Taking that stained glass window for granted?

Glass first appeared around 3000 BC. It was used for decoration since, at that early stage, there were only bits and pebbles of it. Fast forward to 100 AD when the Romans discovered the technology to make clear glass panes. We were a determined species if not a bit slow. Based on remains found at Pompeii, stained glass was used by wealthy Romans in their villas and palaces in that first century. It was a residential luxury but began to be used in artistic ways 200 years later when churches throughout the continent started to crop up.

As churches increased, so did the production of decorative windows, though small in size in the 12th Century. Red, blue and clear were used to depict ornate designs. Artists emerged and were patronized while new Gothic architecture was specifically planned to highlight the sparkling works.

The history of glass has a rise-and-fall timeline like most enduring things. The political and religious unrest of the 16th and 17th centuries destroyed much of the beautiful glass in England and France. For about 200 years, glass fell out of favor and was supplanted by enamel work and frescoes in the Renaissance style buildings.

Interestingly, stained glass and glass arts did not return to production until the 19th century when in the 1800’s, and into the Victorian era, the use and artistic experimentation with it flourished.

One thing remained constant throughout the ages – the glass had to be cleaned to be appreciated.