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The British Society of Master Glass Painters is fortunate to attract many eminent speakers on stained and architectural glass from amongst its UK and international membership and beyond. Subjects range from modern to mediaeval, brought to life by the enthusiasm and expertise of historians, conservators and contemporary practitioners. 

Organizer: Helen Robinson.  Further enquiries to: lectures or telephone 01582 764834

Admission by ticket only. 

Book now online or 
Download 2014 AWG Events Programme pdfwhich includes a postal Booking Form





Friday 13 June - AGM 5.30pm, lecture 6.15 for 6.45pm

Venue: The Art Workers Guild, 6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AT

Steve Clare ACR FMGP  'An under-appreciated masterpiece: conservation of the great Jesse Tree window in Wells cathedral'

Steve Clare first became involved with surveying this window in 1994 when working under the direction of Alfred Fisher at Chapel Studio.   A full 15 years elapsed before the project to conserve the window actually began.  The lecture will be profusely illustrated with details of this beautiful glass photographed from the scaffolding, and in the process of conservation in the workshop. It will afford a rare opportunity to glimpse the complex processes of conservation at a leading conservation studio.

The palette of the glass is unusual; there are no expanses of deep blue or ruby which are used in a restrained way. Green and gold, pot metal and silver stain predominate giving the window its fond local description as 'The Golden Window'.  Cleaning the glass has greatly enhanced the brilliance of the colour, the effect of which is truly breath-taking.

This remarkable window, made in about 1340 is formed of seven main lights tracing Christ's genealogy. It has monumental figures of ancestors set among the sinuous vine stemming from the recumbent figure of Jesse at the foot of the centre light.  The traceries have scenes from the Last Judgement.  At the apex of the centre light is the remarkable figure of the crucified Christ on a green tau cross, the final tendril of the vine springs from the cross; the living cross.

Most versions of the Jesse tree are essentially based on the Marian cult.  This powerful depiction of the crucifixion, so filled with pathos, as the focal point of the window is therefore unusual.  Also unusual, in fact unique in comparison to other major conservation projects of the last two decades, is the strict adherence to the principle of minimum intervention in this conservation campaign.  The work has included ground-breaking research methods, including careful analysis of the restoration history of the window by charting mill marks in the centre of the lead cames.  These were cross-referenced with archival material to prove a definitive restoration history.  The detailed method statement developed for the conservation works, outlining the processes and aims of the work, and developed by the master glaziers supported by the advisory groups is unusually comprehensive. Contributors included consultant Ivo Rauch of Koblenz, and eminent art historians such as Jill Channer, Dr Richard Marks, and Dr Tim Ayers, author of the remarkable CVMA volume concerning the stained glass at Wells.

It was decided in particular that the protective glazing system for this window would be designed specifically for its location, and would be constructed employing methods and materials which did justice to this great building. The system was formed from custom-milled bronze sections and incorporates hinged sections to ensure ease of maintenance for such internationally important ancient glass.

Details of the manufacturing process and installation of the protective glazing will be shown at the lecture; the first time these images have been made available.

But it is the glass itself which is the focal point of this lecture; it was soon appreciated by the conservation team when access became available from the suspended scaffolding above the high altar, that this little-known and under-appreciated window is one of the great masterpieces of European medieval Art.

 It is hoped that through this lecture, detailing the painstaking work of master craftsmen and women, greater numbers of enthusiasts of stained glass and architecture will be encouraged to visit Wells and see the window for themselves.

On-line bookings now closed - tickets available to pay on the door.


Friday 10 October - 6.15 for 6.45pm

Venue: The Art Workers Guild, 6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AT

Dr Nicola Gordon Bowe 'Harry Clarke (1889-1931): inimitable modern-medieval Symbolist'

Harry Clarke's stained glass was recognised as being exceptional when he was still a student in Dublin.  Walter Crane, Selwyn Image and Byam Shaw considered his third consecutive Gold Medal-winning entry at the South Kensington National Competition “a remarkably original design, both as to the subject and treatment”.  They especially mentioned the colour of his 1913  Judas panel as “rich, sombre and of great beauty”, and the “very ingenious and beautiful arrangement of the leading”.  Raised in his Leeds-born father's ecclesiastical decorating business from an early age, he had profited from a scholarship to study with a disciple of Christopher Whall at the Dublin School of Art before a travelling bursary allowed him to see the great medieval stained glass in France and England. 

He always drew, his distinctive talent for book illustration fuelled by the National Romanticism of the Irish Celtic Revival as well as by the European Symbolist literature he devoured.

By 1917, aged 28, he had completed arguably his most outstanding series, eleven windows for the Honan Chapel, Cork, and had his first set of  colour and black-and-white illustrations (for Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales) published in London to universal acclaim. For the next thirteen years, before his tragically premature death aged 41, he would synthesize his extensive research, his intricate line, sumptuous, richly inventive colours and patterns with his outstanding craftsmanship and virtuoso skill to produce miniature stained glass panels and full-scale windows, both secular and ecclesiastical.  Manifesting a seminal Arts & Crafts ideology throughout his work, he worked intensely to the detriment of his health – exhibiting, designing, making, teaching, advising, travelling, and establishing a state-of-the-art studio which employed as many as 27 men and women by 1927.

He was uniquely able to express the idiosyncratic fantasies of his fertile imagination in his chosen medium, leaving a legacy which remains undisputed.  John Piper would write that “the story of modern art in relation to glass” would not have proceeded without “the sympathetic influences of Harry Clarke, Wilhelmina Geddes and Evie Hone”, who established “positive constructive relations... between stained glass and painting”.

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in aid of The Artists General Benevolent Fund

Friday 9 January 2015

Venue: The Art Workers Guild, 6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AT

Alf Fisher MBE FMGP  ‘Glazed Expressions - a light hearted look at the odd, the curious and the humorous in stained glass through the centuries’

Stained glass always has such serious overtones that we can easily overlook its curiosities and humour. In medieval times satire and wit were bitingly incisive and deliberate, particularly against the hierarchy of the Church and the role of women, but frequently the humour is in our own eyes and the way we look at things rather than by intent on the part of its creator and results  from changing attitudes to life, religion and politics.  Demoniacal beasts may have been everyday fare for the burghers of Fairford and no doubt they carried their awesome message with some success, but today they are objects of intrigued amusement, though admired for the technical skills of their creators. Artists in hard times had to produce anything that sold, hence a profusion of heraldry in the later sixteenth century and sundials and bawdy scenes in the early seventeenth. Misinterpretations of fragments can provide intriguing myths which grow out of hand, such as the tiny image of the so-called early velocipede at Stoke Poges which gave rise to a cult of naked cyclists in the USA!  Artists who couldn’t resist expressing something of themselves also make a contribution to the subject, witness Burne-Jones’ snoring pig at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, poles apart  from his more familiar work. An evening of variety and if not belly-laughs, at least the odd guffaw guaranteed.

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  • Judith Schaechter - 'Nothing Personal'


  • Alan Brooks - 'Francis Spear - A Student of Art and Symbolism'
  • Discussion Day - 'Challenges in contemporary glass practice and a meeting with English Antique Glass (EAG)'
  • Amber Hiscott -  ‘Paint, Paper, Glass................’
  • Michael Peover & Elise Learner - ‘The renewal of the painted glass at Strawberry Hill’


  • Keith Barley FMGP - ‘Perhaps the finest specimens of pictorial glass-painting in the world’: the Herkenrode windows of Lichfield Cathedral’
  • Discussion Day - ‘Issues in professional practice and a discussion with Lamberts Glass’
  • ‘Swansea’s best kept secret’ – a presentation by the staff from the Swansea School of Glass, Swansea Metropolitan University.
  • Dr Douglas E Schoenherr - 'Two Burne-Jones Manuscripts: The Account Books and The Cartoon Book'
  • Peter Cormack - 'A Stained Glass Family Album: the life of Christopher Whall and his Circle in photographs'


  • Anna Eavis - 'An 18th-century recusant's collection; the windows of Milton Chapel, Oxfordshire'
  • Chris Chesney - 'The wonderful worlds of Photoshop and Coral Draw'
  • Pippa Martin - 'Lawrence Lee: master stained glass artist of the twentieth century'
  • Mark Angus - 'Between Heavens: angels' journeys in glass'


  • Jo Nuttgens - 'A Working Argument: How I survived my father and became a stained glass artist'
  • Glyn Davies - 'Leading and Light Boxes; Conserving the stained glass in the V&A's medieval and rennaissance galleries'
  • Tom Denny - 'Recent windows in extraordinary buildings'


  • Roy Albutt - 'The Bromsgrove Guild'
  • Andrew Rudebeck - 'On the trail of John Thornton'
  • Leifur Breidfjord 'New Work'


  • David King - 'Personalities, Politics and Plays': The stained Glass of east Harling Church, Norfolk
  • Ellen Mandelbaum - 'Light Listened', a review of the work of this contemporary glass artist.
  • Geoffrey Robinson FMGP - 'Windows into the life of a Stained Glazier'


  • Kate Baden Fuller - 'Contemporary stained glass artists and how to write a book about them'
  • Sarah Brown MA FSA Hon FMGP - The Judge, the traitor, his wife and her lover - the medieval glass of Tewkesbury Abbey'
  • Doris Rollinson, Andrew Taylor and Caroline Swash '- 'Fifty Years of Glass - amongst other things'. A celebration of the life and work of John Hayward FMGP'


  • Tim Lewis – 'The importance of the teacher in stained glass'
  • Ginger Ferrell – 'A new bag of tricks': the use of kiln formed glass in new work
  • Dr David O'Connor – 'Mediaeval stained glass in Scandinavia: Gotland's gothic glass'
  • Tony Benyon, Peter Cormack FSA and the Rt Revd Graeme Knowles AKC, MLC – 'Alan Younger, focus on an artist's life: three perspectives'
  • Peter Gibson - 'The Christmas Story in Stained Glass'



  • Dr Michael Peover - 'Sleeping Beauty : unseen stained glass at the Soane Museum'
  • Linda Lichtman – ‘Little and large: keeping the personal in public commissions'
  • Ruth Taylor Jacobson – ‘Marc Chagall’


  • Dr Tim Ayers FSA – ‘Glazing the English Medieval cathedral:the East End of Wells c1320-1340’
  • Graham Jones – his work in stained glass
  • Dr Nicola Gordon Bowe – ‘The most exacting of masters, the most ruthless scrapper of imperfect heads: the art of Wilhelmina Geddes 1887–1955’

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