Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Charles Paine & stained glass


I would like to say that I have here an example of the work in stained glass by the British designer Charles Paine. Unfortunately, this fetching little bird is the work of John Platt (at All Saints, Leek) who was Head of Applied Art at Edinburgh when Paine was working there. There has been correspondences for some while now on my last post about the design work of Paine and it is typical of our ludicrous age that I have been unable to find any of Paine's stained glass to illustrate this post. Almost all you get is posters, ironic because I believe it was stained glass that he excelled in.

It is easy to forget how much colour woodcuts were seen as part of the Arts & Crafts movement at the time, but not only was John Platt involved in stained glass design before the first war (he learned the technique at the Royal College), Frank Morley Fletcher who was Director at Edinburgh was also a maker of stained glass and certainly worked with his students at Reading on a window there about 1905. Like Platt, Paine also attended the RCA, though a little later, and in the 1920s went to work as head of applied art under Fletcher at Santa Barbara. All of which tends to suggest to me that there is an unwritten story here that I do not have the time to research. Stained glass isn't fashionable in the way that posters and prints are, a shame if one only considers the vivacity and grace of Platt's work here.

Needless to say, if any reader knows of the whereabouts of any of Paine's work in stained glass, they should let me know and it might lead us somewhere.


  1. The American woodblock printmaker Bertha Lum also studied stained glass. Some of her prints, especially her "raised line" prints show this influence.

  2. That's interesting and I think you're right; there was some cross-over but in general American artists were less academic than graduates of the Royal College Design Course. Boies Hopkins was another one whose skills were wider than we tend to think.