Traditional stained glass leaded lights are undoubtedly beautiful and so very Georgian/Victorian England. Leaded glass goes back much further than Victorian times of course and is very common in Europe but nowhere and nobody embraced the art more than England and the Victorians.
image – ian’s frame inside
The English love for stained glass is so evident that you’ll find many examples on every Victorian street from Chelsea to Chorlton.
image – red 1930s
I am on numerous occasions asked to restore a Victorian or 1930’s front door and the question comes up, ‘what can we do about the glass in the door and the 5 surrounding traditional leaded lights?’
Let me answer it this way. The problem we have with and existing leaded light is that it’s not secure and sometimes they can let air in where the cement between the lead and the glass has become brittle and fallen out. If we take a stained glass unit out, to make it secure we need to put it in between two pieces of clear toughened glass. This makes it safe and completely draft proof. This is called ‘encapsulation’.
image – Traditional leaded lights encapsulated.
We’re not a fan of encapsulation for two reasons. Firstly, and very obviously, you see flat reflective glass from the outside which doesn’t add to the intention of keeping the unit looking ‘genuine’ and secondly to get the finished unit to fit into the existing aperture you would have to either take 30mm of the whole width and height of the original unit or make the hole bigger!
image – jessica light
Our solution to these issues is to make a double glazed unit that has our lead work on the outside single piece of glass. Adhesive lead is stuck on to the outside of the glass and inside, coloured film (where colour is needed) with leading over the film. We then solder the joints and treat the lead with an acid to age it.
image – dark green bramhall
The result is a leaded light unit that has lead work exposed externally, with colour between the leaded sections. The glass is toughened and the same size as the original light.
video – soldering leading
Hopefully this will reassure you that making our coloured leaded lights this way is the most genuine looking practical solution. Now go to the glazing gallery to see more examples and then order your door.
Thanks for reading, please tell us what you think.
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