In the western world, glass is everywhere over us from the aeroplane panes on our kitchen windows to the intricate styles that adorn Christian churches. It is possible to toughen, reflect, decorate, frost, colour, transparent and even bullet-proof glass (well, almost). It’s fair to say that we have glass for fine art, and that’s no surprise. The first proof of man-made glass, after all, dates back all the way to 4000 BC.
Features of long ago
We should thank the ancient Egyptians and Romans for making Coloured glass splashback artefacts, much like many items in the modern world. You will find numerous samples of this early work in museums worldwide, from muddy mugs to bright blue vases.
When glass blowing became the most popular technique for making glass in the first century BC, the colour was less of a feature and more of an error. Impurities in the ingredients used also left items with an unintended glare, and this is something that can still be found in glass today.
It became a religious art
One of the most common examples of coloured glass, which can be found in churches and public spaces around the world falls in the form of stained glass windows.
In Christian churches in the 4th and 5th centuries, some of the oldest examples of the stained-glass effect can be seen. However, stained glass windows originated around the 7th century in Britain and in the 8th century in Asia.
Islamic traditions of glass
Stained glass windows are usually geometric in nature in the Islamic tradition, incorporating elaborate forms, floral designs and occasional text. In the Christian tradition, however, coloured windows took on a more pictorial bent, with this practice coming to popularity in the Middle Ages. In churches, graphic stained glass windows date back to Germany in the 10th century, with more ornate and architecturally elaborate windows evolving during this period.
The modern world of coloured glass
Coloured glass history includes far more than sacred windows and unintended imperfections. Coloured Glass is used for anything from accents to décor to building facades in modern times. Coloured Glass shines in a sleek kitchen as a brilliant splashback or in the eye-catching architecture in the foyer of a home. There isn’t something that coloured glass can’t be used for, from countertops to wall treatments and trendy furniture.