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Stained Glass Windows History and Exquisite Beauty

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.

Medievil Stained Glass

An example of some of the first stained glass created.

An example of some of the first stained glass created.

How Stained Glass Began

The origin of stained glass windows has been lost in history, but it has admired for its beauty since the 10th century where depictions of Christ and biblical scenes graced churches in France, Germany and some in England.

Between the years of 1150-1500, stained glass reached its peak in Rome with magnificent windows being created for the great cathedrals.

A twelfth-century German monk, named Theophilus, gives the best-known history of stained glass. He was an artist and metal worker. He studied glaziers and glass painters at work in order to provide more detail for creating attained glass window of immeasurable beauty. He wrote directions for craftsmen to follow.

Canterbury Cathedral, Glass by Beckett

Thomas Beckett, an Archbishop of Canterbury created numerous, gorgeous stained glass windows in the cathedral. He is venerated as a saint and martyr.  He was assassinated by followers of the King of England.

Thomas Beckett, an Archbishop of Canterbury created numerous, gorgeous stained glass windows in the cathedral. He is venerated as a saint and martyr. He was assassinated by followers of the King of England.

How Window Were Created

The methods for creating windows isn’t too different today. First, you mark out the dimensions of length and width on a wooden board, draw the pattern that pleases you and select colors. Next, you cut the glass and fit the pieces together with the grozing iron (similar to a soldering iron).

Enclose them with lead came and solder all four sides. Surround the glass window with a wooden frame and secure in place with nails. The windows must be well made to endure rain, wind, snow and, it must support its own weight.

The basic ingredients of glass in those times consisted of sand, and wood ash (potash); then, the mixture is melted into a liquid which cools as glass. The colors were made using metallic salts and powered metals during its manufacture while the glass was still molten. Molten glass can be blown into a sausage shape, and then slit on the side before flattened into a sheet.

The medieval stained glass windows in Canterbury Cathedral are among the earliest and finest in Europe. The oldest window, a charming depiction of Adam digging with a spade, dates from about 1180 AD, and more continued to be added throughout the Middle Ages. Thanks to a thorough program of cleaning and restoration in recent years, many of these windows are more beautiful now than they have been for centuries.

A little known Glass Cutting Secret

The Art of Stained Glas

Stained glass is an art and a craft. It requires the artist to have the vision to conceive their project and to choose colors and textures of glass that are pleasing to the eye. There must be an appropriate workable design and the skills to fit the glass pieces snuggly together which can be quite difficult.



Stained Glass Artist Creates a Custom Window for Victorian Era House

Stained Glass a Lost Art for 300 Years

By the 15th century, paler colors were used which allowed more light and figures were larger. They rediscovered silver stain which allowed the artist to realistically depict yellow hair and golden garments. Stained glass artists became stained glass painters as the form moved closer to panel painting.

The Renaissance brought the art of stained glass into a 300 year period where windows were heavily painted white glass, thus losing all their former glory and symbolism. Their innate beauty was all but forgotten.

Many of the stained glass windows remain after hundreds of years and are there for your viewing should you be fortunate enough to visit these exquisite cathedrals.

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.


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 04, 2014:

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erorantes, Thank you so much for all of your comments on my stained glass article.

Ana Maria Orantes from Miami Florida on September 30, 2014:

Thank you miss pamela99. I am greatful to you for writing about the stained glass history. I love reading your article. It impressive how the europeans had the ability to create a beautiful piece with metal and glass. From now on I am going to be thinking about my reading glasses. The color of my eyes makes them look stain glass. You are wonderful.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 28, 2011:

moneycop, I very much appreciate your kind comments.

moneycop from JABALPUR on August 28, 2011: one can think of such topic u covered..I was being there in a factory where Such coloured glasses are made...still here i found in depth knowledge...heads off


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 04, 2010:

Enlydia, Thank you for your compliment and comment. Much appreciated.

Enlydia Listener from trailer in the country on May 04, 2010:

I love stained glass windows...nice pictures.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 17, 2010:

Mike, Thanks for your comment.

mike1242 from London on April 17, 2010:

Nice hub, good information

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 12, 2010:

I have been to the Cloisters and that is a wonderful place to visit. It sound like you are very talented. I don't know of anyone who sells authentic medieval designs but will keep you in mind. Thanks for your comments.

Mrs Corey L Ross on April 11, 2010:

I am a mosaic artist who has visited the Cloisters

Monastary Museum in Fort Tryon Park above Washington Heights in Manhattan numerous times and the establishment

is stupendous,the Rennaissance Period represents the birth of the Arts and Sciences of the numerous italian and French and Nordic Vikings of the 12th century backwards to the time of Jesus Christ.

The multicolored tapestry threads that were used by the Cloister Monks during that period to create magnificent religious tapestries of the Unicorn,the tragic Last Supper which was Jesus Christs last meal before he was crucified in Year one was absolutely beautiful and marks some of the most important dates in time,as well as his birth to the time of his death.

The Monks also created beautiful gregorian chant music for their catholic masses,and the herbs they grew became well noted as the food of the gods,and represents the natural healthy flavorings people through historical times used to enhance the taste of the foods they cooked for the holidays.

The Mideval stainglass windows that mark the important times in history when chivalry was considered one of the most important parts of socially refined gentlemenly behavior along with the way the brilliant colors allow the sun to reflect through is beyond magnificent description.

I happened to have done numerous mideval needlepoint tapestries myself,the beauty and gracefulness of the characters and the multiple colors that are used to design the needlepoint templets are mindblowing. I have done the

sighting and three medium sized ones and the unicorn and the one Iam doing currently for the last three years is gorgeous.

Iam hoping to purchase some magificent mideval stainglass window panels for an English Conservatory we are planning to add to a future townhouse we are considering purchasing within the next three years,Iam graduating this May with an associates degree in chemical dependency Counseling from Suffolk Community College in Brentwood NY,and we will be first time home buyers.

I think there is nothing more stupendous than an Edwardian English Conservatory room off a gothic diningroom, with every other window panel consisting of a renaissance or mideval stainglass window and having the sun peeking through the trees reflecting on these brilliantly colored windows.

If you know of an authentic stainglass window business that actually sells the mideval designed stainglass window panels please let me know,I keep getting

disrupted when I try to explore this website.

Sincerely Your's

Mrs Corey L Ross

E-mail Address is:

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 03, 2010:

Katyzzz, Thank your so much for your comment.

katyzzz from Sydney, Australia on March 03, 2010:

I love stained glass, Pamela, but I just know I'll never do it, but I love seeing it, it is really exquisite.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 19, 2010:

Eileen, Thanks. People think they can get something for nothing sometimes. It's good to educate them!

Eileen Hughes from Northam Western Australia on February 19, 2010:

Pamela99, to your earlier reply- yes but we find people like the work he does and then think they can have it for a couple of dollars.

I cannot help it sometimes I have to laugh.

One lady offered us 50cents for a lampshade. I said you have to be joking, do you realise that one little piece of glass would be more than that. (we had $50 on the article)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 17, 2010:

Thank you so much for your comment.

myownworld from uk on February 17, 2010:

Lovely hub...whenever I walk into a church with stain glass windows, I'm fascinated, especially when light filters in setting all the colors ablaze. Loved the hub, thanks for sharing.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 17, 2010:

wowik, Thank you for your comment/

wowik on February 17, 2010:

Thank you, very nice!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 17, 2010:

Nancy and Steenyi, Thanks for your comments. Yes, Ateenyl, that is exactly the years 1150-1500, where stained glass reached its' peak in Rome bur there will be more to this story before as its history remains interesting with new artists emerging along the way.

ateenyi from Chicago on February 16, 2010:

Excellent Hub Pamela!!!!!!

Stain glass has always attracted masses across the globe. It was between the years of 1150-1500, stained glass reached its peak in Rome with magnificent windows being created for the great cathedrals. The hub appears to be extremely young, vibrant, dynamic and colorful. Thanks for sharing.

nancy_30 from Georgia on February 16, 2010:

Great hub Pamela. I've always thought stained glass windows were beautiful. I never knew how they were made though. Thank you for this information and history on stained glass windows. I enjoyed reading it.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 16, 2010:

dohn, Thank you so much. I love stained glass so you may see more hubs. Glad you enjoyed it.

dohn121 from Hudson Valley, New York on February 16, 2010:

This was a beautiful read, Pamela. I liked this history lesson as well. I believe that any kind of craftsmanship and workmanship is timeless. Awesome hub.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 16, 2010:

Roberta, Maybe you should start again. Thanks for your comment.

Roberta99 on February 16, 2010:

Quite a few years ago I got interested in stained glass.

It is fascinating work and I loved doing it. Your hub is terrific and makes me yearn to get back into it. Always look forward to reading your hubs.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 16, 2010:

Janny, Thank you for your comment. I didn't really know how long it had been around either until I did the research.

JannyC on February 16, 2010:

Amazing hub! I did not know how long Stain glass has been around and I found this hug entertaining and informative. You learn something new every day!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 16, 2010:

You are welcome. I hope you enjoyed the pictures of the glass as well.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 16, 2010:

Carolina and Eileen, Thanks for your comments. Eileen, I have given many pieces away, but to family as gifts. If you have a nice piece it would actually retail for a lot of money as it takes many hours and there is a lot of expense in buying glass and supplies. Your husband could be making some money but he apparently likes giving away his work. There are many people who will pay for nice pieces.

Eileen Hughes from Northam Western Australia on February 16, 2010:

Pamela99, It is beautiful, so you enjoy mnaking it too. My husband is more into, making lamps, small oval port hole style ones and tarariums.

The trouble is he makes them and gives them away, when had a couple of drinks. people dont like paying for them and do not realise how much work goes into making them. thanks for that

carolina muscle from Charlotte, North Carolina on February 16, 2010:

I just love what stained glass does to light; I've always been fascinated by the beauty of it. Thanks for a great hub!!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 16, 2010:

Hanna and Mystique, Thank you so much for your comments.

Mystique1957 from Caracas-Venezuela on February 15, 2010:

Pam, this is truly beautiful. I was wondering why I liked Tiffany lamps so much, they remind me of these glorious works of art. Very good hub! I liked the details and the pictures are gorgeous!

Thanks for sharing this, dear Pam!

Two thumbs up!

warm regards and blessings,


HealthyHanna from Utah on February 15, 2010:

Light. Beauty. Color.

We need more of this in our world today. Thanks for bringing out the reminder of beauty that is around us.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 15, 2010:

Support Med, I am interested in so many things. The glass takes a vision and a lot of time but you really feel great when you make something beautiful

As for the genealogy, the DAR is the Daughters of the American Revolution. When tracing your family tree if you find one of your ancestors fought in the American Revolution then you can join. They will help you if you if you have done enough research that you are close to that generation. Thanks for your comment.

Support Med. from Michigan on February 15, 2010:

You are very creative and talented. Stained glass is beautiful, and even when I see it when it is not in a church setting, I still get that churchy feeling. I guess you really do have to have a vision to create beautiful stained glass, as well as energy and great focus which you obviously have since you are a maker of it. It must be nice to be so talented. Also, geneolgy research sounds intense and what is the DAR (if you do not mind me asking?)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 15, 2010:

Tom & POP, Thanks for your comments.

breakfastpop on February 15, 2010:

Terrific hub, Pamela. How beautiful!

Tom Whitworth from Moundsville, WV on February 15, 2010:


The church I grew up in had beautiful stained glass windows also a great old pipe organ, Simpson Methodist in Moundsville.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 15, 2010:

Hello, I am glad you enjoyed the article.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 15, 2010:

Diamond & Jack, Thank you so much for your comments. Diamond, The windows at that site are beautiful. I will write about newer methods and newer glass another time soon. Thanks for giving me that website to enjoy.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on February 15, 2010:

Great hub and I had a great read.

TnFlash from Tampa, Florida on February 15, 2010:

Pamela, Awesome post!! This is excellent work! Up-rated, stumbled-upon and digg it.

Bob Diamond RPh from Charlotte, NC USA on February 15, 2010:

Here are some stained glass window pictures you might enjoy, Pamela.

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