Henry Haig was a commercially successful stained glass artist, and his windows can be seen in buildings, which range from the Norman church of St Michael and All Angels in Alsop en le Dale in Derbyshire to the 1960s concrete Clifton Cathedral in Bristol. It is some of the remaining stock of Dalles from that latter commission that I am reimagining. Henry’s art was symbolic and abstract (or, more correctly, non-figurative). He believed that the stained glass artist’s role was to explore and open pathways through and beyond earthly existence towards a deeper comprehension. Henry Haig died in December 2007. He is much missed by his family and all who knew him, but his work lives on to be admired by future generations.
In 2013 I was invited by his widow Joan to acquire the remaining Dalle de Verre from his estate as his children were at that time looking to pass on what he had to another whose passion was akin to his. Since that time I have been exploring ways to get Dalle de Verre back into the public awareness, and this year have completed the first Dalle de Verre church installation in the UK since the 1980’s, it’s in a small Methodist church in Banbury, and it’s using some of Henry’s glass.
Now I have decided to use these Dalles as pieces of art for their own sake, rather than cutting them up and amalgamating them in a window. These individual Dalles (showing the provenance of their storage and transport for over 40 years) have been sandblasted and gilded with designs that speak of the period in which these pieces of glass were cast (and metaphorically cast aside as surplus) for the construction of the 70ft long (21m) Narthex windows at Clifton Cathedral. The two different (but similar) designs speak not only of the mid 20th century but the thread of life, continuous, expanding and contracting and taking a path that changes and crosses over, also the connection with the Dalles’ original intended use in a church by hinting at the Crown of Thorns.
I hope that by collecting one of more of these you will not only enjoy the amazing colour of the piece but feel a connection to a time past and a (almost) forgotten art glass form – Dalle de Verre.