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Discover: London’s Beautiful Stained Glass Windows

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Image © Steve Lee via Flickr

London is full of intricate stained glass creations, and we’ve selected our favourite for you to enjoy whilst you’re exploring the city…

Well-endowed as London is when it comes to most expressions of art, it is perhaps surprising that it can be a bit of a challenge to find stained glass in the city. A lack of prominent older pieces is, among other things, due to the Blitz. But contemporary stained glass is not exactly found on every street corner either, so where should aficionados go for the real deal?

Victoria and Albert Museum

Image: @vam.ac.uk

Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL

The first stop on any stained glass pilgrimage has to be the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington. It has one of the biggest collections in the UK and features a wide range of styles and artists. The Sacred Silver and Stained Glass gallery on the third floor is a good place to start; it’s a rich source of medieval glass, although it features some more contemporary panels as well. This includes ‘The Apparition of the Sacred Heart’, which is the only work by 20th century master Harry Clarke on show in London. The Medieval and Renaissance galleries are worth a visit too, particularly for the beautiful collection of glass from the Sainte-Chappelle that’s on display. The truly dedicated can delve into the collection even deeper by making an appointment at the archive, which houses drawings by big names including the prolific Arts and Crafts artist Christopher Whall.


Holy Trinity Church

Image: The Holy Trinity Church via @sloanechurch.org

Holy Trinity Sloane Square, Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9BZ

Around the corner from the V&A, the Holy Trinity Church is well worth a visit for lovers of the Gothic Revival style. The entire building, including its interior decoration, was designed by George Frederick Bodley and is a lavish, brightly-coloured affair. The exceptionally tall window behind the altar is especially eye-cathcing. 


Claude Bosi at the Michelin House

Image: Clause Bosi Restaurant via @claudebosi.com

81 Fulham Road, London, SW3 6RD

Staying in the Royal Borough, the Claude Bosi restaurant on Fulham Road is an amazing Art Deco building which many will know as Michelin House. The three large stained glass windows, all featuring the Michelin Man, are eighties replicas based on designer François Espinasse’s drawings. The original windows were removed in 1940 for safekeeping, but were sadly never recovered after the war. And what better way to enjoy these pieces of art than to have a delightful meal to accompany it.


Sambourne House

Image: @rbkc.gov.uk

18 Stafford Terrace, London, W8 7BH

Our last destination in the area is 18 Stafford Terrace, just off Kensington High Street. The former home of Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne has some very remarkable stained glass panels incorporating birds, sunflowers and other natural motifs. Though not currently open to the public due to refurbishments they’re planning to reopen the venue in the Autumn of 2022, so stay tuned!


St. Lawrence Jewry C of E Church

Image: St Lawrence Jewry Church via @stlawrencejewry.org

Guildhall Yard, London, EC2V 5AA

St Lawrence Jewry’s windows are a unique mix of the old and the new; when the current panels were commissioned after the Second World War, they were designed to fit the wrought-iron pattern used by Christopher Wren, who rebuilt the church after the Great Fire. The nearby Temple Church is also worth a look, if only for the surprisingly self-aware panel that actually depicts the church itself.


Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel & Charing Cross Hospital

Image: @stmarylebow.org.uk

Stained glass is not just the prerogative of the church, however. Both the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and Charing Cross Hospital boast striking contemporary glass; the former has eight windows by Johannes Schreiter, while Keith Grant’s design for the latter is not so much a window as a façade (it’s 18 metres wide).

All in all, it only takes a little digging to find enough locations for a stained glass day trip around the city. Other options include the Tower of London, Freemason’s Hall, Southwark Cathedral, St Mary-le-Bow, Westminster Abbey, St Martin-in-the-Fields, and the William Morris Gallery. While you’re at it, why not make it a weekend?


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