The dignity of the Artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world
It was a beautiful September day in 1963 when Sarah D’Avigdor Goldsmith, a young socialite from Tudeley, Kent and her boyfriend David Winn joined Paddy Pakenham, Lord Longford’s son for a day’s sailing at Rye. There was little wind and they were about to turn home when a sudden gust swung the boom across hurling them all into the sea and capsizing the boat. Several miles out into the sea they desperately tried to paddle the boat back towards the shore but the nightfall and cold took its toll and first David then Sarah slipped into the sea. Paddy managed to get a shore but by the time he found help it was too late.
Sarah was well known, having grown up in a huge Jacobean mansion near Tudeley a source of employment for many local people all of whom worshipped at All Saints’ in Tudeley with her family.Her death was a shock not only in the local area but also in the social circles of her father, a Tory MP with many London connections, and her mother whose lavish entertaining included writers, artist, actors, politicians and aristocrats.
Sarah, despite her young age, was a patron of the arts and had the foresight of being the first ever person to buy a David Hockney painting at the artist’s degree show. Two years before her death she travelled to Paris to see the stained-glass windows created by Chagall for a synagogue in Jerusalem.
She described the windows as ‘jewels of translucent fire’ and was so taken by them that she spoke of little else for weeks after returning from Paris.
In her pursuit to find a memorial Sarah herself would have enjoyed, Sarah’s mother invited Russian born artist Marc Chagall to create a window in her memory at their local church. It took a lot of persuasion and extensive use of her social connections to get the reluctant 76-year-old artist to agree. However, when Chagall eventually came to Tudeley, he took one look at the plain glass windows in the church and announced he would create a replacement for all of them.
It took Chagall over a decade, but all the 11 windows were installed by 1985, the year of his death at the age of 98.
Tudeley is the only church in the world which has all its windows created by Chagall which draws visitors from all over the world.
Sarah would have loved them!
An ideal place to stay and explore Tudeley church and the neighbouring Kent and Sussex countryside and market towns Knelle Dower Studio B&B
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