Traditional Stained Glass

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 – well, maybe the Italians but hey!

The English love for stained glass is so evident that you’ll find many examples on every Victorian street from Chelsea to Chorlton. ACTUALLY, a lot of what you’ll see in Chorlton isn’t technically stained glass thanks to me.

Grand Victorian Front Door in Hale
My leaded glass to an original bespoke design in Hale.

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 YOU have with existing leaded lights is that they’re 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’, i.e. using safety glass, 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’.

Diane's Grand Victorian front door in Wilmslow 110-SK9-6LZ
Encapsulated stained glass

Everytime Teresa and I ‘looked at a house’ with stained glass, when we were buying, she would get excited. I on the other hand would think, ‘it’s a shame’. To take a traditional stained glass unit out of a frame you need to then make it smaller to go inside a double glazed unit (that will then fit in the existing ‘hole’).

The problem with traditional stained glass

I’m 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!

1930's Replica Front Door Didsbury
1930's Replica Front Door Didsbury

The Solution

I get over these issues by making a double glazed unit that has our lead work on the OUTSIDE piece of toughened glass. Adhesive lead is stuck on to the outside of the glass to your desired design. Regalead coloured art film is used on the other side of the glass in the sections where colour is required. Lead then goes around the sections.

Making Manchester Bee Leaded Glass
Making Manchester Bee Leaded Glass

I painstakingly solder every joint and treat the lead with an acid to age it.

The result is very often much better than the original.

Regalead Stained Glass Art Film For Leaded Glass
Regalead Stained Glass Art Film For Leaded Glass

Regalead Stained Glass Art Film

Regalead have really managed to capture the authenticity of old Victorian and 1930s hand made glass with the colours that they produce. The 1930s doors in the photos here and the grey Victorian door at the top are done using this stained glass art film.

1930's Edinburgh Front Door
1930's Edinburgh Front Door

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.

Hopefully this will reassure you that making our coloured leaded lights this way is the most genuine looking practical solution.

Thanks for reading, please tell us what you think.

#victorian #leadedlights #stainedglass #traditional #doubleglazed #colouredleaded #regalead #stainedglassartfilm

YOur next read...

Take a look at a great example of glass we’ve made – Manchester Bee Leaded Glass.

There’s some history in the door that holds the glass as well, it’s been through the wars, literally!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Karen Lee

    Quick question – My door is south facing with no shade, so will constant sunlight warp or fade the coloured film?

    1. grandvictorian

      We’ve been using this film for about 6 years now and nobody has ever said the colours have faded Karen. I have pure confidence in it.

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