Jim Cheshire
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Glass-painters: Joseph Bell of Bristol
in Stained Glass and the Victorian Gothic Revival
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The stained glass studio established by Joseph Bell in Bristol presents an ideal case study: many of Bell's windows survive intact and rare archival information about the firm survives. In addition to the jobs book Joseph Bell's notebooks have survived, allowing a unique insight into how a glass-painter educated himself in the early Victorian period. The importance of Bell's technical knowledge in the early 1840s is underlined by the type of commissions he received during this period. Bell's connection to the Bristol and West of England Architectural Society (BWEAS) set him in the middle of a group of patrons keen to build, restore and decorate their churches. The availability and proximity of the archaeological information seems to have had a dramatic effect on Bell's glass. Some of the early stylistic labels that Bell attached to his products had nothing to do with the Gothic Revival.

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