Stained Glass from Welsh Churches

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Twentieth Century Society Review

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I am grateful to Robert Drake at the Twentieth Century Society for his review of Stained Glass from Welsh Churches, published in the last number of their magazine (October 2015, 3).

stained glass window depicting three knights with Thomas Becket kneeling at the altar.

Celtic Studios, The Martyrdom of St Thomas Becket, 1957, Church of St Thomas, Overmonnow

The review naturally pays attention to the twenteth century material, which actually occupies almost half of the book, and is illustrated with a panel by John Petts from Briton Ferry. The mid-twentieth century material proved quite difficult to write about, as there have been hardly any overviews of stained glass of the period, except in those books that attempt a history of all stained glass in Europe and North America, in which the British material leaps nervously from Henry Holiday or Christopher Whall to John Piper, maybe via Evie Hone or Veronica Whall.

It is suggested that the most interesting section of the book is perhaps in chapter ten, and the eventual emergence of modernism in stained glass in Wales in the later 1950s and 60s. This is something that I am going to talk about in a lecture in Swansea next Friday (27th) in the Glass Department. To my mind the chapter does emerge from the very long preceding chapter with a bit of colour and vigour.

The review is available online on the Twentieth Century Society website. To the readers of the review I might add that there is a misunderstanding about the funding for the book, which was (unfortunately!) not at all funded by the AHRC.


  1. elissalynch says:

    I like your review style, Martin. Very authentic :). Would love to feature your reviews in our weekly curated email digest that goes out to thousands of people.

    • martin says:

      I’m not sure that my ‘review’ on a review makes sense to people without the context of the rest of the blog, but I will leave this to your judgement, and of your readers. thanks for your interest Elissa!

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