The window, which the 69 year old Dean of the thousand year old Westminster Abbey, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, commissioned the 81 year old David to create as a celebration of the 65 year reign of the country's 92 year old Queen, has now been installed and the new 'Queen’s Window' replaces what was mostly blank 19th-century glass.
The Dean said : “I didn’t want anything figurative or heraldic, that would have been crass, I think. So we have a country scene for a woman who absolutely loves the country - you get those images of the Queen driving her Land Rover in her mac up in Scotland - its an ideal celebration. This is not a commemoration, it is a celebration." He said that she had seen a sketch of the window but he didn't know if she liked it because : "The Queen very often doesn’t given you a very strong reaction.”
He was quite clear that he liked it because : “ It has an amazing brightness and clarity, it is a simple, utterly readable, direct scene. It is wonderful to have something which is utterly contemporary from one of the greatest artists of the Queen’s reign."
David said that, when it came to design, the iPad was a natural thing to use because it was back lit, like a window. The finished work measures 8.5 metres high and 3.5 metres wide and was created by a team of 10 craftspeople at Barley Studio in York, which specialises in stained glass.
Helen Whittaker, the Studio’s Creative Director, said it had been a relatively straightforward project : “David was quite clear as to what he wanted to portray. In technique, he has kept to coloured glass and lead, which is very much the essence of Matisse’s window at Saint-Paul de Vence. It has been a dream to work on and he is a super chap to work with.”
David, visiting London from his home in Los Angeles, was present yesterday when the window was unveiled for the first time and said : "I know this is an historic place and I know it's going to last." He chose hawthorn blossom because for a few days of the year it looked like champagne had been poured over all the bushes. "It's rather a celebratory thing. Its the height of spring and summer." When asked if he'd had any response to the window from the Queen, who had not seen the finished result he said : "Not yet, but I hope she'll like it. I'm sure she will."