Admire Marc Chagall’s stained windows in Tudeley, Kent

Seeing and experiencing something new for the first time is definitely one of the obvious joys of travel. But you don’t always need to go far to make new discoveries. I proved this to myself recently when I visited a small church in Kent that is full of stained glass windows created by artist Marc Chagall. Imagine my surprise when I learned this church is just down the road from my childhood home!

Records of All Saints Church in Tudeley in Kent date back to the seventh century. But the church has appealed to a whole new audience of art lovers since the installation of 12 windows designed and created by artist Marc Chagall. The modest church that stands on the site today doesn’t look much from the outside but comes alive as you enter. When you are inside, the small church is bathed in an array of colours, thanks to Chagall’s bright and vibrant painted windows.

Chagall stained glass window in All Saints Church, Tudeley, Kent

Why did Chagall create windows for All Saints, Tudeley?

Chagall was commissioned to create the east window in tribute to Sarah d’Avigdor Goldsmit, who died aged 21 in a sailing accident. Sarah and her mother had previously admired Chagall’s work in Paris and so, when approached by Sarah’s parents, he agreed.

East window, created by Marc Chagall, All Saints Church, Tudeley, Kent

When Chagall visited All Saints in 1967 to see the window be installed he was inspired to create the remaining 11 windows, and he spent the following 15 years doing so. Their installation was completed just two months after the artist’s death, so sadly Chagall never saw the project completed.

Chagall windows – Colours and themes

The commissioned east window of All Saints Church depicts Sarah’s tragedy in Chagall’s unmistakable style. The other windows around the church feature a lot of his trademark blues and recurring characters such as birds and cheeky-looking asses often found in his work. Chagall’s wife’s name ‘Vava’ is also incorporated into one of the designs.

Bird and ass detail of one of Chagall’s windows in All Saints Church, Tudeley, Kent.

While Chagall’s artwork ended up in Tudeley is a result of tragic events, the paintings, and the light that brings the colours and characters in them to life, and their setting in a church, inspire hope. Whatever your personal beliefs about religion, the painted windows are certainly beautiful.

Chagall windows inside All Saints Church, Tudeley, Kent, UK

I feel quite ashamed to have only recently discovered this unique collection of marvels from Chagall, virtually in my neighbourhood!

All Saints Church, Tudeley, Kent, UK

Have you made an exciting discovery in or near your own neighbourhood? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below. Hopefully we can all discover some interesting new places!

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