11-07-1923: St Stephens Cathedral, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Artist/Studio: Harry Clarke, Dublin, Ireland, c.1923.
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Building: St Stephen’s Cathedral.
Memorial: Isaac & William Mayne.
Donor: Dr. and Miss Mayne.
Restoration: 2009 by Cummins & Stehn
Photos dated: 1st March 2011.

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The Brisbane Courier, QLD, Monday 11th June 1923, page 7.


In the presence of a congregation that filled every portion of St. Stephen’s Cathedral the Apostolic delegate (Monsignor Cattaneo) yesterday unveiled and dedicated two stained glass windows which form on of the principal features of the new portion of he building. Prior to the 11 o’clock mass a procession of prelates, clergy, and acolytes entered the Cathedral by the western door, where the Apostolic delegate was met by the Administrator of the cathedral, who handed him the asperges to bless the congregation. The procession, headed by a cross-bearer, then proceeded up the central aisle of the Cathedral. On arrival at the sanctuary Monsignor Cattaneo was vested in his pontifical robes and, accompanied by Archbishop Duhig and the clergy, he proceeded to unveil and bless the Naughton memorial window, at the head of the southern aisle. Monsignor Cattaneo afterwards returned to the sanctuary, and unveiled and dedicated the large window over the high altar. This magnificent window recently arrived from Ireland, and is the gift of Dr. L. O’N. Mayne and Miss Mayne, North Quay, in memory of their brothers, the late Isaac and William Mayne. The gorgeous colouring and wealth of detail at once attract attention, and its prominent position allows it to be seen by every worshipper in the Cathedral. Its rich colouring is in marked contrast to the lightness of the surrounding windows, which were imported from Bavaria many years ago. The window has been produced by Mr. Harry Clarke, and, as Archbishop Duhig remarked subsequently, his work shows not only mastery of colour, but skilful draftsmanship and bold originality.


The subject for the Naughton window, “The sermon on the mount,” a very difficult one to treat in stained glass, has been skilfully arranged to achieve balance, and, at the same time, to preserve the dignity and meaning of the subject. Christ is depicted preaching to the multitude, who are gathered around Him, intently listening to the words of our Lord. In the tracery are shown attending angels, with scrolls bearing words embodied in the sermon delivered on the mount, and the base of the window carries scrolls bearing other quotations from the sermon. The beautiful blue in the tracery is noted for its richness, and the colour of the whole is in perfect harmony. The window is a fine example of what can be produced in Brisbane. The glasses were carefully selected in London by R. S. Exton and Co., Ltd.
The celebration of high mass followed the blessing of the windows, the Rev. Father Walter Cain being the celebrant, Rev. Father David Dee deacon, and the Rev. Dr. Kelly sub-deacon. Monsignor Cattaneo presided on the archiepiscopal throne, and his Grace Archbishop Duhig occupied a chair on the epistle side of the high altar.

(the Naughton window is covered in the next post 11-07-1923 Naughton window)


Archbishop Duhig took for the subject of his address, “I have loved, O Lord, the beauty of thy House, and the place where Thy glory dwelleth.” “The occasion of the unveiling and blessing of the latest memorial windows to adorn our now completed pro-cathedral,” he said, “is one of very special interest, not only on account of its being marked by the presence of the personal representative of his Holiness the Pope, but also because it affords us a revelation in Irish and local stained glass work.” They were face to face, that morning, he added, with what was probably the finest sample of the glazier’s art ever introduced into Australia. His Grace proceeded to trace the history of stained glass, and pointed out that Gothic architecture and stained glass had ever gone hand in hand. Stained glass, he said, was always likely to remain the auxiliary or handmaid of Gothic architecture. After referring to the decline of the art of producing stained glass work in the fifteenth century, and the re-awakening of the artistic spirit in continental Europe and Great Britain in the eighteenth century, which resulted in a revival of stained glass work, his Grace went on to say that it was eminently satisfactory to know that Ireland, at the beginning of her new nationhood, was imbued with the artistic spirit, and promised to become a recognised home of ecclesiastical art.


Referring to the window designed by Mr. Clark, his Grace explained that it represented the Ascension of the Saviour into Heaven. The artist had had difficulties to contend with, particularly in the grouping of his figures, as a three light window divided by mullions, was not really a good ground for such a subject. However, Mr. Clarke had overcome all difficulties, and had proved himself to be not only a master of colour but a skilled draughtsman. Looking at the window, they would perceive that it was divided into two parts, upper and lower. Above they had the magnificent figure of the risen Saviour standing as on a jewelled sea, looking down on and blessing the disciples as he soared aloft to heaven below, in the centre was His Virgin Mother, with a countenance of exquisite beauty, heightened by a look of mingled sorrow and compassion. The blue of our lady’s cloak and the rich mellow colouring of the other draperies were wonderful features of a great picture. The grouping of the eleven Apostles (Judas being missing, and his place not yet filled) was extremely artistic and devotional. The eyes of all were uplifted towards the ascending Saviour, while their hands were clasped in prayer. Above and around Our Lord on either side were angels, each bearing some instrument of the Passion. For its delicacy of treatment, skilful blending of colours, brilliance, and warmth of tone said his Grace. Mr. Clarke’s work made a powerful appeal to all lovers of art. In saying all he had said about the Irish window, his Grace remarked, he did not wish to detract from the high merit of the sample of local work, in which the grouping and colouring were truly admirable. In conclusion his Grace thanked Monsignor Cattaneo for his presence, congratulated him on the sixth anniversary of his Episcopal consecration, which he was celebrating that day, and offered, through him, to the Holy Father, the homage and loyalty of the people of the archdiocese. Towards the conclusion of the high mass, Monsignor Cattaneo added his own eulogy to what had been said of the windows. He considered them artistically beautiful, and very devotional.”

Note: This window was restored by Cummins & Stehn, QLD, in 2009.
Also see ABC report dated 23 Apr 2009.

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