In Praise Of Art

Devon Life|December 2019

In Praise Of Art
Stained glass art is increasingly finding its way into our homes as the ultimate architectural feature - but stained glass artist Andrew Johnson admits the church will always be his first love
Andrew Johnson
Ask anyone about stained glass and they will probably talk about the grand rose windows of the world’s most famous cathedrals or the oft copied but never equalled Art Nouveau impresario Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

But Devon is bursting with glorious stained glass windows and although many date back centuries there are plenty being created today – many of them by Andrew Johnson.

The Exeter-based stained glass artist created his first work at the age of 13, with a piece for the chapel of his school. Almost 50 years later, he was commissioned to recreate it.

Visiting his Exeter studio he is working on what he calls his Sistine chapel – nine separate panel windows destined for a nearby church.

“Most people come with a preconceived idea of what design of what stained-glass should look like,” he says. Even within the church when he is commissioned to create something, he will try to move away from presenting something too traditional, although the parable or story will always be evident.

Today most stained glass windows are donated. People commission one in memory of a loved one at their local church. Alongside that there is restoration work carried out – windows need to be looked at about once a century, he says.

Today’s windows can be any size. “I have made some things less than a foot in size, the biggest one I have done is Whereham Dorset. That took three years to make after I won a design competition.”

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December 2019