Espying Heaven

The Stained Glass of Charles Eamer Kempe and his Artists

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Adrian Barlow
  • Cambridge, England: 
    Lutterworth Press
    , January
     144 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


Espying Heaven presents the first full-scale and full-colour survey of the achievement of Charles Eamer Kempe (1837–1907), the outstanding stained-glass designer of his era, and his Studio. From the start, Kempe gathered around him a close-knit team of artists and craftsmen who together developed his vision of a distinctive aesthetic setting for worship based on late medieval art, especially the stained glass of northern Europe. This book illustrates the evolution of 'the Kempe style' and allows readers to judge for themselves the extent to which C.E. Kempe & Co. (1907–1934), set up by Kempe himself, succeeded in working within the tradition established by his founding artists.

This book is intended as a companion to Adrian Barlow's biographical study Kempe: The Life, Art and Legacy of Charles Eamer Kempe (The Lutterworth Press, 2018). In its own right, however, Espying Heaven both documents and celebrates a style of church art and decoration that has had a defining influence upon the Anglican Church worldwide. It highlights key features of Kempe glass, exploring questions of representation, symbolism and technique and suggesting new ways of 'reading' a Kempe window.

With photography by Alastair Carew-Cox.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Adrian Barlow writes and lectures on literature, architecture and stained glass. A Fellow and former President of the English Association, his books include World and Time: Teaching Literature in ContextExtramural: Literature and Lifelong Learning (Lutterworth Press, 2012), and Kempe: The Life, Art and Legacy of Charles Eamer Kempe (Lutterworth Press, 2018).


Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.