Shared heritage, shared resources

Our lab’s research on stained glass in Singapore has been featured in KU Leuven’s Documentation and Research Centre for Religion, Culture and Society (KADOC) newsletter.

As the article notes, these windows are an ‘example of shared heritage’. Design drawings and cartoons in the KADOC archive allowed us to confirm the authorship of a number of windows across the island, and fill gaps in the history of stained glass in Singapore.

Among our finds were the working drawings for a window at the former St Joseph’s Institution campus on Bras Basah Road, which was lost during the Second World War. By comparing this with the one extant photograph of the school chapel we had access to, we were able to confirm the window’s authorship by the famed Dobbelaere atelier, and identify the lost window’s iconographic programme.

Researching these windows has been a good reminder of how interconnected our world has always been, with ideas and materials being transported across the world through networks of trade and missionary work. The project has also highlighted how incredibly useful digital archives are – this article simply wouldn’t have been possible otherwise (saving a trip to Leuven).

I’m particularly grateful to Patricia Quaghebeur of KADOC for her assistance with our research, and her infinite patience with my weak command of the Dutch language.

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