Morris & Co stained glass comes home to Stockport

  • 25 September 2009

Six stained glass windows that were originally housed in the chapel of Stockport's Cheadle Royal Hospital have been returned to the area. Made by renowned decorative arts firm Morris & Co, they were acquired by the Stockport Story Museum with the help of a grant of £50,000 from independent charity The Art Fund towards a total cost of £93,000.

Four of the windows were designed by Edward Burne-Jones and one by William Morris, both of whom were eminent artists of the Pre-Raphaelite movement and founding members of British design company Morris & Co. The sixth was designed by John Henry Dearle, who was an apprentice to William Morris before becoming Art Director and principal stained glass designer at the company.

Andrew Macdonald, Acting Director of The Art Fund, said: "Morris & Co were particularly renowned for their stained glass work and these are striking examples originally made for the Cheadle Royal Hospital, which was designed with the comfort and wellbeing of its troubled patients in mind. I’m delighted that The Art Fund has been able to help Stockport Story Museum keep them together in the area for which they were created."

Norman Hudson, Service Director for Regeneration & Leisure, at Stockport Council, said: "We are absolutely thrilled that we have been able to acquire these Morris & Co windows for Stockport's collections with the very generous assistance of The Art Fund. It is fitting that these works, which are of great local and national importance, will once more be placed on display in Stockport exactly 100 years after they were first manufactured.


"After a period of almost 8 years, during which they were stored, they will once again be publicly accessible, and in their new display location at Stockport Story Museum, they will arguably be seen and enjoyed by a great many more people. We expect that many people will come to the museum especially to see these important works of art."

The six windows are expected to go on public display at the Stockport Story Museum in December 2009.

The Burne-Jones pieces, from cartoons originally drawn between1868 – 1876, include a narrative scene portraying a seated Jesus blessing the children at his feet. The three others depict St. Peter, Virgin Mary and Christ Child, and St. James the Greater respectively and share a background motif of diamond-shaped panels of light green foliage that is highly typical of the Morris & Co style.

The William Morris window shows two minstrel angels, one playing a dulcimer and the other a pair of pipes. The final piece, which is slightly damaged and incomplete, is part of a John Henry Dearle window depicting Christ’s ascension.

The windows were produced by Morris & Co between 1909 – 1915 for the Cheadle Royal Hospital Chapel. The hospital, which was originally known as the Manchester Royal Lunatic Asylum, plays an important role in the history of the enlightened treatment of mentally ill patients during the 19th century. It was the first psychiatric hospital to accept voluntary patients. In 2001 the hospital was bought by a private health company, which converted the chapel to other uses and removed and sold almost all its glass.

Ann Coffey, MP for Stockport, said: "I am delighted that The Art Fund has provided this substantial grant to enable these beautiful stained glass windows to come home to the Stockport Story Museum. I look forward to going to see the artwork when it goes on display at the museum at the end of the year."

The Art Fund has previously helped museums and galleries around the country to acquire 32 items by Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris and Morris & Co with grants totalling over £150,000. Most recently, the V&A received £30,000 towards the acquisition of two rare Morris wallpaper designs.

Ends

Notes to Editors

Morris & Co (1875 – 1940) succeeded Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co, which was set up by William Morris in 1861 together with Edward Burne-Jones, Ford Madox Brown, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Philip Webb. It was recognised for the quality of its glass and designs and glazed the windows of many educational and religious establishments.

Edward Burne-Jones (1833 – 1898) was an artist closely associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement. He had a considerable influence on British painting, and was a prominent figure in the rejuvenation of the stained glass art in England.

William Morris (1867 – 1896) was a poet, artist, manufacturer and socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelites and the Arts and Crafts Movement.

John Henry Dearle (1860 – 1932) was a textile and stained glass designer. He was taken on as an apprentice at Morris & Co in 1878, before eventually becoming Art Director.

The Art Fund is the UK’s leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums and galleries enrich their collections; campaigns on behalf of museums and their visitors; and promotes the enjoyment of art. It is entirely funded from public donations and has 80,000 members. Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure 860,000 works of art for their collections. Recent achievements include: helping secure Titian’s Diana and Actaeon for the National Galleries of Scotland and the National Gallery, London in February 2009 with a grant of £1 million; helping secure Anthony d’Offay’s collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland in February 2008 with a grant of £1million; and running the ‘Buy a Brushstroke’ public appeal which raised over £550,000 to keep Turner’s Blue Rigi watercolour in the UK. For more information contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit www.artfund.org .

The Art Fund is a Registered Charity No. 209174