Douglas Strachan- Stained Glass Windows at Westminster College and beyond!

Douglas Strachan (1875-1950) was a Scottish artist who designed the stained glass windows in the chapel at Westminster College. Our chapel was commissioned by Sir William and Lady Black Noble in memory of their son William Black Noble, 2nd Lieutenant in the Northumberland Fusilliers, who died in World War One at Ypres in 1917. They asked Douglas Strachan to design the stained glass windows on the theme of the Benedicite- ‘O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord’- and Strachan’s windows are full of strong, beautiful colour, and dynamic movement: dancers, worshippers, the heavenly fire descending on Mount Carmel, the swell of the stormy sea.

Detail of ‘Womanhood’, at All Saints Church, Cambridge. Photo by Adrian Powter

If you’re visiting All Saints Church on Jesus Lane, Cambridge, then while you’re there, take a moment to admire another Douglas Strachan window- this one on Womanhood (it’s immediately to your left as you come).

The Womanhood window at All Saints is a work from 1944, some twenty years later than the Westminster windows, the gift of John Murrish. Blue, green and purple tones dominate, with silvery opaque highlights. The central panel shows the Virgin and the Child as a mother with a baby, standing benignly behind a young boy dressed as a Scout; he’s just taking his first step down from the rock on which she stands, out into the wider world. Though she is still, the landscape around her is full of movement in the form of curves: the path, the tree, the leaves, her gown. She is flanked by women caring for strangers and for the sick, and by four portraits of famous women of compassion, charity, and bravery: Elizabeth Fry, Josephine Butler, Cecile Isherwood, and Edith Cavell.

As well as the Strachan window, take time to admire this incredible building, full of colour and craftsmanship. Designed by GF Bodley and built in 1863-1871, the decoration of the church was finished in the 1920s and includes work by key Arts & Crafts names: Bodley himself, Morris & Co, Kempe, and Leach. All Saints is now managed by the Churches Conservation Trust.




Fenland Artist – ever changing colours of fenland landscapes

Westminster College has taken temporary possession of a wonderful artwork display by artist  Lizzie Madder. Lizzie paints the rivers and flooded meadows of the Fens.  She takes inspiration from autumn and winter light, from the sound of the reeds in the wind, from gathering clouds, and the silence and solitude to be found walking along the great river banks.  Lizzie works mainly in watercolours and this beautiful artwork is available for sale, so do come and take a look and purchase a piece for your wall.

Lizzie studied at Loughborough College of Art and went on to be trained in botanical art whilst living in Leicester, becoming a member of the Leicestershire Society of Botanical Artists and exhibiting throughout the United Kingdom.

When, in 2002, Lizzie moved to Cambridgeshire, there began a significant transformation in her style and approach to art generally.  The discovery of the inspiring flat landscapes combined with the breath-taking  skies of the Fens jolted her into responding in kind; she moved from the controlled, careful depiction of the botanical to the broader canvas of the landscape.

And yet – whilst there is a loosening up of the control demanded by the discipline of botanical art, there remains within these sometimes ethereal fenscapes, echoes of that back-story, such as that revealed by the observational detail of the subject, the attempt to communicate its essence.

For information about her work and forthcoming exhibitions: