The Glass Rainbow

A book about Bosdet's life and works by Aidan Smith OBE.

Aidan Smith O.B.E. was born in Jersey in 1933 and educated at Vauxhall Boys’ School, St Helier, and at De La Salle College (Les Vauxbelets). Guernsey.

He trained as a teacher at Redland College, Bristol, and spent forty years in education in France, Jersey, the Seychelles, and Belgium.

Aidan died in March 2004. His wife Judy lives in St Ouen, Jersey and is the co-patron of The Glass Rainbow Trust (taking its name from Aidan’s book) and which celebrates the life and work of Henry Thomas Bosdet.

Published by The Jersey Heritage Trust for the Treasures of Jersey Publications Fund, designed and produced in Jersey by Ross Abacus TIW. ISBN number 0-9538858-1-X.

Copies available from the Jersey Museum, The Weighbridge, St Helier, Jersey JE2 3NG

This website draws much from two sources. The first from Aidan Smith’s book The Glass Rainbow illustrated above, and secondly from a former website built by Pierre Bosdet, a cousin of the artist. During the course of his research, Aidan contacted Pierre, who, inspired to know more about his family following the publication of The Glass Rainbow, undertook further work with the assistance of his relatives and discovered the location of several windows and other information about Bosdet’s life.

Members of the Société Jersiaise visiting Trinity Manor in 1906. Bosdet is standing, middle row, seventh from right.

Judy Smith has kindly allowed us to quote extensively from The Glass Rainbow, and Pierre Bosdet to re-produce images and material from his website, for which generosity we are indebted to them both.

“In his desire to make a number of Jersey’s treasures better known, the magnificent stained glass windows in St Brelade’s Church prompted Aidan Smith to find out more about their creator. To his delight, research indicated that the artist responsible for these beautiful works of art, Thomas Bosdet, was in fact a Jerseyman. For over a year and a half he identified, catalogued and photographed forty Bosdet windows in the Island and listed sixteen churches in England boasting Bosdet windows, including the splendid glass in Hexham Abbey.

One of the most frustrating things about researching a person’s life is not knowing what he or she looked like. For much of the time Aidan had photographs of Bosdet’s father but not of Bosdet himself, until, by happy chance, a photograph finally came to light. It represented members of the Société Jersiaise visiting Trinity Manor in 1906 and every name of those present was pencilled on the back of the picture. The then Assistant Librarian at the Lord Coutanche Library of the Société Jersiaise, spotted the name H T Bosdet and, following along the rows, she came upon the distinguished gentleman. For the first time, and it was a great moment, Aidan knew what this elusive man looked like. At that time, Bosdet was fifty years of age and at the height of his creative powers and commercial success.

Aidan organised the local material into a guide book and with the enthusiasm and financial support of the Jersey Heritage Trust, the Jersey Arts Trust and Jersey Tourism he sought to revive the memory and re-establish the reputation of this talented 19th Jerseyman.

Funding of the £7,300 budget was guaranteed in part by the above mentioned bodies and sponsorship was also sought from interested individuals and corporate bodies. The publication of the guide was not seen as a commercial venture and five thousand copies were produced to be sold as reasonably as possible to ensure the widest distribution.

The guide was designed and produced in Jersey by Ross Abacus TIW and printed ready for its launch early in 2004, which took place shortly after the sudden death of the author.” Judy Smith