St. Jude's Church : The Stained -Glass Windows

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Above: The twelve stained-glass windows of St. Jude's Church as viewed from the sanctuary.

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The beautiful coloured windows that form two walls of St. Jude’s Church and the smaller coloured windows of the baptistry are the creation of the artist, Robin Riley.

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He says of his work:

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“To fill a church with light and colour which has meaning, or tells a story, is a very old problem. To use concrete and glass pushes the imagination further. Because of the thickness of the glass and intensity of the colour, these materials do not lend themselves to the fine detail and two-dimensional nature of traditional windows. This quality and the notion that contemplation and quest are valuable human traits, prompted the decision to make the images in the windows many times life size.”

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Many have admired the colourful display and the coloured images projected into the church, but do not know what is depicted. In abstract art the subject matter is not meant to be clearly defined. The individual is asked to perceive what is implied and the mind is stimulated to conceive individual thoughts and impressions.

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The windows were manufactured by Messrs J. O’Neill & Sons of Liverpool. The glass was specially imported from France and Belgium and varies in thickness from 1 to 2 inches. Due to the enormous size of the panels, a large barn on the East Lancashire Road was used as a workshop. It took twelve months to complete the twelve windows.

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When viewing the windows, it is important to keep in mind that there is no related scale, either in individual windows or in the completed set. However, they are related in theme. In order to experience the full impact of the colours and shapes, one needs to stand in front of the altar rails in the centre of the curve and to start with the first window seen on the far left.

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Go now, in quiet contemplation. View the windows and enjoy the rich, warm colours and the subtle tones that are set out by the artist. Let your mind be free, not only to appreciate the basic pictures shown, but also to absorb what you, as an individual, can perceive. Bear in mind that the panels are full of symbolism and emotion.

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