In Summer 1961 Sarah Venetia d'Avigdor-Goldsmid aged nineteen visited Paris to see the exhibition of Chagall windows for the synagogue at the Medical Center in the Hadassah Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Two years later, on the 18th September 1963, off the coast of Sussex near Hastings, Sarah was dead, having drowned five months and three days after her twenty-first birthday. To commemorate her life, Marc Chagall was commissioned by Sarah's family to create a monument to Sarah in the form of a stained glass window in our local church in Tudeley, Kent. The picture above, known as Sarah's window, is a vignette of family life and the tragic circumstances in which Sarah died and her ascension into heaven. Sarah herself is represented by the figure in the bottom left supported by the mourning figure in the bottom right of the window. Angels surround Sarah's ascension on horseback ( the horse was Chagall's symbol for happiness) as she is carried to the ladder for the final part of her journey to Christ on the cross, said to represent a centre of calm, love and peace for the lonely traveler journeying into the unknown. The whole window is a deep swirling blue and this represents the fragility of human love.
The pictures that I have taken really do not do the windows justice. The colours and images are just overwhelming and they actually take your breath away as you walk through the door of the church. At the time of the unveiling of this window Chagall actually offered to design windows for the rest of the church which at the time were glazed in plain glass. This he went on to do so that the whole church is now Chagall glass.
Remember the picture below from the previous post? Notice the name VAVA to the left of the angel? This name was painted by Chagall, a personal allusion to his own 'Angel' his wife and Muse
It was a truly beautiful day, warm and sunny and the views from the churchyard over the surrounding countryside were stunning
If you are ever in this area, do visit the church and see the windows, I promise that you will not be disappointed!