Reflections of a Stained Glass Master

Above: All Saints, Dogmersfield, UK, Annunciation by Christopher Whall

Christopher Whall (1849-1924)

Christopher Whall (1849-1924) designed stained glass windows for many churches in England.¬† He was an active participant in the British Arts & Crafts movement. In 1905, he authored a technical manual for workers in glass as part of a series whose stated aim was “to put artistic craftsmanship before people as furnishing reasonable occupations for those who would gain a livelihood.”

I read a chapter from Whall’s Stained Glass Work for the 74th volume of the Short Nonfiction Collection. Whall meditates on the creative process and what it means to be true to one’s art. His incisive comments still resonate today.

“How many a man one sees, earnest and sincere at starting, led aside off the track by the false lights of publicity and a first success. Art is peace. Do things because you love them… It is not that you are to despise either fame or wealth. Honestly acquired, both are good. But you must bear in mind that the pursuit of these separately by any other means that perfecting your work is a thing requiring great outlay of TIME, and you cannot afford to withdraw any time from your work in order to acquire them… To spend large slices out of one’s time in the mere putting forward of one’s work, showing it apart from doing it, necessary as this sometimes is, is a thing to be done grudgingly; still more should one grudge to be called from one’s work here, there, and everywhere by the social claims which crowd round the position of a public man… It becomes almost a profession in itself to keep oneself notorious.”

You can listen to my recording here.

You can read Whall’s Stained Glass Work here:

For more of Christopher Whall’s good advice, see my post¬† Simple things, and little things


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