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Description of traditional leadlight
Traditionally, leadlight windows differ from stained glass windows principally in being less complex in design and employing simpler techniques of manufacture. Stained glass windows, such as those commonly found in churches, usually include design components that have been painted onto the glass and fired in a kiln before assembly. The extra time and cost employed in painting and firing the glass usually prohibited its use in domestic architecture. While stained glass windows are found principally in churches and ornate buildings, leadlight windows, which rarely employ painted components, are much more common, and from the 1860s to the 1930s were a regular architectural feature in many private houses and cottages, where their style is often a clue to the age of the building.
Leadlights or leaded lights are decorative windows made of small sections of glass supported in lead cames. The technique of creating windows using glass and lead came is discussed at came glasswork. The term leadlight could be used to describe all windows in which the glass is supported by lead, but traditionally, a distinction is made between stained glass windows and leadlights, the former being associated with the ornate windows of churches and other such works of architecture and the latter with the windows of vernacular commercial and domestic architecture and defined by its simplicity.
Since the traditional technique of setting glass into lead cames is the same in both cases, in the late 20th century the divisions between "leadlight" and "stained glass" became blurred, and the terms are now often used interchangeably for any window employing this technique, while the term "stained glass" is often extended to apply to any windows, sculpture, and works of art using coloured glass.
An Art Deco domestic casement window, Melbourne, Australia, shows a wide variety of textured glass with some streaky glass in muted colours.
This domestic leadlighting above the residential entrance of a 19th-century Australian hotel shows a use of opaque glass which allows the name to be visible both by day and night.
A leadlight church window, combines traditional diamond panes with the pale translucent and textured quality of modern so-called "cathedral glass".
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