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I want to begin with a discussion of Evie Hone. 

I mentioned that while she was working with Gleizes - and to Gleizes's disapproval - she entered a monastery, the Anglican Convent of the Epiphany in Truro. She had actually thought of entering the monastery before she went to France to study painting with André Lhote, and her dissatisfaction with the profane atmosphere of Lhote's academy and of his painting may have been a factor in the decision to go to Gleizes. She entered the monastery in 1925 but left in 1927 after hearing a voice telling her 'If you stay here you will lose me.' In the 1930s she took up working in stained glass and over the next twenty years she became one of the best known and best loved stained glass artists in Ireland. In England she is best known for the East Window of Eton College chapel (a sketch for this can be seen in the photograph). In purely 'worldly' terms she could be said to have been the most 'successful' of the Gleizes school, with the possible exception of René Dürrbach whom we shall encounter shortly, and her success was almost entirely in the field of ecclesiastical art.(5)

(5)  There is still no very thorough study of Hone's work, at least to my knowledge. I am using notes I took back in the 1980s from the unpublished draft of a proposed book by James White and Joseph Hone.

These are some examples of the work she was doing before she took up stained glass.

I'm showing them just to establish how thoroughly she had entered into and absorbed Gleizes's teaching. I stress this because in her stained glass work she uses a very straightforward figuration that poses the question if there is a continuity with the work she had done with Gleizes. We know she also admired Georges Rouault and it has been suggested - I have probably said it myself - that for the purposes of ecclesiastical art she had effectively abandoned Gleizes for Rouault. This could be a suitable subject for a separate study but I am inclined now to think that in her work there is an atmosphere of quiet contemplation that is closer in spirit to Gleizes than to the dramatic intensity we associate with Rouault.

This is her first window, in St Nahi's church, Dundrum which is now part of Dublin. You can see that the central panel showing the Annunciation is flanked by panels that are still non-figurative though I think it is questionable whether they have more of the continuity of ocular movement demanded by Gleizes than the figurative central panel. 


This is a window that has special significance for me since it comes from a church in Belfast - St John's Malone - near where I lived and I have spent many happy moments sitting in front of it. It is interesting - and for me a little strange - to note how much more satisfying is the organisation of the drapery in the window than in the sketch, which lays more emphasis on the figurative representation and on the expression of lively individual character in the face.

Here is a window from a church in England - St Mary the Virgin in Downe, Co Kent. Again we can note the quietness and the rhythmic organisation of the draperies. Also how, perhaps in contrast to the somewhat clashing colours of the non-figurative panels in Dundrum, she favours differing shades of a single colour - the blue of the background, the reds and russets of the St John.

You may feel that these faces are rather unremarkable but in my view that is what is remarkable about them. They are adequate to the purpose but they don't draw undue attention - that is to say an attention that obstructs the ultimately circular movement - to themselves. This gives us one possible approach to the problem of figuration in a 'Cubist' liturgical art - an easily recognisable, more or less conventional figuration not distorted by the 'abstract' rhythm and harmony but sufficiently modest to allow the rhythm and harmony to be felt. We might note that there is none of the tragedy, deliberate crudeness and expressiveness that we would normally associate with Rouault.