Color & Interlacing Patterns in Glass

Color & Interlacing Patterns in Glass

Pictures and examples of color and interlacing patterns in window glazing.

Craftsman Style

In white windows, so called, he did not by any means confine himself wholly to the use of what it is convenient to call "white glass". From a very early date, perhaps from the very first, he would enrich it with some slight amount of colour. Having devised, as it were, a lattice of white lines, as in the left-hand pattern from Salisbury (overleaf), it was a very simple thing to fill here and there a division of his design with a piece of coloured instead of white glass, as in the pattern next to it in order. The third pattern, to the right, shows how he would even introduce a separate jewel of colour, perhaps painted, which had to be connected with the design by leads forming no part of the pattern.

Colour spots are more ingeniously introduced in the example from Brabourne Church, Kent, (said to be Norman) where the darker tints are ingeniously thrown into the background. But here again, although this is perhaps as early a specimen of glazing as we have in this country, the glazier resorts in his central rosettes to the aid of paint.


It will be observed that in the marginal lines which frame this window, and again in the white bands in two out of the three patterns from Salisbury, leads are introduced which have only a constructional use, and rather confuse the design. That they do not absolutely destroy it is due to its marked simplicity, and to the proportion of the narrow bands to the broad spaces. This is yet more clearly marked in the very satisfactory glazing designs from S. Serge at Angers. The fact is, there is a limit to the possibilities of design, such as that from Sens, in which literally only four leads (viz., those from the points or the central diamond shape) are introduced wholly and solely for strength; and when it comes to windows of any considerable size, such as clerestory windows, to which plain glazing is peculiarly suited, leads which merely strengthen become absolutely necessary. The art of the designer consists in so scheming them that they shall not seriously interfere with the pattern.


Were the pattern in lines of colour upon white, the crosslines strengthening them would of course be lost in the darker tint; but, as it happens, we do not find in the earliest glazing lines of interlacing colour, though they occur by way of border lines, as at S. Serge (below), where a marginal line of yellow is enclosed between strips of white.

South Transept, Salisbury
South Transept, Salisbury.

The interlacing character of several of the white glazing patterns illustrated betrays of course Romanesque influence; but there would not have been so many designs consisting of interlacing bands of white upon a white ground, enclosing, at intervals more or less rare, what had best be called jewels of colour, had it not been that the forms of interlacing strap work lend themselves kindly to glazing.

Brabourne Church, Kent
Brabourne Church, Kent.

Every time a strap disappears, as it were, behind another, you have just the break in its continuity which the glazier desires, and if only the interfacings are frequent enough they give him all he wants.

S. Serge, Angers
S. Serge, Angers.

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