Sir (John) Ninian Comper

1864 - 1960

Church architect. Born in Aberdeen, to English parents, Comper was the son of a clergyman, Rev. John Comper (1823 - 1903), who had been appointed Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in the city in 1863. Comper was educated at Kingston College (Aberdeen), Trinity College (Glenalmond), and spent a short time at Ruskin School of Art in Oxford before moving to London and gaining an apprenticeship with stained-glass designer Charles Eamer Kempe. He trained as an architect with Bodley & Garner (1883-87) and made several tours of the Continent during his career to study Gothic architecture.

His work was almost exclusively ecclesiastical, designing dozens of churches across the UK and the Leslie Lindsey Chapel in the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Boston (USA). His Scottish commissions include St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, Braemar (1901), St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Kirriemuir (1903) and St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, Inverdruie (1929).

His stained-glass windows and church interiors are also notable; he re-introducing the English altar, an altar surrounded by riddel posts, and designed several fine reredos and rood screens, inspired by mediaeval originals. Examples of his stained glass can be found in All Saints Episcopal Church, Edinburgh (1892), St. James the Less Episcopal Church, Penicuik (1912) and All Saints Episcopal Church, Lockerbie (1919), while examples of his reredos are in Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Pitlochry (1893) and St. Drostan's Episcopal Church, Old Deer (1895).

Comper was knighted in 1950. He died in London and his ashes are buried beneath the windows he designed in Westminster Abbey. He will be remembered as one of the last of the great Gothic Revival architects.

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