Art of Light – Stained glass

The collection of Medieval and Renaissance stained glass in the Abbey Museum is arguably its most significant artworks.  It includes 14th century armorial panels from Ettington relating to the Shirley family, some 26 panels and nearly 400 fragments from Winchester Cathedral, dating from the 15th– early 16th century.  There is also a number of valuable Continental panels from Flanders, Netherlands and Germany.

Stained glass is a medium that uses light to illuminate its colours and as such, was seen in the Middle Ages as symbolising the light of God manifested in the first verses of St John’s Gospel. Cathedrals and churches were filled with glorious panels of coloured glass that often told stories from the Bible or lives of the saints.  Noble families would commission armorial panels to reflect their status and powerful connections.