BBC News

Centre 'needed' to showcase Scottish stained glass


An Edinburgh hymn-writer is leading a campaign to set up a Scottish stained glass centre.

Alison Robertson said Scotland had some of the finest examples of stained glass in the world.

She has been campaigning to protect these from the rigours of time and development.

She wants a designated centre where a catalogue of the best works could be kept and other pieces could be put on display.

At the moment there is no official register of stained glass in Scotland.

Mrs Robertson, the wife of a retired Church of Scotland minister, said there was a desperate need for a centre to be established.

She said Scotland needs to wake up to the masterpieces that many of us pass on a daily basis.

"We badly need to honour this immense but undervalued talent" she said.

"We wouldn't conceive of going to a performance of The Messiah and not knowing the name of the composer. Yet we will cheerfully walk past a piece of fabulous stained glass without a second look."

Mrs Robertson is currently fighting to save a major work at St Andrews Church in Finchley in London, which she said was under threat from a proposed development of a five-storey block of flats next door.

It is a WWI memorial by Aberdeen artist Douglas Strachan, who she said was probably Scotland's greatest stained glass artist.

"As well as being outstanding in his intellectual ideas, his imaginative and creative skills and technical skills, he also had a big body of work," she said.

'Fantastic heritage'

Mrs Robertson said stained glass was not just about churches and religion, but encompassed social history, trades and industry - all areas of life.

image captionStained glass artist Alec Galloway is working on new windows in Glasgow

Alec Galloway is working on a new set of trade and industry windows for halls in Glasgow.

He said: "I think there are a core of people who are probably enthusiastic about glass and those people tend to seek out and are maybe more aware than others.

"I think the idea of a centre would help that because it would let people see that we do have this fantastic heritage and hopefully more work could go on display."

Mrs Robertson said she believed the Scotland's stained glass artists rivalled some of the greatest artists in Europe.

She added: "If we don't start getting it written down and recorded and cared for then it will disappear. You don't have to be religious to appreciate this stuff, it's just good for the soul."

More on this story

  • Cathedral stained glass revealed