John Hutton

Christchurch Art Gallery artist bio from exhibition in 1975
This exhibition of the work of one of New Zealand's most distinguished expatriate artists has been arranged as a belated acknowledgement of John Hutton's standing in the art world.
John Hutton was born in Clyde on 8 August 1906. He was educated at Wanganui Collegiate School. After studying law for several years he abandoned it to take up painting despite his not having any formal art training.
John Hutton went to England in 1935 and developed an interest in mural painting, working for the Paris Exhibition 1937, and on mural paintings for the Orient line Orcades. During the Second World War he was a camouflage officer. On his being demobilised he continued with large-scale paintings for the Britain Can Make It Exhibition in 1947 and the Festival of Britain 1951.
He has taught mural painting at Goldsmiths College School of Art. Since 1952 he has been engaged largely on glass engravings.
This exhibition is supported and promoted by the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand. The catalogue and itinerary have been prepared by the National Art Gallery, New Zealand. 9/3/2017

Te Ara Encyclopedia
Glass engraver John Hutton is known for his work in Coventry Cathedral in England and St Paul’s Cathedral in Wellington. 9/3/2017

St Paul's Cathedral, Wellington
The Hutton Angels: Angels engraved on panes of glass at the entrance to the Cathedral are the work of New Zealand-born artist John Hutton. When the Cathedral was completed in the 1990s, the panes were removed from the temporary narthex and stored. Reinstated in the completed Cathedral, the panes remain the focal point of the glass screen between the narthex and the Cathedral nave. Similar Hutton windows are a highlight of Coventry Cathedral, England, where they link the new Cathedral with the old one which was bombed during World War II.
Another link, a Cross of silvered nails, made from thousands that fell from the burning roof of the old Coventry Cathedral, is on the Canon’s stall at the left of the chancel steps. 9/3/2017

John Hutton (1906 in Clyde, New Zealand and died 1978 in England) was a prominent glass engraving artist based in London, England.
Born in Clyde on the South Island of New Zealand in 1906, he married fellow artist Helen (Nell) Blair in 1934 and they made England their permanent home in 1936. They lived for a while in an artists' commune at Assington Hall in Suffolk. John worked on several mural commissions until the war broke out in 1939.
During the war he joined a camouflage unit where he met and worked with the architect Basil Spence - a relationship which was to prove invaluable later on. In 1947 he designed his first large scale glass engravings -a series of four panels depicting the seasons for the restaurant area on the Cunard ship Caronia. By 1953 he had developed a unique method of engraving using a grinding wheel attached to a flexible drive.[1]
John and Helen had three children: Warwick Hutton, an artist, Macaillan Hutton, an architect, and Peter Hutton, a teacher.
John had used an artist's model, Marigold Dodson, to pose for many of the figures in his artwork. His first marriage ended during this period and he eventually married Marigold in 1963, though he still did work with his former wife subsequently on joint art projects. John and Marigold had one daughter: Katie Hutton.[2]
In 1975 he became first Vice President of the newly founded British Guild of Glass Engravers (Laurence Whistler was first President and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was its first Patron).
Hutton worked on until 1979 when he finally succumbed to cancer. His ashes were appropriately buried beneath a stone at the foot of his finest work - the screen at Coventry Cathedral.[3]
Coventry Cathedral
John Hutton is most famous for his glass engravings on the Great West Screen of Coventry Cathedral, UK, known as the "Screen of Saints and Angels", 66 larger-than-life figures that took ten years of creation (e.g. the angel of annunciation, the angel of the resurrection, the angel of the measuring rod), for which he received instant acclaim in 1962. He designed and engraved six larger-than-life Angels for the West doors of Guildford Cathedral (Surrey England) also designed three angels over the South Transept doors
Shakespeare Centre
He designed glass engravings at the Shakespeare Centre at Stratford-upon-Avon, UK, (Ophelia, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet etc.).
National Library and Archives
At Ottawa, Canada, he created glass engravings of the National Library and Archives, a total of 37 panels over three floors with main theme world literature: larger than life figures of Cervantes, Shakespeare, Molière, Tolstoy etc., also Apollo and the Nine Muses.
Dunkirk Memorial
Hutton produced the glass pane at the Dunkirk Memorial (1957).
Newcastle upon Tyne Civic Centre
At the Civic Centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, he created a glass screen representing some of the great inventions of the city and also figures from local mythology with his son, Warwick Hutton.
Plymouth Civic Centre
He also created a glass screen of four mermaids at Plymouth, UK, Civic Centre, and designed three glass panel designs for the entrance hall balcony at Mercury House, London, UK.
Thanks-Giving Square
In 1975 Hutton designed 'The Spirit of Thanksgiving' for Thanks-Giving Square in Dallas, Texas, his first large project in the United States. Above the entryway to the non-denominational Chapel of Thanksgiving a large engraved window features a deeply-cut, three dimensional dove surrounded by circular surface effects. Representing the divine in some religions, Hutton said that "the dove is a symbol used throughout history to depict beauty, peace, hope and thanksgiving."[4]
Some of his pieces of art are also exhibited at the Corning Museum of Glass, USA.
Brentnall, Margaret and Marigold Hutton. John Hutton: Artist and Glass Engraver. Philadelphia: The Art Alliance Press, 1986. Several appendices document Hutton's work (mural paintings, glass and other media; U.S. installations include one at Corning Museum of Glass and two in Texas). Hard cover, 216 pages ISBN 0-87982-502-2
John Hutton's Glass Engravings. © Minister of Supply and Services Canada 1993, Cat. No. SN3-283/1993 ISBN 0-662-59797-4
Hutton, John. John Hutton's Glass Engravings : Les Gravures Sur Verre De John Hutton. January 1977 ISBN 0-660-00900-5
John Hutton, Engraved Glass, Drawings, Paintings. Frank No: 1117, Commonwealth Institute, UK, 1969 ISBN No. Duncan No., 16 pages (Exhibition catalogue at the Commonwealth Institute Art Gallery, London) ISBN 0-9500398-0-2
George Thomas Noszlopy. Public sculpture of Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull, Series: Liverpool University Press - Public Sculpture of Britain, ISBN 978-0-85323-847-8 . Published March 2003. P.54-55: Entrance to the Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust Gallery in Stratford upon Avon - Characters from the Works of Shakespeare (Hutton's glass engravings) 9/3/2017

Coventry Cathedral West Entrance Screen by John Hutton
When you are walking between the new and old Cathedrals of St. Michael's you will see the large clear glass window of the new Cathedral known as the 'West Screen' which was engraved by the New Zealand-born artist John Hutton.
John Hutton screen
John Hutton and his wife Helen came to Britain from New Zealand in 1936. Both being artists they worked and exhibited together in London. John worked on mural paintings, even doing a commission for some murals in the Liner S.S. Orcades. When the war started, John joined the Army, later the 21st Army Group Camouflage Pool, where he met Basil Spence and Steven Sykes (the artist who did the Chapel of Christ in Gethsemane in Coventry Cathedral). After the war John Hutton worked for Basil Spence on the 'Festival of Britain' which opened in 1951. John Hutton did many murals for him in the 'Sea and Ships' pavilion, so they all knew each other very well.
The 21.5 metre (70 feet) high and 18.85 metre (45 feet) wide window was made to have as much clear glass as possible. It was designed by Ove Arup, one of the foremost architectural structural engineer of his time, who went on to be involved with the design and building of the Sidney Opera House. The bronze frame has main uprights which are tapered at both top and bottom, making them look very slender. They are hung from the roof by guide wires from the thickest part of the upright girders of the frame, this is to both take the weight and add rigidity in high winds.
John Hutton's sixty six larger than life figures took 10 years to complete. The work included a lot of experimentation and he invented an entirely new glass-engraving technique. John would first draw his model Marigold draped only in a silk bedspread. Marigold would pose for all the Angels and Saints. For the male subjects, John would use his own face and head by looking into a mirror. From his pencil drawing he would draw a larger white chalk drawing on black paper the full size as required for the glass window. This made the figures seem drawn out and thin. The glass for the window would be put over the chalk drawing so that the design could be seen through it. John would grind away at the glass with his own hand-made engraving tool which was made out of an old washing machine motor fitted with a flexible drive shaft. On the end of it he could put different sizes and grades of grinding wheel. With the grinding wheel spinning he would grind into the glass. But because of the friction it got hot, so a sponge and water had to be applied to the spinning grinding wheel. Sometimes the outline of the figures would be masked off and sand blasted before the engraving.
Marigold the model who John married after divorcing his wife Helen.
At first the window was going to have Saints and Angels in every other window but John felt it too regimental, like solders in sentry boxes, so he broke it up with dancing angels.
Cathedral Screen - mock up
John showed Bishop Dr. Neville Gorton two drawings, one with dancing angels and one without, leaving him to choose. The Bishop immediately chose the angels. The Bishop asked John "Do you believe in angels?" John replied " I don't know that I do really, but I certainly do believe in them as an enormous help in designing such a thing as this". By having the Angels fly over many window it added a strong feeling of movement, it helped with wings and trumpets that would cut across the window frames or mullions. The trumpets also added the idea of joy, ecstasy and jubilation. Donald Hamilton noted that Hutton never allowed his angels to cross the central vertical of the window, thus giving it a sense of stability.
The Press were very interested in the various artist working for the new cathedral when it was being constructed, all artists were advised to be cautious with regards to interviews with the Press. In December 1953, Marigold was photographed, posing in a thick silk bedspread while John draw her. When it appeared in the Sunday Pictorial with the headline - 'The Angel from a bed-sitter'.
Cathedral screen work in progress
The window is known as the West Screen, but it faces south! Most cathedrals are aligned East - West and you enter through the West doors. But Basil Spence, the architect of the Cathedral, wanted to save the old ruin as a reminder of suffering and forgiveness. So the new Cathedral was to be aligned North - South as an extension of the old cathedral, so that the two together would make one large 'L' shape building. But due to planning difficulties the new part could not be built onto the original building, because it would go over a historic public footpath that ran down the side of the Cathedral. The new Cathedral was built slightly away from the original but still aligned North - South. A canopy extending from the new building and almost touching the old one was added to give the effect of it being one building. But you could still see the high alter from the old Cathedral through the windows which was made of clear glass like a glass screen with Angels and Saints floating in and out of the Cathedral. The West Screen is therefore at the Ecclesiastical West end of the cathedral, rather than the actual West end.
When the Cathedral was finished in 1962, it made John Hutton very famous and he always loved it very much. When he died he left instructions for his ashes to be buried at the foot of the window and if you look you will see a plain inscription on one of the pavement slabs close to the window, which marks the spot. 9/3/2017

John Hutton’s first wife was Helen (Nell) Hutton nee Blair, they married in 1934. The marriage ended in 1963.
They had twin boys on 17 July 1939 called Macaillan John (Cailey) Hutton (an architect) & Warwick Blair Hutton (an artist who died 28 Sept 1994)
Their third child was Peter Hutton born in 1952

Later in 1963 John married Marigold Elizabeth Mary Dodson (born 1931) known as Marigold – his artist model.
They had a daughter Katherine Mary Julia Hutton, known as Kate, Feb 1973.
In 2016 his wife Marigold was still living at Abingdon, Oxfordshire with her now married daughter Katherine Glasby.
b.1906, d.1978
Place Of Birth


Works by this Artist