Southwark Cathedral West Window Depicting Creation by Henry Holiday
The west window depicts Creation by Henry Holiday. The text under the creator in the center panel reads, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." The text at the base of the center light is the response of created things: "Oh, all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord, praise Him, and magnify Him for ever."
Christ is seated in the upper part of the central light and in His hand is the Universe with adoring Seraphim on either side with words "Let the Heavens rejoice and the Earth be glad." Cherubim with scrolls bear the words "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts."
The center part of the three lights are represented by the six Days of Creation with each day enclosed in a circle. The first Day shows the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters; second Day shows a firmament dividing the waters above and below; third Day presents the division of Land and Water; fourth Day shows the creation of the heavenly bodies; fifth Day gives the waters bringing forth life; and the sixth Day presents Adam and Eve with a lion and an ox.
I obtained information on this window from Southwark Cathedral by William Thompson.
Thompson writes of the window: "The details exhibit much originality of thought and treatment, and will amply repay the closest study. Ten minutes in the triforium passage, which runs in front of it, would not be time misspent. Opinions will differ widely as to the artistic merits and effectiveness of this window. The subject, on account of its vastness, was an extremely difficult one to treat in the narrow spaces of three lancet lights."
Henry Holiday (1839-1927) was an English historical genre and landscape painter, stained glass designer, illustrator, and sculptor. He is considered to be a member of the Pre-Raphaelite school of art, according to Wikipedia.
Holiday was born in London and at age 15 was admitted to the Royal Academy. Through his friendship with several artists there, he was introduced to artists of the "Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood". This movement was to be pivotal in his future artistic and political life. From Wikipedia: “The group's intention was to reform art by rejecting what it considered the mechanistic approach first adopted by Mannerist artists who succeeded Raphael and Michelangelo. Its members believed the Classical poses and elegant compositions of Raphael in particular had been a corrupting influence on the academic teaching of art, hence the name "Pre-Raphaelite".”
In 1861, Holiday accepted the job of stained glass window designer for Powell's Glass Works. During his time there he fulfilled over 300 commissions, mostly for customers in the U.S. He left in 1891 to set up his own glass works in Hampstead, producing stained glass, mosaics, enamels and sacerdotal objects.
Holiday's stained glass work can be found all over Britain and some of his best is at Westminster Abbey according to Wikipedia.
In addition to his stained glass work, Holiday was a painter; his works include The Burgess of Calais, The Rhine Maiders, Dante and Beatrice. He was commissioned by Lewis Carroll to illustrate The Hunting of the Snark. He remained friends with the author throughout his life.