Article ID: CBB755976997

Recovered or Perfected: The Discourse of Chemistry in the Nineteenth-Century Revival of Stained Glass in Britain and France (2020)


The science of chemistry revitalized the art of stained glass in nineteenth-century Europe, recovering old techniques, developing new materials, and discovering new artistic methods. However, rather than examining the vital technical function science served, this article considers the role chemistry played in the discourse surrounding the revival. Close analysis of a variety of texts reveals that chemistry was a critical means by which stained glass practitioners and commentators positioned the revived art in the broader artistic culture. This article first considers the ways in which different parties across France and Britain employed chemistry to mediate modern stained glass’s relationship with its medieval past. The second half of the article charts the diverging responses to this intertwining of art and science and demonstrates that as the century progressed the contribution of chemistry to the medium was disavowed in France and embraced in Britain.

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Authors & Contributors
Beretta, Marco
Hansen, Bert
Weisberg, Richard E.
Boyd, Jane E.
Fox, Celina
Konečný, Peter
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Journal of Medical Biography
Substantia: An International Journal of the History of Chemistry
Chemical Heritage
Technology and Culture
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
Leo S. Olschki
Yale University Press
Grimsay Press
University of Toronto
State University of New York at Binghamton
University of Pennsylvania Press
Crafts and craftspeople
Science and art
Glass and glassmaking
Technology and art
Pasteur, Louis
Daguerre, Louis Jacques Mandé
Niépce, Jospeh Nicéphore
Ruprecht, von Anton
d'Antic, Paul Bosc
Day, Peter
Great Britain
United States
19th century
18th century
20th century
17th century
Early modern
Académie des Sciences, Paris
École Royale des Mines
Corning Museum of Glass

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