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Shedding light on the Cathedral’s stained glass

Shedding light on the Cathedral’s stained glass

Cathedral staff and associates gathered together on Tuesday 22 October to celebrate the launch of a new book designed for the young at heart and guaranteed to shed fresh light on the Cathedral’s world renowned stained glass.

‘Paintings in Light’ has been written and designed by Canterbury-based children’s educational author Martyn Barr and published in association with Canterbury Cathedral. The beautifully illustrated 56 page guide offers a fascinating insight into the history of stained glass and the stunning windows of Canterbury Cathedral. ‘Paintings in Light’ include chapters on the history of glass, how stained glass windows are made, the different types of window in the Cathedral and the amazing stories they tell. The book also highlights the work of Canterbury Cathedral’s Stained Glass Studio, which oversees the repair and preservation of the windows.

Léonie Seliger, Martyn Barr and Bob NewportMartyn describes the book as a real labour of love, triggered by the enthusiasm of Bob Newport, Professor of Materials Physics at the University of Kent, who has contributed to the book’s chapter ‘ A brief history on glass’. Martyn has thoroughly enjoyed learning about these beautiful works of art and sharing a mutual passion for the windows with the Cathedral’s Director of Stained Glass, Léonie Seliger, who acted as a consultant on the project.

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Martyn has the gift of seeing things with fresh eyes – and to transmit that sense of discovery and excitement to the reader. The book is filled with unexpected details – sometimes funny, sometimes all too human, and sometimes downright gory – that make you want to get out those binoculars and go on your own journey of exploration through the stained glass

Léonie Seliger, Director of stained glass


For over a thousand years, glass artists have ‘painted with light’, filling our cathedrals and churches with beautiful works of art. Stained glass windows represent a unique record of people’s beliefs and what was important to them. Canterbury Cathedral has some of the oldest and finest stained glass windows in Europe and many of its windows are of international historical importance. I wanted to pay homage to the glass artists but also take a fresh approach to the subject. Readers may be surprised to encounter pictures of volcanoes, fibre optics and rockets in the guide, as it seeks to cover the topics from a young person’s perspective. But, like all my books, it has been designed to appeal to all ages!

Martyn Barr

Page 6Martyn is no stranger to the Cathedral or in fact to Canterbury. He has produced and written a number of titles, including the popular ‘The Young Person’s History Guide to Canterbury’ which continues to be a best seller in the city. Its first edition raised £3,000 for Demelza Hospice Care for Children. The second edition is set to raise £2,000 for Canterbury Cathedral’s restoration appeal.

Paintings in Light was supported by the Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation and the World Monuments Fund. £1 from every copy sold will be donated to Canterbury Cathedral’s restoration appeal. The book can be purchased from the Canterbury Cathedral Shop, as well as online priced £5.99.

In the Press

Click below to view related coverage from the local, national and international media

‘Blean author’s book on Canterbury Cathedral windows’ – The Canterbury Times (31/10/2013)

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