Victorian Stained Glass

                               St Peter, a self-portrait by William Morris.

Stained glass was very popular in Victoria's reign. This was partly because of the Gothic Revival. People wanted to revive the art and architecture of the Middle Ages when buildings had richly carved pointed arches.  Town Halls and houses, as well as churches, were built and furnished in this Gothic style. Medieval churches had stained glass in their windows, so the Victorians wanted it for their churches and sometimes for their houses.

Those who shared the High Church views of The Oxford Movement also wanted to make churches as beautiful as they had been in the Middle Ages. Click on the links in the text for more images and descriptions.

A. W. N. Pugin was a leader of the Victorian Gothic Revival. He was one of the first to revive the 'mosaic' method of making stained glass. This meant that pieces of coloured glass were cut to shape and leaded together. In the 17th and 18th centuries, rectangles of clear glass were painted with pictures instead.

Charles Eamer Kempe set up his studio for designing glass in 1866 and in 1868 he set up his own glassworks so that he could make it as well. He died in 1907 but his firm did not close until 1937

William Waters' new book Stained Glass from Shrigley and Hunt of Lancaster and London gives a clear illustrated account of a firm which deserves to be better known.

Edward Burne-Jones at first designed stained glass for Powells of Blackfriars, like his east window at Waltham Abbey and his Saint Frideswide window in Oxford Cathedral.

From 1861 Burne- Jones designed stained glass, only for William Morris, including four more windows at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, one contains a Last Supper, influenced by Leonardo da Vinci. From 1875 onwards Burne-Jones designed nearly all of the Morris & Co's new windows, though old cartoons were often re-used.

Early stained glass by Morris's firm, from 1861 to 1875 included designs by Ford Madox Brown and by Morris himself, by D.G. Rossetti and by Philip Webb. Good examples can be found  in the Cotswolds. These are described and illustrated in the book, Burne-Jones and William Morris by Ann S. Dean. It provides the phone numbers for over 30 churches, including some in London. Saint Michael's, in Brighton has early windows by Morris, Burne-Jones and Ford Madox Brown.

home page