The Glorious History Of Stained Glass Windows

Stained glass is an art form and an old one at that. While the exact origins of stained glass are not illuminated from historical texts, we can be sure that an archaic form of stained glass was in use by the 6th century. As with many pieces of artwork, stained and leaded were a direct result of a need for function rather than a desire for artwork. We can deduct that stained glass was come upon gradually when the making of glass was still in its infancy. Larger pieces of glass were hard to stabilize. In an effort to fit bigger pieces of glass in larger windows, and keep them secured, first holes were bored in wood and filled with glass bits, then rustic frames were constructed and eventually lattice and leading similar to what we see today began making an appearance. By the ninth century, glass on the windows of architectural structures had been well refined and used quite frequently. At the same time, lead strips used to join panels of glass became very popular. The earliest surviving examples are fragments from: Kloster Lorsch in Germany (9th century) “The Head Of Christ” head-of-christ-stained-glass And The Augsburg Cathedral (late 11th C. or early 12th C.) “Five Prophets Windows” five-prophets-stained-glass Since the time of these beautiful, but crude early creations, the art of stained glass has incrementally become more sophisticated. Old gothic techniques were blended with new glass pigment breakthroughs and more and more stunning pieces popped up not only in Europe but in the middle east on mosques as well. Century after century saw new advances and more increasingly majestic works of stained and leaded glass artwork. Eventually, stained glass making turned into a form of painting on the glass itself as if it were a fresco and we see the “stained glass” of the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as more painterly imagery. However, with the advent of the Gothic Revival Period in the 1840’s there was a rediscovery of the Gothic process for blowing sheet glass which fortunately had been carefully documented. Stained glass similar to the very old stye of construction began resurging. The newly discovered “old” tradition is seen often in the Victorian period and continues today with use by relatively recent architects including Antonio Gaudi, Charles Mackintosh and Frank Loyd Wright. At Scottish Stained Glass we are proud to carry on the long and glorious stained glass craftwork. Although the techinques and materials have changed quite a bit since those early days, the desire to make something beautiful and lasting never go out of style. If you are looking for a stained glass window to become and instant heirloom in your house, contact us today!

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