Geoffrey Fuller Webb

Geoffrey Fuller Webb was born in 1879, the nephew of the architect Sir Aston Webb who was responsible for many important buildings in London that include, the eastern façade of Buckingham Palace, Admiralty Arch on the Mall, and the Cromwell Road frontage of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and outside London, the brightly coloured Law Courts in Birmingham, the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth and Christ's Hospital, Horsham. Geoffrey Webb trained at the Westminster School of Art and on leaving worked with Charles Eamer Kempe who at some time in his life lived at Old Place, Lindfield, Sussex.

Geoffrey and his brother Christopher, who was articled to the stained glass artist Sir Ninian Comper, were both stained glass artists of some repute and between them produced a large body of work, particularly between the Wars. Christopher was a traditionalist with the lightness of touch reminiscent of work of the 15th century and probably the best examples of his work can be seen at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital, the cathedrals of Southwark and Chichester and in the church of St Lawrence Jewry-next-Guildhall. Geoffrey made good use of white glass in his designs, the result of which allows in much light, giving a richness of colour to his work, being described as having ‘a fine sense of colour and beautiful detail’.

After working with Charles Eamer Kempe, Geoffrey worked for a short period with Herbert Bryans before setting up his own studio in West Street, East Grinstead, working from Brooker’s Yard with his assistant Vivian Smith. His expertise not only brought in commissions to create new designs but also to restore precious ancient glass. Examples of his work can be found at the Woolwich Town Hall that was constructed between 1903 and 1906, where he was responsible for all the stained glass, outlining the history of the locality by portraying eminent residents and notable events. Although a devout Catholic, his work is found in both Anglican and Roman Catholic churches in Britain and abroad. St Mary’s is very fortunate to have five of Geoffrey’s windows, other local churches that have benefited include,

St John the Divine, Felbridge,
All Saints Roman Catholic Church, Oxted,
St Matthew, Redhill,
St Peter, Cowfold,
St Peter, Henfield,
All Saints, Lindfield,

but also further afield,

St Mark’s Cathedral, George, South Africa,
St Nicholas, Kingsley, Hampshire,
The Slipper Chapel at The Roman Catholic National Shrine, Walsingham, Norfolk
Lady Chapel, Ashdown Park, now the Richard Towneley suite of the Ashdown Park Hotel,
Manchester Cathedral
Tewkesbury Abbey.

He was also commissioned to produce a stained glass that included a group of characters from Alice in Wonderland in memory of Lewis Carroll, at the parish church at Daresbury, Cheshire, to commemorate Carroll’s birth at Daresbury Parsonage on 27th January 1832.

Geoffrey Webb’s work can be identified by a spider’s web with the date, usually located in the bottom right hand corner of the stained glass design.

Geoffrey Webb died in 1954, but the Webb family have continued the tradition of arts and crafts as stonemasons, ecclesiastical silversmiths and letter designer and carver.

St Mary the Virgin East Grinstead. Church of England Parish in the Diocese of Chichester

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