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William Morris
1834 - 1896

Windows:

David
Isaiah
Boaz and Ruth
Mary Magdalene
Mary of Bethany

Burne-Jones

Sir Edward
Burne-Jones

1833 - 1898

Windows:

The Annunciation

Moses, Melchizedek and Aaron

Daniel and Ezekiel

Virgin and Child

Mary the Virgin

Saints Peter and Paul

Saints Dorothea and Theophilus

 

 

 

The Three Marys' Window

The eastern window of the south aisle was installed in 1868 and is known as The Mary Window depicting the three Marys:

Mary Magdeline                   Mary The Virgin                        Mary of Bethany

Click on the links or the windows for more details

Mary Window Mary Magdalene by William Morris Mary the Virgin by Burne-Jones detail Mary of Bethany

The models for these figures were all pre-Raphaelite "stunners", and the story behind one of them is tragic. Mary the Virgin is by Burne-Jones and the other two are by William Morris. All three are typical of the women the Pre-Raphaelite artists liked to depict, with long red-blonde hair.

Mary of Bethany is said to have been modelled on Elizabeth Siddal, Rossetti's mistress and later wife, who suffered from a common Victorian ailment - consumption. Her marriage to Rossetti had been a difficult one, and she died from an overdose of laudanum in February 1862 at the time when St. Martin's was being built. The window was originally designed for a church in Brighton, but because Elizabeth Siddal was considered to have committed suicide, the church refused to have the window with a figure modelled on a person who had taken their own life. The window was put into storage, and eventually found a home at St. Martin's in 1868 as a memorial to Agnes Phoebe Marshall.Marshall dedication

Mary Magdeline may have been modelled on Annie Miller, another Pre-Raphaelite model, and The Virgin Mary is modelled on Georgiana McDonald, who married Burne-Jones in 1860.

Professor David Crouch writes about the symbolism: "The window of the Three Marys is a very careful evocation of what is quite an obscure medieval cult - that of the third Mary. The Virgin and Mary Magdalene are present with their usual attributes, the Virgin with lily and devotional book, Mary Magdalene with her jar of precious ointment clasped in gold. But then there is the third Mary who represents the confusion over whether it was or was not Mary Magdalene who was the 'other Mary' who took spices to the tomb. The third Mary, sometimes called Mary of Bethany, was an insurance in case Gregory the Great (who initially settled in favour of there being two Marys) had got it wrong. She carries a rose. This is a very obscure symbol, but may be an allusion to the description of the Virgin Mary as 'a rose without thorns'; short of a symbolic attribute, Burne-Jones borrowed a second hand one of the Virgin Mary. "

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