Fieldings Friday Facts - Antique Stained Glass

Got a bit of time on your hands?

Everyday, over the next few weeks we will be posting a daily artice, to hopefully keep you entertained

This will enable us to share some of our knowledge and hopefully get you to say “well I didn’t know that!”

As many of you know our very own Will Farmer is a bit of a glass nut and his passion means we sell more glass than any other auction house in the country! Will is passionate about this most fragile of materials and his infectious love of glass means we have been fortunate enough to see some rare, exciting and beautiful examples here at Fieldings Auctioneers.

 Many of you may not know that last year Will was made a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers. The Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers of London was granted a charter by King Charles II in 1664. The Glass Sellers Company is a Livery Company similar to the guilds of medieval times. The original purpose of the Livery was to regulate trade within London in articles made of glass, to ensure quality and fair trade. To that end aspiring traders in glass were apprenticed to a master who was a member of the Glass Sellers Company. This underpins Wills passion for glass and over the coming weeks we will share more facts which we hope you will find interesting and of course leave you saying…….’well I didn’t know that’

 Glass is of course a centuries old material and archaeological evidence suggests glass-making dates back to at least 3,600 BCE in Mesopotamia, Egypt or Syria, amazing when in todays modern world it is one of those materials we really do take for granted, never mind the window you’re probably now looking out of but also look down at your phone, think of the endless storage jars in your cupboard, your car windscreen, where would we be without it! 

At Fieldings we have handled glass from across the centuries be it a small Roman bottle vase or a contemporary piece from the likes of David Reekie or Colin Reid, but one of Wills favourite finds was a small framed leaded light stained glass panel of a bishop and a saint surrounded by 15th Century fragments in ebonised frame, it measured just 47cm x 25cm but was exquisite in its decoration. This panel was constructed from original fragments of a much larger window but why were these pieces in this condition? What had happened to the original window? 


 The first decorative windows were used in Christian churches and appear to have been first used around 440 AD. In the early years with high illiteracy, stained glass windows were used in Catholic churches primarily to depict scenes from the Bible which could not be read. A means of educating and telling the religious story in a pictorial way which everyone could understand.  However as the Church of England was founded by Henry VIII hundreds of archaic stained glass windows were demolished. Its highly likely that these fragments were as a result of this most devastating change in the British Isles.

Thankfully saved for us to still enjoy this little panel wowed the saleroom at Fieldings when against a modest estimate of just £200 to £300 it was furiously fought out to finally sell for £8000!

Posted on 27 March 2020 in: Auction life

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