Long before he was the artist known as Sir Edward Burne-Jones, he was plain 'Ted' Jones from Birmingham. He was born and lived at 11 Bennett's Hill, a stone's throw from St Philip's Church which, like Ted Jones, went up in the world when it later became Birmingham Cathedral.
Unlike some people, I generally don't swoon over Burne-Jones' work. His hollow-eyed, pewter-coloured men and droopy, anaemic women, and sickly greens and yellows aren't for me.
But sometimes he surprises me and upsets my prejudices. I hadn't known he had a sense of humour until I saw his St Frideswide window in Christ Church, Oxford. I feel the vine-entwined windows in the decommissioned church of St Peter in Vere Street, London, should be better known and cared for. And he designed a lovely cymbals-player with a faraway gaze in St Mary's in Meole Brace, Shrewsbury.
Then there are these windows in Birmingham. His crowning achievement in stained glass, I'd say. They are breathtakingly beautiful, with a medieval intensity of colour. But no-where else have I come across such rich blues and pinks and reds, with sky blue halos, flaming red wings, deep coral cloaks, azure robes and aquamarine water.
The tall, elegant, rather plain Georgian church is the perfect backdrop to these tall, elegant and gorgeous windows.
This time I really did swoon.
[There is more excellent stained glass nearby at St Martin in the Bull Ring and the next post will be about another outstanding window in Birmingham.]