Stained glass commissions, bespoke stained glass, contemporary and traditional designs, stained glass restoration
Glass specialists provide a bespoke design service for a full range of clients; they will often undertake stained glass commissions and also commissions in the contemporary use of fused glass.
Architects, designers and home owners are now commissioning works in stained glass to provide stunning installations for buildings and innovative focal points for interior decor.
When back illuminated, stained glass has a breath-taking quality; its effect is uplifting to the senses and continues to attract and intrigue in contemporary settings in much the same way as it did centuries ago.
Stained glass panels are made up of small fragments of coloured glass set in a net-like structure of metal 'caming.' The glass and caming are then placed inside a wooden frame or panel and installed an architectural setting.
Since its early invention, techniques used in the production of stained glass have broadened to include the use of pigments, paint, enamels and glazes and various methods of texturising, connecting and fusing glass elements.
The term 'stained glass' has its origins in the technique used in the 14th century in Europe whereby shaped pieces of glass (or 'quarries') would be decorated using a 'silver stain.' During the firing process the silver would sink into the glass producing a warm yellow colouring. About the same time, in Italy, creators of illustrative glass panels were beginning to apply paint to the surface of the glass, developing a highly sophisticated medium for figuration in interior and architectural design.
In about the 11th century, in Europe, the most common form of glass was pot-metal glass (a single colour created by adding metal to molten glass). Over the centuries, glass makers invented variations in production methods including Cylinder (blown) glass, Table (rolled) glass, Crown (bull's eye) glass and Flashed (coated) glass.
There have been prominent eras of popularity of stained glass in the UK over the past centuries. There are spectacular examples of medieval stained glass including those at St Peter Mancroft, Norwich and Wells Cathedral, Somerset.
Later, in the 19th century, stained glass enjoyed renewed popularity. A W N Pugin (1812-52) was a renowned English architect and restorer. His sumptuous stained glass designs were produced in John Hardman's metal works in Birmingham. Fine examples of this work can be seen in St Augustine's, Ramsgate. The church building was started by Pugin in 1844 but was finished by his son, years after Pugin's death in 1852.
Mary Lowndes (1857-1929) was one of the most prominent women working in the Arts and Crafts Movement (1870-1910). This was a group of artists and designers dedicated to using designs derived from nature. The movement was inspired by the writings of John Ruskin (1819-1900) and ideas of William Morris (1834-1896).
Mary Lowndes was the main force in creating The Glasshouse in Fulham which provided studio space for independent artists. One of her most well known works in stained glass is 'The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple' (1910).
The modern renaissance in 'art glass' was probably started in the UK around the middle of the 20th century with a number of innovative commissions - the Baptistry window in the new Coventry Cathedral being perhaps one of the most noted.
On the night of 14th November 1940, the city of Coventry was bombed by the German Luftwaffe. The Cathedral and virtually the entire city were ruined. With the construction of the new Cathedral, built in the shadow of the bombed remains of the old St Michael's, came a sense of renewal and optimism. John Piper (1903-1992) and Patrick Reyntiens (b.1925) were commissioned to design and create the stunning Baptistry window.