As connoisseurs of stained glass windows, we have to admit finding the history of this art form fascinating. Read along, and see if you don’t agree that high school history was never like this.
In the world of art, architecture and home décor, styles come and go. Add to that new developments and technologies that can greatly improve the comfort and living conditions of one’s home, and the stage is set for our stained glass window history lesson.
Our story opens in Glasgow, Scotland, in the late 19th century. At this time, Glasgow was the second most prosperous city in the United Kingdom, second only to London.
Wealthy merchants built elaborate and beautiful homes and public buildings, and art, sculpture and stained glass windows were some of the most common embellishments. Master stained glass craftsmen turned out gorgeous work to adorn the Victorian style homes and castles of the day, and Glasgow became known for creating some of the finest stained glass in the world. And you can just imagine the exquisite work gracing the city’s many churches.
But times change, and after the First World War, the economy flagged. By the ‘30s, not a single stained glass studio remained open in Glasgow, and to this day very little stained glass is made anywhere in Scotland. It would have been unfortunate enough if no new stained glass was created, but in the ‘60s, the majority of those fine old Victorian homes were no longer so fine, and were razed in the name of progress – to build the latest in modern living, the high rise. Thousands of stained glass windows were simply destroyed!
Then, during the ‘70s and ‘80s, homeowners began replacing their old, single pane leaded glass windows with the next modern innovation to come along – the double paned window, which saved on heating costs and kept their drafty homes more comfortable. Honestly, knowing the Scottish winters, we can’t blame them.
But we have to wonder, did no one really appreciate these stained glass panels as pieces of art anymore? Was it like your grandma’s furniture, which you wouldn’t be caught dead with in your own home?
It was these discarded windows that our founder, Martin Faith “rescued” and brought over to the States, forming a gorgeous collection of over 150 windows representing another time, long gone by.
And now, those same windows, apparently unappreciated by their owners, given up in favor of something more modern, imported to Denver where they were lovingly restored (if necessary) by Scottish Stained Glass’s master craftsmen – yes, those same windows will now save the lives of countless children! The entire collection is about to be sold on June 21, in a benefit for charity. The proceeds will go to help Project C.U.R.E. ship $1,000,000 worth of desperately needed medical equipment to a pediatric ICU in Belize!
So these antique stained glass windows are not only a piece of ancient history, for many people they will now make life saving history of the very best kind.