As you might expect with Biblical shepherds and stables and landscapes, there are a lot of sheep in stained glass windows. After seeing a fair few, it's possible to find yourself looking at them with a newly critical eye, deciding whether you like their style and the cut of their jib, so to speak.
I am keen on any stained glass sheep with character, but I am particularly drawn to those in post-war windows of the 1950s and 1960s which look as though they have wandered in from a children's book, a Puffin classic perhaps, created by one of the great illustrators of the period who had such an enormous impact on young readers and thus on our visual culture.
The sheepdog, too, is straight out of a children's (or dog's) adventure story; this one could have been modelled on someone's pet, or perhaps a local Yorkshire farmer's sheepdog.
Harry Harvey had a wonderfully clear, vivid and contemporary drawing and design style which translates into delightful windows. He was Harry Stammers' assistant before setting up his own studio in York, and there is an undeniable similarity to their work, but Harry H's is recognisable from the simpler designs, larger areas of pattern, fewer lines, and some favourite colours (bright orange, jade, lemon, apple green). All these make his windows more 60s in style while Harry S's best work is more 50s.
There are two windows (1957 and 1958) by Harry Harvey in St Martin in the Bull Ring which show his very distinct style (and his brilliant, almost aloof sheep). The church is hemmed in by modernity: shops, cafes, pedestrian areas, busy roads and the market - to find it there at all, tall Gothic spire and all, is a huge surprise. So it's worth wandering in to have a look at Harry H's sheep and the large Morris/Burne-Jones window, and to wonder at how they haven't been bulldozed to make way for some shiny new development, unlike the 70s library which I stood and watched being demolished while I was there recently. Birmingham has its political sheep, too, it would seem.