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Mr Charles Eamer Kempe

Charles Eamer Kempe was a prominent Victorian stained glass designer and manufacturer, renowned for his intricate and vibrant stained glass artworks. Born on June 29, 1837, in Ovingdean, Sussex, England, Kempe displayed an early passion for art and design. He attended Rugby School and later studied chemistry at Pembroke College, Oxford, where he honed his interest in colors and materials that would eventually become integral to his stained glass work.

Kempe's career took a turn when he inherited his father's estate in 1862, allowing him the financial stability to pursue his artistic interests. He apprenticed under stained glass artist Henry Holiday and worked alongside other notable artists of the time, gaining invaluable experience that shaped his style and approach to stained glass design.

In 1866, Kempe established his own stained glass studio, C.E. Kempe & Co., in London. His studio quickly gained recognition for its exceptional craftsmanship and innovative use of color, leading to numerous commissions for churches, cathedrals, and other public buildings across Britain and internationally.

Kempe's signature style was characterized by rich, jewel-like colors, intricate detailing, and symbolic imagery. He often incorporated medieval techniques and motifs while infusing his designs with a unique Victorian sensibility. His attention to detail and mastery of color gradation set his work apart, earning him widespread acclaim.

Throughout his career, Kempe collaborated with skilled craftsmen, including talented glassmakers and designers, to bring his intricate designs to life. His studio became a hub of creativity, attracting numerous artisans who contributed to the production of exquisite stained glass windows.

Kempe's legacy endures through the thousands of stained glass windows he created, adorning churches and buildings worldwide. His influence on the Victorian Gothic Revival movement and stained glass artistry remains profound, cementing his reputation as one of the foremost figures in this artistic field.


  1. Cole, A. (2001). The Stained Glass of C.E. Kempe and His Artists. Cambridge University Press.
  2. Mander, R. (2018). Kempe: The Life, Art and Legacy of Charles Eamer Kempe. Impress Books.
  3. Bridgeman, H. (2005). Kempe: The Work of the Kempe Studios. The Kempe Society.
  4. Historic England. "Charles Eamer Kempe (1837-1907)." Accessed from:

Stavridi, Margaret, Master of Glass: Charles Eamer Kempe (1837-1907) and The Work of His Firm in Stained Glass and Church Decoration (Hatfield, 1988)

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