All Hail the Queen’s Window
David Hockney has added glass to his repertoire of mediums, after having been commissioned to create a stained-glass window for Westminster Abbey in London. The Dean and Chapter of Westminster challenged Hockney to create a figurative design representative of Queen Elizabeth II, while sticking to his own iconic style. In his characteristic bold colors, he created a rolling country landscape that symbolizes the queen’s love for the countryside. Commemorating her sixty-five years on the throne, The Queen’s Window was unveiled to the public this past September.
The 81-year-old artist designed the window on his iPad, based in part on his earlier painting Hawthorn Blossom Near Rudston, and it was translated to glass by the stained-glass artists at the York-based Barley Studio. Hockney’s love of technology is well known, having exhibited works from both iPad and iPhone at various museums, such as the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia. The screen was helpful, he observed, since it backlit his design, like a window.
Inspired by Henri Matisse’s stained-glass work, Hockney’s design uses a similar style of block color panels and traditional lead and glass techniques. At the center, a red path winds through blossoming hawthorn, flanked by sprouting yellow elements that, Hockney says, represent champagne being poured over the bushes, a celebration of both the landscape and of the queen’s reign.