The exterior of St Matthew’s Church at Millbrook scarcely merits a second glance.

Its rectilinear structure and plain outside walls compare very poorly indeed with the rich, warm granite of most of the parish churches. Closer inspection, however, reveals that the drab shell of St Matthew’s is there merely to protect an interior that is glorious in every respect.

The glass front doors are the first clue, but even these fail to prepare new visitors for what lies beyond them, namely the luminous creations of Rene Lalique which give St Matthew’s its more popular name – the Glass Church.

Opalescent panels, a magnificent altar cross, a glass font – perhaps the only one to be found anywhere – the Jersey lily motif, and truly wonderful, perfectly angelic Art Deco angels make the church one of the Island’s treasures.

Lalique, whose name remains synonymous with fine glasswork, made his name as a designer and maker of jewellery and objets d’art.

Fortunately for Jersey – and indeed the world – his house in the South of France was next to that of Florence Boot, Lady Trent, the widow of Jesse Boot, Baron Trent, the founder of Boot’s the Chemists.

Lady Trent, whose principal residence was Villa Millbrook in Jersey, encouraged her artist and craftsman neighbour to design and then create new fixtures and fittings for the interior of St Matthew’s, which lies just across the road from Villa Millbrook.

The refurbished church was to be dedicated to the memory of her illustrious husband.

Lalique, who began the work in 1932, needed little persuasion. He had wanted for some time to extend his repertoire into the architectural field. The peerless results of his endeavours, which were completed in 1934, are still there to be seen, and marvelled at, today.

Lalique, who was born in 1860 and died in 1945, was noted for the elegance of the forms he designed. Form is certainly important in the Glass Church, but much of the magic of the effect created there comes from the material chosen, verre blanc moule-presse.

This milky opaque glass makes light behave strangely, bathing the interior of the church in a soft, serene, ethereal glow entirely fitting for a place of reverence, worship and commemoration.

Although the Glass Church is most readily associated with the names of Lalique and his patron, Lady Trent, we should not forget that another important figure played a part in its design.

The Jersey architect A B Grayson is perhaps best known for his Art Deco private houses, many examples of which are still to be seen around the Island.

At St Matthew’s his designs for the oak pews, the pulpit and the lectern complement the glass and make their own contribution to what can only be regarded as the Island’s most remarkable piece of interior design.

This article first appeared in the Jersey Evening Post as part of the Pride in Jersey series, marking the Island’s 1204-2004 celebrations.

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Most people are familiar with the image of the glassblower at the furnace manipulating a gob of ‘hot’ glass. It is not difficult to understand why glassblowing is known as the ‘Hot glass ‘ technique with all the heat surrounding this craft.
Temperature of glass approx 1,300°C.

On the opposite side of the coin is the stained glass artist, who usually works at room temperature fitting together pieces of coloured glass held together by lead came. This craft is commonly known as the ‘Cold Glass’ technique.
Obviously there are other cold working skills e.g. etching and sandblasting.

In between these two there are the Kiln workers, this is the type of glass work produced in my studio.
They work with glass at temperatures ranging from 590-900+°C.

There are some glass artists who use a combination of all 3 of the above, but you’ll have to use your imagination as they are too many and varied to mention them all here. I will concentrate on the main areas.


1.FUSING – Joining glass pieces together by melting them in a kiln.

2. SLUMPING – Shaping glass by heating it over or into a mould in
a kiln.

3.CASTING – Using kiln heat to melt glass inside a mould.

There are many variations and interpretations of these definitions, this is just a basic description

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Glass Art & Music by Alison Kinnaird: Ring of Crystal, Ring of Stone

Alison Kinnaird has always had two careers running in parallel: as a well known Scottish musician & also as an artist working primarily with glass, whose work is collected internationally. In 1997 she was awarded an M.B.E. for services to art & music. Alison usually keeps these two fields seperate but in a number of projects, including this one, both glass & harp have featured together.

The glass artwork shown in this film was created in 1988, based on the theme of standing stones, and it was acquired by Leicester Museum & Art Gallery in the same year. The tune was composed by Alison to accompany the glass. Like a circle of stones, the music follows the characteristic form of harp music, beginning with a theme, progressing through a series of variations, before returning to the theme at the end. Each variation has a corresponding engraved crystal block.

The short film, which features images of the standing stones at Castlerigg, Long Meg & her daughters, and the majestic Callanish stones on the Isle of Lewis, was filmed, edited & directed by Robin Morton. This film was released on a DVD containing three films & interviews relating to Alison’s work, which was included free with Alison’s 2004 album ‘The Silver String’ (Temple Records COMD2096). This CD/DVD package is still available direct from or from all good record shops.

Alison Kinnaird, Pub. Kinmor Music

Temple Records 2004 & Kinmor Music.
All Rights Reserved


“This is Scottish traditional music at it’s very best, something to be proud to be part of, thrilling to hear and humbling to realise the lack of extent of our knowledge”
Edinburgh Guide, December 2004

“…yet another extraordinary example of her mastery of all forms of Scottish traditional music….the music alone is enough to make this CD essential, the glass art videos simply take her vision to a whole new level”
Folk Harp Journal, Spring 2005

“Rarely have such ancient themes been so successfully meshed with modern images, techniques and technology. This is a truly ground-breaking project, fully recognized with great artistry”
Dirty Linen

Duration : 0:8:4

Continue reading Glass Art & Music by Alison Kinnaird: Ring of Crystal, Ring of Stone

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