The Great East Window
The great east window at the Church of Saint Bartholomew was designed and executed by the Irish artist, Wilhelmina Geddes. It was commissioned in 1916 by Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, the third son of Queen Victoria and then Governor-General of Canada, in memory of members of his personal staff who fell in the First World War. It was unveiled by the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VIII, in 1919.
The window’s creator, Wilhelmina Geddes, was a creative, young artist associated with the avant garde artistic workshop An Túr Gloine (Tower of Glass), known for its superior and creative work rooted in the Arts and Crafts Movement and the Irish Celtic revival. Geddes’ work was highly regarded for its painstaking artistry, original, symbolic and eclectic iconography based, however, on careful research and a broad knowledge of literature and the arts. While her works are few and not generally well known or easily accessible (indeed this is her only work in North America), they have an important place in the history of stained-glass. This window is also said to have had a significant impact on the development of the art, especially in Canada where it represented a turning point in design.
- portions of this entry are taken from Geoffrey Thornburn's: "Iconography of the War Memorial Window at St. Bartholomew's Church, Ottawa"