William Morris 'King Arthur and Sir Lancelot', stained glass panel, 1862. Bradford City Art Gallery

study days

Renovating a Lost Art: Stained Glass in Britain, 1750-1900

  • Friday 18 March 2022
  • Brockway Room, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
  • Lecturer: Martin Harrison

Stained glass in Britain, though not entirely extinguished by the Reformation, was decimated by a century of religious iconoclasm. Devastating losses gradually generated the impulse to compensate for the absence, a resurgence that forms our central theme.

1  The Challenge of the Middle Ages
The stylistic evolution of medieval stained glass, some grasp of which is a prerequisite to understanding its reintroduction. The revival is also explored in the contexts of eighteenth-century history, the effect of antiquarianism and the importation of Continental stained glass.

2 Stained Glass and the Gothic Revival
The significance of the Romanticism/Classicism dichotomy in stained glass production, 1800–1860. The crucial role of the architects who commissioned stained glass in the High Victorian Gothic revival.

3  Against Medievalism: the innovators, from William Morris to the Arts and Crafts Movement
Certain artists rejected pastiche medievalism, addressing the spirit rather than the letter of ancient glass. Their struggle for artistic autonomy and individual expression loosened the grip of archaeology and historicism.

4  Glass Painters
The identities and aims of the main protagonists of our topic – the glaziers. Sociological, historical, religious, and political factors that framed the phenomenon of the nineteenth-century glass-painter.


 Martin Harrison is a member of the British Society of Master Glass Painters and a past curator of Ely Cathedral’s Stained Glass Museum. He has published books about Victorian stained glass and the stained glass windows designed by Burne-Jones.

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