The Memorial Window – from the Knox archives

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A Stained and Leaded Glass Window, erected in Knox Presbyterian Church, Calgary, Alberta, dedicated to the memory of the men of Knox Church, of whom fifty fell in the Great War that Liberty and Justice might not perish from the earth.

The theme of the design portrays suffering humanity lifted up, and looking up from life’s battle to Him from Whom all blessings flow. The central figure is the Risen Christ, Who carries in one hand the banner of Triumph over Death, whilst the other is raised in benediction. His inner garment is of white, cream, and gold, which signify Purity: the mantle is a soft blending of pink, crimson and lavender, to symbolize His Passion and Death. On the emerald scroll which floats about Him is inscribed:—“I am the Resurrection.” His head is backed by a nimbus of elaborate ornament, in which will be noted the form of the Cross. A conventional oval of clouds surrounds Him, and from His figure extend rays that vary from white and cream to a light yellow and gold, terminating in a deep green and blue.

The other figures are arranged in corresponding tiers. The upper tier, which is on the same level as the figure of Christ, consists of angels and cherubs of various types and treatments, posed in a devotional attitude, and singing the praise of the Lord.

Below the angels are knights clad in the armour of light, representing glorified spirits, and typifying the following virtues (read from left to right):—Fidelity, bearing the Union Jack crowned with laurels; Nobility; Honor; Humility; Devotion (this is the central figure): Patience; Sincerity; Brotherly Love, and Charity, carrying the Red Cross Banner.

Below the Knights the horrors of war are represented. Reading from left to right, the figures represent: A wounded Canadian soldier, beholding the Heavenly vision; a Canadian dying in the arms of one of our heroic nurses, his expression denoting resignation and faith; a dying soldier, directly above whom stands the welcoming Christ; the face of the next figure represents the awakening of a soul that has strayed from the right way, but now sees the light once more; the figure on the extreme right represents a soul bowed down in shame and penitence.

In the mid-distance and background are seen wounded dying and dead soldiers of both contending armies. On the central panel is seen a wayside shrine, which has escaped the ravages of war; on the panel to the left is a smoking gun, and on that to the right a village church in flames.

In the tracery above the main panels are pictured two angels, beneath which are scrolls with inscriptions: “The armies in Heaven followed Him”; and “He hath prepared for them a city.”

Each of the panels has a decorative base. These bases represent (reading from left to right):

  1. The Beaver and Maple Leaf, for Canada;
  2. The English Rose;
  3. The Rose and Thistle, surmounted by the Crown of Britannia;
  4. The Shamrock and Thistle;
  5. The beautiful Shield of Alberta.

The larger part of the bases (2) (3) and (4) is filled with scrolls, on which is inscribed:
(2) TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN
(3) LOVING MEMORY OF THE HEROES OF
(4) KNOX CHURCH WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR

Some notes on the window

The window was designed and executed by Mr. A. J. Larscheid and assistant corps of artists, in the Studios of the Pittsburgh Glass Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.

The window has been on exhibition in the manufacturers’ studios for a few weeks, and has roused so much enthusiasm that requests have been received for duplicates from two other churches. It has been resolved, however, that no duplicate shall be made.

The uniforms of the soldiers and costume of the nurse are correct in all details; it was, however, found impossible to suit the color of khaki to the color-scheme of the window, so a color blended from lavender, olive and brown was used.

The glass employed is of the purest quality of antique. The best glass is made in Europe, whence all the glass used in the window has been brought. In this window some of the rarest specimens of antique glass are to be seen; and their brilliance and richness of color, as well as the variegated blended effects, are particularly noticeable. All the color effects obtained are the results of painstaking selection and placing of small pieces together to form one harmonious whole. No paint has been used other than a brown for lining and shading to assist in rounding out the various objects, —one exception being the use of a sparing amount of pink in the faces, on the cheeks and lips. After each piece has been treated, it is baked in a kiln until the glass melts, allowing the paint to anneal itself to the surface, and thereby become as it were a part of the glass. During the course of construction, in cutting, painting, baking, glazing and other processes, the pieces were handled individually at least seven times; so when one considers that there are no fewer then 9,982 pieces in the window, the magnitude of the work can be understood.

The Committee took the opportunity of placing a heavy ribbed storm-glass in the window opening while the work could be done simultaneously with the installation of the Memorial Window, as it was felt that this would not only protect the Memorial Window, but would largely overcome any difficulty in properly heating the choir area during extreme weather.

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