Current News

5 July 2017

The Trustees are sincerely grateful for your continuing financial support and interest in the work of the Trust and all things Kempe. We hope, therefore, that you will not be too disappointed when, at a recent meeting of the Trustees, it was decided to hold the Trust Supporters’ Day every two years, similar to the practice established for the residential weekends held by the former Kempe Society. The next Supporters Day will be held in September 2018, not 2017 as previously advised. The new date will be announced on the Trust website, by email and letter in good time. This decision does not affect the Trust’s Report and you will continue to receive this annually as before. This information was posted on the Current News page of our website on 18th April and via email to those Supporters who have notified us of their email addresses. If you have an email address and have not previously notified us please do so now (using the Contact Us facility on this website) – it will help greatly in the rapid dissemination of news to Supporters.

It is the aim of the Trustees to remove the organisation and running of the Trust Supporters Day from the Kempe Trust trustees remit and to encourage the day to be arranged and run by the supporters themselves. 2018 is an appropriate and important date to hold the Supporters Day as it will coincide with the launch of Adrian Barlow’s two books to be published by The Lutterworth Press, Kempe: essays on the life, art and legacy of Charles Eamer Kempe, and Espying Heaven – the art of Charles Eamer Kempe both of which make a significant contribution to the Trust’s secondary purpose: ‘To increase knowledge and appreciation of the work of the Kempe Studio and C E Kempe & Co Ltd.

The Trust is therefore keen to encourage a supporter or supporters to volunteer to become the organiser(s) of the 2018 Day and future days. If you would be interested in taking on this role please email the Trust at info@thekempetrust.co.uk or write to The Kempe Trust, 41 York Avenue, Crosby, Liverpool L23 5RN. We have produced an information leaflet to explain how the day is best organised and we will always be contactable for guidance. We can confirm that the day would be fully insured by the Trust and that all postal, printing or telephone expenses would be re-imbursed.

 

18 April 2017

At a recent meeting of the Trustees it was decided to adopt the residential weekend practice of the former Kempe Society and aim to hold the Trust Supporters’s Day every two years. The next Supporters Day therefore will be held in September 2018, not 2017 as previously advised. The new date will be announced on the Trust website and by email in good time. This will be an important event, coinciding it is hoped with the launch of Adrian Barlow’s two books Kempe: essays on the life, art and legacy of Charles Eamer Kempe, and Espying Heaven – the art of Charles Eamer Kempe both of which make a significant contribution to the Trust’s secondary purpose: ‘To increase knowledge and appreciation of the work of the Kempe Studio and C E Kempe & Co Ltd.

This decision does not affect the Trust’s Report and you will continue to receive this annually as before including the 2017 issue later in the year.

The Trust is keen to encourage a supporter or supporters to become the organiser of this and/or future days and to this end expressions of interest are now invited. For further details and an advice leaflet please email the Trust at info@thekempetrust.co.uk or write to The Kempe Trust, 41 York Avenue, Crosby, Liverpool L23 5RN

14 April 2017

If your Cathedral, Church or Chapel is considering a conservation project in 2017/8 involving Kempe glass or furnishings and would like to be considered for a grant towards the cost, please complete a Grant application form from the Downloads menu and forward or send it to the Trust.

 

13 April 2017

Trusteeship of the Kempe Trust

The Kempe Trust (registered charity No. 1014062), which was founded in 1992, is now seeking to expand its grant-giving activities. It is also planning to enlarge its governing body. Expressions of interest to serve as a Trustee are now invited.  The Kempe Trust’s aims are:

To assist and facilitate the maintenance and preservation, through grant aid, of the work of the Charles Eamer Kempe and the Kempe Studio carried out between 1865 and 1907 and of C E Kempe & Co Ltd carried out between 1907 and 1934.

To increase knowledge and appreciation of the work of the Kempe Studio and C E Kempe & Co Ltd.

Whilst an appreciation of the work of C.E. Kempe and C E Kempe & Co is clearly desirable, and sympathy with the aims of the Trust is essential, expertise in Charity matters, finance, fund-raising etc are equally sought.

If you are interested and would like to consider becoming a Trustee, please write in the first instance for further information and details of the Governance of the Kempe Trust: Terms of Reference to info@thekempetrust.co.uk. (Please note that this is an expression of interest, not at this stage a formal application to become a Trustee.)

 

 

 

10 January 2017

News has just been received of the death at the end of October 2016 of Dr Dilys Thomas of London. Dilys was an early member of the Kempe Society, attending most of our residential weekends and continuing her support of all things Kempe as a Supporter of the Kempe Trust. She was a good friend and will be sadly missed by all of us who knew her. Our condolences go to her friend and flat sharer Kate.

24 November

This should properly be in Adrian’s Kempe Blog and will be transferred shortly.

The Master Glaziers                               Adrian Barlow   

There is a watercolour sketch of A E Tombleson painted in 1924 by a young draughtsman, Rudolph Tanner, who had recently joined Kempe & Co. It was painted while they were working together on one of the most significant commissions ever awarded to Kempe & Co., the restoration of the Presbytery windows in Tewkesbury Abbey. They were fifty years apart in age, but Tanner’s respect for Tombleson is clear from the way the older man is shown, sitting comfortably, pipe in hand, gazing into the distance. His walrus moustache is impressively shaggy but his clothes – Homburg hat, neat collar and tie – suggest a man who likes things to look just the way he wants them to look. The sketch is entitled ‘The Master Glazier’.

Apprenticed originally to Frederick Leach of Cambridge, Tombleson had been with Kempe from the beginning: in 1868 he was in Gloucestershire, making careful life-size drawings of the 16th century glass at Fairford; the following year, he was decorating the walls of Staplefield Church in Sussex; ten years on, he was both Kempe’s leading glass painter and manager of his Glass Works in Camden Town while also in charge of installing windows in churches and cathedrals. Kempe took him to Germany in 1878 to insert the glass in the Royal Mausoleum in Darmstadt; a decade later he was allowing Tombleson’s monogram to be included in the design of some of his most important works.

After Kempe died in 1907, Tombleson became one of the Directors of Kempe & Co., and when the firm finally closed he was still there on the last morning, overseeing the resale of unused glass back to the suppliers and checking everything was done properly. Truly, his was a life in stained glass, and a remarkable career for someone who born in a farm labourer’s cottage. He died in 1943, aged 92.

It’s easy to underestimate Tombleson’s importance. Not only was he the single most loyal and long-serving member of the Kempe enterprise (66 years between 1868 and 1934); not only was he one of the very few members of the team who was skilled in every branch of stained glass window creation and craftsmanship – drawing, selection of glass, glass cutting and leading, painting and firing, glazing of windows in churches (installation, protection, conservation and restoration) – but he managed a large team at the Glass Works and was clearly an impressive organiser and leader of men. Without such skills, the Kempe Studio simply could not have produced so much glass of such high quality consistently on schedule.

The premises at 2 Millbrook were not purpose-built, and surviving photographs of the workrooms suggest they were dingy and cramped. Yet it was from here in 1895 that Tombleson sent out, and then installed, four of the largest and most important of all Kempe’s commissions, not to mention a large number of other windows produced during this annus mirabilis: the S transept windows at Hereford and Lichfield, together with the two large and spectacular windows in the Lichfield Lady Chapel, one of Kempe’s most cherished projects. These were windows of Flemish glass that Kempe had purchased from Christie’s, the London auctioneers, restored and reconfigured to fit into the unusually tall window openings. Recreating these windows (which had been purchased simply as fragments stored in boxes) was an extraordinary task. Kempe’s sketches for the rearrangement of the surviving, and the insertion of new, glass are in his own hand, but fittingly he included Tombleson’s monogram in both windows, for it was he who had supervised the leading-up of the glass and then the installation of the completed windows in the Cathedral.

With this work, with other mid-1890s commissions to conserve the Lady Chapel windows in Gloucester Cathedral and of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, and then with the later work at Tewkesbury, Tombleson became simply the most experienced stained glass conservator in Britain. Who has a better claim than he to be called the Master Glazier of his generation?

There can be little dispute about his successor to that title. Peter Gibson, the first Superintendent of the York Glaziers Trust, worked for the Dean and Chapter of York Minster for sixty years, beginning his apprenticeship only two years after Tombleson’s death. During this long association, Gibson restored the Minster’s great 16th century Rose window not once but twice: first in 1969-79, and then again in 1884-5 after the South Transept suffered the disastrous fire of 9 July 1984. He told the story of his own part in saving the Rose window, in a lecture given in 1988:

When I carried out my initial examination of the glass from a narrow internal walkway at the base of the window only an hour after the fire, the glass was still warm to touch. Strapped to a fireman’s turntable ladder I then carried out a thorough external examination of the glass from its uppermost rung more than 100 feet above the ground. Only two hours after the fire I reported the condition of the glass to Dean Ronald Jasper, saying that although the glass was as severely damaged as it could possibly be I was confident that one day it would shine once again in the South Transept.*

Peter Gibson, like Tombleson before him, was a modest man. He was an exemplary lecturer, his illustrated talks during Kempe Society weekends eye-opening in the best sense: he loved teaching people how to read stained glass. He was the Society’s Patron, always supportive and encouraging. Long-standing Kempe Trust supporters who visited York this summer recalled the climax of a 1987 tour of the Minster glass led by Peter Gibson himself. Keeping the Zouche Chapel until last, he led us down the steps and over to the altar. Behind it, a little window of 14th century glass – easy enough to miss – showed Cardinal Kempe, and in the quarries surrounding the image were wheatsheaves. See,’ said Peter, smiling rather mischievously, ‘I put that there myself, specially for the Kempe Society.”

Adrian Barlow

*Peter Gibson, ‘Our Heritage of Stained Glass and its Care in the Twentieth Century’, RSA Journal, vol. cxxxvi, no. 5379, February 1988, pp.167-8

 

17 November

The late Peter Gibson OBE

It is with great sadness that I report the death this week of Peter Gibson OBE. Peter was invited to become and accepted the position of the Kempe Trust Patron having previously been an active and supportive member of the Kempe Society, giving us a number of lectures at our early Residential Weekends, most memorably the one held in York in 1989. This could not have been a better venue as he was Superintendent and Secretary of the York Glaziers Trust based at the Minster and knew more about its stained glass than any other man living. In the course of a long career there he cared for, repaired, restored and reset most of its glass. Perhaps his greatest achievement was the restoration of the great Rose Window in the South Transept following the fire in 1984. His other achievements world-wide as a lecturer are too numerous to list here and his honours are many. He received an MBE from the Queen in 1984 and an OBE in 1995 and was granted the Freedom of York in 2010. He loved the City, being born there and, almost uniquely, living in the same house all his life – a tiny Georgian mews cottage in Precentor’s Court close to the Minster. He worshiped at St Michael in the Belfry next to the West end of that great building which houses his life’s work and that is where his funeral will be.

For those who would wish to attend his funeral and say goodbye to this wonderful man and perfect gentleman, it is at St Michael in the Belfry Church on Tuesday 6th December at 11am and afterwards in the parish rooms.

R.I.P. Peter

28 May 2016

The Kempe Trust Supporters York meeting Saturday 17th September 2016

 We are pleased to announce that the third meeting of the Kempe Trust Supporters will be held on Saturday 17th September 2016 in York. The meeting begins in York Minster and continues at The Belfry, Stonegate

The Minster possesses seven windows by Charles Kempe and his studio, dating from 1890 to 1911 all in the North and South Transepts.

Attached please find details of the programme and a booking form.

PROGRAMME

On arrival, please assemble inside the west entrance to the Minster

10.15-11.15     A guided tour with Adrian Barlow viewing the stained glass, notably in the Transepts.

Following our visit to the Minster we will walk the short distance to The Belfry Hall 52A Stonegate, York for tea or coffee. This is a two minute walk and directions will be given on the day. We will remain here for the remainder of the d

11.45-12.45     Adrian Barlow lecture C E Kempe in Yorkshire

13.00-14.00     Buffet lunch for Kempe Trust Supporters

14.00-14.45     Annual Meeting of the Kempe Trust Supporters. See Agenda below.

14.45- 15.45    A second lecture by Adrian Barlow Charles Kempe and his circle of friends. A preview of his book to be published by Lutterworth Press

15.45-16.30     Afternoon tea

The cost of the day is £22 per person and cheques should be made payable to The Kempe Trust and sent to 41 York Avenue, Crosby, Liverpool L23 5RN.  Contact phone number 0151 924 6345

Annual meeting of the Kempe Trust Supporters

Agenda

  1. Welcome and opening remarks
  2. Apologies for Absence
  3. Report on the Kempe Trust activity
  4. a) Trustees
  5. b) Finance and grant aiding
  6. c) Membership
  7. d) Proposed activity for 2017
  8. Annual Report
  9. Date and venue of 2017 meeting

 

If you have any matters which you wish to be included in the meeting, please contact the Secretary at the above address

Please complete and print the booking form and forward it with your cheque payable to The Kempe Trust as soon as possible to the address below. If you wish for a receipt also enclose a SAE. Note that there will be no postal reminder of the event, but please do check our website www.thekempetrust.co.uk and go to the Current News on the menu for any updated information. Thank you. For information about the Minster consult their website www.yorkminster.org

Please cut here  —————————————————————————————————-

I wish to attend the Kempe Trust Supporters event at York on 17 September 2016

Name……………………………………………………………………………………………

Address………………………………………………………………………………………….

Telephone number………………………………….. email address……………………………

My party will number………………… I enclose my cheque in sum of £………….

Please advise of any special dietary requirements:

Return this booking form as soon as possible to 41 York Avenue, Crosby, Liverpool L23 5RN. Contact phone number 0151 924 6345.

 

6 May 2016

Former members of the Kempe Society will be saddened by the news of the death recently of David Jewell. He was a much loved member who was always present at our weekends with his late wife Sylvia and indeed following her death at the two Trust Day Meetings . We send our condolences to his son and family.

5 November 2015

Strongly recommended is the Malvern College Chapel booklet. It contains excellent colour photos by Alastair Carew-Cox of the Kempe windows (1902-1921 on the church’s year from Easter to Advent). The only black mark (no pun intended!) is a reference to Kempe & Tower – Pevsner’s inaccuracies live on!  The cost for the 48 page booklet is £5 inc p&p and it can be ordered from Syd Hill, Secretary of the Malvernian Society, Malvern College, College Road, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 3DF  Telephone 01684 581500

3 November 2015

From Philip Kendall – Spring Bank Arts, New Mills, High Peak.

“…Through a glass darkly”

Charles Eamer Kempe (1837 – 1907) was probably the foremost designer of stained glass in the late Victorian era.  Kempe windows appear in cathedrals and parish churches throughout England and Wales, as well as in countries abroad.  There are some lovely examples in Chester and Wakefield Cathedrals.

 

How come, then, that the former Church of St James the Less on Spring Bank has five magnificent examples of Kempe stained glass? We can only assume that John and Mary Mackie, in their desire to give New Mills the best, engaged the Kempe Studios to adorn the little chapel of ease that they planned for the Alms Houses and which was to be dedicated to Mary’s parents, James and Martha Ingham.

 

What is now Spring Bank Arts Centre is very proud of its Kempe stained glass. The great double-panelled west window portrays the four Evangelists, each with his particular symbols. These tie in with the four “blind” arches on the north wall, which depict the four Gospels (- they are spirit frescoes, painted onto dry plaster but applied with spirits that help the pigments to soak into the plaster.) All these were beautifully restored by stained glass experts and the conservators when the church was being converted into an arts centre. Around the apse-shaped east end are three single-panelled windows depicting Christ on the cross, with his Mother to one side and Saint James to the other. These windows will also be in need of restoration in the not-too-distant future.

 

The Trust that now owns the building is really pleased that the three-panelled window on the south wall of what was the chancel, depicting the Nativity, (complete with shepherds) has just been re-installed after going away to be restored and re-leaded. This work has been carried out by Charles Lightfoot Ltd who also undertook the work on the big west window. The stained glass now looks magnificent, clear and beautiful. Some remedial stone work had to be undertaken before the window could be re-fitted; a guard has been attached to the outside to preserve the precious glazing. Secondary glazing that was fitted to these windows, probably in the 1950s, was a mistaken measure as it probably contributed to their deterioration by trapping moist air. Funding towards the window restoration has been obtained in part from The Kempe Trust, in part from The Heritage Lottery Fund and the remainder from the Trust’s own savings.

 

Visitors to Spring Bank Arts no longer have to look “… through a glass darkly”!

 

Philip Kendall  08.10.2016

 

21 September 2015

The Kempe Trust is seeking a  Photographic Curator to oversee and manage the collection and expansion of the Trust’s archive of Kempe window images. To date there are 3761 images in the archive which is made up of:

8 x A4 box files of 6×4 photos

1 x Annotated Corpus referencing the images

3 x ring folders of 35mm slides

3 x plastic files of 35mm slides

1 x box miscellaneous papers/photographs

If you are interested in undertaking the position of Photograph Curator please contact the Kempe Trust Secretary.

 

14 September 2015

The date of the next Kempe Trust Supporters Day and AGM is 17th September 2016 This will be held at the Belfrey Hall York. further details will be posted in the New Year.

The Kempe Trust Report 2015 will be at the printers shortly and will be sent out in due course. it will also be available on the download menu on this website.

 

15 February 2014

An update on the status of the glass from St Swithin, Patney in Wiltshire. This church, noted as redundant and for sale in late 1995 in the Corpus, is now a private residence.  The glass (WIL 18.1 and WIL 18.2) was removed and auctioned by Christies of London in 2012.  WIL 18.2 an Annunciation of 1893 was purchased by the Museo del Vidrio y Cristal de Málaga and is displayed there. Anyone visiting Malaga on holiday should make a point of visiting the museum! The present whereabouts of WIL 18.1, SS Edmund and Oswald (1902) is unknown.

It is hoped that in the near future the Adenda to the Corpus, which is currently in typed form, will be scanned and made available on this website.

31 March

A correction to the St Swithun Website http://www.stswithuns.ratm.org.uk/pages/history.htm The South window of the South Transept is by Kempe and the corresponding window on the North side of the North Transept is by Kempe’s pupil, Towers, as are the two East windows of that chapel. Walter Tower (singular) was not a pupil of Kempe. He was Chairman of C E Kempe & Co Ltd and the two east windows in the Chantry Chapel  dated 1914 and 1918 are by C E Kempe & Co Ltd

18 April 2014

The Adenda to the Corpus (parts 1 and 2) is available as a download. Please go to Downloads on menu

23 June 2014

The Kempe Mark by Philip N H Collins – Off-print in glossy cover of article in the Journal of the British Society of Master Glass Painters Vol.XXXVII  (June 2014) pages 98-104.  Please send cheque for £4 payable to The Kempe Trust. Cost includes postage.

9 July    Photographic Curator

The Kempe Trust has a vacancy for the post of Photographic Curator. This involves the safekeeping of the Trust’s collection of several thousand images of Kempe stained glass and the receipt and cataloguing of additional material as it is submitted. If you are interested in undertaking this important part of the Trust activity then please contact the Secretary by email for further details.

12 July

The Corpus of Kempe Stained Glass in the UK and Ireland has recently been advertised on Amazon for £77 (yes SEVENTY  SEVEN POUNDS!). This book is still available from the Kempe Trust (who published it in 2000) for £22 including UK postage.

18 July

Master of GlassCharles Eamer Kempe 1837-1907 by Margaret Stavridi discovered on the shelves in the late Lord Wraxall’s library at Tyntesfield NT in Somerset, He was one of the thirty founding members of the Kempe Society.