Sir Alan Charles Laurence Whistler, CBE (born 21 January 1912 – died 19 December 2000 and always referred to as Laurence Whistler) was a British poet, writer, architectural historian and artist who lived in Alton Priors for part of his life. The local church even has an example of his work in the form of a small diamond glass pane engraved with the view of a Wiltshire farm and downland.
Laurence devoted himself to glass engraving, on goblets and bowls blown to his own designs, and on large-scale panels and windows in churches and private houses. He also engraved on three-sided prisms, some of them designed to revolve on a small turntable so that the prism’s internal reflections complete the image.
Whistler’s work can be found within Salisbury Cathedral itself, including the memorial to his brother Rex, engraved on a glass triangular prism which revolves in a blue-bronze lantern, the best-known example of this type.
The glassware we have acquired on behalf of Salisbury Museum has a beautiful etched design, depicting a rural scene with hay bales. It is so delicate that it almost impossible to show its full detail with photography alone.