22nd Sep, 2020

Angel window smashed in break-in at Coventry Cathedral

John Carlon 24th Jan, 2020 Updated: 24th Jan, 2020

AN ICONIC window has been smashed during a break-in at Coventry Cathedral.

The engraved pane, by artist John Hutton, was shattered by would-be thieves just before 11.30pm on January 23.

It is part of the original West Screen which covers the cathedral entrance.

The window depicts the Angel with the Eternal Gospel, mentioned in Revelation 14:6.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the cathedral said: “One of the Angels on our West Screen, designed by John Hutton, was smashed on the night of Thursday 23 January during a break-in by what appears to have been two people.

The Very Reverend John Witcombe, Dean of the Cathedral, said: “We are appalled by the damage to one of Coventry’s best loved buildings last night.

“The magnificent glass West Screen of the Cathedral frames the view in and out of the building and the carvings of saints and angels inspire all who see them.

“We are pleased that a recent government grant enabled us to install CCTV cameras throughout the site and we will be examining footage of the evening to identify those responsible.”

The window smashed at Coventry Cathedral

The Coventry Society’s history of the West Screen says: “John Hutton’s sixty six larger than life figures took 10 years to complete. The work included a lot of experimentation and he invented an entirely new glass-engraving technique… from a pencil drawing John would draw a larger white chalk drawing on black paper the full size as required for the glass window. This made the figures seem drawn out and thin.

“The glass for the window would be put over the chalk drawing so that the design could be seen through it. John would grind away at the glass with his own hand-made engraving tool which was made out of an old washing machine motor fitted with a flexible drive shaft. On the end of it he could put different sizes and grades of grinding wheel. With the grinding wheel spinning he would grind into the glass. But because of the friction it got hot, so a sponge and water had to be applied to the spinning grinding wheel. Sometimes the outline of the figures would be masked off and sand blasted before the engraving.”

A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said: “Police are investigating a burglary just before 11.30pm last night (Thursday 23 January) at Coventry Cathedral. Enquiries on-going. Crime ref: 20CV/20527D/20.

“Anyone with information should contact West Midlands Police on 101 quoting the above crime referance.”

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