‘Margaret Rope Of Shrewsbury’, presents nearly 150 photo-illustrations of her stained-glass windows – covering the majority of the artist’s known works.
There are images from her early works made in the 1900s, when she was studying at the famous Birmingham School of Art, right through to her very last creations in the days just before World War Two.
We may be biased (!), but it’s surely a stunning creation, in which each page reveals a dazzle of colour and line – and is definitely the next best thing to visiting all those churches across the world where her windows still can be found by the discerning visitor.
Margaret possessed a powerful spiritual vision, one that gave her religious artworks an extreme vibrancy when seen in a church setting, and nearly every single one of her windows ended up in a church.
The author of this book, Arthur Rope, is himself a first-cousin removed of Margaret Rope, and has spent years researching and photographing her glass, and investigating the few facts that are known of her life. He maintains the definitive Margaret Rope website.
He told us: “I have always felt drawn to Marga, though I only know of her through family memories. I have never understood why her work has not been more fully recognised – the beauty of it and the power of it astonishes everyone when they finally do get to see examples”.
Thanks to a grant, he is able to publish this book independently.
It is Arthur’s hope to see his relative’s achievements properly recognised: “Even now, sixty years after her death, it is not too late to restore her reputation.”
Each image in the book is fully described and explained; and an appendix gives each artwork its approximate date and its location.
It is, as the introduction says, an exhibition-in-a-book!
‘Margaret Rope Of Shrewsbury’, a photo-book by Arthur Rope, is available by mail order at £14 (inc p&p) for UK only. Foreign p&p by request. Full information can be found on the Publications page of the M Rope Website.
ISBN number is: 978-1-5262-0132-4
The book is also on sale for £10 at the Sabrina Shrewsbury Tourism Shop and at the Shrewsbury Orchard Cafe; and at the national Stained Glass Museum in Ely.
It was on sale at Pengwern Books in Fish Street, Shrewsbury, but has since sold out. It is no longer stocked at Shrewsbury Information Centre at Shrewsbury Museum.