Wandering around churches and cathedrals, it can be difficult to know simply from looking at nineteenth century stained glass who made what as so much was made to a specific style, price or page in a catalogue. That's not to say that the big firms didn't have their differences and particularities, just that even the die-hard specialists find it tricky to be absolutely sure without written evidence or signature. Which is why I love stained glass of the post-war period when many stained glass designers, like skilled artists, developed instantly recognisable styles and stamped it on every window they made. Almost literally, in the case of Harry Stammers whose crowned heads look like the kind of postage stamps I used to draw on envelopes when Alice was little and went through a phase of wanting to receive letters on a daily basis. No-one else could have made this window with its colourful, naive, spiky, modern and slightly strange but appealing style.
The magic of stained glass is that it looks like nothing at all if there is no light coming through; dull, clumsy, and dark. The moment there is light, it is transformed, brought alive, all the surface imperfections and joins disappear, and what you get is what the maker wanted you to see, the effect that he or she worked hard to create.
Harry Stammers (1958), Lincoln Cathedral - full view
This window and its neighbour in the Airmen's chapel in Lincoln Cathedral were nice and clear last week, but the two windows on the other wall, also by Harry Stammers, were obscured by scaffolding, and it was difficult to make out any of the details, and to see what is undoubtedly the first-class stamp of his stained glass genius.