The Bowes Museum > Exhibitions > 2016 > Echoes of Light

Echoes of Light


30 July – 30 October 2016 - Engraved Glass Exhibition by the Northern Branch of the Guild of Glass Engravers

The Northern Branch of the Guild of Glass Engravers is the foremost group of glass engravers in the North of England. The aim of the exhibition was to inform, educate and make the public aware of the art of glass engraving, by exhibiting glass engraved using modern engraving techniques, in the hope that it will arouse their interest in this wonderful medium.

Many exhibits on display were for sale, and comprised of different types of glass including cased coloured glass, vases, bowls, goblets, etc, covering a wide range of subject matter, using a variety of engraving methods, which includes surface, intaglio and stipple engraving.

Methods of engraving the glass include using an electrically driven hand held drill. This method of engraving has enormously expanded the possibilities of decorative engraving, allowing huge projects such as Church screens, windows, and many architectural subjects. Sand blasting and acid etching add to the possibilities.

Copper wheel engraving was the most common method in the 17th and 18th century. Using a lathe with a diamond or copper wheel, where the glass is presented to a rotating wheel, many effects can be obtained, from deep intaglio to surface engraving. This is extremely skilful and requires many years of practice.

Stipple engravers use a hand held stylus or scriber containing diamond or tungsten carbide fine point, where the design is made up from dots created by tapping the stylus on the glass. This method was widely used in early Dutch glass of the16th Century but the practice almost disappeared.

Contemporary glass engraving is new to the majority of the public and we have found that visiting an exhibition of engraved glass encourages them to ask questions about it and to appreciate the artistic ability of the engraver.

The Northern Branch members meet quarterly at Patrick Brompton near Bedale to hold engraving sessions, weekend tutorials with invited well-known glass engravers — who possess a lot of knowledge and experience — and to discuss anything to do with glass engraving.

The Guild of Glass Engravers is a charitable organisation with worldwide membership, whose main objective is to inform, educate and captivate the public about the art of glass engraving. To find more information about the Guild and its Branches, please visit the Guild website.

Related Events


Glass Engraving Demonstrations
10 September, 10.00 - 2.45
17 September, 24 September, 1 October, 10.00 - 3.30

Join members of the Northern Branch of the Guild of Glass Engravers for live demonstrations of their art in the Museum’s ceramics galleries and ask any questions about types of glass, engraving techniques and the equipment used. Free with admission. 


Try your hand at Glass Engraving
24 September, 10.15 – 11.4512.00 – 1.30 and 2.00 – 3.30, £18.00 Adults, £15.00 Friends of The Bowes Museum
Join Sandra Snaddon, Fellow of the Guild of Glass Engravers for an introductory workshop. Learn how to use an electric engraving drill and how to apply a design to a glass by choosing appropriate burrs to achieve the desired effect. You will have a finished engraved glass to take away and the opportunity to visit the glass engraving display in the Ceramics Galleries. Participants must be 16+. To book click on the time of the session you would like to attend.

Try your hand at Glass Engraving
22 October, 10.15 – 11.4512.00 – 1.30 and 2.00 – 3.30, £18.00 Adults, £15.00 Friends of The Bowes Museum
Join Sandra Snaddon, Fellow of the Guild of Glass Engravers for an introductory workshop. Learn how to use an electric engraving drill and how to apply a design to a glass by choosing appropriate burrs to achieve the desired effect. You will have a finished engraved glass to take away and the opportunity to visit the glass engraving display in the Ceramics Galleries. Participants must be 16+. To book click on the time of the session you would like to attend.

The Bowes Museum grounds are open!


Due to the government announcement on Thursday 17 December, that County Durham is to remain in COVID tier 3 restrictions, The Bowes Museum unfortunately will remain closed to all visitors. However, the grounds remain open to visitors from 10.00 - 4.00 daily, and we are currently hosting a woodland fairy trail, two spring trails and outdoor guided tours are available from 29 March 2021.

As we have already been shut for a number of weeks and there is much uncertainty around possible further restrictions, we have decided to use this period to undertake some work in Café Bowes, alongside performing some much-needed structural repairs to the building, notably to the windows. January and February are usually quieter times for the Museum, often due to severe weather, so we believe that this is the best time to carry out such works with the least amount of disruption to our visitors.

We have therefore decided to remain closed for a period of four weeks following any near-future tier 2 announcement from the government, as this will allow us time to deep clean the Museum prior to reopening our doors once again. We will, of course, keep you updated as the guidelines change.

Your ongoing support during these unprecedented times is hugely appreciated and we very much look forward to welcoming you back into the building as early as possible in 2021.

We hope to be able to offer a few COVID-safe outdoor events over the coming months, about which we shall make further announcements as soon as possible.