Embrace the Amazingly Beautiful Heritage of Celtic Stained Glass

The Beauty of Stained Glass

Celtic art and culture have a long and complicated history, dating back as far as the 8th century B.C. The Celts were a diverse group of tribal societies, mainly from Northern Europe, but they spread out geographically. The Celts now survive linguistically in the modern Celtic speakers of Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man, Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany.

From the beginning, Celtic art was heavily influenced by outside sources. Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland, Germany, Rome, and Wales are countries which claim to have been influential towards the development of the Celtic style and culture. It is this diverse influence and captivating history that make Celtic art exquisite not only for its beauty, but also its meaning.

Captivating Patterns & Geometrical Designs

Celtic art is unique in a conceptual sense because it focuses primarily on geometrical designs, steering away from figurative subjects. For this reason, it was quite profound for its time. If figurative subjects are portrayed in Celtic artwork, they tend to be stylized and simplified. Celtic art is ornamental, curvilinear, and often involves complex symbolism. 

The most prominent characteristics of Celtic art is the knotwork and interlacing patterns, including circles, triskeles, and spirals. The intertwined lines were significant to the Celts, symbolizing their thoughts on eternal life and the relationship between worlds. Almost instantly, the eye is drawn to the elegant curvature and intricacy of the knotwork. For this reason, Celtic knotwork lends itself beautifully to stained and leaded glass designs.

Celtic Artwork from Scottish Stained Glass

At Scottish Stained Glass, we have used the influence of Celtic art as inspiration to design many of our stained and leaded glass windows. Our stained glass windows with knotwork designs often incorporate clear beveled glass pieces which reflect the ornamental, elegant, and timeless style of Celtic art. 

Our Celtic stained glass is designed in a manner that allows natural light to come through the leaded glass, keeping the room brightly lit from the outside daylight. The opposite can also be accomplished by using darker colors of glass. These block a small percentage of light, making them ideal for areas where a reduction in light is desired such as a bedroom, wine cellar, or living room.

Masterfully Designed & Custom Made

Scottish Stained Glass has designed several hundred Celtic style glass panels over the past 30 years. Many of our clients can trace their heritage back to the geographical locations where the Celts settled many years ago and may indeed be descendents.

It is our hope that having a piece of Celtic stained glass designed and installed by Scottish Stained Glass will bring you as much comfort and peace of mind as it brought to those original peoples from long ago.

Origins of Celtic Stained Glass

The origins of Celtic art date back to the European Iron Age, ca. 800-450 BC. Artwork from this time exhibits many of the same characteristics of later Celtic styles, including circles, spirals, and curved designs. During the 5th century, the Picts of Eastern and Northern Scotland began making stone sculptures that exhibited interlacing designs.

It is difficult to say when Celtic art began being rendered in colored glass. However, it is estimated that the production of stained glass windows in Celtic regions commenced sometime around the 6th or 7th century. There is an abundance of evidence that stained glass windows existed in Britain during the 7th century and is likely that the Celtic people were influenced by this same trend. 

Irish & British Stained Glass

Some of the oldest stained glass windows ever recovered by archaeologists were found in Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Abbey, which is located in a region in England once known as the Kingdom of Northumbria. The Abbey contains decorative colored glass windows that are believed to have been created sometime during the 7th century.  

Stained glass reached a height in popularity in Ireland and England during the Middle Ages. After Normany invaded England in 1066, construction commenced for numerous churches, cathedrals, and abbeys around the country. Large windows helped fill the interior of the churches with an abundance of light. Many of the windows were glazed with colored glass strips which were held in place by lead. The creation of Medieval stained glass persisted until the 16th century and experienced a revival later in the 19th century.

Stained Glass in Scotland

Scotland saw the destruction of the majority of its historic stained glass during the 16th century, at the time of the Scottish Reformation. There are only a handful of churches that survived the event. One of these is the Glasgow Cathedral, which was built in the late 12th century. However, its stained glass windows were not added until the 18th century. The Magdalen Chapel also survived the Reformation. Miraculously, the stained glass, which was built along with the church in the early 15th century, survived the event unharmed. 

Since the Reformation, stained glass has grown in popularity once again throughout Scotland. In the 19th century, a handful of architectural firms specializing in stained glass design were established in Glasgow. These included firms belonging to William Cairney, Hugh Bogle,  the Keir family, and James Ballantine. Today, Celtic stained glass can be found in pubs, restaurants, hotels, and buildings throughout the country and is used as a celebration of Scottish heritage.

Place an Order for Celtic Stained Glass Today

Scottish Stained Glass specializes in the design of Celtic style stained and leaded glass panels. Call our office today to learn more about our services or speak to a designer about custom stained glass for your home, church, or building.

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