Glass-painters: The Beer family of Exeter
in Stained Glass and the Victorian Gothic Revival
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The Beer family made stained glass from the earliest days of the Victorian Gothic Revival and did not cease until the last years of the nineteenth century. This chapter concentrates on the extant corpus of glass produced by Robert and Alfred Beer and the network of patrons that they served. Running a glass-painting business in a city like Exeter gave the Beers several potential advantages over a glass-painter like John Toms, who worked from a small market town. Toms's relationship with the Exeter Diocesan Architectural Society (EDAS) was probably distant at best; he did not enjoy the connections with architects and ecclesiologists that the Beers profited from. Many of Robert's early windows bear a strong resemblance to John Loveband Fulford's tracings of medieval glass. In 1850, when Alfred started doing the bulk of the figure work for the Beer studio, he was only twenty years old.

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