East window of St Paul's, Heslington

Jean-Baptiste Capronnier (1814-1891) was a pioneering stained glass painter with French roots, who was born, worked and died in Brussels but acquired an international clientele. The windows he designed for the church of St Goedel in Brussels in 1835 were hailed as "an early attempt to recreate a complete gothic glazing scheme" (Brooks 280). He exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851; at the Paris exhibition of 1855 (where he was awarded second class, the only medal given for stained glass); at the London exhibition of 1862, where he was awarded a medal; and at the Paris exhibition of 1878 (see Jasmine Allen's appendix). Writing in 1877, about his window in Robert Chantrell's parish church in Leeds, Major R. W. Moore described the Belgian designer glowingly as "an artist of considerable repute. His style is in marked contrast to much of the same kind of work produced in this city. His figures are natural, graceful, and varied" (40).

Nikolaus Pevsner and David Neave, however, think much less of him, calling his glass "showy, pictorial, and entirely un-English," claiming that it "darkens the interior of a number of churches" (57). Betraying the same sort of parochialism that critics of art in other media have displayed, "How much truer to the medium English glass is!" they exclaim later in the same book (386). — Jacqueline Banerjee

St Paul's, Heslington


Allen, Jasmine. Windows for the World: Nineteenth-Century Stained Glass and the International Exhibitions, 1851–1900. Studies in Design and Material Culture. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018.

Brooks, Chris. The Gothic Revival. London: Phaidon, 1999.

Moore, R. W. The Parish Church of Leeds..... Leeds: Richard Jackson, 1877. Free Ebook. Google Books.

Pevsner, Nikolaus, and David Neave. Yorkshire: York and the East Riding. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002.

Created 30 October 2021