'Death, mourning and memory: two Apocalypse windows by Douglas Strachan'

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The Scottish stained-glass artist Douglas Strachan designed approximately 350 windows between 1899 and 1950, many of which were intended as a commemoration of the lives of people. Often commissioned as a public expression of private grief, one of his best-known schemes was created for the Scottish National War Memorial (1925-27). The windows serve as a reminder of a shared sacred and secular past and to this end the scheme successfully draws upon collective experiences in order to create a specific metaphorical space. A lesser-known commission can be found in the Lowson Memorial Kirk in Forfar, which was built as a memorial to Provost John Lowson, and comprises four large stained-glass windows, all designed between 1914 and 1916. Here too the scheme presents a landscape, which is associated with the events and people crucial to the identity of the community.

The Lowson Memorial Kirk Apocalypse window, created before the full extent of the carnage of the First World War was evident, is of particular interest as this theme is revisited in the narrative in the windows created for the Shrine in the National War Memorial. This paper will provide a comparison of the two apocalyptic schemes in order to evaluate some of the changes in Strachan’s approach to the depiction of death, grief and mourning in his work and will question the role and efficacy of these designs in contributing to a specific social memory and attitude.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013


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  • Northern Lights

    MacDonald, J., May 2009, International workshop on Revivalist design. Helsinki, Finland: Atheneum

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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