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Sir Edward

1833 - 1898


The Annunciation

Moses, Melchizedek and Aaron

Daniel and Ezekiel

Virgin and Child

Mary the Virgin

Saints Peter and Paul

Saints Dorothea and Theophilus


The East Wall

The Rose Window - West Wall - The Annunciation by Burne-Jones

The Rose Window has a central Annunciation by Burne-Jones, surrounded bynine cusped panels around depictingangels with instruments, to designs by Burne-Jones and Morris.

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Click on windows above for more detail

Professor David Crouch in his paper entitled “ST. MARTIN-ON-THE HILL and the MIDDLE AGES” (1993) provides an interesting insight into the background to this window:
In 1861, according to the report in the Builder which is our only evidence for Bodley's thinking behind St. Martin's (apart from St. Martin's itself), the idea was to have a last Judgement in the west rose window.
This was in line with the symbolic meaning behind orientation. The west was where the sun set, and it represented death and finality. Judgements were commonly to be found either here, or painted above chancel arches which, as we have seen, also symbolise an aspect of death.
A number of cartoons by Rossetti for the Judgement which was never executed still survive. But at some time in 1862 the scheme was changed. A new message was devised to make more of the lancets showing Adam and Eve executed by Ford Maddox Brown for the west wall below the rose window.
The new theme was Christ as the second Adam bringing redemption through sacrifice. The Crucifixion to be placed in the East Window was augmented by the narrative glass panels surrounding it which portray the parable of the Vineyard, in which Christ figures as the King's son murdered by his treacherous servants.

The final scheme is founded on the medieval idea of Christ as the new Adam sent to redeem the world from the sin of the original. The west rose window under the new scheme contained an Annunciation by Burne-Jones. This features the Virgin Mary as the physical means of redemption. As God drew the original Eve from the side of Adam so the second Adam was drawn by God from the second Eve. Ave Maria were the words by which the angel greeted the Virgin. Medieval commentators made much of the similarity between Ave (meaning 'greetings') and Eva, (Latin form of Eve). In this way Bodley and Morris neatly repackaged several medieval ideas into something quite original. West and East windows complement and answer each other, or at least they did, until the rood cross and screen introduced a discordant echo.

Cartoon Cartoon

The original cartoon by Burne-Jones was apparently designed as tile panel in which he used Jane Morris, the wife of William Morris, as the model for both Mary and the young man. Visit the pre-Raphaelite Online Resource for a detailed version.

MaryJane MorrisGabriel

This cropped and horizontally flipped photo of Jane, posed by Rossetti in 1865, provides a comparison.Archangel Gabriel holding a willow twig The Archangel Ganriel holding a willow twig

Ave Maria bannerThe banner (left) reads AVE MARIA, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. (Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.) This is again a subtle reference to the revival of Catholic rituals in the Anglo-Catholic church.

What may be easily identified on the cartoon, but is unlikely to be seen on the window itself, is that the archangel Gabriel is holding a willow twig in his left hand.

This relates to the Resurrection, although the process of realising this is quite obscure.

Eastern Christians of Byzantine/Slavic liturgical tradition customs are found among most Slavs whether Orthodox, Greek Catholic or Roman Catholic.

In the week before Easter Christians celebrate the great feast – Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem - or Palm Sunday. The people of Jerusalem welcomed Jesus with palm branches and cloaks, carpeting his way to meet a kings in the custom of their day. In this way the people expressed their recognition of the divinity of Christ, their faith in him.
Branches of palm trees are a symbol of victory, and the people met Jesus as the King who had conquered death – he had recently raised from the dead, his friend Lazarus. People shouted, “Hosanna: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of God, the King of Israel!”

In Russia, palms do not grow, so the adoption of Christianity replaced the palms with the plant that first blooms in their area – willow. The willow heralded the end of harsh winter and the renewal of spring, while protecting people and livestock from diseases, the homes from lightening and misfortune and by fostering the fertility of man and beast.

Willow has become a symbol of spring, rebirth, joy and divine resurrection, symbol of the victory of Jesus over evil. Which is why Gabriel is holding a twig of willow in his left hand.
Another Christian symbol of the resurrection is the bay laurel bush we see coming through the open windows behind Gabriel, signifying the future child’s victory over death.

Gabriel’s right hand is raised in the traditional symbol of The Trinity – the thumb, index and middle fingers representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who are divinely impregnating Mary.

angel bell ringers

The nine cusped panels around it show angels with instruments, to designs by Burne-Jones and Morris. It may be that the central roundel with all its imagery might cause one to discount these as mere embroidery. However, angels play a very significant role in the symbolism of the church.

angel musicians

The four bell ringers intersperse five other angels; four are playing musical instruments – a portable organ, a zither, a pipe and a harp or lyre, while he last angel carries an Alleluia Banner of praise. This is Heaven celebrating the announcement of the forthcoming birth of the Saviour of the world - the Son of God!

Numerous references to music and musical instruments can be found in both the Old and New Testaments, as well as frequent episodes involving music, song, dance and praises to God in religious ceremonies, and mournful occasions such as burial rites. The instruments mentioned in the Bible include: harps (and other stringed instruments), pipes, flutes, organs, horns, trumpets (and other wind instruments), and percussion instruments such as bells, cymbals, timbrels (or tambourines).

Angels announce the Last Judgment by blowing on trumpets, they serenade God and the blessed in heaven with harps and other stringed instruments, and may accompany the Virgin and Child, or various saints, with instruments such as portative organs.

William Morris & Co. made good use of Burne-Jones’ cartoon by installing windows closely based on the same design in churches throughout the country.

All Saints Dedworth Annunciation by Burne-Jones: GabrielAll Saints Dedworth Annunciation by Burne-Jones: Mary These two small windows were made in 1863 for All Saints Church Dedworth, and were originally installed in the South Aisle. The left hand window shows the Angel Gabriel standing holding a large scroll. The right hand window shows Mary in a small room, kneeling with a large lily in a pot on the floor.

 The inscription below the Angel is ‘Ecce virgo concipiet et pariet filiumet volcabitur nomen eius Emmanuel’. This translates as ‘Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and his name shall be called Emmanuel’. The scroll that is held by the Angel says ‘Ave Maria gratia plena Dominustecum’ which translates as   ‘Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with you’.
The inscription below Mary is ‘Spiritus Sanctus superveniet in te et virtus Altissimi obumbrabit tibi’. This translates as ‘The Holy Spirit shall come over you and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you’.
Visit: http://www.allsaintschurchwindsor.co.uk/history-of-all-saints/
Dedworth Church, by Bodley opened in 1863 and was demolished in 1973. Pevsner thought the Annunciation "specially lovely". Burne-Jones was paid 15s to adapt the tile design to stained glass. (Parry -pg. 126, V&A Morris Centenary Exhibition Catalogue).

Forden, Wales, and Nun Monkton St Mary's:  Annunciation by Burne-Jones: Annunciation by Burne-Jones The same cartoon was also used in an 1873 window at St Michael, Forden in Wales. You can see images of it on the site of the University of Wales 'Imaging the Bible':

Finally, the east window of St. Mary’s at Nun Monkton has and identical panel by Burne-Jones. The whole window has been the subject of a fund-raising talk A Pre-Raphaelite Masterpiece in Yorkshire: the stained glass of St Mary's, Nun Monkton by Suzanne Fagence Cooper. The research for this talk can be read on Suzanne’s Blog at: http://suzannefagencecooper.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/pre-raphaelite-masterpiece-in-yorkshire.html