John Nicholas Lawson, (October 25 1932 - October 30 2009), was born at St Albans, the only child of William Lawson, a co-founder of Faith Craft Works, a branch in St Albans of a Church of England charity the Society of the Faith which designed and made ecclesiastical features and church furnishings, including stained glass.
William Lawson died when John was 13.
After attending St Albans School, John Lawson studied design at Chelsea School of Art and then started in his father's old workshop, gaining his early experience designing features such as pews and rood screens. Gradually, however, he began to concentrate on stained glass, and in 1971 he was appointed successor to Arthur Buss, who was retiring as chief artist at Goddard & Gibbs Studios, Britain's leading designer and maker of stained glass. Lawson was to remain with the firm for the rest of his career.
Extract from Leverstock Green Chronicle:
John Lawson, who died of cancer aged 77, was one of the leading stained-glass artists of his generation. He designed glorious windows not only in Westminster Abbey and many other British cathedrals and churches, but also in mosques, palaces and hotels as far afield as Dubai, Oman and Brunei. For the last three decades of the 20th century he was chief artist for the internationally renowned Goddard & Gibbs Studios.
When the 20-year restoration of Westminster Abbey was nearing completion in 1992, Donald Buttress, the Surveyor of the Fabric, or cathedral architect, suggested that the work should be commemorated with a replacement stained-glass window for the plain clear-glass one on the west wall of the abbey's early-16th-century Henry VII chapel. Lawson was called in to create a window that would let in enough light and be "neither overpowering nor anaemic" and, using his knowledge of heraldry, designed the magnificent window that is there today. It was unveiled by the Queen in 1995, and depicts her coat of arms, those of the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince of Wales, and those of Henry VII and his Queen, Elizabeth of York, who are buried in the chapel. Known as the West Window, the Henry VII chapel piece was undoubtedly Lawson's proudest achievement.
However, he was equally known for his art work in the Middle and far east and was much in demand by some of the world's wealthiest rulers and princes. Anyone who has visited the Ramada hotel in Dubai since 1980 will have stood in awe beneath Lawson's stained-glass mural which, at 41 metres high and nine metres wide, was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the tallest stained-glass structure in the world.
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