Sometimes you can find modernist inspiration from the most unlikely of places. Like deepest Kent, say. While on a peaceful visit to Tudeley, surrounded by apple orchards and oast houses, we stumbled upon tiny All Saints Church (stay with me now…), and were struck by a stunning series of modernist stained-glass windows. Turns out they’re the work of the Marc Chagall, pioneer of modernism and one of the 20th century’s leading figurative artists. Who knew?

It’s a stunning find, that reveals Chagall was a man who knew a thing about working with colour. Gambolling horses, stylised birds and Christian iconography mingle with depictions of a local girl, Sarah d’Avigdor-Goldsmid, to whom the windows are dedicated, and picked out in a vibrantly pleasing clash of bold purples, vivid crimsons and luminous yellows. Sarah died tragically at sea at the age of 21, and her parents commissioned Chagall to create the main window above the altar in her memory. Quite a tribute, huh? The artist then decided to complete the other 11 windows, working through the late  Sixties and Seventies until he completed the final window just before  his death in 1985.

Now they’re there for everyone to see, without the need to queue up for a stuffy gallery. Just goes to show, public art doesn’t have to be all about litter-strewn water features in dreary shopping centres. There endeth today’s history lesson…  Jo Leevers – sub-editor

Advertisements