As you will know, the whole point of this website and the exhibtion we have put together is to try to help restore some recognition for the achievements of Margaret Rope.
Not only is she not recognised in her own land, but not even in the county where she lived and worked.
Yes, the sad fact is that Margaret is almost completely ignored in her home-town of Shrewsbury (the Shropshire county town where her greatest work is present) and neglected in art-history in general.
It’s very difficult to explain this neglect when you consider the quality and the geographical range of her work.
Many people do not believe us when we tell them quite how much historians have marginalised her. But, if you want the facts of how absent from history she has become, here they are:
* Who Was Who 1929-40 lists Ellen Mary Rope (Marga’s sculptor aunt) but not Marga.
* Who Was Who (going back to 1897) mentions over 90,000 people – but not Marga
* The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography omits her
* The Dictionary of British Artists 1880–1940 by Johnson & Greutzner (publ 1976). lists 41,000 artists – including other stained-glass artists – but not Marga(see pic below)!
* Most art, heritage or history books that give Margaret more than a mention are long out of date – with one honourable exception
* Mapping The (..Art..) Profession 1851-1951 has no mention of her in its Stained Glass references
* The ‘Stained Glass of The Midlands’ edition of the respected HistoryWM Magazine failed to mention her – even in passing
* An article in The Shropshire Magazine by John Hobbs (1953) – ‘Artists from Shropshire’ – mentions thirty-eight (very) obscure sculptors & painters – but not Marga.
* No British museum has any of her glass works – not even the Ely Stained Glass Museum. Though American museums do have her work!
* The Gazeteer of Shropshire by Mike Raven mentions Neville Cardus the cricket writer in its list of Famous Shrewsbury People, but not Margaret Rope. In fact she is not mentioned in the whole book
* Shropshire by Bob Burrows mentions Bishop Reginald Heber, but not Marga
* Shropshire by John Shipley has a list of famous Salopians. Excludes Marga
* Churches Of Shropshire by John Leonard … no mention
* Shropshire by Brian Bailey … no mention
* Shropshire (King’s England series by Arthur Mee, 1939) … no mention
* The official Shropshire History Archives website, DarwinCounty, does not mention her at all
* Shrewsbury Civic Society’s ‘Famous Folk’ webpage does not mention her (though it does list Shrewsbury Biscuits !)
* The town Civic Society’s ‘Souvenir Guide’ mentions Margaret only in passing, with just a phrase…
* The official Shrewsbury Tourism website’s list of the town’s Famous Folk mentions footballer Joe Hart – but not Margaret.
* Shrewsbury RC Cathedral contains Margaret’s greatest works – but, until September 2016, its gift shop had just three postcards of her windows for sale
* It almost goes without saying that there is no plaque on any of the homes that she lived in in Shrewsbury
However… things are slowly starting to change
* A major new book ‘Arts and Crafts Stained Glass’ by the art-historian Peter Cormack has just (2015) been published and gives Marga honourable mentions
* ‘Margaret Rope Of Shrewsbury’ a photo-guide to her windows, was published in May 2016
* A small booklet-guide to her Shrewsbury Cathedral windows, Letting in the Light of Christ by Roger Hall came out in 2008. However, it is out of print now.
* The only other publication referring to her, and currently available, seems to be ‘A Celebration of the Martyrs, in Stained-Glass: Featuring the Windows in the Martyrs’ Shrine – Created by Miss Margaret Rope’, a small booklet/guide published by Tyburn Convent (2007) about the windows in the convent
* …and… fortunately, thanks to an enthusiast, a Wikipedia entry outlining her life and main works was at last compiled, in Spring 2015