Villagers give cold shoulder to Judas
News that 44 parishioners at St Nicholas in Moreton near Dorchester, Dorset, objected to his work has come as a shattering blow to Laurence Whistler.
After all, the artist - who is 82 - is no stranger to St Nicholas: over the past 25 years, he has designed a dozen of its main windows - which attract some 15,000 visitors a year.
The original windows of this 1776 church, in whose cemetery T E Lawrence is buried, were blown out by a bomb in 1940.
Mr Whistler said: 'This would have been the 13th window, though a blind window, only visible outside. The number 13 in itself suggested Judas, as the 13th disciple.'
He added that the scene was bound to be gruesome: 'Hanging is not a very comely thing.'
He explained that the composition was meant to reflect 'the ancient Christian belief that most people are self- damned - not by God. In my picture of Judas, I show him at the moment of hanging . . . looking at the light . . . seeking at the last moment, forgiveness.' That is symbolised by '30 pieces of silver, the price given for betraying Christ', falling from Judas's hand and turning into flower- heads.
The Rev Peter Stevens, who was among the objectors, spoke of the gruesome way the figure's neck is 'jerked back'. He added that the picture was one of 'suicide and guilt', and out of keeping with the other designs on the theme of light.
There is also the question of dress: some parishioners resent Judas's jeans, jumper and wellingtons.
From the artist's point of view, the news is all the more disappointing as the work was initially approved by the parochial church council.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
- 2 Scottish independence live: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum - as it happened
- 3 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 4 Friends 20th anniversary: Six things we wouldn't have without influential comedy series
- 5 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Scottish independence referendum results: David Cameron pledges plans for 'English votes for English laws' by January
Scottish independence live: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum - as it happened
Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is urgently s...
Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: We have an urgent requirement fo...
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...
£55 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We are looking to recruit two ...