Martin Travers

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Reredos re-modelled by Martin Travers in the Wren church of St Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge

Martin Travers (born Howard Martin Otho Travers, in Margate, Kent on 19 February 1886 – died in 1948) was an English church artist and designer. Travers was educated at Tonbridge School, entered the Royal College of Art in 1904 and took his Diploma in Architecture in 1908. At the Royal College of Art he studied architecture under Arthur Beresford Pite, for whom he went on to work intermittently, and stained glass under Christopher Whall. He worked for a time until 1911 as an assistant to Ninian Comper.

From 1919 until 1926 Martin Travers rented a studio at The Glass House premises of Lowndes and Drury, who continued to cut, fire, glaze and fix his windows after he established his own studio. Travers was awarded the Grand Prix for stained glass at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and industrial Arts in Paris in 1925. That same year he succeeded Christopher Whall, who died in 1924, as chief instructor in stained glass at the Royal College of Art, a position he held until his death. Travers was an original, versatile, modern interpreter of earlier artistic styles, and his windows were designed and made with a particular sensitivity to their architectural setting. He was arguably the most influential British stained glass artist in the second quarter of the twentieth century. Fine large Travers east windows can be seen at St Andrew's, Catford, and St George's, Headstone, Harrow.

Travers' name is also often connected with the Anglo-Catholic movement in the Church of England, especially that part of the movement which favoured a return to the Baroque style of church furnishing. He designed and constructed a number of spectacular Baroque reredos for various Anglican churches, often employing affordable materials such as plywood, whitewood, papier mache and embossed wallpaper to achieve the desired effect, which, regrettably, has meant that some of his furnishings have not weathered well. Famous examples of his work in London are the remarkable Churrigueresque altarpiece in St Augustine's, Queen's Gate, South Kensington, and the reredos in St Mary's, Bourne Street, Pimlico.

As a draughtsman he is perhaps best known for his illustrations for the booklets and cards published by the Society of SS. Peter and Paul.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Martin Travers (1886-1948): an Appreciation by Rodney Warrener and Michael Yelton ISBN 0-906290-70-8