The Stevens Competition was founded in 1972 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 are 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 may also fabricate a sample panel to illustrate the design and their level of craftsmanship. The designs are assessed by a panel of experts in the field of architectural glass and a range of prizes are awarded in three classes of entry.
The Competition is organised by The Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass, which was founded in 1328 and remains dedicated to the art and craft of stained glass. In recent times the emphasis has moved from the protection of the personal economic welfare of Glaziers to the preservation of the heritage of stained glass and the support of continuing high standards.
A key part of this work has been the annual competition for young artists, which began in 1932 and which, since 1972, has operated under the banner of the Stevens Competition, the premier competition for stained glass artists in the UK.
For further details on the history of the competition see - The Stevens Competition - A short history by Liveryman Clive Osborne
Stevens Competition Commissions
Since 1987 entrants to the competition have been given details of a specific location around which to create their design. In the early years this was often a theoretical location, but the competition now joins forces with a different organisation each year to present entrants with a site specific location. This offers the exciting possibility of a design being commissioned, which for many of those taking part will represent their first large scale commercial project.
The 2023 Stevens Competition is a co-operation between the Glaziers’ and Mercers’ Companies 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. Entrants will be free to offer a design solution using any form of architectural glass. The Glaziers’ Company will award a range of prizes for the design solutions. The Mercers’ Company will select their chosen solution and work with the artist or architect to finalise the design before commissioning the fabrication and installation of the panels as an integral part of the construction programme.
The full brief for the 2023 Stevens Competition can be downloaded from The Glaziers’ Company website.
Stevens Competition Commission Winners
The 2022 Stevens Competition was a co-operation between the Glaziers’ Company and the Dunsden Owen Association. The task for 2022 was to design a window for All Saints Church in the village of Dunsden, Oxfordshire, to celebrate the period that the wartime poet Wilfred Owen spent in the village as a lay assistant to the vicar of the parish church. This period had a profound effect on him and many commentators can see signs of the mature style of his poetry emerging during his time in the village.
At a ceremony at Glaziers’ Hall in London on Monday 23 May 2022 the commission was awarded to Natasha Redina for her design ‘Transformation’.
A selection of the other windows and panels that have been commissioned since the Millennium is detailed below. Clicking on the name of the artist will take you to a page giving a brief description of the artist and of their winning commission. There are three locations easily accessible to the general public and they are detailed in the location boxes at the bottom of this page.
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, an artist may win both.
2022 - Caroline Small
2021 – Juliet Forrest
2020 – Jessica Lambinet
2019 – James Cockerill
Other distinguished prize winners