Shaped by history and tradition, stained glass windows are typically associated with religious and historical buildings. However, the art of stained glass has been kept alive by modern day craftspeople and can be found the world-over in libraries, hotels, museums and homes.
From Gloucester Cathedral’s huge medieval masterpiece to the stained glass Mapparium in Massachusetts, we’ve rounded up some fascinating facts about stained glass windows from around the world…
1. In centuries past, stained glass was installed in churches as a way of telling stories from the Bible through images instead of text. This was purely for the benefit of churchgoers, many of whom would have been illiterate at the time.
2. The world’s largest stained glass window can be found in The Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. It measures a 100-foot by 40-foot and depicts a series of Biblical stories surrounding a portrait of Jesus Christ.
3. The oldest surviving stained glass windows still in situ are thought to be the Prophet Windows in Augsburg Cathedral in Bavaria, Germany. They date back to c. 1065.
4. Did you know that adding tiny amounts of Gold to glass during its manufacture produces a rich ruby-coloured glass? The colour is caused by the size and dispersion of gold particles.
5. Gloucester Cathedral’s Great East Window dominates the very heart of the Cathedral. In fact, it is as big as a tennis court! Installed in the early 1350’s, the window is one of the greatest landmarks of English medieval glass.
6. Commissioned in the 13th century by King Louis IX, Sainte-Chapelle in Paris boasts 15 stained-glass panels in its nave and apse that depict more than a thousand biblical figures. The panels recently underwent a seven-year, $10 million restoration, during which the windows were removed and cleaned with lasers.
7. At The Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston, Massachusetts, you will find the extraordinary stained glass Mapparium! This is a three-story-tall globe made of stained glass that is viewed from a 30-foot-long bridge through its interior. Built in 1935, the 608 stained glass panels create a concave reversal of the Earth, viewed from within.