The “Faith & Charity” Windows
by Theodora “Dora” Salusbury
1875 - 1956
These two windows are to be found in the Chancel, to the left and right of the altar. They were installed in 1924, in memory of Howard Henry Thomson, Churchwarden.
Theodora Salusbury was born locally, but worked in studios in London and Cornwall. Her father, Llewellyn Salusbury, a Solicitor practicing in Leicester, had family roots in Wales.
The Salusbury's had close connections with St. James the Greater Church, London Road, Leicester, where Llewellyn was Church Warden from 1894 to 1901, and where later on, four small windows by Dora would be installed. The family moved in 1919 to Birstall, where St. James the Great Church has three windows by Dora, one of which is dedicated to her Father and Mother, and another, dating from the early 1920's is dedicated to the Wife of George Tempest Wade, the donor of the "Saint Elizabeth" window in Woodhouse Church.
During the first quarter of the twentieth century, Theodora Salusbury was living, studying and working in London, where she studied under Christopher Whall (1849 - 1924) and his pupil Karl Parsons (1884 - 1934). She exhibited at the Royal Academy and at Liverpool. The first windows which are known to have been both designed and made by her date from the early 1920's.
By 1925 she had her own studio at St. Agnes in Cornwall, where she continued to design windows during the most productive phase of her life between 1920 and 1940. There is a window by Dora in the Church at St. Agnes, and also a statue by her of the Virgin with her child.
Theodora Salusbury's work is easy recognisable, through her use of vivid colour, and the immediacy of the figures portrayed in her panels. Birds are frequently included. Her work is also distinguishable by her maker's mark, a peacock, but this is not the case with her windows in this church. Her style of portraiture is also identifiable, with children being particularly sympathetically portrayed.
In the window to the left of the altar, "FAITH" is identified by a symbolic lantern, as well as being named on an inscription, and is shown standing on a seashore: this may refer to Hebrews 11 v 12, which chronicles how generations of Israelites, in quantity "as the sand which is by the seashore innumerable," had survived by faith.
The need for CHARITY, in the window to the right of the altar, is emphasised by the need of clothing for both the baby and the small child. Both children appear to be comported by their closeness to the caring figure of CHARITY, whose cloak is decorated with a shining sun, symbolic of a divine love or charity. In the lower section of the window there is a baby angel cradling a dove, and offering it water - a further emphasis on charity.
The windows are in memory of Howard Henry Thomas (1866 - 1923) who was a Churchwarden and designer of the Woodhouse War Memorial cross. He was an Architect with Stockdale Harrison & Sons, a well-known Leicester practice, whose commissions had included the De Montfort Hall, Leicester (competed 1913) and the Usher Hall, Edinburgh (completed 1914).
Usher Hall, Edinburgh
H.H. Thomson was the Architect of St. Alban's Church, Leicester, completed in 1905, which also contains windows by Theodora Salusbury, and sculptures by J. Crosland McClure, the designer of the cross in Woodhouse Cemetery.
Several of her windows are war memorials to those who fell in the First World War, and her warrior angels are distinctive, if similar to those which appear in Christopher Whall's windows.
Dora would design the cartoons for her windows, and paint the glass and cut it herself. Her windows were then fired and leaded up by Lowndes and Drury at The Glass House in Fulham. This studio was founded by Mary Lowndes (1856 - 1929), who became a leading figure in the suffragette movement. She had studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, been a pupil of Henry Holiday, and by the 1890's had taught herself the techniques of glass painting as well as designing and working in the studio of Britten and Gilson.
Sometime after the second World War, Dora moved to live in Bath to be with one of her sisters. Only one of her windows is known to date from this period, and this is to be found at Kimcote Leicestershire, dedicated to the memory of her brother and of his mother-in-law. The painting of this glass was carried out by Margaret Thompson who also had connections with the firm of Lowndes and Drury.
Information kindly provided by Georgina Maltby (cousin).