Icelandic Artist Designs Window for Queen Elizabeth

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Icelandic Artist Designs Window for Queen Elizabeth

Icelander Leifur Breiðfjörð was selected from a group of 40 glass artists last summer to design a window for the Southwark cathedral in London. The window will be inaugurated at the 60th jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II as a monarch in early June.

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From London. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

“It has been an immensely interesting project and a great honor,” Leifur told Fréttablaðið. The window will be dedicated to the queen. “I was fond of the project and decided immediately to do it myself entirely, right from scratch.”

A competition was held two years ago and 40 glass artists were invited to participate; Leifur was the only non-British contestant.

Last summer it was announced that he had won, after which the project was discussed by five church and house preservation committees.

After all five committees had given their approval, the project had to be presented in the church for 28 days. Finally, in January 2012, Leifur was given the green light but he had taken a chance by making an early start in October.

Leifur said there is a notable connection with the Reykjavík cathedral in his artwork; he uses glass which used to be in its windows, among other items.

“When I chose the glass for this image I needed certain colors. I went through the glass I had in store and found this,” he recollected.

Leifur explained the Reykjavík cathedral was changed in 1985 and that he assisted with buying new glass for some of its windows. The old glass was supposed to be discarded but he saved some pieces of yellow glass.

The Southwark cathedral is among the oldest gothic buildings in London. The part where Leifur’s window will be placed dates back to 1215.

In the coming days Leifur will pack up his artwork and next week it will be sent to the London cathedral where it will be placed in May.

Leifur is also the designer of the new bronze door at Hallgrímskirkja, the Reykjavík landmark church.

Click here to read more about that story and here to look at pictures of the new window.

ESA