Stained Glass Images – Before And After

Dalle de Verre Surprise

dark dalle de verre from outside
Dalle de verre from outside.

Have you ever seen this sort of patterning on the outside of  church windows? Me too.

And although I KNOW what it is and have a good idea of what’s waiting for me inside, somehow walking through into the church still manages to knock me off my feet. In a good way, of course!

‘BANG’ and ‘WALLOP’! These are the stained glass images that hit me when I first walked in. They filled my heart with light in a way I can’t quite describe.

Patrick Reyntiens dalle de verre
Patrick Reyntiens dalle de verre

As I was standing there, stunned,  I became aware of increasing activity around me. Worshippers were coming in with baskets full of garden produce which they were arranging on tables around the church.

It was Harvest Festival time. It all seemed so fitting somehow. The church, the stained glass windows, the friendly people offering gifts from the earth.

colourful dalle de verre scheme
St Joseph and St Benildus (RC) Waterford, Ireland

Making The Windows

I was warmly welcomed and encouraged to take images of the stained glass. I could see in some places that the windows were sagging and the resin perishing – as you can see in the 2nd panel from the right in the top stained glass image.

This got me to thinking about the structure of dalle-de-verre (the name of this technique) and how it is made. And guess what? I found this video for you. Not only of the technique, but the same artist – Patrick Reyntiens and his long-time collaborator artist John Piper.

It takes us through the largest stained glass window commission ever – in 1968 anyway – and shows us the processes from the architect, engineers and artists.

It is 15 minutes long and I think it’s all fascinating, but if you want to cut to the chase you could go to:

– 6.50 for the design (don’t miss the engineers creeping over the full size cartoon with slippers on!)

– 10.00 for the actual making process. Breaking the 1 inch thick glass dalles over an anvil and expertly chipping it into line with hammers! Fabulous stuff.

So now you know how Dalle de Verre is done!

Can you believe the SCALE of the project? I don’t think we’ll ever see its like again – there’s too many stuck on films these days to opt for the real thing.

And just to remind us what a powerful experience it is to be faced with a wall of glowing stained glass, here’s the abstract window in the north-west chapel, with white tear drops and orange Pentecostal flames.

blue dalle de verre from Waterford
North wall, north-west chapel.

Patrick Reyntiens’ website has many more images of his work if you’re hooked 🙂



14 thoughts on “Stained Glass Images – Before And After”

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I visited this church many times in the late 1970s and found these windows fascinating. I didn’t know how they were constructed but now I do!

  2. Thanks so much for this….brings some history back to me sitting in Texas! Originally I am from from Northern California where my childhood Catholic Church installed this type of window walls in our church made of very dark hand hewn granite blocks. As the population outgrew the church and new priests arrived one wall of granite was knocked down and a new wing was added that was very modern with these windows… changed the entire culture of the building. The wonderful old side of the church was dark, gloomy and “old Italian” ….the new wing was light, bright, modern and colorful. Quite a conflict at first, but offering two distinct moods and style. The church’s population was indeed very selective about where they prayed. I really enjoyed learning no how they made those walls!

    • Ha ha what a great picture you’ve painted Torje. I can imagine the different sections of the congregations gathering, more apart than together to start with but hopefully more together than apart as time went on! Glad you liked the information 🙂

  3. Hello Milly – thank you for this post. I visited the church recently and it really IS a surprise. Can you tell me how you know this is the work of Patrick Reyntiens? I looked for information and couldn’t find any and would like to verify this.

    • Yes, it’s in a book I have called Patrick Reyntiens – Catalogue of Glass by Libby Horner. I hope that clarifies it Finola.

      Now I’m interested in why you needed it verifying! Are you doing research on it? I’m just being nosy, don’t feel compelled to answer 🙂

  4. Hi Millie, thanks for uploading this fascinating film. Patrick Reyntiens’ and John Piper’s work is secondary only to legendary Irish illustrator and stained glass artist Harry Clarke in my opinion.

    Thank you,

    • Hi Jim, thanks for your post. I find them difficult to compare… but Harry Clarke is – I agree with you – very very special. I have some photos of his work that I’ll publish when I get a minute 🙂

  5. Hi Millie, thanks for this. Love those old films. I think I was touched by stained glass as a child by the Liverpool Catholic Cathedral. It’s an amazing effect they have created there. Have been very interested in dalle de verre and would love to have a go. Do you know anywhere that teach the techniques? This company in France use dalle. You have probably heard about them. I missed the exhibition they had recently. Hopefully they will do another!

    • I agree Jan, that Liverpool cathedral is something else! And the old films are nostalgic yet inspiring…
      I don’t know anyone who is teaching this in the UK. Anyone else out there know of anyone? So it’ll have to be a trip to France, then. Shame 🙂


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