Stained glass got its reputation for subliminal, breath-taking beauty first in medieval Europe, where it was incorporated into stunning Gothic cathedrals with their flying buttresses, rose windows, and sky-high ceilings. These graceful works of architecture wouldn’t be the same with out their rows and rows of stained glass windows, whose intricate designs and images seemed to glow in the sunlight, filling interior spaces with jewel-like color.

The process of adding ground-up metals to molten glass to give it color dates from ancient Roman times, when stained-glass windows first appeared. The technique was perfected around 1150, when pieces of colored glass were assembled into patterns and then fitted between soldered strips of lead. At first these windows were mostly geometric in design, but during the Renaissance, artists would actually paint on the colored glass to create enormous glass paintings, whose religious imagery was illuminated by natural light.

For centuries, the Catholic Church was the only organization in Europe wealthy enough to afford such extravagance. During the Victorian Era, secular stained glass did appear as coats of arms or diamond-shaped Dutch windows, but this was rare.

It wasn’t until the late 19th century that stained glass made its way into laypeople’s homes. In 1889, architect E.S. Prior developed a new kind of glass called slag glass, which had irregular texture and color. This kind of glass was favored by those in the Arts and Crafts movement, who employed stained glass in abstract, geometric patterns to produce slag glass lamps, among other objects. From this innovation, Christopher Whall invented a new style of stained glass that focused on the lines made by the lead and used very little paint.

Some of Whall’s students found their way to the Glass House studios, run by Mary Lowndes and A.J. Drury. Whall also influenced Sarah Purser who founded the Tower of Glass studio in Dublin, run by Whall’s colleague A.E. Childs—the studio led to a revival of stained glass in Ireland. Over the decades, Tower of Glass produced work by influential designers like Michael Healy, Wilhelmina Geddes, and Evie Hone.

Meanwhile, around the turn of the century, American artists John LaFarge and Louis Comfort Tiffany set out to put a modern-day spin on medieval ideas with their stained glass windows, lamps, and works of art glass. LaFarge, like Tiffany, began his career as a painter and brought a painterly sensibility to unpainted glass. Sometimes he would layer pieces of differently colored glass to achieve new hues, and in 1879 he even developed and copyrighted a type of opalescent glass. These two rivals made both church and home windows.

The work of these artists became more intricate as a new process allowed them to assemble their stained glass with copper instead of lead. Tiffany jumped on new electric lamp tec...

After Tiffany’s and LaFarge’s experiments, stained glass became a more common medium for decorative artists, who made stained glass in patterns and images that reflected the movement du jour—Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts, Art Deco, De Stijl, and Bauhaus. Frank Lloyd Wright designed stained-glass windows in geometric patterns intended to complement the serene lines and patterns of his rooms and their furniture. Piet Mondrian made stained-glass windows that echoed his famous black-on-white grid paintings with their colored squares. Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, and Henri Matisse are just a few of the other artists who executed pieces in stained glass.

During World War II, much of the medieval and Gothic style glass in Europe, usually featuring narrative religious scenes, was destroyed. After the war—particularly in Germany—it was replaced with stained glass in the abstract geometric patterns of the day. In fact, Germany is credited with completely breaking the art of stained glass from its pictorial past, starting with ’20s artists like Johann Thorn Prikker, and continuing after the war with Georg Meistermann, whose symbolic work had a sense of movement, and Ludwig Schaffrath, who created tremendous walls of light.

In France, artist Jean Crotti is credited with developing a technique in the 1930s known as gemmail, in which no lead or copper is used between the pieces of colored glass. Instead, the different pieces of glass are fused together, creating a 3D illusion. Many great paintings have been reproduced in glass using this method.

Stained glass thrived again as an art medium in the 1970s as artists, particularly on the West Coast, experimented with the design, imagery, and illusions that could be produced with glass. Their experiments often featured highly detailed imagery, optical illusions, organic shapes, or jokes on the nature of glass and windows. Jad Fair, Paul Marioni, Fred Abrams, Peter Mollica, Dan Fenton, Narcissus Quagliata, Otto B. Rigan, Kathie Stackpole Bunnell, James Hubbell, Dick Weiss, and Judy Raffael are among these modern innovators.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Loetz.com

Loetz.com

This fabulous site is a guide to Bohemian art glass makers from 1885 to 1920. Loetz was the premier Bohemian glass … [read review or visit site]

Cloud Glass Reference Site

Cloud Glass Reference Site

Chris and Val Stewart’s impressive attempt to create a complete catalogue of all known cloud glass, a decorative … [read review or visit site]

Antique Glass Salt and Sugar Shaker Club

Antique Glass Salt and Sugar Shaker Club

The heart of this website, home of the Antique Glass Salt and Sugar Shaker Club, is the Identification Project, whe… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Antique Arts & Crafts Leaded Slag Stained Glass Handel Tiffany Lamp By WilkinsonSigned Bradley & Hubbard Table Lamp Brass Slag Glass Iridescent Stained Glass Antique American Church Interior Stained Glass Sunlit Window Signed Oil PaintingAntique American Church Interior Stained Glass Sunlit Window Signed Oil PaintingAntique Old Leaded Slag Stained Glass Handel Tiffany Era Lamp By SemmerLarge Oak Sign Stained Glass Holder Fretwork Mirror Panoramic Picture Frame WoodArts&crafts,nouveau,deco Unigned Handel Leaded Stained Slag Glass Lamp ShadeAntique Old Leaded Slag Stained Glass Handel Tiffany Era Lamp By Wilkinson**simple Pleasures** Stained Glass Window Panel (signed And Dated)Annelise Double Lit Table Lamp Stained Glass Multi-color 27" New**branching Out** Stained Glass Window Panel (signed And Dated)Tiffany-style Corrista Stained Glass Double Lit Table Lamp Ivory NewTiffany-style Stained Glass Basket Of Orchid's Double Lit Table Lamp NewTiffany-style Dome Shaped Stained Glass Pond Lily Table Lamp NewTiffany-style 52" Halston Double Lit Stained Glass Ceiling Fan Blue NewDisney Pin Wdi Cast Exclusive Stained Glass Set Ariel Cinderella Snow White**circular Colorfest** Stained Glass Window Panel (signed And Dated)Stained Glass Window Pane - Signed Louis C. Tiffany - GlassworksTiffany-style 21.5" Stained Glass Parisian Table Lamp W/ Hexagon Base NewTiffany-style 27.5" Stained Glass Dusty Rose Peacock Double Lit Table Lamp NewTiffany-style Halston Double Lit Stained Glass Table Lamp Turquoise NewTiffany-style Halston Double Lit Stained Glass Table Lamp Sunrise NewTiffany Style Dragonfly Stained Glass Lamp Shade 16" X 9"Antique Vintage 1920's Sailing Ship Dolphins Stained Glass Hanging Lamp Or LightTiffany-style Stained Glass Crystal Peacock Candelabrum Table Lamp NewTiffany-style Stained Glass Hoots Haven Double Lit Floor Lamp NewTiffany-style 20" Green Turtleback Double Lit Stained Glass Table Lamp Green NewExtremely Rare Rca Victor Radio Sign Stained Glass Working! Antique VintageOld Wood Transom Window Stained Slag Glass Pane Vintage Salvage 38.5 X 20.25 KkTiffany-style Stained Glass Fleurista Dome Shaped Floor Lamp NewTiffany-style Stained Glass 11.5" Set Of Five Table Lamps Favorites NewTiffany-style Stained Glass Basket Of Orchid's Double Lit Table Lamp NewChloe Ch23b1116-tl2 Mission Tiffany Style Stained Glass Table Lamp W/ 16" Shade**bubbling Over With Color** Stained Glass Window Panel (signed And Dated)Tiffany-style 12" Midnight Roses Stained Glass Telephone Accent Lamp NewTiffany-style Hampstead Stained Glass Red Pedestal Lamp NewTiffany-style Stained Glass Asiatic Lily Pedestal Lamp NewTiffany-style 24.5" Halston Double Lit Stained Glass Lamp Lavender Rose NewTiffany-style Dragonfly Swirl Double Lit Stained Glass Floor Lamp Yellow NewVintage Mod 1970's Stained Glass Multi-color Hanging Swag Lamp Light FixtureTiffany-style Stained Glass Swirling Dragonfly Table Lamp Purple NewTiffany-style Dragonfly Swirl Double Lit Stained Glass Floor Lamp Yellow NewTiffany-style Stained Glass Halston Torchiere Ivory NewTiffany-style Stained Glass Asiatic Lily Pedestal Lamp NewTiffany Style Mission Arts And Crafts Stained Glass Table Lamp - Works!!!Professionals Choice Vtech Elite Vpack - Stained Glass - LargeTiffany-style 69" Dragonfly Stained Glass Floor Lamp Red Side Arm NewTiffany-style 24.5" Halston Double Lit Stained Glass Lamp Lavender Rose NewTiffany-style 52" Halston Double Lit Stained Glass Ceiling Fan Blue NewTiffany-style Orb Dragonfly Stained Glass Table Lamp Multi-color NewVtg Hanging Scrolled Wrought Iron Oil Lamp Lantern W Stained Glass P&a HornetTiffany-style Stained Glass Halston Cross Accent Lamp Spice NewDisney Shopping Alice In Wonderland Flowers Stained Glass Le 250 PinDisney Pin Disneyland Dlr Mickey Minnie Classic D Le 1000 Stained Glass Tiffany-style Halston Double Lit Stained Glass Table Lamp Ivory NewTiffany-style 27" Stained Glass Halston Stained Glass Pedestal Lamp Ivory NewTiffany-style Stained Glass Rounded Filligree Hanging Lamp NewStained Glass Hanging Window Art Octagon Panel Suncatcher Dragonfly & Flowers €Tiffany-style Corrista Stained Glass Double Lit Table Lamp Topaz New

Recent News: Stained Glass

Source: Google News

Stained-glass event at Worcester Area Mission Society
Worcester Telegram, January 29th

Born in Lowell, Sarah Wyman Whitman (1842-1904) became one of the leading designers of stained-glass windows in the country. She had her own studio, the Lily Glass Works, at 184 Boylston St. in Boston, and was also well-known for her book covers and ...Read more

Faux stained-glass mural brightens church windows
Quad-Cities Online, January 28th

Sarah Robb, lead artist stands before a section of the 35-foot wide three section faux stained glass mural at the entrance of the Metropolitan Community Church in Davenport. The Metropolitan Community Church of the Quad Cities, and Quad City Arts will...Read more

Masur offering stained glass workshop for beginners
Monroe News Star, January 28th

The Masur Museum of Art is offering a beginning stained glass workshop for adults on Monday in the Carriage House at the museum. This workshop will teach the student how to build a small stained glass panel using the Louis Comfort Tiffany method...Read more

Nutrition, pottery, stained glass classes offered at the Dietrich Theater in ...
The Abington Journal, January 26th

From 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 16, the Dietrich's own Esther Harmatz will teach students ages 18 and up the first steps of working with glass to create stained glass pieces. Participants will learn how to work with a design, cut glass, polish, foil wrap...Read more

Stained glass window gift installed in governor's mansion
Daily Republic, January 23rd

A crew installed the stained glass window in the residence on Friday morning. The window includes a glass remnant from stained glass restoration recently completed at the Capitol. It is a gift from Conrad Schmitt Studios, which performed the Capitol work...Read more

History of stained glass: from churches to collectors
Orlando Sentinel, January 22nd

On Wednesday, Samick gave a lecture on “Stained Glass of the J. & R. Lamb Studios and Its Contemporaries of the 20th Century” at the Hugh F. and Jeannette G. McKean Pavilion at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, as part of the ...Read more

Artists Collaborate To Capture Audrey Hepburn and Zhang Ziyi In Stained Glass
Co.Create, January 22nd

Edwards says he has always been a lover of stained glass and when traveling is transfixed "like a moth" by the light coming through church windows. After seeing an image of one of Hessami's stained glass pieces he thought it would be "awesome to try...Read more

Stained Glass Windows for Churches May Make Comeback With Younger ...
Christian Post, January 6th

Churches fitted with ornate stained glass windows may not become a thing of the archaic past just yet, noted one church construction company. Although presently the stained glass industry has been experiencing a decline in business, research among ...Read more