The Risen Christ Appearing to the Virgin Mary
Photo © Sarah Geach
1887Two-light window. Standing figure of Christ in the left-hand light, with a kneeling woman in the right-hand light, who holds red lilies.
technique: stained glass
size: 30 cm (width of each light)
firm/studio: Clayton & Bell
Church of St Mary, Begelly, Pembrokeshire
east wall of the chancel
Angel in the upper quatrefoil holds the text 'I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice' (John 16:22).
Dedication: 'In gratitude to an unknown benefactor'. The funding for the restoration of the church, when the window was installed, came from a person known as the Middlesex Antiquarian, whose identity was, and remains, unknown (information kindly provided by Sarah Geach).
The pose suggests that of Mary Magdalene meeting the risen Christ in the garden, which is perhaps implied by the text from John's Gospel. However Mary Magdalene is usually, but not always, depicted wearing red. As the figure does not hold the usual jar of ointment, and Christ does not appear to show the wounds of crucifixion, these present further difficulties with the identification of the scene of Christ meeting Mary Magdalene after the resurrection.
As the woman is dressed in blue, and without the flowing hair of Mary Magdalene, she is perhaps Mary the mother of Christ, and although the lilies carried by the Virgin Mary are usually white, the red lilies could symbolise her sorrow. Scenes of the risen Christ meeting his mother (a late medieval tradition) are known, but are rare. It seems unlikely that the scene represents Christ's assurance to his mother that he will see her again, i.e. a pre-Crucifixion scene, which is an otherwise unknown subject. That Christ has no wounds need not mean that the scene is not a post-Resurrection one, as the scene of risen Christ meeting his mother by John Coates Carter on the reredos at Herbrandston, Pembrokeshire (about 1920), shows no wounds in his hands or feet.
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Martin Crampin, Stained Glass from Welsh Churches (Talybont: Y Lolfa, 2014), pp. 144–5.
Thomas Lloyd, Julian Orbach and Robert Scourfield, The Buildings of Wales: Pembrokeshire (New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2004), p. 128.
View this object on the Stained Glass in Wales Catalogue
Photo © Sarah Geach
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