Following on from the discovery, featured in last month’s Vidimus (issue 121), of stained glass at the Güell Palace in Barcelona from the studio of T. W. Camm, this month brings further evidence of the international travels of stained glass produced in Britain in the nineteenth century – as well as modern day commitment to preserving these treasures.
The Basilica of St John the Baptist in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, houses what the cathedral believes to be the largest collection of windows anywhere in the world, outside England, by the London-based stained glass window-maker, William Warrington (1796-1869). Having trained under Thomas Willement, one of the earliest Gothic Revival stained glass makers of note, Warrington had established his own work-shop by the early 1830s and was the preferred choice of A. W. N. Pugin to produce windows for his commissions – until becoming too expensive for the architect by the end of the decade. Best known, perhaps, for his fine work at Norwich and Ely Cathedrals, and his early publications on Gothic stained glass, Warrington’s windows at St John’s, together with others, including a series of smaller, later windows made in Ireland, now form the heart of a new publication, Stained Glass Windows of the Basilica-Cathedral of St John the Baptist, St John’s Newfoundland, produced not only to publicise the beauty of the church’s stained glass, but to raise much-needed funds for their restoration.
Elsewhere in Canada, in Sechelt, on the Sunshine Coast of British Colombia, stained glass by one of the most productive and successful Gothic Revival workshops, Clayton and Bell, has recently been obtained by the Clayton family. The glass, featuring figures of St James and St John beneath elaborate architectural canopies, was purchased from a Bedfordshire-based stained glass art dealer, following months of detective work by Dick Clayton, great-grandson of John Richard Clayton, co-founder of Clayton and Bell, to track down glass by the company. The panels are currently on display in a local church