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Virtual Museum of Canada

Stain Glass Window

The painting 'Stained Glass' is of the rear turret of a Lancaster bomber. There are bullet holes and blood on the windscreen and outside the landed plane, ambulance attendants take the wounded gunner away.

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What do you see? In the...Stained Glass Window by Sgt. Patricia McNorgan

Inspiration

The overall painting was inspired by movie director Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho, Rear Window, The Birds). Hitchcock left much of the horror/suspense to the viewer's imagination rather than showing the horror/suspense directly. We are left with the aftermath rather than the event, which adds to the suspense. The painting asks raises more questions than it answers.

Purpose

According to Sgt Patricia McNorgan, the artist, the purpose of the painting is "to remind us of the terrible cost of Bomber Command's air war and the many Canadians who made the supreme sacrifice."

Bullet Holes and Blood Splatters

We see two bullet holes near the top-left section of the Perspex window. We also see blood splatters, one of which is shaped like a poppy - the symbol of remembrance for military sacrifice.

Helmet and Goggles

The tail gunner's leather helmet and goggles lie on the seat at the entrance to the turret. The placement of these items suggests a wreath placed at the foot of a monument.

The ambulance

We see someone being loaded into an ambulance on a stretcher in the background - is it the tail gunner? Is the gunner alive or dead? Was the mission a success? What was the fate of the rest of the crew?