The Gayer-Anderson twins moved into the Great House in 1923 but had to wait until 1931 when the tenants vacated no.20 in the North wing of Litle Hall before they could start to restore it. In 1934 the residents of no 23-24, Mrs and Mr Bye, died which left the rest of the property clear for restoration. At this point Colonel Gayer-Anderson turned his mind to how he might restore the windows.
He decided that unglazed windows would be a step too far and collected sufficient old glass to reproduce the Tudor appearance, 1700 pieces. To add extra interest he designed sets of painted glass quarries to be centrepieces of each light in the main hall. Six family members were to be commemorated on the East side and six family heraldic designs on the West side. Some light-hearted sets were designed and produced for other windows, making a total of 20 painted quarries.
The Colonel was very methodical and thorough in all his works and this was no exception. We know the whole process through his “Window Book”, now in the Little Hall archive, in which he described how he researched the techniques of producing painted glass and then looked for people who could do it.
The Window Book shows all his original designs, which were coloured. He knew of Mr L Prince, an artist who was head of Woolwich Poly but lived at Middleton near Sudbury. Mr Prince was very enthusiastic about the project and reworked the Colonel’s designs to be just yellow (using silver) and brown (using iron). Prince knew a firm in Fulham, Lowndes & Drury, who provided much advice and materials and did the final firing, all for £1 6s 10p. Mr Prince refused payment so the Colonel gave him an antique oak dresser as a memento of their work.
Here’s one of the designs:
|The Colonel’s design for his personal quarry,||and Mr Prince’s version, as designed and painted.|
|Just one was painted by the Colonel himself, of a Cyclamen, his favourite flower, and in memory of his mother.|
Come to Little Hall and admire the craftsmanship of all 20.