Pop art pioneer to design new Rosslyn Chapel window
A pioneer of pop art is designing a new stained glass window for historic Rosslyn Chapel.
Rosslyn Chapel Trust wants to install the new window as part of a celebration of its 25th anniversary.
And it has brought in artist Joe Tilson to design the new addition. The 92-year-old is described as one of the founding figures of British Pop Art who consistently broke boundaries as he sought to widen the scope and impact of contemporary art.
Listed building consent to replace one of the lead glass windows in the clerestory, on the south side of the chapel, has been granted by Midlothian Council’s planners.
The statement on the plans by architects Page/Park said only one of the five main clerestory windows was stained glass and the new one would be next to it.
The chapel underwent significant conservation and repair in a project completed in 2014 by Page/Park Architects, who continue to monitor the building.
The stained glass window will be installed as part of the 25th anniversary of the Rosslyn Chapel Trust, set up to oversee the chapel’s conservation and public access.
The design statement said: “The chapel has been closed for much of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
“It is hoped this commemoratory window will also signal renewal and launch the reopening of the chapel later in 2021.”
The oldest stained glass in the Category A listed medieval building is in the Lady Chapel and dates back to 1867.
Three stained glass windows were installed in the 20th century: one in 1950 depicting an airman from the Second World War, another installed in 1955 depicting the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ, and the third in 1970 depicting St Francis.
A report by planners revealed that no details of the design for the new window had been revealed. It said: “The principle of the installation of a stained glass window respects the historic character and continues the story of Rosslyn Chapel.
“Details of the design of the stained glass that is to be installed within the opening along with the fixing method have not been detailed. Conditions will be attached requiring details of the design of the stained glass.”
Tilson is said to have become disillusioned with the consumer society highlighted by pop art and began focusing on cultural history for inspiration as his work continued. His work is also held in collections including the Tate, London; Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome; and Museum of Modern Art, New York.