Description

The official gift of the British Commonwealth to the Peace Palace in The Hague consisted of four multicolored stained-glass windows, titled The Evolution of the Peace Ideal. This theme is portrayed in four phases: the Primitive age, the Age of Conquest, the Modern Age and the Fulfillment of the Peace Ideal. According to Scottish artist Douglas Strachan, these phases can be read as scenes, "[...] whereby the gradual evolution/development of human intelligence and its history of civilization lie within the belief in an arranged/ordered power greater than man itself. Through deception and delusions of military or industrial conquest, man is transported to a time which can be classified as being on the top of foolishness."

The four windows with complicated allegorical images are further split up into four larger, and four smaller panels. In each of these windows we can see personifications, symbols, and characteristics of that specific phase. The color use in the windows is symbolic; thus, each separate window portrays the atmosphere of that particular period. The color white, widely used in the first and fourth windows, is the color of peace. Red stands for war and blood sheds, especially dominating in the window of the Age of Conquest. In each window there is a Latin inscription seen, relating to the phase in time portrayed on the window.

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1913
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Dr. (Robert) Douglas Strachan (1875-1950) was considered the most significant Scottish designer of stained glass windows in the 20th Century. Schooled at Robert Gordon's, he studied art at Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen, at the Life School of the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh, and the Royal Academy in London. From 1895-1897, Strachan worked in Manchester as a black and white artist on several newspapers, and as a political cartoonist for the Manchester Evening Chronicle, until ill-health forced him to return to Aberdeen.

Although Strachan was interested in Futurism, Cubism, and Vorticism, his work shows little influence of this. Strachan often composed his windows in areas of pure colour which were then defined by areas of silvery white. His largest commission was to design the windows for the Scottish National War Memorial in Edinburgh Castle.

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