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Similarities between Camm, Salusbury and Davies of the Bromsgrove Guild

The design motifs of Florence Camm, Theodora Salusbury and A J Davies, all of whom have representative work in Glamorgan and Monmouthshire, have a number of similarities. For example, Camm, in her Wolvesnewton windows, in addition to the main subject matter, has produced designs containing a profusion of carefully observed and naturalistic flowers, grasses, birds and other small animals, as well as vignettes (eg the woodcutter and the man in the moon).

Detail of stained glass by Florence Camm showing squirrel, flowers and grasses. Detail of stained glass by Florence Camm showing a woodcutter.
Details from windows by Florence Camm, 1924, Church of St Thomas a Beckett, Wolvesnewton

These are also characteristic of some at least of the work of A J Davies. A good example would be Davies’ 1944 window at St Mary’s, Humberstone, Leicestershire, Angels of Song, but it is also a design motif that he had used earlier, eg at Thurlestone, Devon; Churchill, Worcs.; Crowmarsh Gifford and Market Lavington. The Thurlestone and Churchill windows are almost exactly contemporary with those of Camm at Wolvesnewton. There are also close resemblances between the way in which Davies and Camm depict thatched roofs.

Stained glass window by Theodora Salusbury, showing the Virgin and Child.
Theodora Salusbury, Virgin and Child, 1931, roundel from the Church of St Peter, Newchurch

A notable feature of the roundel at Newchurch, the window by Theodora Salusbury, is the motif of the starry sky. This again is characteristic of some of the work of Davies, particularly in his 1917 window at Holy Trinity, Wealdstone, which has almost identical fenestration to that at Newchurch. At Wealdstone, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, is set against a starry background of blue. He uses the same fundamental idea in his 1923 Adoration of the Magi window at Aston Ingham in Herefordshire.

A third interesting co-incidence of motif is the use of the lantern. This is certainly something to be found in at least five of Davies’ windows from the 1920s onwards, and it also appears in Salusbury’s Newchurch window.

It is unlikely that these co-incidences in design are accidental, and, at least in the case of Davies and Camm, it is certain that they were not so. Davies had been a student at the Birmingham School of Art, where in 1901 Henry Payne had established a Stained Glass Studio. In his turn, Payne had studied for a short period with Christopher Whall, perhaps the most influential of all the Arts & Crafts Movement stained glass designers. With Davies, as fellow students under Payne, were Florence Camm and Margaret Rope – whose own windows in Wales, at Llandovery and Llanarth, show Payne’s influence, though perhaps to a lesser extent.

The similarities between the art-work of Davies and Camm can therefore be attributed with some degree of confidence to the influence of Payne, and to the training they received at the Birmingham School. Does this also explain the similarities between Davies’ work and that of Salusbury? Was she, too, a student of Payne’s, before he left the School in 1909, or did she at some time work with Davies at the studios of the Bromsgrove Guild?

John Morgan-Guy

The Adoration of the Magi by Theodora Salusbury

Stained glass window by Florence Camm showing the Virgin and Child with children.Florence Camm, left hand light of the east window, 1924, Church of St Thomas a Beckett, Wolvesnewton