St Philip’s, Birmingham: the Interior and Ascension of Christ

Image from: Cathedral Church of St Philip, Birmingham

This view of the interior of the Church looks eastwards towards the chancel. The window above the altar depicts the Ascension of Christ, one of three stained-glass windows designed by Edward Coley Burne-Jones. The Ascension was the first to be installed in the chancel. The other two were the Nativity and Crucifixion.

The cost of the three windows was borne by Miss Emma Chadwick Villers Wilkes, who died in 1891, the daughter of Edward Villers Wilkes, a successful manufacturer of copper, brass and pewter goods in Moor Street, Birmingham who died in 1835.  She was a devout Anglican and attended services at St Philip’s regularly. The family are recorded in monuments inside and outside the church.

The architect, J A Chatwin extended the chancel of the Church, redesigned part of the interior and created a semi-circular apse. Burne-Jones received £200 for each of his designs. His account book records that the work on the Ascension involved “much physical fatigue in addition to mental weariness” and he regretted “the flagrantly inadequate sum by way of payment.” His disappointment did not last. When he visited St Philip’s in 1885, he was struck with admiration for his own work and was determined to produce two other windows “worthy of my former achievement…”


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4732-0The Burne-Jones Windows at St Philip’s, Birmingham 4749-0Edward Burne-Jones: Painter and Designer of Stained Glass 4733-0St Philip’s, Birmingham: the Interior and Ascension of Christ 4734-0St Philip’s, Birmingham: the Interior and Last Judgement 4735-0The Ascension 4736-0The Ascension 4737-0The Ascension 4746-0The Nativity 4747-0The Nativity 4748-0The Nativity 4738-0The Crucifixion 4739-0The Crucifixion 4740-0The Crucifixion 4742-0The Last Judgement 4743-0The Last Judgement 4744-0The Last Judgement 4745-0Assembling the Last Judgement Window