Dating Stained Glass

It is not easy to date stained glass. However, with some basic knowledge of techniques, style and  common subject matter pertaining to each century  it is possible to make  an 'educated guess'.

The main points to note in stained glass produced in each century are listed below – for full details and where to see windows from each period click the information logo i's below
  • Only one colour in each leaded section although detail would be painted in a dark brown/ black paint
  • Any red panels are 'streaky'
  • Windows have a biblical theme or a grisaille pattern
  • Windows are simple and bold in design
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  • Staining and flashing techniques discovered
  • New colours introduced particularly : brown, violet, deep green
  • Predominant colours : yellow, brown, green.
  • Typically windows have small pictorial panels
  • Figures are becoming more delicate in design
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  • For the first time allegorical figures are depicted
  • Rise in production of domestic glass
  • Typically stories are told in rows of pictures
  • Rise in importance of drawing skills. Figures continue to be delicate
  • Colours predominately pale. Norfolk glass characterised by the use of red, gold and white glass
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  • At the beginning of the 16th century reddish enamel paint was introduced. By the middle of the century a
    range of enamel paints were available which could be painted onto glass
  • Pictures became more realistic (influence of the Renaissance)
  • From second half of 16th century no glass produced in England has a religious theme
  • From 1630  pot metal glass could not be obtained
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  • Windows are generally non religious in theme and became pictorial in design
  • Coloured glass windows are a form of translucent oil painting
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  • In first half of the century colours garish. In second half of century higher quality glass with more subtle colours was produced.
  • Four styles are associated with the century : 'Medieval Gothic', 'High Victorian', 'Morris & Co' and 'Arts &Crafts'
  • “Norman Slab” glass produced
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  • Thicker glass could be produced
  • Early in the century memorial windows were prevalent
  • The century was characterised by 'experimentation'
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