|Title: Stained Glass
Author: June Osborne
Date published: 3rd revised edition 1997
Status: in print
Price: GBP 14.99 (10.49 on Amazon)
What is it? Updated version of the classic guide to the history of stained glass, including a county-organised gazeteer.
What's it like? The idea of a poor man's bible presupposes both illiteracy and lack of books. Books, all of which still had to be written out by hand, were scarce in the extreme. But while most men were illiterate, it would be a mistake to imagine that the craftsmen who made the windows were. Probably they had basic skills, having received some schooling before their apprenticeship; they knew at least enough to put their accounts into writing. Equally, it would be a mistake to imagine that the ordinary man, who was to be instructed by the poor man's bible, understood nothing of the content of these windows. Probably he understood a great deal more than his equivalent today.
What's good about it? First rate history of the subject, full of fascinating details. Everything you could ever want to know about the history, manufacture and meaning of stained glass. Some lovely colour plates. Gazeteer flags up lots of places you'll want to visit.
What's bad about it? Most illustrations are in black and white. Gazeteer does not attempt to be exhaustive.
Overall rating: 4/5