Triple Light East Window
Original to the church building. Presented in memory of James McIsaac, a former, long serving Provost of Saltcoats and Parish Church Elder and his son.
This is a typical window of the period and contains stained glass which, although attractive, does not embody the same vivid coloured glass of the smaller side windows. It seems likely that lighter colouring was selected at the time of construction and this, combined with more translucent surrounds, makes for a less striking window, thus allowing a better light within the chancel.
The leaded glass depicts a centre panel showing the ascended Christ as King, robed in scarlet and replete with orb and sceptre. The lower part of the panel depicts Jesus in the Wilderness with a quotation from The King James Bible from Matthew 4: 11 “Angels came and ministered unto him”. Figures of St Peter and St Luke form the two side panels.
Recent inspection of this triple window suggests that although it does not have the strength of colour, the value is enhanced by being a “Percy Bacon” window.
Other Stained Glass windows
During 1948 the church was greatly enhanced by a scheme of stained glass windows carried out in the south and north aisles, by Mr. William Wilson,R.S.A., R.S.W., of Edinburgh. The subject of the scheme is the Life of Christ, in fifteen representative scenes; and it has been so reverently, imaginatively, and originally treated, that in the opinion of those competent to judge, who have visited the church to view the windows, the work definitely establishes Mr. Wilson in the front rank of British stained glass artists.
1. The adoration of the Magi. In the one panel, the Virgin Mother, robed in pale blue, is seated with the Infant Jesus on her knee. Joseph stands behind her, holding a lamp. In the other panel are the Magi, carrying their gifts in chaste caskets. The artist has followed the tradition by making one of them dark-skinned.
2 (a) Jesus as a boy in the Temple, discoursing with the doctors. Inset above, Joseph and Mary are seen entering the Temple in search of the child.
(b) The Baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan.
3. (a) The Good Samaritan.
(b) Jesus calling the children unto Him.
4. (a) The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter. This is one of the most beautiful panels in the whole scheme, The composition is cleverly conceived; each of the four faces is a study in individual expression – that of Jairus showing startled bewilderment; that of the mother, the strain of sleepless vigil; that of the child, bemused wonder; that of Jesus, a mingled tenderness and authority. The colour scheme is exceedingly rich.
(b) The Stilling of the Tempest. The subject was chosen because of Saltcoats’ association with the sea. The whole picture is vividly alive and tense.
The colour tones in these windows in the south aisle have been kept generally subdued, in order to leave the deeper reds, blues. purples, and greens for the Passion windows in the north aisle.
5. (a) Christ in Gethsemane, This, and the accompanying panel, are a blaze of rich, tense colour, and dramatically impressive in their whole conception.
(b) This panel shows our Lord with hands bound, His head encircled with thorns, and three figures worshipping Him in grotesque mockery.
6. (a) Via Dolorosa. Our Lord, stumbling beneath the burden of His Cross, turns to look at the Virgin Mother who follows Him.
(b) The Crucifixion. The stark realism of the Passion windows reaches its climax here. There is nothing in these panels of the maudlin sentiment that so often disfigures representations of the Passion. The Figure on the Cross is an artistic creation of great power. Lightning flashes athwart the deep purple background, splitting the whole Temple asunder, in a poetic exaggeration of the veil of the Temple being rent in twain. Inset beneath is a skull.
7. (a) The Angel in the Tomb. A symbolic creation of power and mystery, draped in oriental magnificence, with a sword in his left hand, and tongues of fire issuing from his feet. It is one of the most challenging panels in the scheme.
(b) The Appearance to Mary. This panel, although generally the most highly esteemed, is more conventional in its treatment that the others. The atmosphere of early morning is suggested in the amazing blue of the sky. The face of Mary is particularly beautiful. Spring flowers encircle the feet of our Lord.
8. (a) The Supper at Emmaus. This is a panel of great dignity, showing Christ blessing the bread, and recognition dawning on the faces of the two disciples. Inset beneath is one of the loveliest little pictures in the whole scheme. It shows the disciples inviting Christ to enter their home, and the scene is bathed in the mystical dim light of evening. with a glow of light issuing from the open door.
(b) The Ascended Christ. The tense colours of the Passion windows have faded now to pale opalescent tints. The Kingly Figure seems to be floating upwards. There is a suggestion of something intangible, ethereal, in the palely jewelled lights. Inset beneath is a small vividly contrasting panel of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, with tongues as of fire, on the waiting disciples.
As the windows are comparatively small (a little less than six feet in height), small sections of glass were necessarily employed. This gives a remarkably “ jewelled ” effect to the glass. Nor has the artist forgotten that the first purpose of a window is to let in light. It is surprising how little the light is obscured, even by the most tensely coloured windows. The windows are particularly attractive in morning and evening light. It was a great advantage having the whole scheme planned and carried out at one time. Not only was the scheme given unity, but the artist was enabled to compose a symphony of colour, a thing very difficult, if not impossible to do, when windows are added at various times, and often by various artists.
In 1976 two additional stained glass windows, designed by Gordon Webster, were added under the rear gallery. These windows are dedicated to the memory of Rev Alexander Smart and Mr James Wood respectively.
They were designed by Gordon Webster in 1976, the former having a musical theme and the latter based on Matthew Chapter 25, v 35-36:
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”Matthew 25: 35-36
Donors Of The Windows
1 Gifted by the Women’s Guild 1946.
2 & 3 Gifted by an anonymous donor in recognition of the efforts of Rev Rossie Brown 1888 – 1908.
4 Subscribed by Congregation – dedicated to Rev D D Rees.
5 Gifted by Girl’s Guildry
6 Gifted by A M Arnott Esq
7 Gifted by Mrs. Margaret C Arnott.
8 Gifted by Mrs. Marion Robertson in memory of her husband.