The Last Judgement

The Last Judgement (1897), is widely recognised as the finest example of Burne-Jones’ work, depicting the return of Christ and his judgement on humanity. The window was a memorial to the Bishop Bowlby of Coventry who was Rector of St Philip’s from 1875 to 1902.

Christ is surrounded by a mass of angels, their vibrant red wings and draperies fill the top half of the window with bold red colour. Christ wears a crown of thorns and the stigmata, the marks of the nails from the cross, are evident on his hand which is raised in blessing. He is sitting on a delicate rainbow which can be glimpsed behind the figure of Christ.

The Archangel Michael is in the centre blowing a trumpet which marks the end of the world. Below the feet of the angels is a contemporary city – the dark, murky buildings are collapsing and appears to be breaking apart.

Below the city, the risen dead stand on graves, with figures in the process of emerging and rising up from the ground. Many figures look up to the heavenly realms with expressions of distress and confusion, a small child grips his parent’s cloak, and some shield their eyes from the light. 

There are meticulous details such as the elaborate gold crown worn by the figure clothed in red on the right of the window. The angels hold a range of beautifully intricate objects such as the leather-bound Book of Judgement and the key to the gates of heaven.