In this stain-glass window homeschool lesson we will learn about the history of using coloured glass in windows, linking it with our current medieval history unit study.
Resources for a Stain-Glass Window Homeschool Lesson
We used the books we had around the house for this art study. Art of the Middle Ages is a book in a set of art history books we have used throughout our history lessons. These books give good detail and cover lots of art typical of the time period it covers. Art and Literature of the Middle Ages is a perfect book for younger elementary ages, and is really enjoyable to read and look at. Medieval Stained Glass Windows is a great colouring book focused in the Middle Ages. In contrast, Stain Glass Windows Adult Colouring Book contains more complex colouring sheets, although, not all medieval art. Lastly, the Stained Glass Colouring Book is a nice book for young children.
The History of Stain Glass Windows
- Stained glass has been used to make small objects since the ancient Egyptians and Roman times.
- Stain glass windows in Britain date back to before 7th century BC.
- Its use became more popular and more sophisticated during medieval times.
- Chartres Cathedral in France contains the oldest known example of a stained glass window.
- During the renaissance stain glass windows continued to be popular until the reformation when many were smashed and replaced by clean glass.
- They went out of favour until the 19th century when many old churches and cathedrals were renovated. Religious stained glass images were favoured. In addition, many images were copied from famous paintings.
- During the 20th century, images moved away from being religious to being more abstract, New methods such as overlapping the glass and not using lead became common practice.
Picture Study: Mancroft Medieval Stain-Glass Windows
Using photos of the medieval stained glass windows found in Mancroft Parish church in Norfolk, portraying the Christmas story, we did a picture study. We all agreed it was phenomenal art work:
We chatted about the importance of Christians using art as a way to express their beliefs. The children pointed out that stained glass windows brought colour and interest into a church. This was important because historically these may have otherwise been bland. In addition, they noted that the images reminded attendees of important biblical truths and stories. They also pointed out their usefulness as visual aids for sermons. We talked about what message the artists may have been trying to convey through their art. The children discussed symbolism and purpose.
Copying the Design of a Stained Glass Window
As a preliminary activity, I asked the children to use the photos of the stained glass windows and choose a detail to replicate. I had some small sheets of plastic for them to draw their chosen image in permanent pen and colour in. I showed them how to incorporate colour into the back ground. We had done some stained glass window work when we studied the Celts and I had found that the children drew a tiny image in the middle of their space. I reminded them to fill the space fully:
Here are the results:
I had bought Abigail a Window Art Kit for younger children so she could join in as well:
Colouring in a Stained Glass Window
Stain-Glass Window Homeschool Lesson:
Making their own Stained Glass Products
And finally I let the children loose on the kit, also bought second-hand, which I’d been saving for this very day. Each child chose the object they wanted to paint. They used the black tube of thick goop (unlabeled so who knows what it was?) and created a big and bold outline of their picture, ensuring all the ‘lead’ lines met creating complete areas for the paint to go:
The children were So happy with the results!