Dr Bronwyn Hughes, who is working on a book entitled Light Everlasting: ANZAC Memorials on stained glass, said the three windows designed by M Napier Waller in the TAS War Memorial Assembly Hall were “very important” in understanding his work.
Napier Waller is perhaps best known for the stained glass and mosaic designs in the Shrine of Remembrance at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. The windows at TAS, like the hall in which they are housed, were funded by donation from the TAS Old Boy community following the Second World War and installed in 1961.
Originally, a committee called for design submissions from Old Boys, students and staff, but did not proceed as funds were tight. The delay was fortuitous: by the time some seed funding was available some years later, Waller’s Australian War Memorial windows had just been installed, bringing him to the attention of Old Boys Union Secreatary Mr PL Johnstone, who wrote to him inviting him to submit a design.
Dr Hughes said she knew it was a significant work by one of the twentienth century’s most important monumental artists when she first saw a picture of it in a 1961 Binghi on the school website. She made a special trip to the school to see the window –and those in the Chapel – in March.
“It represents a whole school’s response to two wars by one of Australia’s most prominent stained glass artists, and it is little known to art and glass historians.”
Dr Hughes said the window had shown little sign of deterioration, but has given some advice regarding protection and conservation.
At the time, the three windows cost 1600 pounds, “but their real value is inestimable,” Dr Hughes said.