This window and the Reredos were dedicated at the end of August 1872.
The Reredos, possibly carved by the sculptor Emanuel Edward Geflowski (1834-1898) was in situ before the stained glass lights in the east window. Another reredos attributed to Mr Geflowski in the chapel at Rossell School.
A renowned artist called Alexander Mark Rossi (1840-1916) was lodging just yards from the church in 1871, so it seems likely that it was he who painted the panels. He was born in Corfu. In 1866 he visited Preston where he met and married a Preston girl called Jane Gillow and, shortly after, the couple moved to London. Rossi exhibited 66 works at the Royal Academy between 1871 and 1902.
The first panel is an exact copy of a painting called ‘Adoration of the Shepherds’ painted by Gerrit Van Honthorst in 1617.
The East Window
In 1872, Anthony Hewitson a Victorian journalist, commented that the east window looked ‘opaque and muddy and would add much to the beauty of the church if stained’. In August that year, a service of dedication was held for the five light window which is now the focal point of the church.
Although no maker’s monogram can be found, it is thought to have been made by Lavers, Barraud and Westlake; the company had installed a window on the south side of the nave the same year.
Nathaniel Wood Lavers (1828-1911) started the business in 1855 and was joined by Francis Philip Barraud (1824-1900) in 1858. Nathaniel Hubert John Westlake (1833-1921) became a partner in 1868 and sole owner in1880. These three designers had worked alongside others who later established well-known partnerships of their own, for example Clayton and Bell and Heaton Butler and Bayne. There was a good deal of interaction and influence between the companies and unless windows are marked with a monogram it can be difficult to say with certainty which firm undertook the work. Looking for distinguishing features and comparing a maker’s work in other churches are two ways of arriving at a conclusion.
The first stage in the production of a stained glass window was an artist’s drawing of the composition. A full sized drawing called a cartoon was then made which would have details of the shapes and colours of glass pieces needed to create the picture. Cartoon figures could be reused and a keen eye may spot a face or costume seen in another design. The use white garments and faces are typical of the output of Lavers, Barraud and Westlake in this period.
The figure on the left-hand side of the East Window shows a cartoon of a soldier (often used to represent St George – but a Roman soldier in this crucifixion scene) used in many of the firm’s windows.