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We are certified in the restoration and preservation of historic stained glass and offer complete restoration services and custom stained glass work for site specific applications. Our restoration specialists have been trained in the intricate level of care required for the restoration of historic stained glass, and have designed and fabricated glass art for a large variety of locations, including ecclesiastical, commercial and residential.
There are many good reasons for the student to study the history of stained glass; first, to truly excel, the student should be aware of the romance of the medium. Henry Willet would talk extensively of the “lust and the lure and the love of stained glass.” While this cliché is admittedly melodramatic, it nevertheless gives an accurate feel for the attitude of someone who was passionate about the craft. Second, an appreciation of the history of stained glass will foster a dispassionate, critical approach in the student when appraising stained glass. The student of stained glass is urged to approach the medium with an informed, non-prejudiced understanding of the various styles to be encountered.jone
Informed observation will free the student’s imagination for design, not to copy but rather to inspire. There are many excellent resources available for the study of stained glass and the student is urged to acquire a library of reference books that illustrate and describe specific installations in detail. However, there is no substitute for actually viewing stained glass in situ; that is, in its architectural surroundings.
A comprehensive bibliography follows this chapter. Because this volume is intended as a reference of techniques for the stained glass artist and not as a history of the craft, this chapter should serve only as a starting point for the student who wishes to develop a deeper appreciation of the history of craft.
It should also be noted that there are many periods that are imperfectly documented. For instance, 60 stained glass businesses were listed in Philadelphia’s city directories before 1900. None of those studios exist today, and little is known about them.
The Worlds’ Fair was originally a forum in which visitors from all over the world were able to evaluate and imitate each other’s products. The first Worlds’ Fair was the Crystal Palace Exhibition in London in 1851. It was organized under the patronage of Prince Albert to show off the products of the Industrial Revolution. The increasing wealth of the middle class and their increasing mobility, due to railroads, induced the crowds to come.
The poor artistic quality of the machine-made goods displayed inspired the Arts and Crafts Movement and its desire to restore handcrafted quality and good design.
In 1862 in London, Japan participated for the first time in a World Exhibition. The western world first saw the Japanese art and handcrafts, which were to become extremely popular by 1867.
In 1894, Tiffany glass was first seen in Paris when S. (Siegfried) Bing first exhibited oriental arts and ceramics. Bing was a key figure in the history of decorative arts. His Salon de l’Art Nouveau in Paris gave name to the movement.
Bing commissioned Tiffany to fabricate ten panels designed by top fine arts painters: Bonnard, Grasset, Ibels, Ranson, Roussel, Serusier, Toulouse-Lautrec, Vallotton and Vuillard. Most of this group belonged to the Nabis (prophets) whose credo was to use flat areas of bold color heavily outlined in reaction to impressionism.
The principal characteristic of the Art Nouveau style is its sinuous line. The principal subject is nature, whether stylized or realistic. The style varies somewhat from country to country. For example, the English did not use much opalescent glass and backgrounds are often light quarries with a silver stained motif in each; their domestic windows are similar to romantic book illustrations. German windows, on the other hand, show more heraldry, landscapes with castles, hunting and tavern scenes.