Thrown into the middle of my marble bangings was another big commission, the Morton-in-the-Marsh lamps. Why I got short-listed for this job I have no I idea, It was my only significant foray into the ‘normal’ world, but like everything I’ve done had no direct follow-ons. The offices of the Cotswold District Council were being refurbished and by law a percentage of the cost had to be spent on ‘art’. Wheel in the artists to sweeten the bitter pill! Carry on popping up ugly structures and clap up some semi-prestiges bauble alongside and everyone will be happy! Nah— let’s not be too cynical, it was an opportunity to infiltrate the system and I am grateful. Trouble was the lamps ended up hanging in an atrium (lots of glass with lots of sky) and only really came into their own on a dark winter’s afternoon. Still it was a great project and challenged my abilities. Two lamps five-foot high, suspended from steel hoists, each weighing about a hundred weight– fortunately I had my good friend Stephan Duvé to hand, a very talented and lateral thinking engineer. He constructed internal steel structures for the lamps and saw to the hanging arrangements. I wrote at the time;
The lanterns combine two directions in which I have taken stained glass over the years. Traditional leaded glass incorporating chunks of glass, semi-precious stones, beaten and poured metal surfaces and laminated glass using a mosaic technique. The first is more sculptural, using elements of jewellery, the second lends itself to a very free flowing linear style. The Morton lamps combine, for the first time, picture panels and lamps. The pictures show imaginative ‘ideals’ rather than actual representations.
A – Lovers
Lovers tightly clasp each other surrounded by shimmering shafts of starlight. The cycle moon floats over-head, mistress of magic and mystery.
B – Water and Leisure
Inspired by various water parks it celebrates places of wild life and leisure. A whirl defines the uncompromising power of water, boats scud across the waves in the distance.
C – Family
Every family is a holy family, self-contained, guarding and nurturing the interests of its members. The children play while the dog (a memorial to my dog, Blackbeary) barks excitedly.
A – Church and Village
This could be any Cotswold village set among houses and trees. In the distance there are fields and hills. The flag of St. George flutters from the steeple.
B – Forest and River
Inspired by the forest of Dean, this panel is a tribute to the lush green of the Cotswold woodlands. Beyond the patchwork fields is the River Severn.
C – Man and Animals
The sun blazes in the sky illuminating the world of work. In the foreground a horseman rides among the cows, sheep are dotted among the pasture lands and rolling hills in the distance.