6 Christopher Wallis

Career and St. John the Evangelist

C. Cody Barteet

On March 25, 2021, Christopher Wallis passed away. Born in Earsfield, London, England on August 4, 1930, Wallis attended the Hammersmith School of Fine Arts and Crafts and trained for four years in the stained glass studio of Martin Travers and Lawrence Lee. In 1956, Wallis immigrated to Canada and began his career at Edwards Glass Company. Wallis had a prolific career in his adopted country: he was a Fellow for The British Society of Master Glass Painters and a Fellow for The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada as well as a Member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Wallis achieved these honours due to a tremendous career through which he designed and created over 800 windows for commissions throughout Canada. Wallis’ work was shown in Expo 67 and two windows were unveiled in Rideau Hall by Queen Elizabeth II in 1992. Wallis received many rewards throughout his lifetime including the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada medal for his enormous contributions to Canadian artistic culture. In 2003, Wallis’ windows for St. Stephen’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Calgary and St. John’s United Church in Arva (Ontario) were used for Canada Post’s international stamp series.

Throughout the London and Grand Bend regions, Wallis produced many windows including the large north window at the Metropolitan United Church and fifty windows for the cathedral of St. Peter’s Basilica, the seat of the Catholic Diocese of London. For St. John’s Wallis created ten windows: The Good Shepherd, The Virgin and Child, the three windows of the Symbols of Our Faith, St. Luke and St. Peter, The Resurrection, The Nativity, and In the Beginning.



Dempsey, Gwen P. “A View of the Magic of Glass.” Canada Crafts 4.1 (October-November 1978): 18-21.
McGee, Patricia. Wonders of Light: The Stained Glass Art of Christopher Wallis and The Story of Fairbank Oil. Petrolia: Christ Church, 2010.
—–. “Tapestries of Glass.” Anglican Journal 136, no. 10 (December 2010): 2.
Spicer, Elizabeth. Trumpeting Our Stained Glass: The Church of St. John the Evangelist, London, Ontario. London: St. John the Evangelist, 2008.


Wallis, Good Shepherd
Christopher Wallis, The Good Shepherd. St, John the Evangelist. London, Ontario, 1983 (Photograph: Anahí González).

The Good Shepherd

Christopher Wallis, 1983

“To the Glory of God & In Loving Memory of Archdeacon Clarence W. Foreman, Rector 1935-67”

Dedicated March 20, 1983

Donated by his family

The Christian concept of the Good Shepherd derives from Luke (15:3-7) and John (10:1-18), and is associated with the notion of Christ as a Shepherd who guides his flock to divine salvation. The earliest translation of the subject into the visual arts is found in ancient catacomb imagery through the fifth and sixth centuries. Typically, the scene is rendered either with Christ as a shepherd among a flock of sheep or as the shepherd carrying a sheep on his shoulder. The St. John’s images of the “Good Shepherd” narrative adopts the latter format, of a young standing Christ, carrying a sheep on his shoulders. Like many early Christian images, the pictorial representations derive from Roman artistic traditions. In this instance, from images of Mercury who is the guardian of flocks and at times is represented carrying a ram.

The center of the window depicts the Good Shepherd with his crook and carrying a lamb upon his shoulders. He is flanked by the Greek symbols of “Alpha” and “Omega.” Above the shepherd is the Crown of Heaven that radiates divine light across the scene. At the lower right and left corners are the instruments of teaching or shepherding the flock to salvation: a chalice with the wafer and the Bible.  The instruments were used by clergy in their ministry of the Eucharist to the Christian flock.

As St. John’s historian Elizabeth Spicer notes, “[t]he symbols in the window speak to us of the ministry of Archdeacon Foreman in our midst. The crown at the top represents the risen Christ who still exercises his ministry of shepherding those faithful to him. The open Bible and the chalice with the host speak to us of the ‘tools of shepherding’ so faithfully used by the Archdeacon.”[1]

In 1935 Rev. Clarence Foreman moved to London where he would serve at the Parish of St. John the Evangelist. Born on September 5, 1893, Foreman graduated from Huron College in 1915. Soon thereafter he was made a deacon in 1916 and became a priest in 1917. Foreman joined the chaplaincy service of the Canadian Army and served overseas in World War I. After his service, Foreman served as rector for parishes in Waterloo and Walkerville before his tenure at St. John’s. In 1946 Foreman was appointed canon of the St. Paul’s Cathedral (London) and was appointed Archdeacon of Middlesex in 1948.

Archdeacon Foreman was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from Huron College in 1956.


Wallis, Sacrements
Christopher Wallis, The Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. St, John the Evangelist, London, Ontario, 1963 (Photograph: Anahí González).

Symbols of Our Faith

Christopher Wallis, 1963

“To the Glory of God and in Memory of Mrs. E.C. ‘Frances’ James, 1882-1960. Unveiled June 16, 1963.”

The triptych-style windows in the south choir allegorically illustrate the Symbols of Our Faith: “The Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist,” “The Birth, Passion, and Victory of Christ,” and “The Witness of St. John the Evangelist.” The three windows, each in its own hue, are dedicated to the principal foundations of the Christian Church and to the parish’s patron saint. All three windows adopt the same patterning: an upper quatrefoil motif and three “X” patterns that are present across the horizontal lower band of each window.

The yellow or golden window of “The Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist,” depicts a dove as the icon of the Holy Spirit. The lower scenes, from left to right, depict icons of the scallop or half shell, an equilateral triangle, and the chalice with the host. Each object has holy symbolism: the chalice with the wafer (or host) symbolizes the act of the Eucharistic. The triangle is a symbol of the Holy Trinity while the shell is an age-old reference to the baptismal act.

Wallis, Birth, Passion, Victory
Christopher Wallis, The Birth, The Passion, and The Victory of Christ. St, John the Evangelist, London, Ontario, 1963 (Photograph: Anahí González).


The window of “The Birth, Passion, and Victory of Christ” is made in blue tints. The central panel depicts the Lamb of God and holds the banner of resurrection (colours red and blue). The lower icons represent the five-pointed star that indicates the Nativity or the Epiphany. It is followed by the Crown of Thorns and the Crown of Heaven. The simply rendered images allude to the Life of Christ: his birth, his crucifixion, his resurrection, and his eventual accession into heaven.

Wallis, John
Christopher Wallis, The Witness of St. John the Evangelist. St, John the Evangelist, London, Ontario, 1963 (Photograph: Anahí González).

The final window is dedicated to St. John the Evangelist and is made of red tones. The center scene depicts John’s attribute of the eagle. Below the eagle are images of John’s monogram “JS”, the chalice, and a book relating to John’s evangelic mission and the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation.



Wallis, Beginning
Christopher Wallis, In the Beginning. St, John the Evangelist, London, Ontario, 1977 (Photograph: Anahí González).

In the Beginning  

Christopher Wallis, 1977

“In Memory of Gordon W.H. Bartman”

Dedicated April 24, 1977

Donated by his family.

Of Wallis’ numerous contributions to the church, his window depicting the Genesis story of the creation of the heavens and earth is among the more dynamic and visually complex windows at St. John’s. As Wallis wrote for the church’s records:

The concept of the window is based on the text ‘In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth.’ To capture the mystery of the event I have chosen to represent a stylized Heaven and Earth with a unique and mystifying Sun as the focal point. The golden Sun, symbolic of Christ and Divinity, has at its centre a six-pointed star, the star of creation, symbolizing divine power, majesty, wisdom, love, mercy and justice. In the Heavens are twelve stars that, in Christian symbolism, refer to the Twelve Apostles, and in their more extended meaning represent the entire Church. The rays of light descending from the moon and spreading out across the water suggest the transition from darkness to light.[2]

The window is dedicated to the memory of Gordon Bartram. Bartram was a significant contributor to St. John’s operations and author of its first history of the parish, written in 1960 was published in 1963 by St. John’s to celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the church’s founding.[3] Further, Bartram was an important participant in the London Middlesex Historical Society and the London branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario.


[1] The Evangel, St. John the Evangelist (March 28, 1983): 975.

[2] As cited in Elizbeth Spicer, Trumpeting Our Stained Glass Windows (London: St. John the Evangelist, 2008), #24

[3] Bartram, A Historical Sketch.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Christopher Wallis Copyright © 2021 by C. Cody Barteet is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book