Margaret Agnes Rope (1882-1953) was a stained glass artist in the Arts and Crafts movement tradition of first four decades of the 20th century. She trained at the Birmingham Municipal School of Art until 1909 and then worked from home on the large west window of Shrewsbury Cathedral, the first of seven she did there. In 1923, she became a Carmelite nun, Sister Margaret of the Mother of God, and continued to execute stain glass. She is credited with about 60 windows, typified by strong colors, jewelled intensity and consummate glass painting skills.
Wait … make that 61 windows …
After Rosalind Garrard bought a house in Church Stretton in south Shropshire a short time ago, she decided to refurbish the bathroom, and the stained-glass panel (see pic below) that was in the window-frame was extracted. Curious to see what would happen, she then placed the piece on the internet sales site, eBay, where, by pure chance, it was recognised by an art-history researcher. The researcher identified it a student work by Margaret Agnes Rope.
When Ms Garrard told her story to the BBC, she admitted she was baffled as to how it came to be in her bathroom: “The previous owner could not tell me why it was there, and I can only presume it has been there in situ since it was made. Experts tell me that it is a student exercise, and was probably completed around 1908. I understand that what I had placed on eBay for a nominal sum turns out to be a very valuable piece indeed!”
Judith & Holofernes is probably the first full-scale stained-glass piece done by Margaret; it is life-size, dating possibly to 1908. Though created as a student piece, she would have been around 25 when she made it, and it bears the influence of her teacher, the great Henry Payne.