William Burgess designs in stained glass window found in the Abbey Chambers vaults in Bath
THIS MAGNIFICENT WINDOW IS ON DISPLAY AT THE BATH AQUA THEATRE OF GLASS. IT HAS WILLIAM BURGESS DESIGNS FROM THE MINERAL ROOM AT CARDIFF CASTLE. THE MIDDLE PANELS ARE THOUGHT TO BE BY SAUNDERS AND COMPANY. THE WINDOW WAS COMMISSIONED BY MALLET AND COMPANY WHO WERE LOCATED IN THE OCTAGON BUILDING IN BATH IN THE 1800'S. THEY ARE STILL TRADING IN OLD BOND STREET LONDON.THE PAINTER IS F. WEEKS THE YOUNGER WHO WORKED MOST OF HIS LIFE WITH BURGESS ON CARDIFF CASTLE.
William Burgess Window - The Story So Far
The story of this amazing window starts when the first Bath Christmas market came into existence. It was the idea of local councillors Gitte Dawson and Marion McNeir. Being a local trader/artisan I was invited to be a member on the consultative committee. We decided to look for storage space and had a look under the Abbey Chambers where the Bath Tourist Information centre is now. Whilst examining the damp space we came upon a window which looked like a simple plain leaded light about a meter and a half square. I rubbed at the ferrous dirt and underneath was a painted stained glass window. Dave Dixon the city centre manager suggested that I took the window to restore it and see what was under all the dirt and grime. We took it back to our stained glass studios and very skilfully cleaned it. As the dirt came off an absolute master was revealed.
The next task was to find out about the window. We sent images to the William Morris society who said they thought it could be a William Burgess and suggested we go to Cardiff Castle. I sent some photos to Cardiff Castle but nothing happened. Then the Antiques road show came to Bath and we took the window - in fact as it is so large they picked it up - and we went to the Assembly Rooms.
It was a beautiful day on the 23rd April, which also happens to be my birthday, St Georges day and Shakespeare's birthday and death day. I took my mother as I love watching the people who stand around watching the experts discussing the antiques and thought if we got on television it would really make me laugh. Our man was the man with the stripy jacket who advised me to go back to Cardiff Castle. I took the advice of the man in the stripy jacket on the Antiques Roadshow and went back to Cardiff Castle. The coincidence was my son got a job transfer to Bar Revolution in Cardiff which is directly opposite the castle. So I went to stay with him and wandered into the castle explained that I wanted to speak to a William Burgess expert and luckily Matthew Williams was there and I showed him the photos, he got very excited and showed me an identical windows of precious stones such as sapphire, ruby diamond and pearl in the adjoining bathroom of the mineral room. Which is a room which Lord Bute and Burgess designed as homage to Welsh industry predominantly coal (it mirrors what is going on in Dubai which is funded with oil).
The designs in the window were identical to the ones in our window. Matthew came over to Bath to look at the window and said there were defiantly William Burgess designs and there is one extra. The designs in the Cardiff castle do not have the castle emblem on them where as the Bath one does. I have attached photos for you to see. Our window he thinks was created by a company called Saunders and company who Burgess worked with (I have not authenticated that yet, work in progress). Matthew said there are only three other sets one in America, on in Tower House (Burgesses old residence) in London owned by Jimmy Page and Cardiff Castle. The window was definitely commissioned by Mallet and Company who were in Bath Octagon building early to late 1800s, who are still trading in Bond Street London. They sold fine goods and jewellery. I had another chap over who said that the painting in the middle is of very high standard.