Our current exhibition has been put together by the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass, and takes you on a journey through the life of the Company, from its historical beginnings, to its work in the present day, which includes supporting students and creating new work, often for secular buildings.
The first recorded reference to a Guild of Glaziers in London is in 1328. It regulated and protected those who practised the art. Foreign competition and unfair trading practices led it to seek a Royal Charter from King Charles I in 1638.
It had a Hall at this time but, like so many other Livery Halls, it was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. The Company remained without a Hall until 1978. The ‘new’ Hall is held by the Company on a long lease on a ‘peppercorn’ rent (meaning nominal) – the rent each year is a piece of glass made by artist members of the Company. It often makes reference to an incoming Master. There are five of these beautiful rents on display in the exhibition!
As well as displaying some of the Company’s precious items from the past, the exhibition also looks to the future. One of the most striking artefacts on display is a wall hanging, commissioned by Past Master Glazier Peter Doe and his wife Liveryman Janet Doe and first unveiled in the River Room at Glaziers Hall by the Lord Mayor in spring last year. It celebrates the relationship between the Glaziers Company and the River Thames. The stitching was undertaken by prisoners from across the UK supported by Fine Cell Work, the charity which trains inmates in embroidery and textile skills.
If you wanted to find out more about the Company, Guildhall Library holds some of their archive. Material that is available to view includes charters, minutes and apprentice bindings.
The exhibition at Guildhall Library is free and open until 23 March.
Events and Exhibitions Officer