I spy with my little eye

Marianne from East of Málaga asks
what can I spy
and what is my point of view?
I spy with my little eye
a window I can’t see through:

One of the stained glass windows by Leonard French in the National Library of Australia

One of 16 stained glass windows by Leonard French in the National Library of Australia

Bottom panel of a stained glass window by Leonard French, National Library of Australia

Bottom panel of a stained glass window by Leonard French, National Library of Australia

The glass is about 20cm thick, hand-chiselled and set into pewter-coloured concrete.  The artist is an amazing Australian, Leonard French, who made 16 of these windows for the National Library in 1967.  They are all visible from the foyer of the library through the interior plain glass walls of the café and the bookshop.  The windows on the side of the building receiving the morning sun are in warm colours, those you see here decorating the walls of the café.  On the other side of the foyer, the afternoon sun side, the colours are cool blues and purples filling two walls of the bookshop.  French had a philosophy that art should be accessible to the masses and not just for viewing, a philosophy which makes me happy every time I sit at a window table in the café (I’m a little less happy when they’re all taken.).  The chiselled edges of the glass are not sharp.  I know this because I like to stroke it.  The sun shining on the glass makes it glow and makes it warm to touch, but not hot.  A spirit-lifter.

As part of the photo challenge, Marianne suggests we recommend two blogs.  Two come to mind immediately:  The Wanderlust Gene and Covetotop.  Their blogs don’t just have interesting photos of faraway places, but more importantly for me they are well-written.  I’m always on the lookout for readable writers.

8 thoughts on “I spy with my little eye

    • I’ve often thought of the weight of them, too. Apparently they’re good insulation. There is actually a fantastic view on the other side of the windows which can be seen if you have coffee on the terrace, but not being able to see it from inside is not disappointing at all. Each of the windows in the café is a different pattern – I never tire of looking at all the panels that make them up. Unfortunately I couldn’t take photos of the other windows because people were sitting beside them…


  1. I love stained glass and these are very pretty, Trish. I can quite understand you touching them – I do things like that, especially very old buildings, like the Mezquita in Cordoba – because I try to understand and connect with the men who built/made it/them. Does that sound odd?

    The colours of the windows are gorgeous in their abstract patterns. Thanks for sharing them, and I’m hopping off to your two links now 🙂


    • No, it doesn’t sound odd. I like to touch something that was handled by the artist when he was working on it. I’ve been in trouble for this – in the National Gallery here, a (female) guard demanded my name and address because I stroked, once and lightly, an ancient Indian marble arch. So, where I’m allowed to touch, I go for it.


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