Roy Walter Coomber FMGP (1930-2016) had a wonderfully long and prolific career in stained glass, and his work can be found across the England and Wales and North America. It started at the age of 14 with Cox and Barnard Ltd in Hove, where he combined practical experience with night school classes in drawing and design at Brighton College of Art. In 1946 he moved to Barton, Kinder & Alderson (BKA), which had been established by former Cox & Barnard employees. In 1954, having completed his apprenticeship, he moved to Goddard & Gibbs in London, but the commute encouraged a return to Brighton, where in 1959 he rejoined BKA, now with the chance to design and paint.
In 1961 Roy Coomber moved to Devon and the studio of J. Wippell & Co. Ltd as resident cartoonist and designer, and where over the following 18 years he would design for projects in both the UK and the USA.
In 1979 he relocated to Bristol to become Studio Manager of John Hall Studios, which subsequently became James Clark & Eaton and then Solaglas. His final move came in 1988 when he established his own studio, building on the freelance designs and cartoons he had been producing for a number of American studios, but now adding painting and restoration, as well as encouraging the next generation of artists, such as Laura Gilroy AMGP and Eleanor Lachab. Two examples of Roy Coomber’s work in these years are shown opposite. Both are at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Hartpury, Gloucestershire.
Source: Roy Coomber’s obituary by Laura Gilroy in The Journal of Stained Glass, Vol. XL (2016)
Roy Coomber and the Worshipful Company of Glaziers
The Worshipful Company of Glaziers first appears in written records in 1364-65 during the reign of Edward III, when the emphasis was on the protection of the personal economic welfare of Glaziers. However, in recent times the focus has shifted to the preservation of the heritage of stained glass and to the support of education in architectural glass art, design and conservation.
In 1932 the Company launched an annual competition for young artists, which from 1972 operated under the banner of the Stevens Competition. The competition provided an opportunity for aspiring architectural glass artists, designers, and craftsmen to compete in a format which simulated the process typically undertaken in order to obtain a commercial commission.
Roy Coomber won awards from the Company in 1954-55, 1955-56 and 1958-59.