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John Hutton (artist)

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John Hutton
Born(1906-08-08)8 August 1906
NationalityNew Zealand
Occupation(s)Glass engraver
Great West Screen of Coventry Cathedral

John Hutton (8 August 1906 – 1978) was a prominent glass engraving artist from New Zealand, who spent most of his career in the United Kingdom. He is best known for the Great West Screen he created for Coventry Cathedral following WWII.


Born in Clyde on the South Island of New Zealand in 1906, Hutton married fellow artist Helen (Nell) Blair in 1934 and they made England their permanent home in 1936. They lived for a while in an artists' commune at Assington Hall in Suffolk. John worked on several mural commissions until the war broke out in 1939.

During the war he joined a camouflage unit where he met and worked with the architect Basil Spence – a relationship which was to prove invaluable later on. In 1947 he designed his first large scale glass engravings – a series of four panels depicting the seasons for the restaurant area on the Cunard ship Caronia. By 1953 he had developed a unique method of engraving using a grinding wheel attached to a flexible drive.[1]

John and Helen had three children: Warwick Hutton, an artist, Macaillan Hutton, an architect, and Peter Hutton, a teacher.

John had used an artist's model, Marigold Dodson, to pose for many of the figures in his artwork. His first marriage ended during this period and he married Dodson in 1963, though he still did work with his former wife subsequently on joint art projects. Hutton and Dodson had one daughter, Katie Hutton.[2]

In 1975 he became first Vice President of the newly founded British Guild of Glass Engravers (Laurence Whistler was first President and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was its first Patron).

Hutton worked on until 1978 when he died of cancer. His ashes were buried beneath a stone at the foot of his finest work – the screen at Coventry Cathedral.[3]


Coventry Cathedral[edit]

Part of the Coventry Cathedral Great West Screen. The pane smashed in January 2020 is bottom left in this picture.

Hutton is most famous for his glass engravings on the Great West Screen of Coventry Cathedral, known as the Screen of Saints and Angels, 66 larger-than-life figures which took ten years to create, including the angel of annunciation, the angel of the resurrection and the angel of the measuring rod). They received instant acclaim when unveiled in 1962.

A pane of the window, depicting The Angel with the Eternal Gospel, was smashed during a burglary in January 2020.[4][5]

Guildford Cathedral[edit]

He designed and engraved six larger-than-life angels for the West doors of Guildford Cathedral, Surrey, and designed three angels over the south transept doors.

In January 2024 one of these was smashed in an act of apparent vandalism.[6]

Shakespeare Centre[edit]

He designed glass engravings at the Shakespeare Centre at Stratford-upon-Avon including Ophelia, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet.

National Library and Archives[edit]

Hutton created glass engravings of the National Library and Archives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: 37 panels over three floors with a principal theme of world literature including larger-than-life figures of Cervantes, Shakespeare, Molière and Tolstoy. He also made engravings of Apollo and the Nine Muses.

Dunkirk Memorial[edit]

Hutton produced the glass pane at the Dunkirk Memorial (1957).[7]

Thanks-Giving Square[edit]

In 1975 Hutton designed 'The Spirit of Thanksgiving' for Thanks-Giving Square in Dallas, Texas, his first large project in the United States. Above the entryway to the non-denominational Chapel of Thanksgiving a large engraved window features a deeply-cut, three dimensional dove surrounded by circular surface effects. Representing the divine in some religions, Hutton said that "the dove is a symbol used throughout history to depict beauty, peace, hope and thanksgiving."[8]

Bucklersbury House[edit]

In 1960, John Hutton created 24 panels to commemorate the discovery of the ruins of the Temple of Mithras on the site of the now demolished Bucklersbury House. In 2015 the panels were relocated to the new entrance to Bank station, beneath the Bloomberg building.[9]

Wellington Cathedral[edit]

At New Zealand's Wellington Cathedral, the narthex is separated from the nave by a glass wall bearing Hutton's trumpet-playing angels, who are similar to the Coventry Cathedral angels in its Screen of Saints and Angels.[10]

Other work[edit]

Some of his pieces of art are exhibited at the Corning Museum of Glass, USA.

At the Civic Centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, he created a glass screen representing some of the great inventions of the city, and figures from local mythology, with his son, Warwick Hutton.

He created a glass screen of four mermaids at Plymouth Civic Centre and designed three glass panel designs for the entrance hall balcony at Mercury House, London.

Gallery of John Hutton's works[edit]


  • Brentnall, Margaret and Marigold Hutton. John Hutton: Artist and Glass Engraver. Philadelphia: The Art Alliance Press, 1986. Several appendices document Hutton's work (mural paintings, glass and other media; U.S. installations include one at Corning Museum of Glass and two in Texas). Hard cover, 216 pages ISBN 0-87982-502-2
  • John Hutton's Glass Engravings. © Minister of Supply and Services Canada 1993, Cat. No. SN3-283/1993 ISBN 0-662-59797-4
  • Hutton, John. John Hutton's Glass Engravings : Les Gravures Sur Verre De John Hutton. January 1977 ISBN 0-660-00900-5
  • John Hutton, Engraved Glass, Drawings, Paintings. Frank No: 1117, Commonwealth Institute, UK, 1969 ISBN No. Duncan No., 16 pages (Exhibition catalogue at the Commonwealth Institute Art Gallery, London) ISBN 0-9500398-0-2
  • George Thomas Noszlopy. Public sculpture of Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull, Series: Liverpool University Press – Public Sculpture of Britain, ISBN 978-0-85323-847-8 . Published March 2003. P.54-55: Entrance to the Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust Gallery in Stratford upon Avon – Characters from the Works of Shakespeare (Hutton's glass engravings)
  • Hutton,John The West Window at Coventry Cathedral English Counties Periodicals Ltd, ?1962, 29 pages, illustrated.


  1. ^ "One Suffolk".
  2. ^ "One Suffolk".
  3. ^ "One Suffolk".
  4. ^ LLoyd, Matt (24 January 2020). "John Hutton window smashed in break-in at Coventry Cathedral". Coventry Live. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Angel window smashed in break-in at Coventry Cathedral". Coventry Observer. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Guildford Dragon News". Retrieved 13 January 2024.
  7. ^ "Dunkirk Memorial". CWGC. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  8. ^ "Self-Guided Tour – Thanks-Giving Square". Archived from the original on 26 May 2017. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  9. ^ "Bank station: Work starts on a new entrance".
  10. ^ "Cathedral tour". Wellington Cathedral of St Paul. Retrieved 11 June 2024.

External links[edit]