About stained glass

Stained glass is simply coloured glass but the term stained glass is normally used in referring to pictorial windwos such as are to be found in some churches. The colours are produced by adding a metallic oxide to the glass.

The means of colouring glass was understood in the early years of the Common Era. The earliest stained glass in Europe has been found at Jarrow at the monastery where Bede lived, prayed, taught and wrote. It dates from the seventh century and some of the fragments have been pieced together to form a roundel which has been placed in a window of the Saxon church which forms the chancel of the present church of St Peter and St Paul at the monastic site.

Stained glass became an immensely popular art in the medieval period when it was used in the windows of numerous churches and cathedrals, especially in the thirteenth century. Some of the earliest medieval stained glass in England can be seen in Canterbury Cathedral. The greatest quantity of medieval glass is to be found in York Minster.

There was a massive revival of interest in stained glass in Britain in the nineteenth century with the Gothic revival - a return to medieval styles of architecture for both places of worship and major public buildings. Stained glass was created by members of the Arts and Crafts movement, notably William Morris and Edward Burne Jones.

The Art Nouveau movement at the end of the nineteenth century saw an emphasis on the use of coloured glass in secular contexts.

Modern craftsmen create stained glass windows for both sacred and secular uses. They also repair windows that have been damaged by fire or vandalism. Here Andrew Brepi is leading a new window in the workshop at the stained glass centre, Killerby, near Scarborough.

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