Gordon glass artist to design window for Queen’s Jubilee

One of the country’s leading contemporary glass artists, a Berwickshire man, has beaten off top-class competition with his design for a new stained glass window in honour of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee next year.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 29th August 2011, 7:14 am

Douglas Hogg, from Gordon, has been commissioned to create the new window after winning a prestigious national competition organised by The Duchy of Lancaster to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 year reign.

Judged by a panel of art experts, including members of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass, Douglas’ winning design will be installed at The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy in London next year.

“I am obviously delighted and honoured to have been selected to produce this commemorative piece of work,” he said.

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“Designing a window for the Queen’s jubilee has a bit of a ring to it! I suppose from the perspective of national importance it’s my biggest project to date. And it’s a lovely chapel in a marvellous location just off The Strand, it’s quite special really.”

Douglas’ Jubilee piece will complete a series of stained glass windows commissioned for the Chapel to replace those destroyed during World War II.

“I wanted to create something that was relevant to the occasion but also unique at the same time, so I spent several months researching potential design ideas, including studying the archives at Lancaster House,” he explained.

“My chosen theme embraces continuity, heritage and inheritance by reflecting the key changes seen in the Monarchy throughout the 60 years of our Queen’s reign.

“It includes The Queen’s Arms, symbols for the Church of England, the Armed Forces and the Commonwealth, as well as a reference to Her Majesty’s fondness for horse-riding and dogs – apparently the Queen thought I’d traced her 60 years rather well!”

The less predictable elements of Douglas’ design give the concept a unique slant on the Monarchy’s associations and recent developments. “In addition, antique glass, colour, some dichroic surfaces and optical lenses will be used in the composition to dramatically capture the light, ensuring the window makes a unique impression from both the outside and inside, symbolic of a developing transparency in the function of the Monarchy,” he explained. “I have put a lot of my own personal ideas into the project.”

Last year, Douglas’ shortlisted design was hung in Buckingham Palace, along with three other artist’s designs, before the final judging process took place. The panel then wrote to him two months ago with the verdict, confirmed by The Queen, inviting him to proceed with the prestigious window.

“You can get a bit despondent during the waiting process because by the time you develop the idea for a piece of work, you’re really behind your own proposal one hundred per cent, so losing is not so good,” Douglas admitted. “I find a personal approach is usually better than a competition situation, but in this case I can’t complain!”

And now, with the window due to be fitted in situ next September, the real work begins. “It will take a long time,” Douglas said. “I’m drawing it up full scale at the moment. There are certain things that have to be right. When I finish the full scale drawings they go back to London to make sure that all the details are correct.”

Although the window isn’t the largest Douglas has made – The Mariners’ Window in St Phillip’s Church at Joppa in Edinburgh is afforded that accolade – at around five metres high it’s still fairly substantial.

He said: “It’s quite a big one! It’s split into six sections that are divided by stone – three of the sections at the top and three underneath. I am working on them in my studio just now but I can’t put them all together, so I’m drawing each of the six sections separately, occasionally using a local village hall to arrange them together to see how it is working.

“I have to lay them on the floor and stand on ladders to see it all coming together.”

As a Fellow of the British Society of Master Glass Painters, a sought-after lecturer and regular contributor to national and international exhibitions, Douglas has had a long and successful career as a stained glass artist.

Examples of his work can be seen in churches and public buildings across Scotland, including recent large installations at Edinburgh City Chambers and Glasgow Botanic Gardens. He also executed the Cardinal Newman memorial set of windows at Oriel College Oxford in 2001.

But the enormity of this latest commission is still sinking in. “I’m moving in different fields, making a piece like this,” he said.

“It’s for the Queen’s Jubilee so I have had to use a bit of decorum! It’s a lot of work and very interesting, I’m going to enjoy it. And it’ll be nice to have one of my windows in London - I have had exhibitions there, but to have a permanent piece there for the Queen is pretty good!”

Paul Clarke, CEO and Clerk of The Duchy of Lancaster, added: “Douglas submitted an exceptional design which uses a range of stained and painted glass techniques to create a traditional, yet dramatic appearance that I hope will be enjoyed by Her Majesty The Queen and visitors to The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy for many years to come.”