Artist-in-residence at The Bishop’s Palace, Edgar Phillips is well known in Wells for his stunning stained-glass art which can be founds in many locations in the City; the beautiful wings in the Palace Gardens, the iconic Rainbow Wings at the Glastonbury Festival, a moving window at St Joseph & St Teresa’s School.
He has been working from the restored Apple Store in the Gardens for the last two years and has been planning a large scale project to bring to life one of the Palace’s most famous stories. The tale of Bishop Jocelyn and his slaying of the Dragon of Worminster is much loved amongst local residents and has been told in many ways over the years.
Edgar had been in talks with the Palace to reproduce a stained glass version of the dragon to enhance the corner of the Gardens nearest to his studio, but the artist was experiencing a strange type of “artist’s block”.
“Over the past three years, I have in all sorts of lights, weathers, moods, and even characters stared at the space where any self-respecting dragon would show itself….and nuffin, not a sausage! I’ve looked at thousands of images of dragons, worms, wyrmes, wyverns, lizards, crocodiles, dinosaurs and snakes – all to no avail, nothing was speaking to me!”
One day, Edgar realised that he had never visited the Cathedral’s historic Chained Library and decided to pay it a visit to see if he would find any dragon-based inspiration amongst the ancient tomes. The search proved to be fruitless, but as he was about to leave, he spotted a postcard with a wonderful swirling dragon-like figure within an old Bishop’s Crozier. Thrilled with his postcard find, he thanked the staff and prepared to leave, only to be told that the actual Crozier, belonging to Bishop Jocelyn himself and dating from 13th century, was in a display case on the wall behind him.
Edgar says “My search was over. My mind was blown.
I knew right then what to create, and how it would seamlessly integrate itself upon the Palace wall in my mind like nothing had even remotely come close to in three years”.
Edgar will now begin working on his creation, which he expects to be ready for the 800th anniversary of the building of the Palace in 2020.