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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Companion to Simon Jenkins' English Churches, 10 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Angels & Icons Pre-Raphaelite Stained Glass 1850-1870 (Hardcover)
Angels and Icons, Pre-Raphaelite Stained Glass 1850-1870 by William Waters, with photographs by Alastair Carew-Cox, is a work of ground-breaking importance in a field that has been done to death by glossy coffee table books and endless minor tomes (on art rather than stained glass). This book makes the glory and importance of Pre-Raphaelite Stained Glass come to life, not only through highly researched sound scholarship by an author who has devoted his life to this field, but also accompanied by exquisite photographs by a dedicated professional architectural photographer. The book is a visual delight.

This book is essential to scholarship, but just as important, it is written in accessible clear English so that the general public, travelling around Britain, will be able to enjoy so many smaller churches in the nooks and crannies of our delightful countryside. In this genre, it is the visual that seduces the viewer and role of the scholar to delve deeper, both into the history of the makers and also the discovery of the actual windows. It seems to me that this book sits well within the tradition of Betjeman and Simon Jenkins and will perform just as an important function.

The importance of the text is that it concentrates on the major stained glass makers of the Victorian era: Clayton & Bell, Heaton Butler & Bayne and Lavers & Barraud, Morris & Co. and James Powell & Son at Whitefriars. Scholarship on the first three of these companies, to date, is almost non-existent. This book corrects that state of affairs clearly and in depth. For the arts, at any one point in time, to reach a height of craftsmanship and merit, it requires both competition from innovating firms and individuals artist/craftsmen of excellence. This book so clearly demonstrates this point to a public and academic audience who are almost entirely ignorant of the part that this relatively small group of dedicated craftsmen and artists played in re-inventing an ancient art and raising it to the status of world-beating fine art; thereby influencing artist-craftsmen all over the world.
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