Best places to see stained glass


This is inspired by the thread on ideal vacation spots. I have a strong interest in stained glass and I know that of course there are many beautiful locations/churches in the United States and Europe, among other places. I live in the Washington DC area and there is the Shrine among other places. If you were to go to see stained glass in Catholic churches/cathedrals, etc. where would you go, especially if you focused on historically interesting places? Between Germany/Austria, Italy, France and England there is a lot - also any recommendations for the United States?

I’m also interested in books about stained glass and I own some beautiful ones; I’ve searched amazon and other bookstores and also found some books at specialized art publishers but I don’t know how many cathedrals or other places sell books about stained glass.

I’m also wondering about creating works of art related to stained glass, either through learning to make it or photographing it (subject to copyright and etc) or both. However I have mild cerebral palsy that particularly affects my right hand side so a hobby that involves cutting glass may not be safe. Photographing it is probably a lot more feasible.

so my questions are - if you were going to go somewhere to see stained glass in person, where would you go and why? And I’d appreciate recommendations in the US/Canada as well as Europe. Also does anyone know of any places to purchase rare or obscure books on stained glass other than amazon or other online or specialized art publishers. and if anyone has interest making stained glass or photographing it either as an amateur or professionally I’d be interested in hearing about that too.

There have been a lot of serious topics in family life lately, as the other poster pointed out. This is a bit lighter. I’ve been interested in this for a long time. thanks.


If you visit Chicago, be sure to visit the St. James Chapel. It was part of Archbishop Quigley Prepatory Seminary, but now it is part of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center:

Tour information is included somewhere in the above link.

During the academic year, Loyaola University celebrates mass there on Sunday evening:

It is patterned after St. Chapelle in France and is considered to have the best stained glass windows in the US after the Shrine in DC .Here’s a picture to wet your appetite - that will answer any remaining “why” questions:


The world of stained glass windows starts and ends with the cathedral in Chartres, France.

Also, St. Severin’s in Paris is a mid-thirteenth century church (flambouyant gothic) with wonderful windows from the 1920’s.


Thanks for the recommendations! That picture is beautiful and I plan to look into stained glass in Chicago b/c I have family there and I know that w/the Frank Lloyd Wright, Chagall, Tiffany (I think) and Catholic/other religious glass there is a lot to see. Amazon does have a book on stained glass in Chicago that looks really good.

I have some information on France but I don’t know how much pertains to Chartres per se. I’ll have to look through what I have.

One thing I never thought much about was synagogues with stained glass but some do have it; Chagall designed some stained glass windows for various places in Jerusalem, including synagogues and hospitals I think.

I’ve also learned that you can view stained glass slideshows for free on youtube so that could be a source of information also.


The Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, OH has incredibly beautiful stained glass windows. DH and I came across it by accident on a trip to Zanesville several years ago. The church is out in the middle of the countryside…and very beautiful.


My Childhood Lutheran Church has amazing Stained Glass windows. Also the National Cathedral (not Catholic) has amazing ones that depict a lot of US history, one even has a moon rock embeded in it.


The great window in the North Transept of the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, KY is well worth a look. It depicts the Council of Ephesus. The whole Basilica itself is a scale model of Notre Dame.


Mary Queen of the Universe Basilica in Orlando Fla.


There are a lot of churches you can go to to see some really beautiful stained glass windows. A church in Jasper, IN has some beautiful stained glass windows. It’s called Saint Joseph Catholic Church.


The stained glass windows may be so-so, but you would have to see the mosaics in the Cathedral Basilica (aka ‘new cathedral’) in St. Louis. There’s also a rather neat bit downstairs that shows some of the mosaic process (from concept sketch to mosaic techniques used).

But I’m also fond of the stained glass in my old parish (Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Syracuse, NY).


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