Category Archives: Practitioner

SMYRK & ROGERS and related firms: Hughes & Rogers; Charles Rogers & Co.

In about 1884, Herbert M. Smyrk and Charles Rogers were partners in the Melbourne stained-glass firm, Smyrk & Rogers, which was one of the few competitors to the leading local firm, Ferguson & Urie (c.1854-1899).  However, unlike Ferguson & Urie whose work is widespread and relatively well-documented, far fewer windows have been positively identified as emerging from the Smyrk & Rogers workshop despite the unusual practice of signing their work.  Most firms did not ‘advertise’ in this way but ‘Smyrk & Rogers 166 Lt. Collins St. East, Melbourne’ occasionally appears along the lower edge of their windows.

East Melbourne unknown location Smyrk&Rogers signature

Fig. 1: Smyrk & Rogers window, address unknown, East Melbourne

 Charles Rogers appears to have been the principal owner, but his partners changed over the years.  Smyrk & Rogers was listed in the Sands & McDougall Directory of 1884 as ‘stained glass artists’ and ‘glass stainers’, situated at 166 Little Collins Street East, Melbourne.  The Cyclopedia of Victoria Vol. 1 (1902) alluded to Smyrk & Rogers without naming the firm: ‘About the year 1884 two men, who were practically acquainted, one with the artistic and the other with the mechanical side of glass painting, started on their own account [in Melbourne], and quickly found plenty of work to do.’[i]

By 1887 the firm had built quite a reputation and received the ‘top colonial award’ (second prize) in the Adelaide Exhibition of that year, a fact that was highlighted in advertisements for many years.[ii]  Not averse to publicity and no doubt keen to be associated with the latest trends, the firm advertised in the catalogue of the “9 x 5” Impressions Exhibition that created great interest in Australian landscape artists, Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin, Arthur Streeton and others.

Smyrk Rogers 9 x 5 Ad 1889

Fig 2: Smyrk & Rogers advertisement from the “9 x 5” Impressions Exhibition, Buxton’s Rooms, Melbourne 1889

Herbert Moesbury Smyrk (1861-1947), a colourful character who travelled throughout his life, was born at ‘Southall’, his family’s home in Guildford, Surrey.[iii] Against his father’s wishes and expectations for his son to pursue a career in England, Smyrk stowed away on a ship bound for America, landing in New York in the 1880s.[iv]  Here he is believed to have begun designing for stained glass, a career that then took him to California.  Then he spent a brief period in England[v] again before returning to Australia where he was ‘associated’ with Brooks, Robinson & Co. in 1884.[vi]  It appears this too was a short-lived tenure as he was in partnership with Charles Rogers the same year.[vii]

An article on ‘Art Glass’ in the Australasian Builder & Contractors’ News, 28 April 1888, mentioned Smyrk & Rogers as ‘having studied the art of glass painting and designing in the best English and American shops…able to introduce a really good and taking style of modern glass painting’.  The article listed a number of the firm’s windows-in-progress including the new Houses of Parliament, Adelaide; an Assention [sic] and six ornamental windows for suburban [Melbourne] churches; the Richmond Town Hall, as well as unnamed private residences.  One residence of note was Amberley in East Melbourne (c1886) that featured a grand central entrance surround and the staircase windows by the firm.[viii]

Fig 3: Smyrk & Rogers, Staircase window and detail of signature, private residence, East Melbourne c.1886.

The figure designs for residential settings were derived from the Aesthetic Style and often featuring a central panel surrounded by several highly decorative borders.  The image of the central panel could feature a reclining figure[ix] a dancing girl[x] or scenes from literature and the arts.[xi]  There was considerable interest in Shakespeare around this period, and to install windows featuring scenes or characters from his plays was ‘fashionable, socially impressive, and evocative of old England and the romantic past’.[xii]  The tercentenary of Shakespeare’s birth in 1864 was the likely impetus to the spate of stained glass designs based on Shakespearean texts and characters that emerged over the next twenty years.[xiii]

Fig 4: Smyrk & Rogers, details from stained glass in sidelight and transom, main entrance, private residence, East Melbourne c.1886.

Dissolution of Smyrk & Rogers

It seems that Herbert M. Smyrk and Charles Rogers parted company in 1888 and, according to their advertisements in the Australasian Builder & Contractors’ News, for a short period the firm became ‘H.M. Smyrk’.[xiv]  However, Charles Rogers appears to have won the day and subsequent advertisements appeared under the banner ‘Charles Rogers & Co., formerly Smyrk & Rogers’.[xv]

Smyrk Rogers partnership dissolved 1888

Fig 5: Announcement of the dissolution of the Smyrk & Rogers partnership, Argus 21 September 1888, p. 5

Although the firm’s ecclesiastical works were not as widespread as other firms, such as Brooks, Robinson & Co. or William Montgomery, the firm’s commission for the north and south aisles of St. Mary’s Anglican Church, North Melbourne, carried out in 1887-8 during the ‘Boom’ period, stands out as ornamental design of a high order.  A plaque in the nave of the church suggests that the firm was already ‘C.Rogers & Co.’ by the time the last of the windows was installed.  Here, text ribbons were set into a typically Victorian geometric grisaille that bears some relationship to the firm’s contemporary domestic installations.  The simple leadlights in the west wall were elegantly conceived as was a later series of soft pastel quarry windows of similar design installed at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Inverleigh in 1890.

North Melbourne St Marys AnglicanS&M007

Fig 6:   Charles Rogers & Co., One of a series of decorative grisaille  windows installed in memory of John G. Marley (d. 5 September 1887) by his widow, Elizabeth.

References to Smyrk’s career after the dissolving of the partnership show him careening around the world, rarely remaining in one place for long.   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’.[xvi] He may have worked in a freelance capacity as a Ferguson & Urie window (1896) for a window in memory of Councillor Ievers at St. George’s Catholic Church, Carlton was designed by him.[xvii]  And he appears to have spent time in Western Australia too, as a stained glass window, The Good Shepherd, executed by ‘W.M. Smyrk’(sic) was one of many exhibits selected by the W.A. Royal Commission for the 1900 Paris Exhibition.[xviii]

The respected British journal The Studio (1893-1918), arbiter of style and taste, regularly featured images of stained glass and leadlight for residential locations.  The 1909 edition of The Studio Yearbook of Decorative Art departed from the previous format and included brief profiles of stained glass artists and firms.  Among them was Herbert Smyrk, Ruskin House, Rochester Row, Westminster, London, ‘a designer of stained glass and interior decoration … associated with Morris & Co. of Westminster, who executes his designs in stained glass’.[xix]  The designs reproduced in The Studio do not directly relate to the Smyrk & Rogers work in Melbourne or Adelaide, but times and styles had changed significantly since the 1880s and a more simplified form of the art had developed.

And, according to The Salon (1913), Smyrk had associations with the Brisbane firm, R.S. Exton & Co. where ‘…[the leadlight] department is now under the management of Mr. Herbert M. Smyrk, who for many years was one of the principal artists in the studio of Messrs. William Morris & Co., Ruskin House, London.’  He may then have moved to Sydney as the Sands & Kenny Directory for 1915-1916 lists among the ‘Artists’, H.M. Smyrk, 5 Moore St.’

The exotic South Pacific lured him for a time, then (after a short trip to Adelaide in about 1926-27), the Society Islands, before he returned to California to complete a commission for the new Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles.[xx]

Smyrk photo Mail 14 Nov 1925 p17

Fig 7: Photograph of Herbert Moesbury [Smyrk] in South Seas persona, Mail (Adelaide), 14 November 1925, p. 17

By 1935 Smyrk was once again in Sydney, employed as artist for Frank G. O’Brien at Waterloo.[xxi]  Possibly he was working in a freelance capacity as at the same time he is reported as having completed two windows – Resurrection and Crucifixion – for St. Francis’ Church, Paddington and has two more under construction, Nativity and Christ in Heaven.[xxii]

Charles Rogers & Co. and Hughes, Rogers & Co.

Charles Rogers & Co. operated from cramped quarters at 89 Little Collins Street until 1890 when the firm moved to a substantial 4-storey brick building in Burns Lane, off Lonsdale Street.

During the Charles Rogers & Co. period a number of church commissions were fulfilled successfully but the figurative windows for All Saints’ Anglican Church, East St. Kilda, installed in 1889, were condemned by the Building & Engineering Journal as crudely designed and harshly coloured.  Maybe the loss of Mr. Smyrk’s abilities was being felt.

In 1891 Charles Rogers went into partnership with the Clayton & Bell-trained artist, John Hughes who had been employed at Brooks Robinson & Co. for three years.  The new firm became Hughes, Rogers & Co. of Burns Lane, Lonsdale Street.

Advertising in the usual way, the firm made much of its ‘Special Appointment to His Excellency the Governor’ and listed many of their ecclesiastical and domestic commissions (see list below).  Hughes, Rogers & Co. continued advertising in the Building & Engineering Journal into the early 1890s.  The journal also featured their work from time to time, including windows in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Collingwood (1891).[xxiii]

Collingwood St Josephs RC Church Nativity Hughes and Rogers 1891

Fig 8: Hughes & Rogers, Nativity, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Collingwood 1891.  John Hughes influence can be seen in the figure of Joseph that closely resembles similar facial expressions in Clayton & Bell windows at St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Melbourne and at St. John’s Anglican Church, Heidelberg.

The Building & Engineering Journal October 22, 1892 announced that a three-light window depicting the Crucifixion for the Convent of the Good Shepherd, South Melbourne (now demolished) was on display at the studios.  In the same article Mr. Hughes was described as having ‘…a perfect knowledge of his art, and can apply it in a most artistic manner’.

In 1893 Hughes asked the journal to dispel rumours that he intended to leave Melbourne.  Despite this assurance, he and Rogers parted shortly afterwards, and Mr. Rogers continued in business under his own name once again.  John Hughes returned to England and there is no further mention of him in Melbourne’s stained-glass circles.

The depression of the 1890s saw most Melbourne stained glass firms close and by late 1898 C. Rogers & Co., now located at 167 Lt. Flinders Street Melbourne, was one of only five firms listed under ‘stained glass artists’ in the Sands & MacDougall Directories.  By 1900, Ferguson & Urie had closed and it was also the last listing for Charles Rogers & Co. although the firm is believed to have survived for another few years.


Commissions (incomplete) From advertisements in the Building & Engineering Journal 1889


St. John’s Church, Camberwell (destroyed by fire)

St. Mary’s Church, North Melbourne

Holy Trinity Church, Coburg

All Saints’ Church, St. Kilda (unidentified)

Carmelite Convent, South Melbourne

Domestic & Public:

The Governor’s Residence, Mt. Macedon

Foxall’s Ballarat Star Hotel, Swanston Street

Dalgety & Co. Bourke Street west

Sir E.T. Smith, Adelaide

RA Stock Esq., Balaclava

J Detmold Esq., Balaclava

JA Panton, Esq., PM, St. Kilda

WJ Elliott’s Hotel, Bourke Street


[i] Cyclopedia of Victoria 1903, p.603.

[ii] Australasian Building & Contractors’ News, Vol.1 No.22, 15 October 1887, p.364.

[iii] Details of Smyrk’s early life are generally taken from his own recollections, reported in

[iv] Report of an interview with Herbert Moesbury [Smyrk] while he was in Adelaide, News, 3 November 1925, p.8.

[v] Possibly he was at Newcastle during this stay in England. Personal communication via email with the author, Tony Benyon, 27 September 2012.

[vi] News, 3 November 1925, p. 8.

[vii] Sands & Macdougall Directory, 1884.

[viii] Sighted by the author. The lack of documentation on the firm may be explained by this concentration on non-church commissions.

[ix] Image sighted from an unknown Albert Park (Vic.) residence.

[x] Sighted by the author at Halcyon, St. Kilda and Malvern (Vic.)

[xi] A set of Shakespearian windows by Smyrk & Rogers sighted by the author at Glenroy, Glenroy (Vic.)

[xii] Beverley Sherry, Australia’s Historic Stained Glass, p.44.

[xiii] See Beverley Sherry’s articles at…/shakespearean-characters-in-stained-glass/

[xiv] Australasian Builder & Contractors’ News, Vol III, No 70, 1 September 1888.

[xv] Australasian Builder & Contractors’ News, Vol III, No 74, 6 October 1888.

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

[xvii] Advocate, 15 February 1896, p.16.

[xviii] West Australian, 8 February 1900, p. 2.

[xix] The Studio Yearbook of Decorative Art, 1909, p.70-71.

[xx] Advertiser, 24 December 1929, p. 14.  The majority of the original 1929 windows for this church were by Dixon Art Glass Company, Los Angeles; it is likely that Smyrk was a freelance designer. See

[xxi] Catholic Press, 25 April 1935, p. 14.

[xxii] Catholic Press, 25 April 1935, p. 25.

[xxiii] The windows were unfortunately destroyed by fire in 2007.


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.

WALSH, Ailsa Helen (formerly HUNT, née GOUGH)


Helen Walsh (b. 1930) has been involved in designing and making glass since the early 1970s, and was at the forefront of the craft resurgence that followed soon after.  Like many of those who were fascinated with glass at the time but had nowhere to learn the basic techniques, Helen devised her own learning by asking questions and experimenting with glass.

She asked the glazier who came to fix her broken window ‘how to make leadlight’ and was told that you ‘put the lead around a piece of glass’, which – to say the least – rather undersold the skill and precision required, and no mention was made of solder!  Not to be daunted, Helen instigated ‘Araldite parties’, asking friends to help by holding the glass pieces against an existing window for the requisite 5 minutes until the epoxy went ‘off’. Needless to say, as arms tired, there were some quite disastrous (and hilarious) results.

Soon after this period of experimentation, Helen found E.L. Yencken & Co. in Gaffney Street, Coburg (Vic.) and, more importantly, Charlie Marshall, who was head of the lead light department.  In Helen’s words, ‘he was a brilliant worker and I used to spend ages with him every time I went to Yenckens.  I hung around and asked “WHY WHY” and he spent hours telling me why and how.  So I owe a lot to him.’  And, to extend her skills, Helen attended Klaus Zimmer’s glass-painting classes at Caulfield (now Monash University) where she met and learned from Basil Barber, a visiting English master glass-painter.  They got along famously and while travelling in the UK Helen stayed at his dilapidated mansion near London.  She still has his gift of two 100+year-old pieces of glass as a memento of the visit and their friendship.

Walsh swing tag Lead Balloon006


Fig. 1: Swing tag from ‘The Lead Balloon’, 1970s.

Working with a group of women at that time, she intended to set up a co-operative studio but ultimately opened The Lead Balloon at 108 Bridport Street, Albert Park in conjunction with the graphic artist Elana Zdane.  The main focus of her business was designing, making and installing domestic leadlight, as well as restoring the Victorian and Edwardian stained glass and leadlight that abounds in the bayside suburb areas around Albert Park and South Melbourne.  However, she also fulfilled commercial and church commissions. Two significant works were the major four panel ‘Fairies’ commission she created for Gill’s Grendon Nursery in Hampton (Vic.) in the 1980s in collaboration with Jenny Pyke of Regeneration, and the window she crafted to the design of stained glass artist Klaus Zimmer – his first church commission – for St. Louis de Montford Church, Aspendale (Vic.) in 1973.

Walsh Gills Grendon Nursery East Brighton 4 interior

Interior of Gill’s Grendon Nursery, Centre Road, East Brighton

Photographer: Melanie Ryan

Teaching has been a part of Helen’s career – in her Albert Park studio, at the Council for Adult Education, filling in for Derek Pearse, and running courses at Monash.  Through her teaching she introduced many others to the art and craft of glass, including Graham Stone and Nick and Eva Georgiadis.  A significant outreach to a younger (as well as older) generation was through her appearances on the Channel 7 (HSV7 in those days) educational program, This Week has Seven Days, with Shirley Shackleton.  She is a founding member of Melbourne Artists in Glass.

Since leaving the Albert Park business in the late 1970s, Helen has continued to kiln form glass, with wall hangings, plates, bowls and platters becoming the canvas for her glass painting.  She often uses float glass, a legacy from the time when coloured glass was in short supply and draws on her extensive travels, as well as photographic images from sources such as National Geographic.  Helen explained that she ‘wanted to preserve and own [the photographs]’ and painting her interpretations on glass captured them for all time.

Walsh 2016 Boys Fishing

Fig. 2: Boys Fishing 1961, 500 x 500 x 8 mm float glass.  Inspiration for this work was a National Geographic photograph, taken in the Cook Islands. ‘So entranced was I that am sure they were speaking to me as I reproduced them.’

In 2013 she was the featured artist at the Festival of Glass held annually at Drysdale (Vic.).  Naturally, Helen’s has created leadlights that suit her Inter-War period home and she surrounds herself with unusual and quirky works of art, including a superbly drawn cartoon by Basil Barber. Outside her Yarraville studio a hand-crafted glass fountain gently flows to provide background music to the day’s work.

Designed by Jenny Pyke and Helen Walsh, crafted by Helen Walsh, The Lead Balloon

Photographer: Melanie Ryan

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)




BROOKS, Edward

b. 1809, Hampshire UK d. 28 May 1874, Mount Barker SA.

Edward Brooks arrived in South Australia on 22 March 1839, having completed his apprenticeship as a painter and glazier with his uncle, John Beare of New Sarum, and probably to join another uncle, Thomas Hudson Beare already living in Adelaide.

He immediately gained employment as a painter and glazier but also provided leadlight windows for clients.  He appears to have entered business on his own behalf around 1851 when he advertised his Oil, Colour, Glass and Paint Warehouse in Rundle Street, and Kermode Street, North Adelaide in the South Australian Register.  He touted his experience in ‘the three oldest shops in the mother-country, conducted by his relatives’ and expressed a wish ‘to give entire satisfaction in all work entrusted to his care, having determined to execute all work in pure English style’.

In 1855 he executed a single-light window, Faith, Hope and Charity, for Mr. F.T. Dutton, as a memorial to his late wife, which was erected in Christ Church Anglican, North Adelaide.  The window was made up largely of gilded text and was replced in 1901 by a figurative window, Justice and Charity, designed and made by James Powell & Sons in London, a memorial to Mr. and Mrs. Dutton.

The majority of Edward Brooks windows appear to be relatively simple leadlights or zinc lights that were in keeping with the modest buildings of that time and, as was the case at Christ Church, many of his windows have been replaced with figurative stained glass as donors and funds allowed.  However, extant examples can be seen in churches at Robe, Burra, Gawler, Moonta as well as inner city Adelaide.  A series of windows dedicated to his uncle, Thomas Hudson Bearre, was installed at Yankalilla in 1861 and St. John’s at Salisbury contains nine windows by Brooks.

It seems that it was not all plain sailing for Brooks as he appeared in the Insolvency Courts in 1852 and did not appear to declare a final dividend until 23 May 1954.  Apparently he continued to trade, as in 1853 he took an employee, Frederick Sutch, to court for embezzling monies ‘from his master’ in January and February of that year.  The man pleaded guilty of theft of 36 shillings and 18 shillings on two separate occasions, which resulted in a prison sentence of six months.

Brooks lived at Kermode Street, North Adelaide with his wife Rachel (d.1900) and had two sons, Charles Henry and William Hudson.   Brooks died unexpectedly while supervising the installation of windows at the Mount Barker Catholic Church; William continued the business for some time after his father’s death.  It seems that William generally maintained the 1860s style and techniques of his father and was responsible for glazing the windows at the Stirling Catholic Church in 1883.


Donovan and Donovan, 150 Years of Stained & Painred Glass, pp.32-33

South Australian Register, 1850-1901

Last updated 18/02/12



Active 1941

Few details are known about F.G. Anderson and the editor would be pleased to receive information that could be added to this entry.

F.G. Anderson was a resident of Essendon when he designed a window as a memorial to his mother, Mrs. L. J. Anderson, which was installed in the Forrest Street Methodist Church, Bendigo. She had been an active church worker and teacher in the Sunday school. The window was unveiled and dedicated by the Rev. T.H. Indian on Sunday 15 June 1941.

Reference: The Argus, 16 June 1941, p.2.

Last updated13/02/12


AKERBLOM, Peter (Lennart Per-olof)

b. 1950, Lysekil Sweden

Immigrated with his father, Per Ivar Akerblom, to Australia post-Second World War.  Arrived at Maribyrnong Migrant Hostel in Melbourne on a Sunday and used the local ‘Pink Pages’ telephone directory to find suitable employment.  He began working at E.L. Yencken & Co. immediately, watching the experienced hands at first, before moving to cutting blocks of glass – 66 sheets in a block.  His father worked for the window manufacturer, Stegbar and later Peter joined him there, cutting glass for house lots.

Akerblom started making leadlight windows in his spare time and Akerblom Snr. opened Leadlight and Art at North Road, Ormond where both men worked before Akerblom Snr. founded Armadale Stained Glass with Bruce Jones in 1974, then based in High Street, Armadale.  Akerblom Snr. retired and Norman Beilby joined the firm.  Akerblom, Beilby and Jones worked together for eight or nine years.

Akerblom ‘retired’ in 1986 and was working as a builder when he answered an advertisement for a leadlight craftsman at Caulfield Leadlight.   He entered a short-term partnership with Warren Scanlan which lasted for the next 15 years, until Warren retired.  The firm became Caulfield Leadlight Pty. Ltd. in 2002 and continues to operate under this name, although it is now based in the Berwick/Narre Warren area of Melbourne.

Last updated 10/o2/09


BEH19 Jan 2011

BURNS, Vic (Victor Edward)

b. 1924 Richmond Vic.

It was not until 1980 that Vic Burns became a student of Klaus Zimmer’s at Caulfield Institute of Technology. His first commission was eight stained glass windows for a (unamed) Thornbury church which began a 26-year career making 123 windows for 32 churches, chapels and schools. He has always worked in a home-based studio without assistants using leadlight, stained glass and dalle de verre methods of construction.

In 1986 Burns designed a stained glass window of ‘The Nativity at Uluru’ to be the cover of The Advocate Press. It received the Religious Press Association award for the Most Original Design of 1986.

Major Works:

Portrait of Graham Arthur (Capt. 1961), Hawthorn Football Club, Waverley, Vic. 1990

Christ Child with the Elders in the Temple, St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, Camberwell, Vic. 1993

Christ; Madonna (dalle de verre), Jesuit College Chapel, Kew, Vic. 1993

Mary McKillop and Caroline Chisholm; Portrait of Rev. Fr. Pedro Arrupe, St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Richmond, Vic. 1994, 1996

41 dalle de verre windows, St. Peter’s Chanel Catholic Church, Deer Park, Vic. 1997-2006

Christ’s Supper at Emmaus, St. Columb’s Anglican Church, Hawthorn, Vic. 2000

Stained glass window, Kilbreda College, Mentone, Vic. 2002

A Missionary Journey, Convent, Highgate, Perth, WA. 2002

Single dalle de verre window, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Malvern, Vic. 2006

Current studio:

Retired in 2008

Last updated 10/9/2009


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