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Espying Heaven:

The Stained Glass of Charles Eamer Kempe and his Artists

By Adrian Barlow

Espying Heaven

Espying Heaven:

The Stained Glass of Charles Eamer Kempe and his Artists

By Adrian Barlow

A lavishly-illustrated exploration of the work of the Victorian church artist Charles Eamer Kempe and the team of artists he led and inspired.

Trade Information: LGEN
Available as: Hardback, PDF

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Print Hardback

ISBN: 9780718894641

Specifications: 254x189mm (10x7.44in), 144pp

Illustrations: b&w and colour

Published: January 2019


PDF eBook

ISBN: 9780718845315

Specifications: 147pp

Illustrations: b&w and colour

Published: January 2019

£16.50 + VAT
Available from other vendors

Espying Heaven presents the first full-scale and full-colour survey of the achievement of Charles Eamer Kempe (1837–1907), the outstanding stained-glass designer of his era, and his Studio. From the start, Kempe gathered around him a close-knit team of artists and craftsmen who together developed his vision of a distinctive aesthetic setting for worship based on late medieval art, especially the stained glass of northern Europe. This book illustrates the evolution of 'the Kempe style' and allows readers to judge for themselves the extent to which C.E. Kempe & Co. (1907–1934), set up by Kempe himself, succeeded in working within the tradition established by his founding artists.

This book is intended as a companion to Adrian Barlow's biographical study Kempe: The Life, Art and Legacy of Charles Eamer Kempe (The Lutterworth Press, 2018). In its own right, however, Espying Heaven both documents and celebrates a style of church art and decoration that has had a defining influence upon the Anglican Church worldwide. It highlights key features of Kempe glass, exploring questions of representation, symbolism and technique and suggesting new ways of 'reading' a Kempe window.

With photography by Alastair Carew-Cox.

List of Illustrations
Foreword and Acknowledgements

1. Kempe and the Kempe Studio
     Charles Eamer Kempe
     Alfred Edward Tombleson
     Wyndham Hope Hughes
     John Thomas Carter
     John William Lisle
     Walter Ernest Tower

2. Style and Techniques
     Reading a Kempe Window
     The Evolution of the Kempe Style
     A Note on Silver Staining

3. Themes and Subjects
     Allegorical and Symbolic Figures: The Virtues
     Jesse Tree Windows

4. The Life of Christ
     The Annunciation
     The Nativity and Early Childhood of Christ
     The Passion and Crucifixion

5. Gallery
     St Michael and St George
     Adam and Eve
     King Solomon
     Disciples and Apostles
     Saints: St Stephen
     Saints: St Catherine and St Margaret

6. Espying Heaven
     Kempe and George Herbert
     Kempe at Southwark Cathedral


Adrian Barlow writes and lectures on literature, architecture and stained glass. A Fellow and former President of the English Association, his books include World and Time: Teaching Literature in Context, Extramural: Literature and Lifelong Learning (Lutterworth Press, 2012), and Kempe: The Life, Art and Legacy of Charles Eamer Kempe (Lutterworth Press, 2018).

Until very recently there has been little written about either Charles Eamer Kempe or his successor Studio, C.E. Kempe and Co. First, there was a personal account by the late Margaret Stavridi (Master of Glass, 1988) and now in the space of a year two substantial books by Adrian Barlow. His second volume, Espying Heaven: The Stained Glass of Charles Eamer Kempe and his Artists, makes evident the sheer quality, colour and richness of their work through a selection of windows and details in superb photographs by Alastair Carew-Cox. Dr Donald Buttress LVO, OBE
Espying Heaven is well set out, easy to read and includes many wonderful photographs. The signatures and monograms for Kempe, Tombleson and Tower windows are beautifully illustrated. This book is a valued addition to my library and will be travelling with me on my visits to Kempe-decorated churches. I highly recommend Adrian Barlow's work! Geoffrey C. Bond OBE, FSA, Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass
This is fascinating. Peter Howell, in The Art Newspaper, No 313, June 2019
By Adrian Barlow
By Adrian Barlow

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