All Saints' Tudeley is the only church in the world to have all its twelve windows decorated by the great Russian artist Marc Chagall.
The east window at Tudeley is a memorial tribute to Sarah d'Avigdor-Goldsmid who died aged just 21 in a sailing accident off Rye. Sarah was the daughter of Sir Henry and Lady d'Avigdor-Goldsmid; the family then lived at the fine Jacobean house Somerhill (now a school) which is situated nearby.
Chagall came to stained glass work relatively late in his long career. Some of his finest work in the medium is at the synagogue of the Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem, depicting the Twelve Tribes of Israel - the Reuben window, in particular, prefiguring the east window at Tudeley.
But Chagall was disappointed that the Hadassah windows were lit by artificial light, and so did not change with the time of day. He continued to look for a religious building that could be filled with his windows.
Sarah d'Avigdor-Goldsmid had shown an early interest in contemporary art, and had bought the first picture that David Hockney ever sold, snapping it up at his student show.
She and her mother saw the designs for the Hadassah windows at an exhibition at the Louvre in Paris in 1961, and were enthralled by them. After Sarah's death in 1963, Sir Henry and Lady d'Avigdor-Goldsmid commissioned Chagall to design the magnificent east window.
In commemorating the daughter of a Jewish father and an Anglican mother Chagall was an inspired choice. He was a Russian Jew, but one who often included Christ in his work, and who spoke of him as "the radiant young man in whom young people delight".
Chagall was initially reluctant to take on the commission, but was eventually persuaded - and when in 1967 he arrived for the installation of the east window and saw the church, he said, 'It's magnificent. I will do them all.'
... I have included two interior views of Chagall's windows, as extras, but a visit to this XXIIc church is essential to fully appreciate his work (see the geotag for the location).
"When Matisse dies," Pablo Picasso remarked in the 1950s, "Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is".