My inspiration for my course, comes from a passion of mine with windows and doors. Windows come in all shapes and sizes and a little surprised on the diversity available. For many years when visiting stately homes I have always taken pictures of doors and windows, as the architecture of the past shows real imagination that is not found today in Modern Architecture, well in my opinion. Also I who may have peered out from within and from what century.

Victor Noble Rainbird created a stained glass piece of art showing his struggles during the second world war in the Rainbird conflict, in which he sustained injuries. The window itself had Jesus on one side and depicts the conflict on the other. Having been gassed in the second world war, suffered severe shellshock which continued his struggles throughout his life. The only surviving piece of his work is in  Allendale Northumberland, one of many churches he was commissioned to do. The names of those that served were on the side of Jesus and a wounded soldier was on the other with the names of the fallen from the village. The windows were discovered during the centenary for world war one. One example of many that I have found of the sadness behind the window.

Another that was inspirational for the book Jane Eye, was of confinement in the attic of Bertha Mason who was insane. This was believed to be was inspired by her visit to Norton Conyers Yorkshire where it was rumoured that there was a mad woman locked in the attic.

People being locked away is not unusual as even in the Royal family there was a report a number of years ago of the Queens cousin, niece of the Queen mother were hidden away from the public as were mentally retarded. There was public outrage at the time, of the mistreatment of the cousins, but the royal family insisted they were cared for and regularly visited.

In my research, I have struggled with finding my own voice but after revaluing what I want to do, decided it was important to do something that is sustainable, and therefore windows fit the bill. With a hidden meaning and story.

Round Window. GAAAAH! This window is amazing!!! the rest could use a little TLC but Yeeeeze that window!

So exactly what sort of windows are there, well stained glass comes to mind as the decorative feature, however many window design are complicated and by the simple use of glass allow the natural design to shine.

I began to think of what comes to mind:-


I am sure there are many more words, but this is a start.

I went to Warwick Castle and found a plethora of windows and doors to photograph. I particularly like this type of building, with the history it portrays. I felt that windows were interesting in design, but draped in fabric, changed the mood of it.

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The dungeon was of the greatest interest with smaller windows with poor lighting and reminds me of the struggle some of the prisoners must have had, with poor sanitation and the lack of light. This must have been detrimental to the health and welfare. A glimpse into the past of a forgotten world.

There were many windows with stained glass, but chose a few that had shape, colour and composition.

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Lighting was an issue here, but still revealed the shape. I liked the placement of the flowers at the top.

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Different angles of the windows were used to see how things alter from a different perspective.

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I like the different shapes which alter the window. This is a consideration when designing an object, and something that I think could be used in a series of a theme.

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Further exploration of windows was to look at drapes. again these changes the feel of the window, adding a textural quality that curtain less windows show.

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The corridor here shows how perspective can be used to alter the depth of a project.

Decorative doors show endless possibilities for design work and something that can be inspirational for my next assignment with molding.

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During the visit there was a photo shoot being done showing the ancient and modern. I was advised to research more contemporary artists, but I think it is important to look at the past as well. This is highlighted by the fact that many artists use the past and update it for a modern approach. For example traditional handicrafts are used and examples of crochet work is shown in my research.

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As previous photographs are taken from different angles to see what the difference would be.

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These doors have interesting designs again something I could use when moulding.

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Asylum windows

With the research on asylums there is a real sense of foreboding and can only imagine how these places had an effect on the mental state of an patient. The decay of these long since abandoned buildings are a reminder of the past where mental health tolerance was non existent. Those who were considered mentally challenged  were committed to the lunatic asylum. These quite upsets me, as during my genealogy searches, found that my great great grandfather was an inpatient in one of these establishments.


Pilgrim State Hospital in 1936 by Alfred Eisenstaedt (LIFE Magazine)

This picture shows great sadness in her eyes, and can only imagine what her pain is in life. I have drawn some inspiration for the reasons behind something. How I would portray this is another matter. I have an idea in my next project of metal bars embedded in concrete, with words that portray this theme of pain. I feel after discovering my family member that I feel connected to this and may use this in future projects.

Some examples:-


Ceiling window


I like the distortion of this window and something I could utilize in my work.


I like the way the corridor winds around the corner, and makes me wonder whats beyond. Its an interesting picture, with lots of textural features that could be used.

My conclusion to these everyday objects, as items of wonder. With so many historic buildings to explore, I could find many sources for my work.
I visited Hellens manor in Much Marcle, Herefordshire and discovered sadness behind a window.
Hellens Manor

Originally this was the home of the Black Prince, the eldest son of Edward III and Isabella of France.  Was the home of the Walwyn family but is currently the home of the de Balun family. It has a sad history of the daughter of the house Hetty Walwyn who disgraced the family by eloping with a man of a lower social status but became a widow and returned to her family home. Her father after being disgraced by this, kept her prisoner for 30 years where she went mad and killed herself. On one of her bedroom windows, there is a poem and both her and her lover’s name. She is reputed to roam the halls.

This sad tale, beings me back to what lies behind a window, tragedy and cruelty.


Author: huggywitch

I have been doing textiles for a number of years and recently started my degree. I have always had an interest in theatre costume design and this is where my passion lie.

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