In 1856 Burne-Jones was invited to design stained-glass
windows for the firm of James Powell and Sons. From the
outset he showed an extraordinary affinity for the medium.
Over the next five years he designed at least six windows for
Powells and one for the firm of Lavers and Barraud. 5 These
form a distinct group in his work; the colours are particularly
glowing, the lines vigorous and touching. The three-light
window in the former chapel, now the dining hall, of Saint
Andrews College, Bradfield (fig. 4), illustrates the theme of
Christian learning. On the left Adam and Eve stand for the
necessity of labor. In the middle is the destruction of the
Tower of Babel, for the futility of merely human learning. On
the right are Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, for wisdom.
The crowding of figures and the shifts of scale between each
opening could be seen as signs of Burne-Jones’s inexperience
in stained glass. 6 But crowding is typical of all his work at this
date. And he used shifts of scale between neighboring
stained-glass compositions confidently six years later, as we
shall see. What appears to be inexperience is in fact a partic-
ular sense of the relationship between the stained-glass win-
dow and the wall. It is common in stained glass to have a
margin around each light, usually a narrow band of white glass
between two strips of lead. At Bradfield there is no margin.
The coloured glass of Burne-Jones s design goes straight into