The Stevens Competition was established to provide an opportunity for aspiring architectural glass artists, designers, and craftsmen to compete in a format which simulates the process typically undertaken in order to obtain a commercial commission. Entrants were required to develop a design to a specific client brief and provide Artistic and Technical Statements defining the concept behind their design and how the design would be realised. They could also fabricate a sample panel to illustrate the design and their level of craftsmanship. The designs were assessed by a panel of experts in the field of architectural glass.
The Competition was organised by The Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass. The Company made its first appearance 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 more 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.
The competition, which began in 1932, was known as the Stevens Completion from 1972. For further details on the history of the competition see - The Stevens Competition - A short history by Clive Osborne
Stevens Competition Commissions
From 1987 entrants to the competition were given details of a specific location around which to create their designs. In the early years this was often a theoretical location, but subsequently the competition joined forces with a different organisation each year to present entrants with a site specific location. This offered the exciting possibility of a design being commissioned, which for many of those taking part represented their first large scale commercial project.
The 2024 Stevens Competition is a co-operation between the Glaziers’ and the Oriental Club in the West End of London. In a departure from usual practice, entries will be invited from the winners of the 2016 to 2023 Stevens Competitions and the artists commissioned to deliver their design for each of these years. This approach is in celebration of the fact that a commission has been awarded in each of these years.
Stevens Competition Commission Winners
The 2023 Stevens Competition was a co-operation between the Glaziers’ and Mercers’ Company to source two architectural glass panels to be installed in the reception area of a major office development that the Mercers’ Company is currently constructing in the City of London.
The panels will form a key design element in the reception area to the new complex which will be finished to a high standard of contemporary design.
At a ceremony at Glaziers’ Hall in London on Monday 19 June 2023 the commission was awarded to Cathy Lee for her design "A clooth of gold that bright shoon".
2022 Natasha Redina for a window for All Saints Church, Dunsden, Oxfordshire, to celebrate the period that the wartime poet Wilfred Owen spent in the village.
2021 Guoda Kvietinskaite for a large panel to be installed as part of the refurbishment of the main entrance to the Senior School of Haberdashers’ Girls School
2020 Jessica Lambinet for a backlit panel for the entrance to the John Morden Centre
2019 Hilary Ruxton for a backlit panel for the Reception area of University College London Hospital’s Proton Beam Therapy Unit
2018 Jessica Lambinet for two panels for a new dance studio at Eastbourne College
2017 Anne-Catherine Perreau for a backlit panel for one of the gentleman’s restroom’s at The Royal Automobile Club
2016 Louise Hemmings for a Titanic Memorial window at the Church of St Mary, Southampton – see below
2009 Eleanor Lachab née Bird for a staircase window for the Pontifical Mission Societies’ London Headquarters
2008 Michelle Dawson for two illuminated panels for the waiting room of the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson wing of University College London Hospitals.
2002 Helen Whittaker for a new east window for Ellerton priory – see below
1999 Rachel Thomas for a Millennium window at the Church of St Paul, Birmingham – see below
Selected Prize Winners
Since the Glaziers’ annual competition for young artists began in 1932 there have been numerous artists who have gone on to have significant careers in stained glass, who benefited from prizes and awards. A selection is shown below. Brief biographical details can be found by following the links.
Listed first are the four most recent winners of the Brian Thomas Memorial Prize, which is the competition’s top award for new and emerging artists. This award is separate from the Commission Winners listed above, although, as with Jessica Lambinet in 2020 and Cathy Lee in 2023, an artist may win both.
2023 - Cathy Lee
2022 - Caroline Small
2021 – Juliet Forrest
2020 – Jessica Lambinet
2019 – James Cockerill
Other distinguished prize winners