Windows in Glasgow, a Brief History

window overlooking a castle garden

Windows in Glasgow, a Brief History

Windows are referred to as the eyes of a building – drawing light in and views out, their design as well as detailing bear witness to artistic, social, economic and technological developments of double glazing companies in Glasgow.

The windows of Glasgow are a testament to this rich history. They represent a blend of traditional and contemporary styles and are an important element of the city’s architecture.

window of an office in Britain

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Mackintosh was a Glasgow-born architect and painter who is renowned for his innovative and forward-thinking designs. His style was influenced by early modernism, Art Nouveau and Japonisme, the Western integration of Japanese design concepts.

He studied architecture at the Glasgow School of Art, where he learned about the latest ideas from contemporary architects and artists across Europe. This exposure to different styles and techniques helped him develop a distinct style, which would eventually be known as Art Nouveau.

His Symbolist style was a blend of strong right angles and floral-inspired decorative motifs with subtle curves (for example, the Mackintosh Rose motif). This gave his designs an organic finish.

His reputation spread throughout Europe, and he became well-known for his work. He and his wife Margaret Macdonald, whom he met at the Glasgow School of Art, were frequent visitors to Vienna where their designs were exhibited at the eighth Secessionist Exhibition in 1900.

buildings in Glasgow Scotland

Scottish Stained Glass

In the medieval mind stained glass was not a decorative window, but a kaleidoscope of coloured light, the bridge between Heaven and Earth. It was a way to express and deepen one’s faith.

Its importance was also heightened by the loss of Scotland’s Empire and her King Alexander III. The Scottish Colourists sought to re-discover this powerful force through glass, seeking a style that embodied the emotional intensity of the 13th century masters.

To help reconstruct the wider liturgical significance of medieval church windows, heritage scientists and liturgical historians need to systematically catalogue extant Scottish-medieval-church glass assemblages. They must then scientifically analyse the component properties of these assemblages, and link them with what can be known about medieval liturgical contexts over time at Scottish pre-Reformation churches.

Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral is one of the finest of its kind in mainland Scotland, with parts of its building fabric dating from the time of Bishop Jocelin (1117-99). It was enlarged by Bishop William de Bondington in the 14th century.

Despite being damaged by the Reformation, this church survived and is now a vibrant place of worship. It also houses one of the best collections of post-World War II stained glass windows in Britain.

A fascinating aspect of the building is the lower church or crypt, built in the 1200s to house the tomb of St Kentigern (or Mungo) the founder of both the church and Glasgow. The crypt is a vaulted space that effectively occupies all the area beneath the choir, including a carved stone screen called a pulpitum which separates the choir from the nave.

Glasgow School of Art

The Glasgow School of Art, founded in 1845 and still based in Garnethill, is one of Scotland’s oldest art schools. It is ranked 8th globally in art and design by QS World University Rankings and attracts students from over 79 countries.

The school is also home to an art museum. The Scottish Stained Glass Collection features over 3,000 pieces of stained glass, many with strong connections to the city of Glasgow.

A Glasgow native, Charles Rennie Mackintosh is famous in Glasgow and the world obtaining his fame by designing the iconic Mackintosh Rose–a simplified and stylized floral motif that feels as fresh and modern as it did a century ago. His designs are also reflected in the building he designed for the School.

The unwritten design philosophy of the Glasgow Style centered on studying the natural world for its floral motifs, patterns, and symbolic language. Students in the Needlework Department, especially, embraced the study of plants to shape and tame them for use in applied ornamental design.