178. Painted Glass

Painted Glass. The manufacture of colored glass, the basis of the refined and interesting art of glass painting and staining, dates from times remote. The use of enamels to variegate or ornament glass surfaces, was known to the ancient Egyptians, but the construction of windows made of mosaics of colored glass, bearing figures or ornaments emblazoned with an enamel fixed by fire, is medieval and decidedly a Christian art. It was, in all probability, suggested by the mosaic pictures with which, from an early period, churches were adorned for the instruction of the illiterate. From mosaic pictures to glass mosaic windows is, in truth, a step only, but when taken is not definitely known. Certain it is, however, that as early as the sixth century, colored windows adorned the Church of St. Sophia at Constantinople, and the basilicas of St. John Lateran and St. Peter of Rome. Wilfred, Bishop of York, in 709, invited to England workers in glass from France. The French, indeed, claim the honor of having invented the process of painting upon glass and carrying their invention to the English, who, in turn, instructed the Germans.

The first attempts at glass painting were made by forming pieces of colored glass in figures and painting the shadows of the draperies and other parts with a brush in a vitrifiable or enamel black, reddish, or bister color, which was afterwards fixed in a furnace. Painted figures of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries are all executed in this way, besides being alike in other respects. Various local colors are imparted by the several fragments of variegated glass; this species of glass is known as semipainted. The art of glass painting, today, not only possesses the excellence of times past, but enjoys, through progress in the science of chemistry and in the arts of design, an esthetical power far exceeding that of former ages, and is, with happy results, devoted to other classes of ornamentation besides those of a purely ecclesiastical character.

179. Patterns In Leaded Work

Patterns In Leaded Work. Fig. 72, illustrating the elementary principles of leading practised in early times, represents diamonds, or lozenges, and is one of the earliest patterns known. Later, a small geometric pattern, painted in the middle of each piece of glass, was added, the color being dark reddish, giving a pleasing, diaper effect, while the pattern consisted, in the main, of conventionalized foliage, covering two-thirds of the surface of each lozenge.

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Fig. 72.

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Fig. 73.

Fig. 73 is an octagonal diaper, with lozenges interspersed between the octagons. It is another early form of leaded work composed of straight lines only. Fig. 74 is composed of curvilinear forms, made up of segments of circles and curved lines only. It is usually made of crackle and wavy white glass.

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Fig. 74.

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Fig. 75.

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Fig. 76.

Fig. 75 presents a form of leaded window, composed entirely of curved lines, circles, and semicircles arranged in a foliated pattern. Dating from a much more recent period than the styles represented by Figs. 72, 73, and 74, it shows the progress from the early geometric forms towards the elaborate designs of the present day.

Fig. 76 is a diaper composed of straight and curved lines, circles, and semicircles. This is a geometrical pattern drawn by the aid of squares, a circle being struck from the four corners of each square. For its manufacture the same materials used in the case of Fig. 74 may be employed.

Fig. 77 offers a design of modern origin for a hall window. It consists of a richly colored ornamented border, the panel divided into three parts, with a lozenge-shaped pattern, each diamond in turn divided into four smaller diamonds. The upper portion of the panel, nearly one-half its whole length, bears a shield supported on either side by flowing ribbons, whereby trophies are attached to the top or back of the shield. The lower section of the panel is filled in with stripes of vertical glass, fitting into the angles formed by the cross-band of lozenge-shaped pieces. Such a window may be constructed of plain colored and wavy glass.

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Fig. 77.

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Fig. 78.

Fig. 78 shows an oblong panel, whose border is of an interlacing pattern enclosed with a strong line, the inner panel divided into three sections, that in the center being a beveled plate of clear glass, with an interlacing section above and below, shown in the figure. This panel may be constructed of pieces of colored glass and wavy white glass.

Fig. 79 represents a window, or door panel, with a narrow border and a broad band at each end, the latter containing circles. The panel is adorned with a heraldic design, whose shield is surrounded by a cloak and topped with a knight's helmet, surmounted, in turn, with a crown celestial. The remainder of the panel field is filled in with irregular pieces of tinted wavy glass.

180. Painting Glass.

The process of laying the color on the glass varies according to the different descriptions of glass painting which first call for explanation. The colors may be laid upon a single sheet of glass on which the whole figure, with its principal and intermediate tints, are burned in. Or, the figure may be composed of various pieces of pot metal, with the outlines and shadows only painted on, the pieces of glass just spoken of giving the colors for the different places they are to fill in the mosaic glass painting. Again, both methods may be combined, and the same figure composed, in part, of pieces of pot metal, and, in part, of white and painted glass set together.