Shrewsbury-born stained-glass artist to be marked by exhibition at Museum and Art Gallery

An artist from Shrewsbury whose stained glass windows can be seen in churches around the world will be celebrated this autumn in a major new exhibition of her work.

Shrewsbury-born stained-glass artist to be marked by exhibition at Museum and Art Gallery

The window at Shrewsbury Cathedral

Margaret Agnes Rope, born in 1882, made stained-glass that can be found in churches and cathedrals on three continents.

She is largely forgotten in the UK, and now Heavenly Lights, an exhibition that tells her untold story, will be staged at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery from September 12 to January 15.

Her work can be seen in Shrewsbury at the town’s Cathedral and at St Mary’s Church, as well as in churches across the UK, from Suffolk to South Wales to Scotland. 

Her stained glass windows can also be seen at churches in Australia, South Africa and Rome – and in museums in Los Angeles and New York.

Marga, as she was called, was known for smoking cheroot cigars, riding a motorbike and wearing her hair short in an era when women were suppressed. 

Her work became well-known for its jewelled dazzling colours, modernism and its sense of spiritual vibrancy.

But within barely a decade of her first success, she chose to become a Catholic nun, moving into an enclosed convent where she continued to work, in a small studio provided by the other nuns.

The exhibition will feature many works never been seen in public before.

A projection system will screen giant images of her finest stained-glass windows.

Meanwhile, across her home-town, complementary activities will run alongside the exhibition from lectures, walks and concerts to the publications of new books about her life and times.

Stuart West, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “Margaret was one of the greatest stained-glass artists of the early 20th century and her works can be seen all over the world.

“Despite her genius, her name is hardly remembered.”

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