Peter Cormack’s magisterial, beautifully illustrated Arts & Crafts Stained Glass is a triumph, the culmination of prolonged research and a development of his pioneering series of exhibitions at the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow. Victorian and Edwardian glass in Britain has the image of being ubiquitous rather than alluring – despite Martin Harrison’s path-breaking Victorian Stained Glass (1980) and fine studies of Irish and Scottish glass by Nicola Gordon Bowe and Elizabeth Cumming. Arts and Crafts glass was, however, a bold critique of the antiquarianism of large commercial firms such as Clayton & Bell that dominated the market, installing glass on an almost industrial scale in Britain and in the colonies. Stained glass was the most challenging and demanding discipline taken on by the Arts and Crafts movement and, as Cormack convincingly argues, emerged as its greatest success.
So why do we know so little about