Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Home Beautiful: The Henry Holiday 'Aspasia in the Pnyx' Window, 1886-1890

Aspasia In Pynx
Henry Holiday, 1886-1890
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Henry Holiday (1839-1927) was a renowned designer of stained glass, and painter, who, between 1863 and 1891, worked as a freelance designer for the glass makers Powells at Whitefriars in London. In 1891. Holiday set up his own stained glass studio through which he took on some of his most impressive commissions.

This piece was one of the last Holiday created for Powells. It was completed between 1886 and 1890. The image on this panel was probably taken from the painting “Aspasia in the Pnyx,” which Holiday painted between 1886-8. Aspasia was the mistress of Pericles, the great and controversial Athenian leader of Greek antiquity. “The Pnyx” refers to an area of land where the Greek popular assembly met.

The original painting was included in Holiday’s book “Reminiscences of My Life” which was published about 1914. Miss Kathleen Douglas-Pennant (later Lady Falmouth), daughter of Lord Penrhyn, was employed as the model for Aspasia.

Here, Holiday has incorporated his painting into a quatrefoil panel of clear and colored glass, which has been painted and stained.

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