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Glass window in Trinity College's Strachan Hall.
Photo by Christopher Dew

Mightier than the Sword

Gerald Larkin commissioned stained glass window for Strachan Hall

“A man’s mind should be firm as a rock: In constancy simple and straight as a well-made arrow.” So said Walther von der Vogelweide, a medieval German poet. His words shimmer like winter ice on this hand-blown glass, created by artists Ellen Simon and Yvonne Williams in 1951.

The window was commissioned by “Salada Tea King” Gerald Larkin for Trinity College’s Strachan Hall. Larkin had requested a knight in shining armour to forever look down at the students in this grand dining area. But Simon, an avowed pacifist, had a different idea. She chose von der Vogelweide for his love songs, and had him brandish the mighty quill rather than the “well-made arrow.” On one side of the window “Walter of the Bird Pasture” (as his name loosely translates) keeps an eye on the Trinity students, while on the other he gazes at the robins, sparrows and the occasional owl who make the Trinity quadrangle their dining hall.

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