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

Complete our quick survey to help us improve staff profile pages



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

Sarah Brown is a Senior Lecturer specialising 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 is currently overseeing 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 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 School, of which she is the director.

Sarah is Director and Chief Executive of the York Glaziers Trust, responsible for the care of the stained glass of York Minster.

Departmental roles



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



Sarah is currently working on the medieval stained glass of two Gloucestershire monuments, the fourteenth-century glazing of Tewkesbury Abbey and the early sixteenth-century windows of St Mary’s parish church in Fairford. Issues of authorship, patronage and audience reception, both medieval and Post-Reformation, link the two.

She is also contributing to the research and examination of the Great East Window of York Minster, John Thornton’s documented master-piece of 1405-8, a project that will shed new light on many aspects of stained glass design and production in the later Middle Ages.

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

Research group(s)




Sarah is currently supervising four PhD students (one full time, three part-time), working on the medieval stained glass of Winchester Cathedral; the post-medieval history of the stained glass of York Minster; Burrell, Thomas and Drake and the transatlantic trade in stained glass 1900-1950; and the technology and conservation of medieval window lead.

She 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.



Selected publications

  • 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 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


  • Painting on Light: Stained Glass in the Medieval Tradition
  • 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


Invited talks and conferences

  • Rediscovering a medieval Master-Piece: John Thornton's Stained Glass Apocalypse
    Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts, 30 May 2014

Contact details

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

Tel: 01904 324987