The partners of the original firm of Lavers and Barraud, formed in 1858, were Nathaniel Wood Lavers (1828–1911) and Francis Philip Barraud (1824–1900), who had both previously worked for James Powell at Whitefriars. Lavers, who was a member of the Cambridge Camden (or from 1845 Ecclesiological) Society, set up on his own in 1855, and Barraud joined him three years later. In the early days, one of the firm's chief designers was Henry Stacy Marks (1829–1898); another was Alfred Bell himself. Henry Holiday (1839-1927), Nathaniel Westlake (1833–1921) and others also designed for them. It was another ten years before Westlake actually joined the firm, after having worked mainly with the architect William Burges and also with Alfred Bell (1832-1895) of Clayton and Bell. A Catholic convert, Westlake apparently came to it not through Burges but through his friendship with another Catholic convert, John Francis Bentley.

The move set him firmly in the middle of a rarefied design world, at a time when the stained-glass industry was booming (see Cheshire ix). For his part, Westlake's "knowledge of medieval art, Pre-Raphaelite style and simplification of previously over-elaborate drawing" contributed greatly to the firm's "fame and success in the 1860s" (Campbell 21). Bentley's daughter explains that Westlake later "became a partner and finally the sole proprietor" of the firm (de l'Hôpital 354).


As a leading Gothic Revival designer and authority on stained glass, Westlake wrote a comprehensive four-volume History of Design in Stained and Painted Glass, which was reprinted in facsimile as recently as 2002. Although he designed numerous stained-glass windows all over the country, his best-known work is probably a stunning early panel entitled "The Vision of Beatrice," shown at the stained-glass exhibition at the South Kensington Museum in 1864; it is still there at what we now know as the Victoria and Albert Museum, and can be seen on the Museum's website (see bibliography). Other acclaimed work is at Cardiff Castle. Westlake is celebrated not only for his stained-glass windows, but also for the beautiful interior painting of such Catholic churches as St John the Baptist, Brighton, and the Church of the Sacred Heart, Hove. — Jacqueline Banerjee.

Related Material


"Architcts and Artists — L." Sussex Parish Churches. Web. 9 November 2016.

Campbell, Gordon, ed. Encyclopedia of the Decorative Arts, Vol. 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Cheshire, Jim. Stained Glass and the Victorian Gothic Revival. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2008.

de l'Hôpital, Winefride. Westminster Cathedral and Its Architect. 2 vols. Vol. 2, The Making of the Architect. London: Hutchinson, 1919. (Available in the Internet Archive).

"The Vision of Beatrice" (Victoria and Albert Museum site). Web. 10 November 2016.

Last modified 10 November 2016