Windows that are not windows

When is a window not a window, when there is no opening behind the panel of glass. Sometimes buildings do not have the window opening that you would expect even though visually your eye expects there to be one. This was true of a church in Harrow. As you look towards the altar, the focal point of the space, the Christian tradition normally has a large East Window. Unfortunately for years this church had kept a long textile hanging behind the altar as there was no window. Matthew Lloyd-Winder decided that with the clever use of painted glass, not using lead lines and the expert advice of a lighting engineer, the illusion of a large East Window could be created. Instead of fitting into a window this would be a free-standing panel, supported by a frame fixed to the roof beams. This allowed the ‘window’ or stained glass panel, to go from floor to ceiling, dominating the space. Each individual pane of glass was then painted and treated, working in a style that would use as much light as possible.

Although this was a large piece of work the same techniques could be used in a smaller space or home. Not every panel of glass needs a window opening behind it. Lighting can be placed behind the glass to bring that glorious illumination of colour through the glass. It is that quality of light that is so special.

Even a window opening sometimes has to obey different rules. Instead of letting you see through the window, stained glass can create a barrier keeping the inside private. Allowing you the freedom of internal coloured light coming through the window but ensuring that you cannot be viewed from outside.

A stained glass window can also be used to pretend there is a view whereas there might be a brick wall only feet away. A window with a good use of exterior lighting can create the illusion of a window looking out onto a view when there is no view available.

Therefore you don’t need a window or a window onto the world to create light and colour into an internal space.

It is all done by magical stained glass.


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