STAINED GLASS ART
The origin of the discovery of glass is unknown. Many
historians have tried to suggest there was a single discovery
which then propagated as word spread. Since independent
technologies of diverse nations was sufficient to allow for
the making of glass, it is likely that it was discovered many
times in many places.
One reference is to shipwrecked Phoenician sailors building
fires beneath cooking pots on sandy beaches and finding
hardened glass beneath the pots the next morning. More likely
the first formal discovery came from Egyptian potters while
firing their vessels.
The earliest manmade glass appeared about 2700 B.C. in the
form of beads. Egyptian artisans made them by winding molten
glass around a clay core. Stained glass was found in the
remains at Pompeii in the villas of wealthy Romans in the
first century A.D. By then the craft was well developed.
Glass making was the first New World industry,
established in Jamestown after it was settled in 1607.
About 1637, a Dutchman came to New Amsterdam, now
New York, and made small house windows using enamels and stains. The
colored stained glass, known today as cathedral stained glass was
originally a clear glass on which a stain was applied. Later the
glass had coloring made from metals and minerals, applied while
From the 1400's to the 1700's, the construction of
monumental European cathedrals was dominated by medieval stained
glass designs. Outside the church, the use of stained glass was
rare. The result was that stained glass had primarily spiritual
associations. One looked beyond the images, brilliantly lit by the
daylight behind. They were used as other-worldly environments,
essentially heavenly pictures. But while paintings of the time
depicted the torments of an underworld, stained glass represented a
rewarding life beyond. Halfway between both worlds was glass
painting a craft that has infinite possibilities.
Rather glass that's taught
By patient labor any hue to take
And glowing with a sumptuous splendor, make
Beauty a thing of awe; where sunbeams caught,
Transmuted fall in sheafs of rainbows fraught
Amy Lowell, Dome of Many-Coloured
Glass - Fragment