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to have been taken, only a little more than twenty years old, he having been born at Nuremberg in 1471) that they were designed by Francesco Raibolini il Francia h (commonly called Francesco Francia), who was born at Bologna in 1450, “where he lived till 1518, peculiarly eminent in the art of encaustic painting. It is said that in the reign of Charles I. i" these windows were inspected by Sir Anthony Vandyke, who (says Hearne) often affirmed both to the King and others, that many of the figures were so exquisitely well done that they could not be exceeded by the best pencil.”
The great west window (which is upon the whole the most striking one in the church) contains a terrible and yet very grotesque representation of the blessings and the terrors of the Day of Judgment. Our Lord is represented seated on a rainbow, having His feet on the earth, with large brilliant circles around Him, on which are painted countless figures of saints and angels looking towards Him in joyous adoration, mingled with spirits of the departed who have been summoned for judgment. A sword on Christ's left hand, and a sceptre, terminated by a lily, (or possibly a sprig of palm,) on His right hand, represent Justice and Mercy. Further down in the window is a figure of St. Michael holding the scales, to weigh those who are called up for their final sentence. On one side St. Peter is represented with his key, letting the blessed into heaven ;
Lempriere says of him that he was "originally a goldsmith, afterwards a graver of medals, and last an eminent painter. His 'Sebastian tied to a Tree' was an admirable piece, from which succeeding painters drew improvements of their art. He died about 1518.” See also Mrs. Jameson on the “Early Italian Painters,” p. 143.
1 “ Account of Fairford,” p. 10. See also Camden's “Britannia," vol. i. p. 282 ; and Rudder's “History of Gloucestershire,” p. 444
and on the other side the devil and his angels are dragging the accursed into hell, and tormenting them in various ways in the midst of the fearful flames of the bottomless pit, which are rising up with a lurid glare.
The following is the description of this window given in the abovementioned "Account of Fairford" (p. 9):
“The great west window, perfect, and exhibiting a view of the Last Day; our Saviour coming to Judgment, a sword in his left hand—Justitia; a palm-branch in his right-Misericordia. In the lower compartments St. Michael in armour weighing souls. The general resurrection ; an Angel conducting a Saint to Heaven; over whom a label Omnis species lauda Deum. St. Peter with his Symbols admitting the blessed Spirits, Gratias ago D'no Deo pro. Those who have passed the gate are clothed in white robes, and represent a Pope, a King, a Bishop, and a Monk, Benedictus sit Deus in Donis suis. On the other side are the infernal regions; devils tormenting the condemned souls, Ete in Damnationem paratam vobis. Gothic fancy was never more happily displayed than in these designs, at once horrible and ludicrous. The brilliancy of the strong tints, and the delicacy of the drapery of the smaller figures, form a singularly excellent specimen of the ancient art.”
As we study the various figures in this great “doom” window we are reminded of the words:
“Oh! jealous God ! how could a sinner dare
Think on that dreadful day,
Grant, Lord, that when around th' expiring world
Our seraph guardians wait,
She owns Thee, all too late,
Thy mark upon us still ;
(Hymn for St. Michael and All Angels.)
The north side of the window seems to depict the ideas expressed in the words of Dominic the Carthusian, quoted in the “ Paradise of the Christian Soul,” (vol. i. p. 65):
Into Bliss's fount ascending,
Every good supplying."
The eastern windows represent the Crucifixion and its attendant cir
The windows of the north aisle are almost entirely representations of Old Testament characters; while those of the south aisle represent characters and events connected with the New Testament.
The clerestory windows on the south side contain figures of "twelve Roman emperors, preservers of the Church,” accompanied by angels; those on the north side have representations of "persecutors of the Church," with devils above them.
For a more accurate and detailed account of these windows the reader is referred to a very interesting paper in the “Monthly Packet” for June, 1866, and to the above-mentioned “ Account of the Parish of Fairford ;” also to a small handbook sold at Fairford by the parish clerk who, as a boy, was servant in the KEBLE family, and who is an excellent showman for the church, in which he seems to take great delight, as he does also in speaking of the early days of the great Christian Poet.
It must be observed that in a book which is considered to be of much authority on the subject of painted glass (namely, “An Inquiry into the Difference of Style observable in Ancient Glass Paintings.” J. H. Parker, 1847), the above-named tradition is shewn to be very improbable. The writer of that work (p. 114, note), speaking of the windows at Fairford Church as of a “late Perpendicular" style, and “of thoroughly English character," suggests that “Mr. Tame may have taken a rich prize, and applied its proceeds to the building of the church, and adorning of its windows with painted glass.” He adds, “In all probability the windows were not painted until the edifice was ready for their reception,” and he dates them as having been painted in “the early part of the sixteenth century." He considers them, taken as a whole, to be “the best and most extensive specimens existing in this country” of glass painted at that period, and that they “exhibit in a striking degree the vast progress which the art had made" by that time. He also says of these painted windows, “The shadows are bold and deep, but perfectly transparent, the drawing of the draperies is excellent, and the figures themselves tolerably correct : and a general richness and warmth is imparted to the picture by using a fine brown enamel for shading, the colour of which is assisted by the yellow tone of the white glass.”
The Fairford windows are mentioned by Mr. Parker in his “Glossary of Architecture," vol. i. p. 187.
No one, however, can properly judge of the exceeding quaintness, wonderful colouring, and peculiar beauty of these windows, without a very careful personal inspection of them, such as they well deserve.
It is said that “during the commotions in 1642, when the Republican army were on their march towards Cirencester, William Oldysworth, Esq., the impropriator, fearing its destruction, caused the whole to be taken down and concealed ; and to him the lovers of ancient art are indebted for its present existence.”
The early association of the author of “The Christian Year" with the fine church at Fairford, and its beautiful windows, would have