Category Archives: Art

BARBER, Basil E.E. (1910-1992)

English stained glass artist and designer, Basil Edward Errington Barber (1910-1992) made few windows for Australia and even in his home country Barber is not among the well-known artists in glass.[1]

He began his career in the late 1920s when he was apprenticed in the studio and workshop of Sir Ninian Comper.  He rose to become Comper’s chief studio designer, and, among many significant commissions, was responsible for glass-painting the detailed and complex Heraldic insignia of the massive memorial window (1000 sq. ft.) in St. Stephen’s Porch, Westminster Hall of the House of Commons, London.  The window, designed by Sir Ninian Comper and dedicated by Winston Churchill, replaced the original Pugin window that was destroyed during a Second World War bombing raid in December 1940.

In the early 1950s Barber opened an independent studio.  Churches were re-building after the ravages of the war and many new windows were commissioned as war memorials.  His commissions included the east and west windows of St. John the Baptist, Eltham, London, completed in 1952.[2]  As at Westminster Hall, few windows survived the Second World War and one window was made from glass fragments, possibly as a potent reminder of the destruction caused by war.   Barber’s windows are distinctive for his understanding of light that he believed should imbue a church’s interior with an uplifting atmosphere reminiscent of the 15th century and in marked contrast to the dim religious light that pervaded much of nineteenth-century Victorian glass.

Barber St Augustine Swindon

Figure 1: Basil EE Barber, St. Peter, St. Augustine’s Parish Church, Even Swindon, Wiltshire, (UK) 1955.  D&M Ball, September 2004. See Duncan and Mandy Ball website:

For a (copyright) image of Barber’s three-light William Tyndale Window at Whiteladies Road Baptist Church, Clifton see

In 1954, Barber moved to Bristol to work at Joseph Bell & Son, a firm that had been established in 1840, but passed from family hands in 1923 when the business was sold to Arnold Robinson.  After Robinson’s death in 1955, Barber managed the business, continuing until 1959 when Arnold’s son, Geoffrey Robinson, took over the business.  Comper, Robinson and Barber came together again many year later in the early 1970s when Barber was called upon by Robinson to undertake the mammoth task of re-ordering several 1905-6 Comper windows for the Scottish Episcopal Church of St. Magnus, Lerwick on the Shetland Islands.[3] The windows had been stored after their removal from the Chapel of the Sisters of Charity in 1968.  Barber spent 450 hours, preparing and painting diamond quarries and borders sympathetic to Comper’s style and thus creating a ‘most authentic reconstruction’.[4]  Robinson retired and the firm closed in 1996.[5]

Barber fulfilled more than 50 independent commissions, mainly around the city of Bristol and the Somerset region in the 1950s and 1960s.[6]  His exemplary skills were recognised by his peers when he was elected as an Associate (c.1954) and then a Fellow of the British Society of Master Glass-Painters (1956).  In Australia in 1977 Basil Barber was invited by Klaus Zimmer as a visiting lecturer in design and glass-painting at Caulfield Institute of Technology (now Monash University), Victoria, where his influence was soon felt.[7]

Joseph Burke, Professor of Fine Arts at the University of Melbourne recommended and encouraged Barber which led to commissions for Australian clients, including a roundel for the Australian Academy of the Humanities, commissioned by Honorary Fellow of the Academy, Kenneth Myer.[8]  Barber was not only a highly skilled glass-painter but also a noted authority on heraldry, as exemplified by his interpretation of the Academy’s Coat of Arms and Crest in the roundel.

Barber Basil EE Roundel Aust College Humanities

Figure 2: Basil EE Barber, Heraldic stained glass roundel, Australian Academy of the Humanities, n.d.

His skills in heraldic symbolism were again to the fore when he was commissioned by the trading firm, Heine Brothers for a panel based on a family tapestry.  The panel represented the history of the Heine family in Hamburg and was made as a gift from the Heine sons to their father.  It was installed in the firm’s Queens Road, Melbourne headquarters where was artificially lit.  Sadly, a window commissioned by the Baillieu family for the Church of the Good Shepherd, Mount Macedon (Vic) was lost in the Ash Wednesday bushfires in February 1983.

A single window at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Box Hill (Vic) was installed in 1979, thought to be the first of a full cycle devised in conjunction with the incumbent, the Reverend James Robertson Senior.[9]   Instead it became Rev. Senior and his wife Jean’s gift to the Parish when they left for Inverloch in 1976.  The subject of the design, selected by Senior, was the great Church of England scholar Rev. Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626) who was closely involved with the English translation of the King James Bible.

Box Hill St Peters Anglican (4)                         Box Hill St Peters Anglican (5)

Figure 3: Basil EE Barber, St. Anselm and Lancelot Andrewes (and detail of lower section), St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Box Hill (Vic), 1979

This window is dedicated to the glory of GOD as a thank-offering from James Robertson Senior and his wife Ivy Jean Senior for the opportunities of worship & service in this parish over forty years. A.D. 1979.  [Note the tiny beehive rebus in the lower right hand corner, near the dedicatory inscription]

Basil Barber upheld the finest artistic and Christian traditions of the art of glass painting throughout his life, dedicated to producing his most thoughtful and resolved work for every commission, despite the constraints imposed by clients.  His humble and retiring nature is possibly why his art is not better known in Britain, and Australia.  In his later years he undertook small commissions and used his extensive skills to conserve some of Britain’s historic stained glass.

After a full life dedicated to stained glass, he retired about 1990.  However, he did not retire from art at all, continuing to fill his sketchbooks with drawings from the life around him, and to teach children at the local primary school.  He founded ‘The What’s-It-Club’ for seniors where he promoted the idea that expressing oneself through art should be fun, even if the drawings were unidentifiable to others.

Barber Basil EE Age 1977 cropped

Figure 4: Basil EE Barber, from the Age, Melbourne, 2 July, 1977


[1] I am indebted to the generous assistance of Basil Barber’s daughter, Pam Crozier, for her recollections and knowledge of her father’s work, which has added enormously this entry, and to Helen Walsh for putting the two of us in touch.  Some details of Barber’s career and references from the archive deposited by his daughters and published in Elizabeth Lomas, Guide to the Archive of Art and Design, Victoria & Albert Museum. London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, c2001.  See V&A files: AAD/1994/12; AAD/2003/17.


[3] Journal of the British Society of Master Glass-Painters, 1973-74, XV ii, p. 61.

[4] ibid.

[5] The author has found only one installation attributed to Geoffrey Robinson in Australia: a pair of lights at St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Derrinallum (Vic.), in memory of James Fairbairn, Federal Minister for Air and Civil Aviation who was tragically killed in an air crash near Canberra in 1940.

[6] Material held by the V&A Archives include many of his original drawings, designs and drafts for church windows across England, including St. Andrew’s Church, Compton Bishop, Axbridge, Christ Church at Pill, Somerset, St. John’s Church, Spalding in Lincolnshire, St. Aldhelm’s Church, Bedminster, Bristol, All Saints’ Church, West Dulwich, Redland Park Congregational Church and St. Saviour’s Church, Weston-super-Mare.  Information kindly forwarded by Pam Crozier by email, 30 January 2017.

[7] See Nancy Dexter, ‘Reflections of a glass worker’, Age, 2 July 1977, forwarded by Pam Crozier by email, 30 January 2017 .  Communication with Helen Walsh.


[9] Communication with Pam Crozier by email, 26 September 2016.


BARNETT Bros., Western Australia

Barnett Bros. was one of many glass firms and artists that set up their business in Perth in the late 1800s.  A number of men came from Victoria, seeking to find a better financial climate than the depression that gripped the eastern states in that decade.[1]  Geoff Down noted that Barnett Bros. was one of eight firms listed in Melbourne’s 1895 Sands & MacDougall Directory; Barnett Bros. Perth business was founded in 1897.[2]   The first mention in the Perth press was when the firm removed from Barnett Court in Hay Street to larger premises at 491 Hay Street in 1898, which suggests it was already well-established in only a year of operation.[3]

The firm was run by two Barnett brothers, Montague and Barend and, although less mention is made of Barend in the press, the firm and its principals were well-respected businessmen and contributors to various Perth charities and activities.[4]

Barnett Bros. Local Competitors

Barnett’s competitors were Montgomery & Grimbly (a branch of William Montgomery’s Melbourne firm), Biss & Trowbridge[5], and Messrs. Sedgwick Limited.  Montgomery & Grimbly of Moore Street, were probably the first of these firms to set up in Perth, possibly around 1887.[6]  As the practice was in his Adelaide branch, Montgomery designed and made the figure work in Melbourne, shipping it interstate where local men would complete the ornamentation, leadlighting and installation.  In Perth, James Moroney, Montgomery & Grimbly’s leadlight foreman for many years, set up on his own behalf in 1899.[7]  In 1897, Biss & Trowbridge of 234 Murray Street, Perth, advertised for a smart youth to learn ‘leadlight glass work’, and in the same year, that a window by the firm was described in the local press as the first of this type made in the Swan River colony.[8]   However, in 1899, Biss retired from the partnership, amicably leaving the two remaining partners, W.H. Trowbridge and C. Staible to carry on the business as stained glass artists. Sedgwick’s, located at 126 William Street, Perth, was described in the West Australian as ‘oil and colour merchants’ although they were moving into leadlight and stained glass by 1898 when they installed a large leadlight window in the new Swan River Mechanics Institute, which featured swans at either side of the floral designs.[9]  Many of the windows by these firms remain unidentified in churches and public buildings around Western Australia but Barnett Bros. (as did William Montgomery) identified his windows by inscribing his name in the lower waster border of a window, making it possible to document a number of installations from the 1890s to the 1930s.

Artists at Barnett Bros.

Barnett Bros. reputation appears to have flourished after Herbert M. Smyrk joined the firm.  Smyrk, an English-trained artist whose work was occasionally featured in the Arts & Crafts journal, The Studio, had been in partnership with Charles Rogers in Melbourne, but this partnership was dissolved in 1888.  Peter & June Donovan in their seminal work on South Australian stained and painted glass noted that in 1897 E.M. Troy, one of South Australia’s leading nineteenth-century firms, ‘engaged H.M. Smyrk … a decorative artist of high repute’.[10]  But it seems he went further west and, by 1899 when Barnett Bros. work was selected to represent Western Australia in the 1900 Paris Exhibition, Smyrk was announced as the window’s designer; The Good Shepherd was awarded a bronze medal.[11]

The peripatetic Mr. Smyrk apparently left Perth in the early 1900s, and from 1903, a Mr. H.H. Estcourt was credited with many designs for Barnett’s windows.  He was yet another artist from Melbourne, although his time there is unrecorded.[12]  One of his first designs was an adaptation of William Holman Hunt’s Light of the World, which was executed for St. George’s Anglican Cathedral, Perth, the first cathedral window to be made locally.[13]

perth-st-georges-cathedral-1903       perth-st-georges-cathedral-detail-1903

Figures 1 and 2: H.H. Estcourt (designer) Barnett Bros. (maker), Light of the World, St. George’s Anglican Cathedral, Perth 1903.  Detail of ‘Barnett Bros., Perth’, which regularly appeared on their windows.

A few months later, Barnett Bros. supplied windows throughout the Perth Law Courts, all manufactured to Estcourt’s designs.[14] No doubt he was responsible for many designs, but only occasionally was his name mentioned in the newspapers. One important memorial was the east window at St. John’s Northam, the gift of Mr. and Mrs. George Throssell as a tribute to the soldiers who died in the Second Boer War, South Africa.  The three-light window depicted St. James, Christ Teaching and St. John.[15]  At Christ Church, Claremont, his interpretation of the Good Samaritan was installed as a memorial to Fred Stacey, who had managed Harris, Scarfe in Western Australia,[16] and Christ the Comforter for the Johnston Memorial Church, Fremantle.[17]  In 1914, Estcourt once again designed and executed another window for St. George’s Cathedral, Christ in the Garden of Gesthemane, taken from the famous painting by Hoffman.[18]

Major Commissions

Other commissions fulfilled by Barnett Bros. before the First World War included: Raising of Jairus’s Daughter (1909), Christ Church, Claremont; Christ with Child, and St. John (1909), St. John’s Albany; three-light window (1912), Dardanup Church (near Bunbury); Christ’s Temptation in the Wilderness (designed by J.W.R. Linton, 1912), St. George’s Anglican Cathedral, Perth.   A war memorial window to Mrs. George Parker and her son, Gunner Ernest Parker, killed in action, was installed in St. George’s Cathedral in 1921.[19]


Figure 3: Barnett Bros., Christ in the Wilderness, St. George’s Anglican Cathedral, Perth, 1921.  [The subject is usually entitled Christ in the Garden at Gesthemane but this was reported to have been already made by the firm in 1903…]

The Barnett family suffered personal loss during the First World War when Lionel Barend, son of Montague and Julia Barnett, was killed in action on 15 August 1918.  The twenty-year old was serving with the 11th Battalion when he lost his life and was buried at Lihons, France.[20]  His only sister, Florence served with the Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment during the war, was well-known for her social work and was a founder of the Claremont Braille Society; she died in 1921.   The following year two stained glass windows – Ruth and Jonathan –  designed and made by the firm, were installed in Christ Church, Claremont by the bereaved Barnett parents in memory of their children.[21]  Montague was reported as ‘stricken’ by the loss.[22]  Taking an overseas trip with his wife in 1925, he died suddenly of pneumonia while in France, aged 61.[23]


Figure 4: Barnett Bros., Queen of Martyrs Catholic Church, Maylands, 1932.   The window was commissioned by the Hibernian Society as a tribute to Parish Priest, the Rev. Father Lynch.  Photograph: Daily News, 15 November 1932, p. 10.

The Barnett Bros. firm continued to operate in Perth until the late 1930s.  Although the principals from that time are not known, it seems that Estcourt was still designing for the firm; in 1931 he designed two windows for Fairbridge Farm Church at Pinjarra.[24]  Sometimes the firm donated windows to various charitable organisations, such as the windows for ‘The Flying Angel’, Mission to Seamen Chapel at Fremantle in 1933[25] and Anzac House in 1934.[26]  When war was declared again in 1939, it is likely that the firm closed its glass department as stained glass was deemed to be a non-essential industry.

[1] This entry relies heavily on reports of leadlight and stained glass firms that appeared from time to time in the Western Australian press.  Barnett Bros. was particularly diligent to make certain that local reporters received news of their latest glass work, however other firms may not have sought publicity in this way, thus giving a false impression of the importance of this firm.  The author welcomes additional information and photographic examples of windows by all firms operating in this region of Australia.

[2] Geoffrey Down, ‘Nineteenth-Century Stained Glass in Melbourne, MA thesis, University of Melbourne, 1975, p. 112.  West Australian, 11 December 1925, p. 12.

[3] West Australian, 14 May 1898, p. 2.

[4] Montague Barnett emigrated from England in 1882 and, as well as Barend, included other brothers, Lionel (London), J[ames?] (Perth), Leopold (Sydney) and three sisters, Mesdames Glick, Kosminsky and Solomons.  West Australian, 11 December 1925, p. 1.

[5] W.C. Trowbridge probably was another of the Victorians who headed west; along with Barnett Bros., he is listed in the 1895 Sands & MacDougall Directory, Melbourne.

[6] West Australian, 2 September 1899, p. 2.

[7] West Australian, 2 September 1899, p. 2.

[8] West Australian, 23 November 1899, p. 4.  Trowbridge & Staible refuted Barnett Bros.’ claim as the makers of the ‘first’ locally-made window, citing a report in the West Australian from two years earlier.  West Australian, 29 November 1899, p. 4.

[9] West Australian, 14 May 1898, p. 2.

[10] Peter & June Donovan, 150 Years of Stained & Painted Glass, p. 37.

[11] West Australian, 23 November 1899, p. 4; 9 December 1899, p. 6; 8 February 1900, p. 2; Western Mail, 25 August 1900, p. 48.

[12] Western Mail, 17 January 1903, p. 10.

[13] Western Mail, 17 January 1903, p. 10.  Most of St. George’s windows to that date were imported from the London firm, Clayton & Bell.

[14] West Australian, 8 June 1903, p. 7.

[15] West Australian, 26 June 1905, p. 7.

[16] West Australian, 13 June 1911, p. 7.

[17] West Australian, 17 April 1911, p. 4.

[18] West Australian, 22 June 1914, p. 6.

[19] West Australian, 25 March 1921, p. 4.  Ernest Parker was a 32 year-old solicitor, in partnership with his father prior to the war.  NAA: B2455, Parker Ernest Frederick.

[20] NAA: B2455, Barnett, L.

[21] West Australian, 22 April 1922, p. 8.

[22] West Australian, 11 December 1925, p. 12.

[23] Daily News, 10 December 1925, p. 2.  Barend Barrett pre-deceased his brother Montague in November 1922.  Montague was survived by his wife Julia and one son, Cleve Barnett.

[24] West Australian, 9 December 1931, p. 16.

[25] West Australian, 10 May 1933, p. 6.

[26] West Australian, 21 August 1934, p. 14. It was estimated that the donation of a fully-painted window was about £150.  West Australian, 9 November 1933, p. 12.

MACLEOD, William

Photo William Macleod SMH 25 July 1929          William Macleod (1850-1929) was variously known as William Anderson, W. Macleod Anderson and W. McL. Anderson before finally opting to use his birth name.

Macleod was born in London and came with his family to Victoria, Australia in 1855.  His father, William, died the same year and his mother moved to Sydney where she married James Anderson RHA, from Belfast.  Anderson was reputedly working as an artist in England before emigrating to Australia c.1852; he was one of the organisers of the Victorian Arts Exhibition the following year as well as an exhibitor.  He became a moderately successful portrait painter in Melbourne, country Victoria and Sydney until the 1870s.  Despite this success he proved an unreliable provider for his family.

From the age of twelve Macleod worked in a photographic studio while training as an artist.  He studied at the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts under drawing master Edmund Thomas and F.L. Terry, who was an examiner; S.T. Gill was another influence on the young Macleod.  By the age of fifteen Macleod was winning prizes for his drawing and three years later he was passing on his skills as an art teacher. He was a founding member of the New South Wales Academy of Art and exhibited regularly and successfully in the Academy’s annual shows and his portraits were regularly singled out for special mention.  Another member of that first committee of NSWAA was James Fairfax who would later be instrumental in promoting Macleod’s career as an illustrator and journalist, most notably for the large format three volume Picturesque Atlas of Australasia.

From 1869 to 1874 Macleod designed stained glass windows for John Falconer (1838-91) who established the first stained glass studio in Sydney in 1863.  Macleod’s first designs were for St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Darlinghurst (now SCEGGS Hall) and two east windows for St. Benedict’s Catholic Church, Broadway in 1867.  St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Albury has a suite of 26 McLeod-designed windows (1872) and eight windows in St. Augustine’s Catholic Church, Myers Flat near Bendigo (Vic.), originally made for a church at Burragorang (NSW) (1874).

Among his best known stained glass windows is The Prodigal Son, made for Darlinghurst Gaol (NSW), now the National Art School, which won a prize at the Intercolonial Exhibition of 1873.  For years the window was popularly attributed to two prisoners although it was reported at the time as Macleod’s work, possibly to a design by James Barnet.   The three-light east window for St. John’s Anglican Church, Reid (ACT) is arguably his most important stained glass commission.  Bold and colourful in typical Macleod/Falconer style, it depicted key events from the Life of John the Baptist, the church’s Patron Saint, surmounted by symbols of the Christian church.

Macleod was a versatile artist and it seems that after 1874 he no longer produced designs for stained glass, moving towards his long career in illustration, books and journalism.  Macleod was best known for his business success at The Bulletin, which he managed from 1886.  His involvement varied in turn from cartoonist, to art editor, business manager and managing director, as well as shareholder, until his retirement in 1925.  Art remained at the core of his life and in retirement he added clay sculpture to his considerable artistic skills.


Karla Whitmore, ‘William Macleod (1850-1929)’ (2015) who generously permitted a summary of her article to be published in the Stained Glass Encyclopedia Project.

McCulloch’s Encyclopedia of Australian Art,The Miegungyah Press, MUP Ltd, Carlton  2006.

Sherry, Beverley Australia’s Historic Stained Glass, Murray Child, Sydney 1991.

Australian Town and Country Journal, 29 April 1871, p. 9.

Freeman’s Journal, 25 April 1874, p. 10.

Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, 11 April 1874, p. 479.

Sydney Morning Herald, 25 June 1929, p. 12.  (photo of William Macleod)



DANCEY, George Henry

Cartoon for St. Mary's Catholic Church, Kyneton by George Henry Dancey c.1910

b. 1865 [U.K.] d. 1922 Melbourne, Vic.

George Henry Dancey was cartoonist, mural and stained glass designer, apprenticed to a leading London ecclesiatical designers, Clayton & Bell from the age of 13.  He is rumoured to have worked on the windows for St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Melbourne, before leaving London for the colony due to ill-health, arriving in 1891. By 1894 he was employed as a political cartoonist at the Melbourne Punch, and chief cartoonist from 1998, a position he held (except for further periods of ill-health) until 1919.  His skillful comments on the issues of the moment show his wit was equal to his artistic talents, with notable examples during the First World War.  In 1916 he and Charles Nuttall held a major exhibition of their cartoons which travelled to London after a successful showing in Melbourne.

He was able to utilise his extensive skills as a artist and cartoon maker for windows and murals at Brooks, Robinson & Co., Melbourne, probably on a freelance basis.  His most successful collaboration was with Brooks, Robinson’s resident stained glass artist, William Wheildon (1873-1941) who joined the firm in 1905 and became his close colleague and friend; Wheildon preparing the initial scale drawing and Dancey making the full-sized cartoon.  They produced many of the firm’s most successful windows of the early twentieth century.

Dancey’s cartoons were so prized by the firm that they were stored carefully and re-used on numerous occasions until the 1960s when the firm closed.  His cartoons reveal his obsession with drapery, believed to have been ignited by the Classical style of Sir Frederick Layton RA.  Among his most successful cartoons was the Light of the World, his ‘Leighton-like’ draping of Christ’s robe distinctly different from Holman Hunt’s original that was Brooks, Robinson’s most popular subject of the first half of the twentieth century.  It was only surpassed in the latter years of the firm by Dancey’s Good Shepherd.

Dancey’s designs for stained glass and murals usually appeared under the name of Brooks, Robinson & Co. however, his signature did appear on some of his murals, including the Hector Algenon Tause memorial (1916) at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church, Mentone (Vic.) and St. Michael Honour Roll at Christ Church Anglican, St. Kilda (Vic.) (1921).  A few of his beautifully drawn cartoons survive in private collections.

He was an exhibiting member of the Victorian Artists’ Society c.1901-1910; Councillor VAS 1905.

Major Works:

Reaper and Sower, St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Woodend, Vic.

The Life of Christ, Our Lady of the Rosary, Kyneton, Vic. 1911

St. George, Christ Church, Murchison, Vic. 1915

Transfiguration of Christ, St. John’s Anglican Church, Toorak Vic. 1921


McCulloch, The Encyclopedia of Australian Art, 3rd ed. 1994, p.22; Fred John’s Annual of 1914; Age, 26 December 1922; Argus, 26 December 1922; Australian, 30 December 1922; Joan Kerr, ‘George Henry Dancey’,


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