Great East Window, Gloucester Cathedral :: Shared Description

The Great East Window at Gloucester Cathedral is 72 feet high and 38 feet wide, and dates from around 1350.
The window was built on the original foundations of the crypt which explains the design of a central section of six lights and, on either side, wings of four lights each. The lower part of the window is designed with plain glass and decorative roundels because it is partly obscured by the entrance to the Lady Chapel and the Whispering Gallery.
The window consists mostly of canopied figures giving the impression of sculpted figures in niches.

Traditionally, the subject of the window was thought to be the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary or possibly Christ and his mother seated beside each other in Glory, but it can also be seen as a backcloth to the part of the Cathedral where the murdered King Edward II lay buried, and as a larger reredos to the high altar.

At the head of the window is a Pope, St Clement, surrounded by flaming stars. This figure dates from the 15th century and possibly came from the Lady Chapel. There are six canopies below this and beneath them are six Angels. The second from left has been replaced with a Madonna and child. The row beneath this is the first full-length row of figures, the centre of which shows the Virgin looking towards our Lord. These are flanked by St Peter and St Paul. Other saints include St James the Less, St Andrew, St Thomas, St John the Evangelist, and two unidentified figures. The right-hand side of this row was damaged in the past and the figures were replaced by four Kings.
The next row depicts 14 Saints, in pairs turned towards each other. They are St Cecilia, St George, possibly St Agatha, St Canute or St Edmund, St Margaret with dragon, St Laurence, St Catherine, and St John the Baptist. The next two Saints are damaged and contain fragments with replaced heads. The next Saint has a green club and replaced head. The last three figures are also made of fragments depicting Kings, however the middle figure is wearing a pilgrims hat with a scallop shell badge, usually signifying St James the Great.
The lowest row of figures depicts Abbots and Bishops. There is extensive paint loss and mending leads present. The central figure represents St Edmund, holding three arrows, and was probably originally in the clerestory.
The lower part of the window depicts 14 armorial bearings of Kings and Nobles of the 14th century. Only 10 are part of the original design, these are for Richard Fitz Alan Earl of Arundel, Thomas Baron Berkeley, Thomas Beauchamp Earl of Warwick, William Bohum Earl of Northampton, Edward the Black Prince, Henry Earl of Lancaster, Lawrence Hastings Earl of Pembroke, Richard Lord Talbot, Sir Maurice Berkeley, and Thomas Lord Bradeston. There are further Arms which were inserted from other windows in the central panels dating from the late 14th century. There is also a shield with the instruments of the passion from the mid-to late 15th century.
There are also 14 roundels in the window the most famous of which is a 14th century depiction of a figure playing a stick and ball game. Despite the appearance, this is not golf but probably a 14th century game known as "Bandy Ball".
by Julian P Guffogg
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6 images use this description:

SO8318 : Detail, Great East Window, Gloucester Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
SO8318 : Great East Window, Gloucester Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
SO8318 : Great East Window, Gloucester Cathedral by J.Hannan-Briggs
SO8318 : Detail of Great East Window, Gloucester Cathedral by J.Hannan-Briggs
SO8318 : Detail, Great East Window, Gloucester Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
SO8318 : Great East Window, Gloucester Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg

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Created: Mon, 17 Oct 2016, Updated: Mon, 17 Oct 2016

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