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Exquisite Stained Glass Window a Decorators Delight

Updated on June 25, 2019
Pamela99 profile image

I am interested in the history of stained glass, and I have learned how to make some unique projects. I have sold several unique pieces.

Man of Sorrows and Saints

Grisaille Panel
Grisaille Panel

Stained Glass Window Beginning to Present Time

There is nothing more beautiful in a room than a stained glass window with the sun shining through,and it seems to bounce the colors as they dance off the glass. In Western Europe the stained glass window constituted the major form of pictorial art that has survived.

The purpose of the window is not to allow people to see outside, or even to admit light, but rather to control it. A stained glass window has been described as figurative; as if man incorporate narratives drawn from the Bible, history or literature. Sometimes they represent patrons or saints. Other times they use symbolic motifs.

During the Renaissance for 300 years stained glass windows were painted, thus traditional stained glass skills were lost. Luckily many of the older windows in cathedrals lasted for centuries. There were several artists using the stained glass with the white paint method during these years, with some events outstanding in history. The innate beauty of true stained glass was forgotten for a time.

Stained Glass 1300-1480

Saint Louis IX of France (1226-1270), the King, and considered a Saint even during his lifetime. Following his death, 400 people gathered at Saint-Denis to testify to his sanctity. There in the abbey, the Chapel of Saint-Louis was dedicated. Two Grisaille Panels were placed in the chapel. They were made of pot-metal and white glass with silver stain.

Saint Louis built churches and many religious houses in his reign. His royal chapel on the Ile de la Cite in Paris was built to enshrine the relics of Christ’s Passion, which was consecrated on April 26, 1246. It contained a shrine for the Crown of Thorns and a fragment of the True Cross purchased from Emperor Baldwin II of the Latin Empire of Constantinople for the exorbitant sum of 135,00 livres.

In 1480, Marer dolorosa created The Man of Sorrows and the Mater dolorosa, in Strassburger, Werkstattgemeinschaft, Germany was again completed using pot metal and vitreous painting. Peter Hemmel von Andlau and a loose assembly of glass painters in his workshop were commissioned by the dean and chapter of Constance Cathedral to glaze the chapter house. Of the original eighty-one panels, only nineteen have survived.

The Hemmel style has delicately modeled features of the figures round, fleshy face with the exuberance of the drapery in broad planes.

The Adoration of the Magi

St. Gatien Cathedral - The Magi
St. Gatien Cathedral - The Magi | Source

Stained Glass - The Cloisters in NYC

Another beautiful piece of stained glass is now located at The Cloisters (in NYC) and titled Theodosius Arrives at Ephesus”, which was made in Rome about 1200 AD. This scene is straight out of the book of Ephesians in the Bible.

The Man of Sorrows and Theodosius Arrives in Ephesus are presently housed in The Cloisters, which I was fortunate enough to visit in NYC about six years ago. These are just a few of the old master pieces from the Renaissance era.

During the Victorian and Edwardian eras of the 1800’s, stained glass began to be used in non-religious windows of European chateaus. They still only used cathedral type glass, which is a smooth textured glass of various colors. The colors began to change for the traditional bright colors to the soft colors, which were really more appropriate for domestic windows. Stained glass made a major advance in the late 1800's and early 1900s during the Art Nouveau period, when American glass makers expanded upon the European cathedral glass by making a translucent "milky" glass known as opalescent glass. Many sub-types of glass have been developed since that time. In America, stained glass became very popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s. And, as we move forward we are seeing new styles and designs.

Church Stained Glass Window


St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City


Ceiling of St. Patrick's Cathedral

Some of the outstanding work for more recent artist includes the roof and stained glass of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. The artists of St. Patrick’s Cathedral are Chartres of France and Birmingham, of England and Boston, Massachusetts. They will not allow you to bring in a tripod for pictures but you may sit in a pew and aim your camera straight up. That's better than no picture at all.

Beautiful Stained Glass Window


Louis Comfort Tiffany- Expert Craftsman

You certainly would have to include Louis Comfort Tiffany. (1848-1933), born in NYC. He was a U.S. painter, craftsman, philanthropist, decorator, and designer and the son of the famous jeweler Charles Louis Tiffany. He studied painting with American painter George Inness in Paris.

He was a recognized painter before he began to experiment with stained glass in 1875. He founded a glass making factory in Queens, N.Y., in 1878. There he developed an iridescent glass he called Favrile, which achieved widespread popularity in Europe. After 1900 Tiffany's firm ventured into lamps, jewelry, pottery, and bibelots. He is internationally recognized as one of the greatest forces of the Art Nouveau. One of his numerous designs is as breathtaking as the next. He is truly an artist that I adore.

Yale University

This stained glass window can be found the Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University.
This stained glass window can be found the Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University.

Wood Framed Stained Glass Window


Frank Lloyd Wright Lighting Lamp


Frank Lloyd Wright

No discussion of recent stained glass and design would be complete without mentioning Frank Lloyd Wright and the huge influence he had on modern design. There is a Frank Lloyd Wright foundation, that displaces his unique designs.

He was born in Richmond Center, Wisconsin (1867-1959), and his dream was to become an architect. He didn’t finish high school but went to work for the Dean of Wisconsin’s Engineering Department.

He completed two year of civil engineering before relocating to Chicago. He worked with architect Joseph Lyman Silsbee and drafted construction on his first building, the Lloyd-Jones family chapel.

He believed that buildings should move away from European design, and he based his work on American functions. He designed more than 1,000 projects which resulted in 500 completed works. He was very innovative with types of design; material used and promoted organic architecture.

He designed interior elements of his architectural projects, as well as, working with stained glass. He tended to use linear designs uniquely different from ones of scenes, people or flowers, I could fill up pages with his numerous designs.

The stained glass windows are loved by many and are frequently used in front doors and in the window beside the front door with a popularity that is certainly not waning.

In Summary

From the Renaissance when glass was painted to modern times, leaded glass has been used in beautiful cathedrals and in people's homes.

If you have an opportunity to see some of Frank Lloyd Wright's work it is stunning and different from what was done in ancient times. Wherever you travel try to visit older cathedrals, and you are usually in for a treat with the spendid beauty of stained glass.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Submit a Comment
  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    3 years ago from Sunny Florida

    I have always loved stained glass, and Frank Lloyd Wright is such a fabulous artists. I have made many panels also. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    3 years ago from Houston, Texas

    I have a cousin who has made some beautiful stained glass panels for windows. I love the beauty of gorgeous stained glass windows in churches, cathedrals and elsewhere.

    We have gotten to see several of Frank Lloyd Wright's structures. They are indeed modern and interesting.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Bmosaics, Making stained glass is a tedious process so I can't even imagine how long some of these large church windows took to complete. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • Bmosaics profile image


    10 years ago from USA

    Those glass designs are simply beautiful. I wonder how long those masterpieces take to create.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    11 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Katiem, Thank you for the compliment and I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Stained glass is beautiful.

  • katiem2 profile image

    Katie McMurray 

    11 years ago from Ohio

    Pamela, I love stained glass, I was very excited to find this hub! Beautifully done and the pictures of the stained glass such an amazing thing. Thanks and Peace :)

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    11 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Unfortunately I haven't seen the in Europe but would love to. I love stained glass and thank you for your comment.

  • glassvisage profile image


    11 years ago from Northern California

    These windows are so beautiful, and they can really tell a story! I hope you've had a chance to see such windows in Europe... breathtaking!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    11 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Jack, Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your stopping by.

  • TnFlash profile image


    11 years ago from Tampa, Florida

    Pam, Another excellent Hub! The pictures are great.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    11 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Ladies, I very much appreciate your comments.

  • Eileen Hughes profile image

    Eileen Hughes 

    11 years ago from Northam Western Australia

    Pamela, another beautiful display of glass incredible pictures.

  • mynameisnotpaul profile image


    11 years ago from Kentuckeh'

    I've always loved stained glass, the picture of the two grisaille panels is just AWESOME! This was a great read. Thumbs up.

  • JannyC profile image


    11 years ago

    So pretty got lost in the pictures almost. Excellent hub and very informative. I love learning history.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    11 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Hello, I am glad you enjoyed the hubs on stained glass.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    11 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for great insight of the art of stained glass windows. Thank you so much.

  • habee profile image

    Holle Abee 

    11 years ago from Georgia

    When we close in our carport, I want one of these in our new great room! Beautiful!

  • carolina muscle profile image

    carolina muscle 

    11 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

    Wow... that one labeled "another Wright design".. that is stunningly beautiful.

  • Sage Williams profile image

    Sage Williams 

    11 years ago

    Pamela - Another great hub with fantastic pictures as well. I have little knowledge of stained glass. I did a few small windows when I was in high school so I can truly appreciate the complexity of the skill and the art for what it really is.

    Great job!


  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    11 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Nancy, Thank you so much for your comment.

  • nancy_30 profile image


    11 years ago from Georgia

    I enjoyed reading your hub Pamela. I really loved the pictures, they were so beautiful.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    11 years ago from Sunny Florida

    dohn, I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Yale has a lot of art and other stained glass as well according to my research. It would probably be worth stopping in. Thank for your comment.

  • dohn121 profile image


    11 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

    Wow, Pamela. I think this one is better than your previous hub on stained glass windows. I don't live to far from Yale University, so I should visit in person :) Thanks for another informative and picturesque hub!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    11 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Thanks for the comment POP.

  • breakfastpop profile image


    11 years ago

    What a wonderful and beautiful hub. Stained glass is exquisite!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    11 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Tobey, I do too. I could have filled up pages. Thank you for your comment.

  • tobey100 profile image


    11 years ago from Whites Creek, Tennessee

    I love these pictures!!!


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