Windows for the world

Nineteenth-century stained glass and the international exhibitions, 1851– 1900

Author: Jasmine Allen

Windows for the world: nineteenth-century stained glass and the international exhibitions, 1851-1900 focuses on the display and reception of nineteenth-century stained glass in an international and secular context, by exploring the significance of the stained glass displayed at ten international exhibitions held in Britain, France, the USA and Australia between 1851 and 1900. International in scope, it is the first study to explore the global development of stained glass in this period, as showcased at, and influenced by, these international events.

Drawing on hundreds of contemporaneous written and visual sources, it identifies the artists and makers who exhibited stained glass, as well as those who reviewed and judged the exhibits. It also provides close readings of specific stained glass exhibits in relation to stylistic developments, material and technological innovations, iconographic themes and visual ideologies.

This monograph broadens approaches to post-medieval stained glass by placing stained glass in its wider cultural, political, economic and global contexts. It provides new perspectives and fresh interpretations of stained glass in these environments, through themed chapters, each of which highlight a different aspect of stained glass in the nineteenth century, including material taxonomies, modes of display, stylistic eclecticism, exhibitors’ international networks, production and consumption, nationalism and imperialism.

As such, the book challenges many of the major methodological and historiographical assumptions and paradigms relating to the study of stained glass. Its scope and range will have wide appeal to those interested in the history of stained glass as well as nineteenth-century culture more broadly.

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‘Readers of this book will emerge with a strong sense of how stained glass evolved into an international medium and how this was facilitated or impeded within the context of the international exhibitions. Allen’s pertinent analysis provides insights about how the exhibitions functioned, how exhibitors attempted to promote their works, and the ways that historicist styles were adapted to meet contemporaneous issues. This book is both an important contribution to our understanding of the international exhibitions and welcome stimulus for opening up the study of stained glass to the analytical attention that it deserves.
Journal of Design History
January 2020

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