Biographical / Historical
Frederick Wilson (1858-1932) was born in Dublin, Ireland to Charles and Elizabeth Wilson. He and his six siblings were raised in Liverpool and London and though little is known about Wilson’s early artistic education, it is probable that he received some training from his father who was an artist. Why and how he became a stained glass designer is also unknown, but he lived and worked in England as an artist until he was 34. In 1891 he married Mary Gwladys Morgan and the following year they immigrated to the United States. The couple had three children: Gladys, Sylvia and Beatrice.
After arriving in America, Wilson worked briefly for Alfred Godwin and Company, a stained glass studio in Philadelphia, and in 1893 he began working for the prestigious glass designer Louis Comfort Tiffany at his studios in New York City. The ecclesiastical designs he created were successfully transformed into the opalescent stained glass windows favored by churches at the turn of the century. Out of the team of religious window designers employed by Tiffany, “Wilson emerged as the most gifted, prolific and long-serving.” He was appointed head of the ecclesiastical department at Tiffany Studios in 1899 and continued working for Tiffany until 1923 when he and his family decided to move to Los Angeles, CA. In California, Wilson worked for The Judson Studios, which was one of the most prominent stained glass studios on the West Coast. He remained there until his death in 1932.
Altogether Frederick Wilson created designs for at least six different firms: Heaton, Butler and Bayne in London; Alfred Godwin and Company in Philadelphia; Tiffany Studios in New York City; The Gorham Manufacturing Company, Ecclesiastical Department in Providence, Rhode Island; The Los Angeles Art Glass Company; and The Judson Studios in Los Angeles.
Jeffrey Rush Higgins is a great-grandson of Frederick Wilson.
Duncan, A., Eidelberg, M., & Harris, N. (1989). "Masterworks of Louis Comfort Tiffany." New York: Abrams.
Wright, D. C. (2009). Frederick Wilson: 50 years of stained glass design. "Journal of Glass Studies," 51, 198-214.