Plus, David Hockney designed it. No biggie.
If you’ve never been to Westminster Abbey, now’s a great time to do it as a grand new tribute to Queen Elizabeth has just been installed – a gigantic stained glass window. Designed by master artist David Hockney, it was unveiled yesterday and it’s not what you might expect. Rather than a straightforward portrait of the Queen, it’s an ode to her love of the countryside and depicts a vibrant Yorkshire Wolds scene.
The new window replaced an old plain glass one and it’s safe to say it’s a major change. The colourful crayola-colour scene featured a bright red path winding through grassy woodlands in Hockey’s trademark modern style, a vast departure from the other religious stained glass creations in the Abbey.
Westminster Abbey told the BBC that it ‘reflects the Queen as a country woman and her widespread delight in, and yearning for, the countryside’. John Hall, the Dean of Westminster Abbey, also said that he was thrilled Hockney decided to go a completely different route with his landscape scene.
‘I didn’t want anything figurative or heraldic, that would have been crass, I think. So to 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 … it is an ideal celebration. This is not a commemoration, it is a celebration,’ he told The Guardian.
One surprising fact about the piece was that David Hockney actually designed it on an iPad. The artist explained his ingenious thinking behind the method as he explained, ‘The iPad is back-lit like a window, it’s a natural thing to use.’
Hockney is one of the UK’s most in-demand artists and apparently when the Abbey first approached him, they were told he wouldn’t be available for a few months. However, literally the next day David Hockney cleared his schedule and sent over a preliminary sketch. The window, which measured 8.5 metres high and 3.5 wide, was crafted by a specialty team in York and now sits above several statues of previous prime ministers.
The artist called the new piece a ‘challenge’ and also continued, ‘I hope [the Queen will]l like it. I’m sure she will.’
As for what Liz actually thought? Given that she’s pretty renowned for her poker face, she wasn’t giving away a lot.
Although we don’t know what the Queen thought of the final finished window, she has in the past seen a sketch of it. David Hall said to The Guardian, ‘The Queen very often doesn’t given [sic] you a very strong reaction.’
Yikes. Well, hopefully the Queen manages to pop down soon and has a more obvious (and hopefully positive) reaction. Even if it’s not her cup of tea, it’s got her name all over it.