Beverley Shore Bennett
Born in Wellington, Beverley, a trained artist, designed around 300 church windows in about 100 churches in New Zealand. She produced designs for Miller Studios from 1969 until the studio closed in 1988.
She became a full time student at Wellington Art School in 1946 after leaving Samuel Marsden Collegiate School. The course was a great all-round art training taken by F.V.Ellis. At that time he was so passionate about designing glass for Roy Miller at Miller’s Studios in Dunedin that he set his class a glass design project. Beverley enjoyed this, however, she was determined to be a portrait painter.
In 1951 she travelled to England, where she spent two years at the Byam Shaw School of Drawing and Painting in London, training with professional tutors including Brian Thomas. While there she took part in several exhibitions, including at the Royal Academy; when she returned home in 1953 she continued painting portrait commissions.
In 1969 she was asked by Dean Walter Hurst to design a window for Wellington Cathedral in memory of the founder of the Holm Shipping Company. The design was approved but Beverley needed a glass craftsman and contacted Miller Studios. This began a wonderful collaboration with Roy Miller for over 10 years, producing over 130 church stained glass windows and several small decorative panels for houses.
When Roy retired, Beverley worked with glass craftsman, Paul Hutchins, at Miller Studios, producing another 80 church windows, until their glass department closed in 1988.
Beverley also worked with an originally English glass artist living in Toronto, Stephen Belanger-Taylor. Many significant window commissions, including the “I am the bread of life” window for Wellington’s Lady Chapel Cathedral, were completed by “mail order” across the Pacific before the Canadians moved permanently to Geraldine, New Zealand. Beverley designed all of the thirteen windows for Napier’s St Johns Cathedral and both Paul and Stephen collaborated with her at different times on this.
Beverley has also designed and made church vestments and hangings, the largest being the dossal in Wellington Cathedral. She is the only New Zealand woman to be elected a Fellow of the British Society of Master Glass Painters. (Roy was also honoured with this title.) Beverley’s last window was installed in 2011.