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WIndow to the World

In our Welsh Sale on July 22nd, we are absolutely thrilled to offer an exceptionally rare and important stained glass installation by Welsh artist John Petts (1914-1991)

We have sold many works by the versatile John Petts over the years. Most of those have been paintings or prints which are seen most regularly at auction rooms. However, perhaps ironically, John Petts' most famous work is not a painting but is a stained glass installation from 1963.

On 16th September 1963, a bomb exploded in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

Planted by a splinter group of the Ku Klux Klan, it killed four young girls who were attending Sunday school – Cynthia Westley, Carol Robertson, Denise McMair and Addie-May Collins – and seriously injured many more. The nation was shocked and this incident became a catalyst for the Civil Rights Act a year later.

John Petts was so moved that he launched a newspaper campaign to raise money to replace the stained glass windows of the church with a message, ‘From the people of Wales’ and an image of a Black Christ figure pushing away hatred and injustice. Black and white children queued up in Tiger Bay, Cardiff to donate their pocket money. The window still stands today as a living reminder of the horrors of the violence of Birmingham, Alabama, and the bonds of friendship that grew out of it.

John Petts
John Petts

To our knowledge another stained glass piece by John Petts has never been offered at auction and so we are absolutely thrilled to offer such an important piece which is of sensational quality. The glass was for many years part of the fabric of a now demolished British Gas building in South Wales. We believe that Petts' design reflects the technology used at Gas works in the post-war years (we would love to know more if anybody out there has more information with this regard)

For more information on this significant item of Welsh art, please contact Ben Rogers Jones brj@rjauctions.co.uk

JOHN PETTS

Monumental stained glass abstract panel

£6000-10000

Glass 2
Glass 5
Glass 5
Glass 4
Glass 4

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