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A Tribute to Dr David Lawrence

Bishop Michael Burrows has paid tribute to the late Dr David Lawrence who – in a project spanning almost a quarter of a century from 1991 to 2017 – photographed and researched some 3,000 windows throughout the Church of Ireland, and devised the Gloine database (published online at www.gloine.ie) which will stand for future generations.

Bishop Burrows writes:

‘Dr David Lawrence, news of whose sudden death has brought sadness to many across the Church of Ireland, was a man of many talents. He was scholar, an aesthete, a skilled photographer who for over a quarter of a century from 1991 was a visitor literally to every Church of Ireland church on this island where stained glass was to be found. He came among us already possessed of a mine of information concerning stained glass artists and manufacturers, along with a deep knowledge of their styles of work and iconographic aims.

David became the embodiment of a remarkable project, perhaps unique in the world, partnered by the Heritage Council and the RCB, to photograph, assess and describe every single stained glass window in the Church of Ireland. For him it was an exacting labour of love, and its marvellous outworking in the form of gloine.ie will long remain an outstanding resource for researchers, and a lasting tribute to his tenacity and affection for his subject.

I crossed paths with David on many occasions, most notably during my years as Dean of Cork when he was working … a major task in itself … on the extraordinary glass of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral. I will always recall the high standards he set for himself, his attention to detail, his own artist’s eye. On June mornings he would rise to be in the cathedral at a very early hour, catching the rising summer sun as it bathed the glass with what he always called God’s light. He taught me that the same window never looks the same on any two days of the year.

David was a true and courteous gentleman, a gracious host over a good meal in a restaurant by the Lee, a person of profound spirituality who himself always worked to advance the glory of God. He could be finicky as well as fun, indignant as well as indulgent and at times he could be as delicate as the glass he loved to study. But he opened the eyes of many to the beauty that is all around them, and shone wondrous light among some of the greatest yet least known treasures of the Church of Ireland. The muse of history will be eternally grateful to him: a myriad of friends and admirers will never behold the like of him in our midst again.’

Dr David Lawrence hard at work photographing just one of those many windows. Shared with kind permission from the Lawrence family.
Dr David Lawrence hard at work photographing just one of those many windows. Shared with kind permission from the Lawrence family.


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