Stained glass windows in England, made up of coloured glass and held together by lead date back as far as the 7th Century…
By the 12th Century this form of art had been honed into the sophisticated work you see on various buildings in our cities, towns and villages today.
Traditionally used in places of worship and other buildings of significance, stained glass windows added further interest to places which were already architecturally beautiful, and used to depict different stories, dependent on the individual building’s purpose.
Nowadays, however, it’s commonplace to see stained glass windows featured on homes up and down the country. Maybe you have them yourself?
How it’s made
The glass can either be pre-coloured, or painted with a special solution by an artist. Glass is coloured while in its molten state of production, with the addition of metallic salts and other compounds. The design for the window (also known as a ‘cartoon’) is drawn to scale onto paper and the glass is cut to shape and size with a glass cutter and pliers.
The design is pieced together carefully, and once complete, the painted design will be placed into a kiln in order to fuse the paint to the glass.
Lead came or copper foil is then added to the window, with each joint individually soldered. Finally, the window is sealed with mastic. Et voilà! One stained glass window!
Why use stained glass?
Stained glass windows in homes first became popular in Victorian times, and their popularity doesn’t appear to have waned much. Popular featured places are on front doors, the tops of split windows (including conservatories), windows on the stairs and landing and even bathroom windows.
Thanks to its design, a stained glass window offers some great benefits to the home, from preserving tradition (depending on the age of your house), to increased privacy and personalisation. Not forgetting the bright and merry pop of colour you get coming into your house in the daytime!
There are companies now who create window films, which are (very basically) sheets or rolls of sticky-back plastic which stick directly onto your window. This is a very cheap way of adding privacy or personality to your home. You must be vigilant during the application, though, taking care to ensure you avoid bubbles or folds! And while it’s not quite the same as real stained glass, the results can be quite effective.
Do you have any impressive stained glass in your home?