The Charity Window
In 1829 Soane commissioned from the glass painter William Collins a replica of the Sir Joshua Reynolds designed Charity Window, at New College Chapel, Oxford. Soane’s window was thought lost - having been damaged during removal from the Tivoli to Shakespeare Recess in 1890, it was blown out by bombing on the night of the 15/16th October 1940 and only a small section was though to survive.
One of the most exciting discoveries in the OUTS project was made by the Deputy Director, Helen Dorey, and Curatorial Assistant John Bridges whilst clearing a store room in Number 12. Behind nineteenth century metal racking, they discovered a sizable part of the Charity Window. This additional fragment provided vital information for the border and frame of the lost window, in addition to the New College original and surviving Reynolds sketches.
This allowed Keith Barley, of Barley Studios and one of Britain’s leading experts on nineteenth century stained glass, to manufacture the replica with the glass painter Jonathan Cooke, who has spent well over a year researching William Collins' technique and experimenting with materials in order to reproduce it as exactly as possible. The window will be re-installed in late 2012.