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Professor Sarah Brown
Course Director, MA in Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management



BA (London), MA (York), FSA, FRHistS

Sarah Brown specialises in stained glass, its history and conservation. She is course director of the department’s MA in Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management, a role that she combines with her responsibilities as Director of the York Glaziers Trust where she has recently overseen the conservation of the Great East Window of York Minster of 1405-8. She joined the History of Art Department in 2008 after a long career with the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England and latterly with English Heritage.

Sarah has worked on ecclesiastical architecture and stained glass of all periods, while specialising in the history and conservation of stained glass of the Middle Ages and Gothic Revival. She is particularly interested in the intersection between art and craft and in the history of stained glass restoration in Great Britain.

Sarah is chairman of the British committee of the Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi based in the University of York’s Stained Glass Studies Research Cluster.

Sarah is Director and Chief Executive of the York Glaziers Trust, responsible for the care of the stained glass of York Minster and for projects for external clients throughout the UK.



  • Stained glass c1300-1950
  • Stained glass techniques and technologies
  • Stained glass restoration histories


Sarah’s recent and current research focuses on the stained glass of York Minster.

Details about Sarah's work on Great East Window at York Minster can be viewed here.

Research group(s)


In Progress

Oliver Fearon

Banners, Badges and Beasts: Illuminating the art and craft of the heraldic glazing of gentry houses in late medieval England (AHRC-funded CDA with Glasgow Life (the Burrell Collection))

Veronica Smith

Forgotten Glassworlds: Secular decorative glazing of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

Catherine Spirit

Antiquarianism, Fragmentation and Ornament: Continental Stained Glass in East Anglia c.1800-1845


Peter Martin

The European stained glass trade, with special reference to the trade between the Rhineland and the United Kingdom 1820-1835

Marie-Helene Groll

William Burrell, Thomas & Drake and the transatlantic trade in stained glass in stained glass 1900-1950 (AHRC-funded CDA with Glasgow Life (the Burrell Collection))

Louise Hampson

The history and development of the stained and painted glass of York Minster, from the late fifteenth century to 1829

Anya Heilpern

The painted glass of Winchester Cathedral, c.1495 - c.1528

Sarah is particularly interested in hearing from students interested in working on aspects of the relationship between stained glass art and craft and in the interactions between art history and conservation.

Katie Harrison (co-supervised with Prof Tim Ayers)

Illuminating Narrative: An interdisciplinary Investigation of the fifteenth-century St Cuthbert Window at York Minster (Wrocah-funded PhD)


Selected publications

  • The Great East Window of York Minster: An English Masterpiece (London, 2018)
  • Stained Glass at York Minster (London, 2017)
  • Pews, Benches and Chairs (London: Ecclesiological Society, 2011, co-edited with Trevor Cooper)
  • Ervin Bossanyi: Vision, Art and Exile (Reading, 2008, author and co-editor with Jo Bossanyi)
  • ‘Our Magnificent Fabrick’. York Minster: An Architectural History c1220-1500 (Swindon, 2003)
  • A Fragile Inheritance. The Care of Stained Glass and Historic Glazing. A Handbook for Custodians (London, 2002, co-authored with Sebastian Strobl)
  • Fairford Parish Church: A medieval church and its stained glass (Stroud, 2007, a revised edition of Brown & MacDonald 1997)
Book Chapters and Articles
  • 'The medieval glazier at work' in E.C Pastan and B. Kurmann-Schwarz (eds.), Investigations in Medieval Stained Glass (Leiden 2019), 9-22.
  • ‘Reading Coloured Light: Stained Glass  c.1350-1550’ in P.S. Barnwell (ed.), Places of Worship in Britain and Ireland 1350-1550 (Donington, 2019), 25-59.
  • 'Archbishop Richard Scrope's lost window in York Minster' in S.Powell (ed.) Saints and Cults in Medieval England, (Donington 2017), 299-317.
  • 'The West Window of St George's Chapel: A Restoration History' in Nigel Sauland & Tim Tatton-Brown (eds) St George's Chapel, Windsor: History and Heritage (Wimborne Minster, 2010), 114-124
  • ‘Repackaging the Past: the Survival, Preservation and Reinterpretation of the Medieval Windows of St Mary’s Fairford, Gloucestershire’ in Virginia Chieffo Raguin (ed), Art, Piety and Destruction in the Christian West 1500-1700 (Farnham 2010), 91-112
  • ‘Stained Glass Conservation at York Minster: Past Histories, Future Challenges’, in L. Pilosi, M. Shepherd and S. Strobl (eds.) The Art of Collaboration: Stained Glass Conservation in the Twenty-First Century Proceedings of the 2009 Corpus Vitrearum Forum on the Restoration and Conservation of Stained Glass Windows (London/Turnhout 2010), 57-64
  • ‘Recovering the Past – Thinking about the Future: Writing about stained glass in England, c.1750-c.1850’, in Karine Boulanger and Michel Hérold (eds) Le Vitrail et les Traités du Moyen Ages á nos Jours, Corpus Vitrearum 2007 International Colloquium Transactions, (Bern 2008)
  • ‘Catholic Church Building in England’, Ecclesiology Today 38, pp.7-24
  • ‘“So Perfectly Satisfactory”. The Stained Glass of Thomas Willement’ in Sarah Brown (ed) A History of the Stained Glass of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, Historical Monographs Relating to St George’s Chapel Vol. 18 , pp.109-145 (Windsor, 2006)
  • ‘Image, Liturgy and the Topography of Devotion: St Mary’s Church, Fairford’ in Ecclesiology Today, 35 (2005), 3-22.
  • ‘The Medieval Stained Glass’ in Richard K Morris and Ron Shoesmith (eds) Tewkesbury Abbey, History, Art and Architecture (Logaston, 2003), 183-196




  • Encounters with the Material Object


  • Art and Imagery in York Minster
  • The History and Theory of Stained Glass Conservation
  • Advanced Techniques of Stained Glass Conservation
  • MA Stained Glass Conservation Core Course 1: Basic Glass Handling and an Introduction to Stained Glass Conservation
  • MA Stained Glass Conservation Core Course 2: Research Skills for Stained Glass Conservators

External activities


  • Scientific Advisory Board of the Institut Català de Recerca en Patrimoni Cultural (2019-)
  • Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi Great Britain, The Corpus of Medieval Window Glass, British Academy Major Research Project
  • Corpus Vitrearum International
    General Secretary, International Scientific Committee for the Conservation of Stained Glass
  • British Archaeological Association
    Honorary Vice President
  • Worshipful Company of Glaziers
    Liveryman and board member, The Glaziers Trust
  • The Stained Glass Museum, Ely
    Trustee and Conservation Advisor
  • Society of Antiquaries, William and Jane Morris Committee
    member (2018-)
  • Durham Cathedral, Fabric Advisory Committee
    member (2018-)
  • Oxford Diocesan Advisory Committee (2018-)
  • York Diocesan Advisory Committee (2018-)
  • York Foundation for Conservation and Craftsmanship
  • International Advisory Board, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland, Centre for Stained Glass Studies
    member (2018-)
  • International Advisory Board, Institut Catala de Recerca en Patrimoni Cultural, University of Girona, Catalonia
    member (2019-)

Contact details

Professor Sarah Brown
Course Director, MA in Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management
Department of History of Art
Centre for Medieval Studies
King’s Manor

Tel: 01904 324987

Current office hours are available to view here