Stained glass

The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works created from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant religious buildings. Although traditionally made in flat panels and used as windows, the creations of modern stained glass artists also include three-dimensional structures and sculpture. Modern vernacular usage has often extended the term "stained glass" to include domestic lead light and objects d'art created from foil glasswork exemplified in the famous lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany.

As a material stained glass is glass that has been coloured by adding metallic salts during its manufacture. The coloured glass is crafted into stained glass windows in which small pieces of glass are arranged to form patterns or pictures, held together (traditionally) by strips of lead and supported by a rigid frame. Painted details and yellow stain are often used to enhance the design. The term stained glass is also applied to windows in which the colours have been painted onto the glass and then fused to the glass in a kiln.

Stained glass, as an art and a craft, requires the artistic skill to conceive an appropriate and workable design, and the engineering skills to assemble the piece. A window must fit snugly into the space for which it is made, must resist wind and rain, and also, especially in the larger windows, must support its own weight. Many large windows have withstood the test of time and remained substantially intact since the Late Middle Ages. In Western Europe they constitute the major form of pictorial art to have survived. In this context, the purpose of a stained glass window is not to allow those within a building to see the world outside or even primarily to admit light but rather to control it. For this reason stained glass windows have been described as "illuminated wall decorations".

The design of a window may be abstract or figurative; may incorporate narratives drawn from the Bible, history, or literature; may represent saints or patrons, or use symbolic motifs, in particular armorial. Windows within a building may be thematic, for example: within a church – episodes from the life of Christ; within a parliament building – shields of the constituencies; within a college hall – figures representing the arts and sciences; or within a home – flora, fauna, or landscape.

Stained glass is still popular today, but often referred to as art glass. It is prevalent in luxury homes, commercial buildings, and places of worship. Artists and companies are contracted to create beautiful art glass ranging from domes, windows, backsplashes, etc.

Chartres - cathédrale - rosace nord
The north transept rose of Chartres Cathedral donated by Blanche of Castile. It represents the Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven, surrounded by Biblical kings and prophets. Below is St Anne, mother of the Virgin, with four righteous leaders. The window includes the arms of France and Castile.

Glass production

During the late medieval period, glass factories were set up where there was a ready supply of silica, the essential material for glass manufacture. Silica requires a very high temperature to melt, something not all glass factories were able to achieve. Such materials as potash, soda, and lead can be added to lower the melting temperature. Other substances, such as lime, are added to rebuild the weakened network and make the glass more stable. Glass is coloured by adding metallic oxide powders or finely divided metals while it is in a molten state. Copper oxides produce green or bluish green, cobalt makes deep blue, and gold produces wine red and violet glass. Much modern red glass is produced using copper, which is less expensive than gold and gives a brighter, more vermilion shade of red. Glass coloured while in the clay pot in the furnace is known as pot metal glass, as opposed to flashed glass.

Cylinder glass or Muff

Using a blow-pipe, a "gather" (glob) of molten glass is taken from the pot heating in the furnace. The gather is formed to the correct shape and a bubble of air blown into it. Using metal tools, molds of wood that have been soaking in water, and gravity, the gather is manipulated to form a long, cylindrical shape. As it cools, it is reheated so that the manipulation can continue. During the process, the bottom of the cylinder is removed. Once brought to the desired size it is left to cool. One side of the cylinder is opened. It is put into another oven to quickly heat and flatten it, and then placed in an annealer to cool at a controlled rate, making the material more stable. "Hand-blown" cylinder (also called muff glass) and crown glass were the types used in ancient stained-glass windows. Stained glass windows were normally in churches and chapels as well as many more well respected buildings.

Crown glass

This hand-blown glass is created by blowing a bubble of air into a gather of molten glass and then spinning it, either by hand or on a table that revolves rapidly like a potter's wheel. The centrifugal force causes the molten bubble to open up and flatten. It can then be cut into small sheets. Glass formed this way can be either coloured and used for stained-glass windows, or uncoloured as seen in small paned windows in 16th- and 17th-century houses. Concentric, curving waves are characteristic of the process. The center of each piece of glass, known as the "bull's-eye", is subject to less acceleration during spinning, so it remains thicker than the rest of the sheet. It also has the distinctive lump of glass left by the "pontil" rod, which holds the glass as it is spun out. This lumpy, refractive quality means the bulls-eyes are less transparent, but they have still been used for windows, both domestic and ecclesiastical. Crown glass is still made today, but not on a large scale.

Rolled glass

Rolled glass (sometimes called "table glass") is produced by pouring molten glass onto a metal or graphite table and immediately rolling it into a sheet using a large metal cylinder, similar to rolling out a pie crust. The rolling can be done by hand or by machine. Glass can be "double rolled", which means it is passed through two cylinders at once (similar to the clothes wringers on older washing machines) to yield glass of a specified thickness (typically about 1/8" or 3mm). The glass is then annealed. Rolled glass was first commercially produced around the mid-1830s and is widely used today. It is often called cathedral glass, but this has nothing to do with medieval cathedrals, where the glass used was hand-blown.

Flashed glass

Architectural glass must be at least 1/8 of an inch (3 mm) thick to survive the push and pull of typical wind loads. However, in the creation of red glass, the colouring ingredients must be of a certain concentration, or the colour will not develop. This results in a colour so intense that at the thickness of 1/8 inch (3 mm), the red glass transmits little light and appears black. The method employed is to laminate a thin layer of red glass to a thicker body of glass that is clear or lightly tinted, forming "flashed glass".

A lightly coloured molten gather is dipped into a pot of molten red glass, which is then blown into a sheet of laminated glass using either the cylinder (muff) or the crown technique described above. Once this method was found for making red glass, other colours were made this way as well. A great advantage is that the double-layered glass can be engraved or abraded to reveal the clear or tinted glass below. The method allows rich detailing and patterns to be achieved without needing to add more lead-lines, giving artists greater freedom in their designs. A number of artists have embraced the possibilities flashed glass gives them. For instance, 16th-century heraldic windows relied heavily on a variety of flashed colours for their intricate crests and creatures. In the medieval period the glass was abraded; later, hydrofluoric acid was used to remove the flash in a chemical reaction (a very dangerous technique), and in the 19th century sandblasting started to be used for this purpose.

Modern production of traditional glass

There are a number of glass factories, notably in Germany, the United States, England, France, Poland and Russia, which produce high-quality glass, both hand-blown (cylinder, muff, crown) and rolled (cathedral and opalescent). Modern stained-glass artists have a number of resources to use and the work of centuries of other artists from which to learn as they continue the tradition in new ways. In the late 19th and 20th centuries there have been many innovations in techniques and in the types of glass used. Many new types of glass have been developed for use in stained glass windows, in particular Tiffany glass and Dalle de verre.


Transparent glass

Ordinary soda-lime glass appears colourless to the naked eye when it is thin, although iron oxide impurities produce a green tint which becomes evident in thick pieces or can be seen with the aid of scientific instruments. A number of additives are used to reduce the green tint, particularly if the glass is to be used for plain window glass, rather than stained glass windows. Additives that reduce the green tint include manganese dioxide which produces sodium permanganate, and may result in a slightly mauve tint, characteristic of the glass in older houses in New England. Selenium has been used for the same purpose.[1]

Green glass

While very pale green is the typical colour of transparent glass, deeper greens can be achieved by the addition of Iron(II) oxide which results in a bluish-green glass. Together with chromium it gives glass of a richer green colour, typical of the glass used to make wine bottles. The addition of chromium yields dark green glass, suitable for flashed glass.[2] Together with tin oxide and arsenic it yields emerald green glass.

Blue glass

  • In medieval times, blue glass was made by adding cobalt, which at a concentration of 0.025% to 0.1% in soda-lime glass achieves the brilliant blue characteristic of Chartres Cathedral.
  • The addition of sulphur to boron-rich borosilicate glasses imparts a blue colour.
  • The addition of copper oxide at 2–3% produces a turquoise colour.
  • The addition of nickel, at different concentrations, produces blue, violet, or black glass.[3]

Red glass

  • Metallic gold, in very low concentrations (around 0.001%), produces a rich ruby-coloured glass ("ruby gold"); in even lower concentrations it produces a less intense red, often marketed as "cranberry glass". The colour is caused by the size and dispersion of gold particles. Ruby gold glass is usually made of lead glass with tin added.
  • Pure metallic copper produces a very dark red, opaque glass. Glass created in this manner is generally "flashed" (laminated glass). It was used extensively in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and exploited for the decorative effects that could be achieved by sanding and engraving.
  • Selenium is an important agent to make pink and red glass. When used together with cadmium sulphide, it yields a brilliant red colour known as "Selenium Ruby".[1]

Yellow glass

  • Silver compounds (notably silver nitrate)[4] are used as stain applied to the surface of glass and fired on.[5] They can produce a range of colours from orange-red to yellow. The way the glass is heated and cooled can significantly affect the colours produced by these compounds. The chemistry involved is complex and not well understood.
  • The addition of sulphur, together with carbon and iron salts, is used to form iron polysulphides and produce amber glass ranging from yellowish to almost black. With calcium it yields a deep yellow colour.[6]
  • Adding titanium produces yellowish-brown glass. Titanium is rarely used on its own and is more often employed to intensify and brighten other additives.
  • Cadmium together with sulphur results in deep yellow colour, often used in glazes. However, cadmium is toxic.
  • Uranium (0.1% to 2%) can be added to give glass a fluorescent yellow or green colour.[7] Uranium glass is typically not radioactive enough to be dangerous, but if ground into a powder, such as by polishing with sandpaper, and inhaled, it can be carcinogenic. When used with lead glass with a very high proportion of lead, it produces a deep red colour.

Purple glass

  • The addition of manganese gives an amethyst colour. Manganese is one of the oldest glass additives, and purple manganese glass has been used since early Egyptian history.
  • Nickel, depending on the concentration, produces blue, or violet, or even black glass.[3] Lead crystal with added nickel acquires a purplish colour.

White glass

Chartres - Vitrail de la Vie de Joseph

13th-century window from Chartres showing extensive use of the ubiquitous cobalt blue with green and purple-brown glass, details of amber and borders of flashed red glass.

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A 19th-century window illustrates the range of colours common in both Medieval and Gothic Revival glass, Lucien Begule, Lyon (1896)

N-D de Tournai Tax on food stalls

A 16th-century window by Arnold of Nijmegen showing the combination of painted glass and intense colour common in Renaissance windows

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A late 20th-century window showing a graded range of colours. Ronald Whiting, Chapel Studios. Tattershall Castle, UK


A window by Tiffany illustrating the development and use of multi-coloured flashed, opalised and streaky glasses at the end of the 19th century

Creating stained glass windows


The first stage in the production of a window is to make, or acquire from the architect or owners of the building, an accurate template of the window opening that the glass is to fit.

The subject matter of the window is determined to suit the location, a particular theme, or the wishes of the patron. A small design called a Vidimus (from Latin "we have seen") is prepared which can be shown to the patron. A scaled model maquette may also be provided. The designer must take into account the design, the structure of the window, the nature and size of the glass available and his or her own preferred technique.

A traditional narrative window has panels which relate a story. A figurative window could have rows of saints or dignitaries. Scriptural texts or mottoes are sometimes included and perhaps the names of the patrons or the person to whose memory the window is dedicated. In a window of a traditional type, it is usually left to the discretion of the designer to fill the surrounding areas with borders, floral motifs and canopies.

A full-sized cartoon is drawn for every "light" (opening) of the window. A small church window might typically have two lights, with some simple tracery lights above. A large window might have four or five lights. The east or west window of a large cathedral might have seven lights in three tiers, with elaborate tracery. In medieval times the cartoon was drawn directly on the surface of a whitewashed table, which was then used as a pattern for cutting, painting and assembling the window. The cartoon is then divided into a patchwork, providing a template for each small glass piece. The exact position of the lead which holds the glass in place is also noted, as it is part of the calculated visual effect.

Selecting and painting the glass

Each piece of glass is selected for the desired colour and cut to match a section of the template. An exact fit is ensured by "grozing" the edges with a tool which can nibble off small pieces.Details of faces, hair and hands can be painted onto the inner surface of the glass using a special glass paint which contains finely ground lead or copper filings, ground glass, gum arabic and a medium such as wine, vinegar or (traditionally) urine. The art of painting details became increasingly elaborate and reached its height in the early 20th century.

From 1300 onwards, artists started using "silver stain" which was made with silver nitrate. It gave a yellow effect ranging from pale lemon to deep orange. It was usually painted onto the outside of a piece of glass, then fired to make it permanent. This yellow was particularly useful for enhancing borders, canopies and haloes, and turning blue glass into green glass. By about 1450, a stain known as "Cousin's rose" was used to enhance flesh tones.

In the 16th century, a range of glass stains were introduced, most of them coloured by ground glass particles. They were a form of enamel. Painting on glass with these stains was initially used for small heraldic designs and other details. By the 17th century a style of stained glass had evolved that was no longer dependent upon the skilful cutting of coloured glass into sections. Scenes were painted onto glass panels of square format, like tiles. The colours were then annealed to the glass before the pieces were assembled.

A method used for embellishment and gilding is the decoration of one side of each of two pieces of thin glass, which are then placed back to back within the lead came. This allows for the use of techniques such as Angel gilding and Eglomise to produce an effect visible from both sides but not exposing the decorated surface to the atmosphere or mechanical damage.

Assembly and mounting

Once the glass is cut and painted, the pieces are assembled by slotting them into H-sectioned lead cames. All the joints are then soldered together and the glass pieces are prevented from rattling and the window made weatherproof by forcing a soft oily cement or mastic between the glass and the cames. In modern windows, copper foil is now sometimes used instead of lead. For further technical details, see Came glasswork.

Traditionally, when a window was inserted into the window space, iron rods were put across it at various points to support its weight. The window was tied to these rods with copper wire. Some very large early Gothic windows are divided into sections by heavy metal frames called ferramenta. This method of support was also favoured for large, usually painted, windows of the Baroque period.

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Maquette by Heaton, Butler and Bayne, 19th-century English manufacturers


Exterior of a window at Sé Velha de Coimbra, Portugal, showing a modern steel armature

Canterbury Cathedral 012 window showing leading and support

Thomas Becket window from Canterbury showing the pot metal and painted glass, lead H-sectioned cames, modern steel rods and copper wire attachments

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Skilled glass cutting and leading in a 19th-century window at Meaux Cathedral, France


A small panel by G. Owen Bonawit at Yale University, c. 1930, demonstrates grisaille glass painting enlivened with silver stain.

Muzeum Sułkowskich - Zabytkowy Witraż

Swiss armourial glass of the Arms of Unterwalden, 1564, with typical painted details, extensive silver stain, Cousin's rose on the face, and flashed ruby glass with abraded white motif

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Detail from a 19th or 20th-century window in Eyneburg, Belgium, showing detailed polychrome painting of face.



Stained glass has been produced since ancient times. Both the Egyptians and the Romans excelled at the manufacture of small colored glass objects. Phoenicia was important in glass manufacture with its chief centres Sidon, Tyre and Antioch. The British Museum holds two of the finest Roman pieces, the Lycurgus Cup, which is a murky mustard color but glows purple-red to transmitted light, and the Portland vase which is midnight blue, with a carved white overlay.

In early Christian churches of the 4th and 5th centuries, there are many remaining windows which are filled with ornate patterns of thinly-sliced alabaster set into wooden frames, giving a stained-glass like effect.

Evidence of stained glass windows in churches and monasteries in Britain can be found as early as the 7th century. The earliest known reference dates from 675 AD when Benedict Biscop imported workmen from France to glaze the windows of the monastery of St Peter which he was building at Monkwearmouth. Hundreds of pieces of coloured glass and lead, dating back to the late 7th century, have been discovered here and at Jarrow.[8]

In the Middle East, the glass industry of Syria continued during the Islamic period with major centres of manufacture at Raqqa, Aleppo and Damascus and the most important products being highly transparent colourless glass and gilded glass, rather than coloured glass.

Alabastron Italy Louvre S2375

A perfume flask from 100 BC to 200 AD

Portland Vase BM Gem4036 n5

The Portland Vase, a rare example of Roman flashed glass


An alabaster window in Orvieto Cathedral, Italy

In Southwest Asia

The creation of stained glass in Southwest Asia began in ancient times. One of the region's earliest surviving formulations for the production of colored glass comes from the Assyrian city of Nineveh, dating to the seventh century BC. The Kitab al-Durra al-Maknuna, attributed to the 8th century alchemist Jābir ibn Hayyān, discusses the production of colored glass in ancient Babylon and Egypt. The Kitab al-Durra al-Maknuna also describes how to create colored glass and artificial gemstones made from high-quality stained glass.[9] The tradition of stained glass manufacture has continued, with mosques, palaces, and public spaces being decorated with stained glass throughout the Islamic world. The stained glass of Islam is generally non-pictorial and of purely geometric design, but may contain both floral motifs and text.


Stained glass in the Nasir al-Mulk mosque in Shiraz, Iran

Stained glass Photo From Sahand Ace.

Stained glass in Dowlat Abad Garden at Yazd, Iran

Stained glass window in a mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem (12393551704)

From a mosque in Jerusalem, this window contains highly detailed text.

Medieval glass in Europe

Stained glass, as an art form, reached its height in the Middle Ages when it became a major pictorial form used to illustrate the narratives of the Bible to a largely illiterate populace.

In the Romanesque and Early Gothic period, from about 950 to 1240, the untraceried windows demanded large expanses of glass which of necessity were supported by robust iron frames, such as may be seen at Chartres Cathedral and at the eastern end of Canterbury Cathedral. As Gothic architecture developed into a more ornate form, windows grew larger, affording greater illumination to the interiors, but were divided into sections by vertical shafts and tracery of stone. This elaboration of form reached its height of complexity in the Flamboyant style in Europe, and windows grew still larger with the development of the Perpendicular style in England.

Integrated with the lofty verticals of Gothic cathedrals and parish churches, glass designs became more daring. The circular form, or rose window, developed in France from relatively simple windows with openings pierced through slabs of thin stone to wheel windows, as exemplified by the west front of Chartres Cathedral, and ultimately to designs of enormous complexity, the tracery being drafted from hundreds of different points, such as those at Sainte-Chapelle, Paris and the "Bishop's Eye" at Lincoln Cathedral.

While stained glass was widely manufactured, Chartres was the greatest centre of stained glass manufacture, producing glass of unrivalled quality.[10]

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Detail of a 13th-century window from Chartres Cathedral

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Charlemagne from a Romanesque window in Strasbourg Cathedral

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Late Gothic Tree of Jesse window from Evreux Cathedral

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The South Transept windows from Chartres Cathedral

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King David from Augsburg Cathedral, early 12th century. One of the oldest examples in situ.

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Crucifixion with Ss Catherine, George and Margaret, Leechkirche, Graz, Austria

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The Crucifixion and Virgin and Child in Majesty, Cologne Cathedral, (1340)

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Ulm Munster, The Last Judgement by Hans Acker (1430)

Koeln-Hohe Domkirche St Peter und Maria-Zentrum des Chorobergadens mit Koenigsfenstern

The windows of the choir of Cologne Cathedral, (early 14th century)

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Detail of a Tree of Jesse from York Minster (c. 1170), the oldest stained glass window in England.

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South Transept window at Canterbury Cathedral, 13th century

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The west window of York Minster

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The Last Judgement, St Mary's Church, Fairford, (1500–17) by Barnard Flower[11]

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Stained glass windows in the Toledo Cathedral (14th to 17th century)

Renaissance, Reformation and Classical windows

Probably the earliest scheme of stained glass windows that was created during the Renaissance was that for Florence Cathedral, devised by Lorenzo Ghiberti.[12] The scheme includes three ocular windows for the dome and three for the facade which were designed from 1405 to 1445 by several of the most renowned artists of this period: Ghiberti, Donatello, Uccello and Andrea del Castagno. Each major ocular window contains a single picture drawn from the Life of Christ or the Life of the Virgin Mary, surrounded by a wide floral border, with two smaller facade windows by Ghiberti showing the martyred deacons, St Stephen and St Lawrence. One of the cupola windows has since been lost, and that by Donatello has lost nearly all of its painted details.[12]

In Europe, stained glass continued to be produced; the style evolved from the Gothic to the Classical, which is well represented in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, despite the rise of Protestantism. In France, much glass of this period was produced at the Limoges factory, and in Italy at Murano, where stained glass and faceted lead crystal are often coupled together in the same window. The French Revolution brought about the neglect or destruction of many windows in France.

At the Reformation in England, large numbers of medieval and Renaissance windows were smashed and replaced with plain glass. The Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII and the injunctions of Thomas Cromwell against "abused images" (the object of veneration) resulted in the loss of thousands of windows. Few remain undamaged; of these the windows in the private chapel at Hengrave Hall in Suffolk are among the finest. With the latter wave of destruction the traditional methods of working with stained glass died, and were not rediscovered in England until the early 19th century. See Stained glass – British glass, 1811–1918 for more details.

In the Netherlands a rare scheme of glass has remained intact at Grote Sint-Jan Church, Gouda. The windows, some of which are 18 metres (59 feet) high, date from 1555 to the early 1600s; the earliest is the work of Dirck Crabeth and his brother Wouter. Many of the original cartoons still exist.[13]

Paolo uccello, vetrata della resurrezione

The Resurrection, Paolo Uccello, (1443–45) one of a series in the dome of Florence Cathedral designed by renowned Renaissance artists.

Giovanni di Domenico, The Angel of the Annunciation, 1498-1503, NGA 1472

Giovanni di Domenico, The Angel of the Annunciation, 1498-1503, National Gallery of Art

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Tree of Jesse window, Church of St-Étienne, Beauvais, France, Engrand Le Prince, (1522–1524)

Chalons-en-Champagne (81-A) straight

Detail of Adam and Eve from the Cathedral of St-Etienne, Châlons-en-Champagne, France

Stained glass window of right transept of Santi Giovanni e Paolo (Venice)

Renaissance window in the church of SS Giovanni and Paolo, Venice 16th century


The Triumph of Freedom of Conscience, Sint Janskerk, maker Adriaen Gerritszoon de Vrije (Gouda); design Joachim Wtewael (Utrecht) (1595–1600)

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Domestic window by Dirck Crabeth for the house of Adriaen Dircxzoon van Crimpen of Leiden. (1543) The windows show scenes from the lives of the Prophet Samuel and the Apostle Paul. Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.[13]

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The Passion of Christ: the Capture and Crucifixion, Saint-Pierre, Limours, Essonne, France, (1520)

Zürich - Mordnacht 1350 Wappenscheibe

Glass painting depicting Mordnacht (murder night) on 23/24 February 1350 and heraldry of the first Meisen guild's Zunfthaus, Zürich. (c. 1650)

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The story of how the Crown of Thorns passed from John of Brienne and Baldwin II of Constantinople to Saint Louis IX of France, Moulins Cathedral (16th century)

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The Death and Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Church of SS Ägidius and Koloman, Steyr, Austria

Revival in Britain

The Catholic revival in England, gaining force in the early 19th century with its renewed interest in the medieval church, brought a revival of church building in the Gothic style, claimed by John Ruskin to be "the true Catholic style". The architectural movement was led by Augustus Welby Pugin. Many new churches were planted in large towns and many old churches were restored. This brought about a great demand for the revival of the art of stained glass window making.

Among the earliest 19th-century English manufacturers and designers were William Warrington and John Hardman of Birmingham, whose nephew, John Hardman Powell, had a commercial eye and exhibited works at the Philadelphia Exhibition of 1876, influencing stained glass in the United States of America. Other manufacturers included William Wailes, Ward and Hughes, Clayton and Bell, Heaton, Butler and Bayne and Charles Eamer Kempe. A Scottish designer, Daniel Cottier, opened firms in Australia and the US.

St Andrews window 08 6 west John and Paul

Detail, Apostles John and Paul, Hardman of Birmingham, 1861–67, typical of Hardman in its elegant arrangement of figures and purity of colour. St. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney

Lincoln Cathedral East window

One of England's largest windows, the east window of Lincoln Cathedral, Ward and Nixon (1855), is a formal arrangement of small narrative scenes in roundels

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William Wailes. This window has the bright pastel colour, wealth of inventive ornament, and stereotypical gestures of windows by this firm. St Mary's, Chilham

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Clayton and Bell. A narrative window with elegant forms and colour which is both brilliant and subtle in its combinations. Peterborough Cathedral

Revival in France

In France there was a greater continuity of stained glass production than in England. In the early 19th century most stained glass was made of large panes that were extensively painted and fired, the designs often being copied directly from oil paintings by famous artists. In 1824 the Sèvres porcelain factory began producing stained glass to supply the increasing demand. In France many churches and cathedrals suffered despoliation during the French Revolution. During the 19th century a great number of churches were restored by Viollet-le-Duc. Many of France's finest ancient windows were restored at that time. From 1839 onwards much stained glass was produced that very closely imitated medieval glass, both in the artwork and in the nature of the glass itself. The pioneers were Henri Gèrente and André Lusson.[14] Other glass was designed in a more Classical manner, and characterised by the brilliant cerulean colour of the blue backgrounds (as against the purple-blue of the glass of Chartres) and the use of pink and mauve glass.

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Detail of a "Tree of Jesse" window in Reims Cathedral designed in the 13th-century style by L. Steiheil and painted by Coffetier for Viollet-le-Duc, (1861)

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St Louis administering Justice by Lobin in the painterly style. (19th century) Church of St Medard, Thouars.

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A brilliantly-coloured window at Cassagnes-Bégonhès, Aveyron

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West window from Saint-Urbain, Troyes, (about 1900)


During the mid- to late 19th century, many of Germany's ancient buildings were restored, and some, such as Cologne Cathedral, were completed in the medieval style. There was a great demand for stained glass. The designs for many windows were based directly on the work of famous engravers such as Albrecht Dürer. Original designs often imitate this style. Much 19th-century German glass has large sections of painted detail rather than outlines and details dependent on the lead. The Royal Bavarian Glass Painting Studio was founded by Ludwig I in 1827.[14] A major firm was Mayer of Munich, which commenced glass production in 1860, and is still operating as Franz Mayer of Munich, Inc.. German stained glass found a market across Europe, in America and Australia. Stained glass studios were also founded in Italy and Belgium at this time.[14]

In the Austrian Empire and later Austria-Hungary, one of the leading stained glass artists was Carl Geyling, who founded his studio in 1841. His son would continue the tradition as Carl Geyling's Erben, which still exists today. Carl Geyling's Erben completed numerous stained glass windows for major churches in Vienna and elsewhere, and received an Imperial and Royal Warrant of Appointment from emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria.

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One of five windows donated to Cologne Cathedral by Ludwig II

Ghent Cathedral stained glass

Ghent Cathedral, Belgium

Stained glass in Saint Maurice churche, Olomouc

A window in the Late Gothic style, St Maurice's Church, Olomouc, Czech Republic, early 20th century

Innovations in Britain and Europe

Among the most innovative English designers were the Pre-Raphaelites, William Morris (1834–1898) and Edward Burne-Jones (1833–1898), whose work heralds the influential Arts & Crafts Movement, which regenerated stained glass throughout the English-speaking world. Amongst its most important exponents in England was Christopher Whall (1849-1924), author of the classic craft manual 'Stained Glass Work' (published London and New York, 1905), who advocated the direct involvement of designers in the making of their windows. His masterpiece is the series of windows (1898-1910) in the Lady Chapel at Gloucester Cathedral. Whall taught at London's Royal College of Art and Central School of Arts and Crafts: his many pupils and followers included Karl Parsons, Mary Lowndes, Henry Payne, Caroline Townshend, Veronica Whall (his daughter) and Paul Woodroffe.[15] The Scottish artist Douglas Strachan (1875-1950), who was much influenced by Whall's example, developed the Arts & Crafts idiom in an expressionist manner, in which powerful imagery and meticulous technique are masterfully combined. In Ireland, a generation of young artists taught by Whall's pupil Alfred Child at Dublin's Metropolitan School of Art created a distinctive national school of stained glass: its leading representatives were Wilhelmina Geddes, Michael Healy and Harry Clarke.

Art Nouveau. Art Nouveau or Belle Epoch stained glass design flourished in France, and Eastern Europe, where it can be identified by the use of curving, sinuous lines in the lead, and swirling motifs. In France it is seen in the work of Francis Chigot of Limoges. In Britain it appears in the refined and formal leadlight designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

David's Charge to Solomon, by Burne-Jones and Morris, Trinity Church, Boston, Massachusetts

David's charge to Solomon shows the strongly linear design and use of flashed glass for which Burne-Jones' designs are famous. Trinity Church, Boston, US, (1882)

Kraków - Church of St. Francis - Stained glass 01

God the Creator by Stanisław Wyspiański, this window has no glass painting, but relies entirely on leadlines and skilful placement of colour and tone. Franciscan Church, Kraków (c. 1900)

Mucha window in St Vitus

Window by Alfons Mucha, Saint Vitus Cathedral Prague, has a montage of images, rather than a tightly organised visual structure, creating an Expressionistic effect.

Aquarium de l'Ecole de Nancy 04 by Line1

Art Nouveau by Jacques Grüber, the glass harmonising with the curving architectural forms that surround it, Musée de l'École de Nancy (1904).

Innovations in the United States

J&R Lamb Studios, established in 1857 in New York City, was the first major decorative arts studio in the United States and for many years a major producer of ecclesiastical stained glass.

Notable American practitioners include John La Farge (1835–1910), who invented opalescent glass and for which he received a U.S. patent on 24 February 1880, and Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933), who received several patents for variations of the same opalescent process in November of the same year and is believed to have invented the copper foil method as an alternative to lead, and used it extensively in windows, lamps and other decorations. However, a reaction against the aesthetics and technique of opalescent windows - led initially by architects such as Ralph Adams Cram - led to a rediscovery of traditional stained glass in the early 1900s. Charles J. Connick (1875-1945), who founded his Boston studio in 1913, was profoundly influenced by his study of medieval stained glass in Europe and by the Arts & Crafts philosophy of Englishman Christopher Whall. Connick created hundreds of windows throughout the USA, including major glazing schemes at Princeton University Chapel (1927-9) and at Pittsburgh's Heinz Memorial Chapel (1937-8).[15] Other American artist-makers who espoused a medieval-inspired idiom included Nicola D'Ascenzo of Philadelphia, Wilbur Burnham and Reynolds, Francis & Rohnstock of Boston and Henry Wynd Young and J. Gordon Guthrie of New York.

Girl with Cherry Blossoms - Tiffany Glass & Decorating Company, c. 1890

Many of the distinctive types of glass invented by Tiffany are demonstrated within this single small panel including "fracture-streamer glass" and "drapery glass".

John LaFarge, Angel of Help (North Easton, MA)

John La Farge, The Angel of Help, North Easton, MA shows the use of tiny panes contrasting with large areas of flashed or opalescent glass.

Religion Enthroned 1900

Religion Enthroned, J&R Lamb Studios, designer Frederick Stymetz Lamb, c. 1900. Brooklyn Museum. Symmetrical design, "Aesthetic Style", a limited palette and extensive use of mottled glass.

The Holy City

The Holy City by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1905). This 58-panel window has brilliant red, orange, and yellow etched glass for the sunrise, with textured glass used to create the effect of moving water.

Henry G. Marquand House Conservatory Stained Glass Window

A trompe l'oeil glass c. 1884, Eugène Stanislas Oudinot, design Richard Morris Hunt, for home of Henry Gurdon Marquand, New York City.

20th and 21st centuries

Many 19th-century firms failed early in the 20th century as the Gothic movement was superseded by newer styles. At the same time there were also some interesting developments where stained glass artists took studios in shared facilities. Examples include the Glass House in London set up by Mary Lowndes and Alfred J. Drury and An Túr Gloine in Dublin, which was run by Sarah Purser and included artists such as Harry Clarke.

A revival occurred in the middle of the century because of a desire to restore thousands of church windows throughout Europe destroyed as a result of World War II bombing. German artists led the way. Much work of the period is mundane and often was not made by its designers, but industrially produced.

Other artists sought to transform an ancient art form into a contemporary one, sometimes using traditional techniques while exploiting the medium of glass in innovative ways and in combination with different materials. The use of slab glass, a technique known as Dalle de Verre, where the glass is set in concrete or epoxy resin, was a 20th-century innovation credited to Jean Gaudin and brought to the UK by Pierre Fourmaintraux. One of the most prolific glass artists using this technique was the Dominican Friar Dom Charles Norris OSB of Buckfast Abbey.

Gemmail, a technique developed by the French artist Jean Crotti in 1936 and perfected in the 1950s, is a type of stained glass where adjacent pieces of glass are overlapped without using lead cames to join the pieces, allowing for greater diversity and subtlety of colour.[16][17] Definition of Gemmail Many famous works by late 19th- and early 20th-century painters, notably Picasso, have been reproduced in gemmail.[18] A major exponent of this technique is the German artist Walter Womacka.

Among the early well-known 20th-century artists who experimented with stained glass as an Abstract art form were Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian. In the 1960s and 1970s the Expressionist painter Marc Chagall produced designs for many stained glass windows that are intensely coloured and crammed with symbolic details. Important 20th-century stained glass artists include John Hayward, Douglas Strachan, Ervin Bossanyi, Louis Davis, Wilhelmina Geddes, Karl Parsons, John Piper, Patrick Reyntiens, Johannes Schreiter, Judith Schaechter, Paul Woodroffe, Jean René Bazaine at Saint Séverin, Sergio de Castro at Couvrechef- La Folie (Caen), Hamburg-Dulsberg and Romont (Switzerland), and the Loire Studio of Gabriel Loire at Chartres. The west windows of England's Manchester Cathedral, by Tony Hollaway, are some of the most notable examples of symbolic work.

In Germany, stained glass development continued with the inter-war work of Johan Thorn Prikker and Josef Albers, and the postwar achievements of Joachim Klos, Johannes Schreiter and Ludwig Shaffrath. Trends included the abandonment of figurative designs and of painting on glass in favour of a mix of biomorphic and rigorously geometric abstraction and the calligraphic non-functional use of leads.[19] The works of Ludwig Schaffrath demonstrate the late 20th-century trends in the use of stained glass for architectural purposes, filling entire walls with coloured and textured glass. In the 1970s young British stained-glass artists such as Brian Clarke were influenced by the large scale and abstraction in German twentieth-century glass.[19]

In the UK, the professional organisation for stained glass artists has been the British Society of Master Glass Painters, founded in 1921. Since 1924 the BSMGP has published an annual journal, The Journal of Stained Glass. It continues to be Britain's only organisation devoted exclusively to the art and craft of stained glass. From the outset, its chief objectives have been to promote and encourage high standards in stained glass painting and staining, to act as a locus for the exchange of information and ideas within the stained glass craft and to preserve the invaluable stained glass heritage of Britain. See for a range of stained glass lectures, conferences, tours, portfolios of recent stained glass commissions by members, and information on courses and the conservation of stained glass. Back issues of The Journal of Stained Glass are listed and there is a searchable index for stained glass articles, an invaluable resource for stained glass researchers.

After the First World War, stained glass window memorials were a popular choice among wealthier families, examples can be found in churches across the UK.

In the United States, there is a 100-year-old trade organization, The Stained Glass Association of America, whose purpose is to function as a publicly recognized organization to assure survival of the craft by offering guidelines, instruction and training to craftspersons. The SGAA also sees its role as defending and protecting its craft against regulations that might restrict its freedom as an architectural art form. The current president is Kathy Bernard. Today there are academic establishments that teach the traditional skills. One of these is Florida State University's Master Craftsman Program, which recently completed a 30 ft (9.1 m) high stained-glass windows, designed by Robert Bischoff, the program’s director, and Jo Ann, his wife and installed to overlook Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium. The Roots of Knowledge installation at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah is 200 feet (61 m) long and has been compared to those in several European cathedrals, including the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, Sainte-Chapelle in France, and York Minster in England.[20]

Theo van Doesburg - Composition with window with coloured glass III

De Stijl abstraction by Theo van Doesburg, Netherlands (1917)

Tudeley church window

Expressionist window by Marc Chagall, at All Saints' Church, Tudeley, Kent, UK

Vitro buckfast

Christ of the Eucharist designed by Dom Charles Norris from Buckfast Abbey, Devon, England, slab glass.

Catedral do Sao Sebastiao

One of four 64-metre (210 ft)-high stained glass panels, Rio de Janeiro Cathedral, Brazil

Christinae kyrka tree of life01

Postmodernist symbolism, Tree of Life at Christinae church, Alingsås, Sweden.

Stained glass eagle

The Bald Eagle, from commercial studios working with traditional techniques, Dryden High School, USA

Grossmünster - Innenansicht IMG 6434 ShiftN

Thin slices of agate set into lead and glass, Grossmünster, Zürich, Switzerland, by Sigmar Polke (2009)

Sergio de Castro, 7e jour de la Création, Le Repos Divin, 1956-59

Sergio de Castro, 7th Day of Creation, Church of the Benedictines, Caen (France).

Sergio de Castro, vitrail de Jonas

Sergio de Castro, detail of Jonah window for the Collegiate of Romont (Switzerland).

Combining ancient and modern traditions

Derby DRI stained glass window at St Peters squared

Mid-20th-century window showing a continuation of ancient and 19th-century methods applied to a modern historical subject. Florence Nightingale window at St Peters, Derby, made for the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary

Ins Kirchenfenster

Figurative design using the lead lines and minimal glass paint in the 13th-century manner combined with the texture of Cathedral glass, Ins, Switzerland

St Michael Paternoster Royal, College Hill, London EC4 - Window - - 1085224

St Michael and the Devil at the church of St Michael Paternoster Row, by English artist John Hayward combines traditional methods with a distinctive use of shard-like sections of glass.

Buildings incorporating stained glass windows


Stained glass windows were commonly used in churches for decorative and informative purposes. Many windows are donated to churches by members of the congregation as memorials of loved ones. For more information on the use of stained glass to depict religious subjects, see Poor Man's Bible.


In addition to Christian churches, stained glass windows have been incorporated into Jewish temple architecture for centuries. Jewish communities in the United States saw this emergence in mid-19th century, with such notable examples as the sanctuary depiction of the Ten Commandments in New York's Congregation Anshi Chesed. From the mid-20th century to the present, stained glass windows have been a ubiquitous feature of American synagogue architecture. Styles and themes for synagogue stained glass artwork are as diverse as their church counterparts. As with churches, synagogue stained glass windows are often dedicated by member families in exchange for major financial contributions to the institution.

Places of worship

Sainte-Chapelle Choeur

The dazzling display of medieval glass at Sainte-Chapelle, Paris

Stained Glass Window, Church of Our Lady, Koblenz - Germany.

The chancel windows of the Church of Our Lady, Koblenz, Germany

Nasir-al molk -1

Sunlight shining through stained glass onto coloured carpet of Nasir ol Molk Mosque

DSC04484 Istanbul - Sultan Ahmet camii (Moschea blu) - Foto G. Dall'Orto 28-5-2006

Interior of the Blue Mosque, Istanbul.

Muslims praying in mosque in Srinagar, Kashmir

Stained glass windows in the Mosque of Srinagar, Kashmir

St Andrews Sydney 07 across the nave c

St. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney has a cycle of 19th-century windows by Hardman of Birmingham

Stained Glass Windows - Coventry Cathedral

Coventry Cathedral England, has a series of windows by different designers.

Temple Ohev Sholom Stained Glass, Ascalon Studios, David Ascalon

Late 20th-century stained glass from Temple Ohev Sholom, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania by Ascalon Studios.


Mausolea, whether for general community use or for private family use, may employ stained glass as a comforting entry for natural light, for memorialization, or for display of religious imagery.

LA Cathedral Mausoleum

Stained glass in the crypt Mausoleum of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (Los Angeles)

Stained glass commemorating the war dead, Community Mausoleum of All Saints Cemetery, Des Plaines, Illinois

Commemoration of War Dead, Community Mausoleum of All Saints Cemetery, Des Plaines, Illinois

Chapel stained glass, All Saints Cemetery Community Mausoleum, Des Plaines, Illinois, USA

Chapel stained glass showing the Resurrection of Jesus, All Saints Cemetery Community Mausoleum, Des Plaines, Illinois


Stained-glass window in the Benedum mausoleum, Homewood Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Stained glass windows in houses were particularly popular in the Victorian era and many domestic examples survive. In their simplest form they typically depict birds and flowers in small panels, often surrounded with machine-made cathedral glass which, despite what the name suggests, is pale-coloured and textured. Some large homes have splendid examples of secular pictorial glass. Many small houses of the 19th and early 20th centuries have leadlight windows.

Shaki khan palace 1

Shabaka (stained glass) at the Palace of Shaki Khans

Public and commercial buildings

Stained glass has often been used as a decorative element in public buildings, initially in places of learning, government or justice but increasingly in other public and commercial places such as banks, retailers and railway stations. Public houses in some countries make extensive use of stained glass and leaded lights to create a comfortable atmosphere and retain privacy.

Liberec, radnice 03

Stained glass in the Town Hall, Liberec, Czech Republic


Windows of the Hungarian Room, University of Pittsburgh


The Federal Palace, Switzerland

Montreal-Metro, Champ-de-Mars-20050329

Abstract design by Marcelle Ferron at a Metro station in Montreal, Quebec, Canada


Leonard French La Trobe 05

The Four Seasons (1978) by Leonard French at La Trobe University Sculpture Park in Melbourne. Australia

Sculpture en verre

Fused glass sculpture (2012) by Carlo Roccella Glass Sculpture in Paris. France


Chalour (2016), Eight foot tower composed of seven thousand pieces of stained and plate glass by Henry Richardson

See also


  1. ^ a b Illustrated Glass Dictionary Retrieved 3 August 2006
  2. ^ Chemical Fact Sheet – Chromium Retrieved 3 August 2006
  3. ^ a b Geary, Theresa Flores (2008). The Illustrated Bead Bible: Terms, Tips & Techniques. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. p. 108. ISBN 9781402723537.
  4. ^ Steinhoff, Frederick Louis (1973). Ceramic Industry. Industrial Publications, Incorporated.
  5. ^ Chambers's encyclopaedia. Pergamon Press. 1967.
  6. ^ Substances Used in the Making of Coloured Glass (David M Issitt). Retrieved 3 August 2006
  7. ^ Uranium Glass (Barrie Skelcher). Retrieved 3 August 2006
  8. ^ Discovering stained glass – John Harries, Carola Hicks, Edition: 3 – 1996
  9. ^ Ahmad Y Hassan, The Manufacture of Coloured Glass and Assessment of Kitab al-Durra al-Maknuna, History of Science and Technology in Islam.
  10. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Stained Glass" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  11. ^ "Fairford Church". 20 October 2007. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  12. ^ a b Lee, Seddon and Stephens, pp. 118–121
  13. ^ a b Vidimus, Dirck Peterz. Crabeth Archived 30 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine Issue 20 (accessed 26 August 2012)
  14. ^ a b c Gordon Campbell, The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-518948-5
  15. ^ a b Peter Cormack, Arts & Crafts Stained Glass, Yale University Press, 2015
  16. ^ "Le grand dictionnaire Qu&#233bec government's online dictionary entry for ''gemmail'' (in French)". 8 April 2003. Archived from the original on 2 April 2003. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  17. ^ Gemmail, Encyclopædia Britannica
  18. ^ [1], Gemmail Time
  19. ^ a b Harrod, Tanya, The Crafts in Britain in the 20th Century, Yale University Press (4 Feb 1999), ISBN 978-0300077803, p. 452
  20. ^ O'Hear, Natasha (8 December 2016). "History illuminated: The evolution of knowledge told through 60,000 pieces of glass". Archived from the original on 20 April 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2017.

Further reading

  • Martin Harrison, 'Victorian Stained Glass', Barrie & Jenkins, 1980 ISBN 0214206890
  • The Journal of Stained Glass, Burne-Jones Special Issue, Vol. XXXV, 2011 ISBN 978 0 9568762 1 8
  • The Journal of Stained Glass, Scotland Issue, Vol. XXX, 2006 ISBN 978 0 9540457 6 0
  • The Journal of Stained Glass, Special Issue, The Stained Glass Collection of Sir John Soane's Museum, Vol. XXVII, 2003 ISBN 0 9540457 3 4
  • The Journal of Stained Glass, America Issue, Vol. XXVIII, 2004 ISBN 0 9540457 4 2
  • Peter Cormack, 'Arts & Crafts Stained Glass', Yale University Press, 2015 ISBN 978-0-300-20970-9
  • Caroline Swash, 'The 100 Best Stained Glass Sites in London', Malvern Arts Press, 2015 ISBN 978-0-9541055-2-5
  • Nicola Gordon Bowe, 'Wilhelmina Geddes, Life and Work', Four Courts Press, 2015 ISBN 978-1-84682-532-3
  • Lucy Costigan & Michael Cullen (2010). Strangest Genius: The Stained Glass of Harry Clarke, The History Press, Dublin, ISBN 978-1-84588-971-5
  • Theophilus (ca 1100). On Divers Arts, trans. from Latin by John G. Hawthorne and Cyril Stanley Smith, Dover, ISBN 0-486-23784-2
  • Elizabeth Morris (1993). Stained and Decorative Glass, Tiger Books, ISBN 0-86824-324-8
  • Sarah Brown (1994). Stained Glass- an Illustrated History, Bracken Books, ISBN 1-85891-157-5
  • Painton Cowen (1985). A Guide to Stained Glass in Britain, Michael Joseph, ISBN 0-7181-2567-3
  • Lawrence Lee, George Seddon, Francis Stephens (1976).Stained Glass, Mitchell Beazley, ISBN 0-600-56281-6
  • Simon Jenkins (2000). England's Thousand Best Churches, Penguin, ISBN 0-7139-9281-6
  • Robert Eberhard. Database: Church Stained Glass Windows.
  • Cliff and Monica Robinson. Database: Buckinghamshire Stained Glass.
  • Stained Glass Association of America. History of Stained Glass.
  • Robert Kehlmann (1992). 20th Century Stained Glass: A New Definition, Kyoto Shoin Co., Ltd., Kyoto, ISBN 4-7636-2075-4
  • Kisky, Hans (1959). 100 Jahre Rheinische Glasmalerei, Neuss : Verl. Gesellschaft für Buchdruckerei, OCLC 632380232
  • Robert Sowers (1954). The Lost Art, George Wittenborn Inc., New York, OCLC 1269795
  • Robert Sowers (1965). Stained Glass: An Architectural Art, Universe Books, Inc., New York, OCLC 21650951
  • Robert Sowers (1981). The Language of Stained Glass, Timber Press, Forest Grove, Oregon, ISBN 0-917304-61-6

Hayward, Jane (2003). English and French medieval stained glass in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 1872501370.

  • Virginia Chieffo Raguin (2013). Stained Glass: Radiant Art. Los Angeles: Getty Publications. ISBN 978-1606061534.
  • Conrad Rudolph, "Inventing the Exegetical Stained-Glass Window: Suger, Hugh, and a New Elite Art," Art Bulletin 93 (2011) 399–422
  • Conrad Rudolph, "The Parabolic Discourse Window and the Canterbury Roll: Social Change and the Assertion of Elite Status at Canterbury Cathedral," Oxford Art Journal 38 (2015) 1–19

External links

British and Irish stained glass (1811–1918)

A revival of the art and craft of stained-glass window manufacture took place in early 19th-century Britain, beginning with an armorial window created by Thomas Willement in 1811–12. The revival led to stained glass windows becoming such a common and popular form of coloured pictorial representation that many thousands of people, most of whom would never commission or purchase a painting, contributed to the commission and purchase of stained-glass windows for their parish church.

Within 50 years of the beginnings of commercial manufacture in the 1830s, British stained glass grew into an enormous and specialised industry, with important centres in Newcastle upon Tyne, Birmingham, Whitechapel in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Norwich and Dublin. The industry also flourished in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. By 1900 British windows had been installed in Copenhagen, Venice, Athens, Bangalore, Nagasaki, Manila and Wellington. After the Great War from 1914 to 1918, stained glass design was to change radically.

Conservation and restoration of stained glass

Stained glass conservation refers to the protection and preservation of historic stained glass for present and future generations. It involves any and all actions devoted to the prevention, mitigation, or reversal of the processes of deterioration that affect such glass works and subsequently inhibit individuals' ability to access and appreciate them, as part of the world's collective cultural heritage. It functions as a part of the larger practices of cultural heritage conservation (conservation-restoration) and architectural conservation.

Stained glass is lauded as one of the most beautiful and compelling forms of architectural decoration; however, it is also one of the most vulnerable (Brown et al. 2002, xi). The fabric of the glass itself, the paint or stain used to decorate it, and even the metal framework used to hold the design together are all at risk for deterioration, and will likely require conservation work to ensure their long-term survival. Historic glazing is subject to damage caused by continued exposure to pollution and the elements, on top of that resulting from inherent problems, such as the innate fragility of glass and any potential chemical instability of the materials involved (Brown et al. 2002, xi; Rauch 2004). Deterioration does not always occur gradually and may also occur suddenly and catastrophically, as the result of natural disasters (e.g. fire, extreme weather), accidents (e.g. improper handling, removal or treatment), or malicious damage (e.g. vandalism) (Brown et al. 2002, xi; Vogel et al. 2007).

Owing to the delicate nature of the materials, and the incalculable historic and aesthetic value of stained glass work, any and all treatments should be planned and performed by professional conservators and craftspeople, who have been specially trained in the peculiarities of the medium. While preservation is the shared responsibility of all involved, including visitors, caretakers, and other stakeholders, it is imperative that professionals are consulted to ensure the continued integrity of the physical materials and their associated significance. For this reason, all projects should begin with a conservation plan that incorporates research in such topics as the history of the windows or building, the materials involved, and past alterations, as a key element of all conservation decisions. The type of conservation treatment employed should reflect this research, as well as the needs of the building as a whole, and should always be documented for reference in the future (CVMA 2004).

For information on the creation, construction, and history of stained glass windows see Stained glass.


Hardman may refer to:

Hardman (surname)

Heaton, Butler and Bayne

Heaton, Butler and Bayne were an English firm who produced stained glass windows from 1862 to 1953.

James Powell and Sons

The firm of James Powell and Sons, also known as Whitefriars Glass, were English glassmakers, leadlighters and stained glass window manufacturers. As Whitefriars Glass, the company existed from the 17th century, but became well known as a result of the 19th century Gothic Revival and the demand for stained glass windows.

Lavers, Barraud and Westlake

Lavers, Barraud and Westlake were an English firm that produced stained glass windows from 1855 until 1921. They were part of the Gothic Revival movement that affected English church architecture in the 19th century.

Louis Comfort Tiffany

Louis Comfort Tiffany (February 18, 1848 – January 17, 1933) was an American artist and designer who worked in the decorative arts and is best known for his work in stained glass. He is the American artist most associated with the Art Nouveau and Aesthetic movements. He was affiliated with a prestigious collaborative of designers known as the Associated Artists, which included Lockwood de Forest, Candace Wheeler, and Samuel Colman. Tiffany designed stained glass windows and lamps, glass mosaics, blown glass, ceramics, jewelry, enamels, and metalwork. He was the first Design Director at his family company, Tiffany & Co., founded by his father Charles Lewis Tiffany.

Shrigley and Hunt

Shrigley and Hunt was an English firm which produced stained glass windows and art tiles.

Stained Glass Association of America

The Stained Glass Association of America (originally The National Ornamental Glass Manufacturers Association) is a trade association formed in 1903 to protect the United States ornamental and stained-glass industry from foreign competition by cheaper European glass imports into the United States. The organisation campaigned for decades for high import taxes to be imposed on European glass which was much cheaper than U.S. glass due to the much lower wage costs in Europe, which they described as "unfair competition".The Association published a journal, The Stained Glass Quarterly (formerly Stained Glass, the Bulletin of the Stained Glass Association of America, The Ornamental Glass Bulletin and The Monthly Visitor).

Glass production techniques
Commercial techniques
Artistic and historic techniques
Natural processes
See also

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