St Michael's stained glass
Ward and Hughes is a very well known firm to admirers of
Victorian stained glass. They produced a tremendous amount of work in
England in the middle of the C19th. However details of the firm's history
are not easy to follow. The firm�s name altered a number of times and some
members of the firm undertook work privately.
The firm appears to have originated from Derby. John
Hancock was connected with the Derby china factory, and, before he left
Derby, he began to manufacture enamel and glass colours (one of the first
to practise the art in this country). Hancock was in partnership with
Nixon and Dunt at the time of an exhibition of a copy of Spagnoletto's
Descent from the Cross, which had been made in painted glass. The
partnership between Hancock and Nixon came to an end around the time Nixon
was working for Hedgeland. Nixon then became a partner of Thomas Ward
(1808-1870), who was
primarily a lead
glazier, although he did design some ornamental work. Ward had come to 67
Frith Street, Soho, London from Normanton in Yorkshire. For some twenty
years Nixon and Ward produced many windows which were sent to various
parts of the world.
was born at Market Drayton, Shropshire. He was the son of a butcher, but
was given an apprenticeship as an artist at Ward & Nixon, stained glass
manufacturers. James Nixon began
to fade away from the business around 1856, and died in 1857.
Elizabeth Curtis in September 1851 in St Marylebone Church, London, and
lived in Green Street, Park Lane. They had one son and three daughters.
After Nixon's death, Ward began a partnership with Henry Hughes,
continuing to work from Frith Street, London.
Hughes was a well known, and well respected artist, and won, amongst
others, the contract to supply windows for the Guildhall and later St
For the rest of the C19th up to the end of the first world
war, Ward and Hughes manufactured an incredible amount of stained glass
work. They were the first firm to use a range of pot-metal coloured glass,
resembling that of medieval glass work, produced by the barrister and
stained glass enthusist Charles Winston, with the aid of Medlock and Green
of Powell's. Wards early patterning and Hughes' figure compositions and
colouring were quite exquisite, but as their firm expanded, so their
artistic standards deteriorated due to commercial expediency. They employed over 100 people, and often commissioned other artists, including Thomas Figgis Curtis
When Hughes died in 1883 the firm was taken
over by Curtis, a relation, and continued production as T F Curtis, Ward
and Hughes until the late 1920s. Hughes was buried in Highgate Cemetery.
His wife, Elizabeth and three other members of the family
were all interred in the same grave. Curtis died in December 1924. The firm
continued to trade until c.1930, under Edith Kibblewhite, a cousin of
Curtis, after which it ceased trading. (In
1830 Vincent Novello set up his very first premises for Novello & Co at 67
Frith Street, London).
The work of Ward and Hughes varies greatly in artistic
quality, but the firing, leading and
construction were always excellent. This is probably witnessed to best by
a study of their windows in Gloucester, Lincoln and Lichfield Cathedrals.
Ward and Hughes had more patrons in the
Diocese of Lincoln than anywhere else, which may have been due to
their considerable contract for providing a large amount of work for
Lincoln Cathedral. The windows in the north aisle were their work, as
well as the great east window of 1855. Sadly much of their work in London
was destroyed during the blitz.
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Thomas Ward Jnr worked for Charles Winn at Nostell Priory between 1820 and
1830 with his father, fitting old and designing new stained glass for the
windows of Wragby Church on the estate. Here is a copy of an invoice to
Account for work done in the chancel
of Wragby Church by Thomas Ward � CW, 1825�1828.
Making new stained glass windows.
Fitting ancient glass into windows.
1826-8: Painted Glass:
`To stained glass windows painted and
glazed for the chancel� - �525-0-0. Deductions made from this
sum as some windows still not complete, but `the borders & armorial
bearings�all delivered perfect�.
`To staining and enamelling on glass
one large family escutcheon of 15 quarterings with the crest, motto &
accompanyments all complete� [ later in bill - `Paid to Mr
Radcliffe for the family escutcheon�. `To staining & enamelling 8
circles of initials & knots, 4 on blue enamel grounds, 4 on red
grounds with yellow ornamented borders�. Making metal frames, for
side windows, windows at and of family pew, `figures in the
Great East Window�, `4 heraldic lights in large East Window�
& `Tracery lights in th head of the same window�.
Sept � Dec 1828: Ancient glass:
`24 rebated lin�d metal bars for
alterations of the work to recieve ancient glass�. Red, Yellow, Blue,
Green and Purple glass & `Ground glass stained yellow�, possibly to be
used around the ancient glass. `Fletcher taking apart &
reglazing subjects of Ancient glass�. `Thomas Ward Junior for
taking to pieces & repairing ancient sujects�. `Fitting windows in
stone work�. `Fletcher setting lights in frames and fixing East
Windows�. `T.Ward Junior arranging and repairing old glass fixing in
Generally for glass:`Fixing,
assisiting to fix lights in church windows making working drawings etc
etc�.`Taking to pieces, altering and reglazing new glazed work�
George Parlby (1856-1944), designed for a number of stained glass
manufacturers including Curtis,
Ward & Hughes during the
first half of the 20th century. He was known for his Bohemian manners and
style of dress, and was a member of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers
becoming Master of the Art Workers Guild in 1942. Thomas Cowell was
principal glass-painter for James Powell & Sons.
An example of the fine workmanship of Parlby is a piece he designed called
The May Queen, 1900 - which
was made by Thomas Cowell (who worked for J Powell & Sons).
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Hughes' Grave in Highgate
||24th February 1883
|Elizabeth Figgis Hughes
of 25 Green Street, Park Lane, Hyde Park
|22nd August 1892
||6th November 1895
|Laura Ellen Liversidge
nee Hughes of 15 Marlboro Road, St John's Wood
|1st March 1928
|Henry Clifford Hughes
||14th December 1949
michael's stained glass
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