Stained Glass and the Victorian Gothic Revival

Author: Jim Cheshire

This book presents a study that is an attempt to understand the phenomenal increase in the production and demand for stained glass between about 1835 and 1860. The book provides both history and context for thousands of Victorian stained-glass windows that exist in churches across the country. It aims to: ask why people became interested in stained glass; examine how glass-painters set up their studios; and understand how they interacted with each other and their patrons. To understand why so many windows were commissioned and made in the Victorian period, readers need to understand how buying a stained-glass window became a relatively ordinary thing to do. In order to examine this, the book focuses on those who wrote or spoke about stained glass in the formative years of the revival. It is important to look at the production of stained glass as a cultural exchange: a negotiation in both financial and cultural terms that was profitable for both glass-painter and patron. The history of Victorian stained glass allows an examination of many other areas of nineteenth-century cultural history. Readers can learn a lot about the aesthetics of the Gothic Revival, ecclesiology, the relationship between 'fine' and 'decorative' art, and the circulation of art history in the 1840s. While many interesting glass-painters have necessarily been omitted, the author hopes that the case studies in the book will provide a point of reference for the research of future scholars.

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