Stained Glass Makers of the Nineteenth Century
After almost two centuries of decline, by the late eighteenth Century the glass staining and painting industry in England has all but disappeared, firms which survived in the city relied on heraldic glazing However, the Nineteenth century saw a huge reversal in fortunes as a result of a range of factors including : the rapid growth in population, the 1818 Church Building Act (which set aside £1million pounds to build churches in unprovided areas ), the effects of the Anglo Catholic revival of worship, the restoration of existing buildings and an increase in wealth. The latter led to the growth of the “continental grand tour” which heightened the appreciation of the earlier church arts of France, Germany and the Netherlands and the importation of stained glass. Interestingly it was the latter which generated a revival not only in the installation of stained glass in the county but also of its production here.The demand for imported stained glass was a national phenomenon, however, by chance between 1800 and 1820 a large portion of this trade took place through John Christopher Hampp” a Norwich weaver and merchant. Much of the glass, which became available after the French Revolution, was installed in churches, mansions and cathedrals both here and across the country.
Thus the Victorian Glass makers undertook three main roles namely:
- the installation of foreign glass collections
- the restoration of medieval glass remains
- the production of new windows.
However, for the first thirty five years of the 19th Century it was the latter two tasks which were the prevalent activity of the craftsmen.
Over the nineteenth century Haward estimates that a staggering 1375 windows were installed across the county (both new and old glass) of which 1040 can be attributed with twelve firms supplying over 70 percent of the windows installed. As can be seen in the following table four of the top twelve were local firms:
|Firm||No. of windows|
|Ward & Hughes (London)||119|
|Wm Wailes (Newcastle)||76|
|J & J King (Norwich||75|
|S C Yarrington (Norwich)||74|
|Heaton, Butler & Bayne (London)||68|
|J Powell & Sons (London)||68|
|Clayton & Bell (London)||61|
|J Hardman & co (Birmingham)||55|
|J Grant (Costessey)||44|
|Lavers Barraud & Westlake (London)||33|
|J Dixon (Norwich)||32|
|Wm Warrington (London)||29|
Below we consider some of these in more detail. For full information see Birkin Haward’s “Nineteenth Century Norfolk Stained Glass” (full details in Bibliography)
One of the earliest, Norfolk craftsmen was Samuel Carter Yarrington (1781 – 1846). By 1812 he had gained enough skills to advertise himself in the Norfolk Chronicle (26/12/1812) not only as a plumber and house painter but also as a glazier and glass stainer.
He offered to reglaze ancient stained glass and restore the defective parts with the “nicest attention to the original.” He has been accredited with installing 74 windows (the fourth highest level of production in the century)The greater part of Yarrington’s work was concerned with the installation of collections of foreign glass and little of his “new” glass remains, however, examples of his later work can be seen at Aylsham (left), here as in much of his other work he took the style of the foreign glass as his model.
In contrast to Yarrington, John Dixon (1783 – 1857) a gained his early experience with lesser medieval restorations. Then around 1837 he began the restoration of glass in St Peter Mancroft, a church where he acted as warden. One of his first tasks was to remove three panels of the medieval glass in the East window which he replaced with a figure of St Peter together with four smaller panels. Interestingly in 1840 Dixon installed, three if not four of the panels at Felbrigg Hall. The three can still be viewed there. In 1881 Dixon’s figure was taken out of the East Window and replaced by panels produced by Clayton & Bell. Subsequently all his panels in the East Window have been removed although four of Dixon’s copy panels have been refixed in the south Chapel.
Dixon, did not produce a vast range of new glass in terms of number or style. Much of his work was destroyed in the war, however, among his remaining work is the East Window at St John de Sepulchre in Norwich(left).
As the century progressed a new Norwich school of glass makers emerged which was dominated by the King family. The firm was originally founded by James King (1775 – 1851) in the 1820s. Around 1836 he was joined by his sons James (1804 – 1865) and John (1807 – 1879) and it was they who in 1850 found the firm of J& J King.
Their work was characterised as being of high quality, conventional in design but with strong clear coloursThey are remembered for their “new glass” rather than their restorations. The firm is believed to have risen to prominence partly as a result of their willingness to learn from the London firms who from the 1850s were operating widely across Norfolk but also because of the quality of work of their chief designer Thomas Scott, who worked for the firm for 30 years from c1865.
Some of their best glass can be see in St Gregory Norwich (left), where three windows (and maybe a fourth) were made by them.
The partners John Richard Clayton (1827 – 1913) and Alfred Bell (1832 – 95) founded their partnership in 1855. Initially their designs were manufactured by Heaton & Butler, before they commenced manufacturing their own glass from 1861.Clayton & Bell came to prominence in the second half of the nineteenth century. Their early work is particularly notable for the brilliance of their High Victorian Designs (1859 – 1863) whilst through the remainder of the nineteenth century their windows are characterised by the consistency of their more orthodox designs and colouring reminiscent of 14th & 15th Centuries. Their work always integrated the structural lines of the lead in the overall picture. Much of their work remains across Norfolk including Aylsham, Kimberley and Norwich (St Giles, Cathedral, St Peter Mancroft, St Lawrence, St George Tombland)
Clement Heaton (1824 – 82) and James Butler became partners in 1855 and were joined by Robert Turnill Bayne (1837 – 1915) in 1862. They were one of the largest and most prolific of the 19th Century craftsmen, particularly noted for the brilliance of their High Victorian work produced in the 1860s In Norfolk we have some of their finest work which can be seen at a number of churches including: East Dereham, Dunton and Sculthorpe.
James Powell & Sons of Whitefriars Glassworks flourished from 1834, they were one of the most important and forward looking firms on the nineteenth century. Their work with Charles Winston (see making glass) advanced the technology and manufacture of glass whilst the employment of progressive designers e.g. Burne Jones & Holiday resulted in the production of outstanding windows. Across Norfolk we have windows of national significance includeing : the Albert Moore and Woolridge windows at Thursford, the Holiday works at Banham and Methwold and particularly J W Brown’s later aesthetic windows at Garboldisham