Piper windows back in Chapel

03 Feb 2018

The Tree and the River of Life, two stained glass windows which were damaged in the earthquakes, have been repaired and reinstalled in the Chapel.

Designed by renowned British watercolourist John Piper, areas of the two windows sustained severe cracking during the 2010/11 events. First unveiled in the Chapel in 1969, the windows commemorate Ernest Courtenay Crosse and were donated by his widow Mrs Joyce Cross, and family and Old Boys.

Crosse was 33 when he became Chaplain and Headmaster of Christ’s College, roles he fulfilled for the next nine years, before returning to England.

Victor Stewart of Stewart Stained Glass said the work on the windows was quite difficult to execute because the glass is multi-layered, and extremely thick.

“The glass had to come from Germany and matching it to the original was exacting work, plus we had to make the lead to fit.”

After 100 years of withstanding the heat of the New Zealand sun, much of the lead in stained glass windows oxidises and needs replacing, he said, a state being reached by many city examples.

John Piper was regarded as brilliant designer and The Tree and The River of Life, which feature unpainted scarlet and azure glass (composing the river and the tree) set against turquoise glass and purple glass in the outer portions, is one of the most valuable windows in the Chapel, he said.

College Chaplain Bosco Peters said he was “absolutely thrilled to see the windows back” and able to be viewed in the way they were intended.

“They have been framed for future safety,” he said.

“It is wonderful to have received the generosity of people which has enabled us to do this important repair work.”