Researched and written by Karla Whitmore
Percy Oliver Barnard was born in Wales in 1895. His family, who were English, migrated to Australia around 1912. His father, Joseph Barnard, had worked in leadlights in England and continued in various locations in Australia before setting up his Brisbane business in 1928. The company he founded, Albion Glass & Mirror Co. Pty Ltd, is still operating.[i]
Percy Barnard pursued a career as a maker of leadlights and stained glass.[ii] In 1929 he was living in Newcastle and employed at F. Ash Ltd (not to be confused with F. Ashwin & Co. of Sydney which had closed by that time), working on the east window at Hamilton Methodist Church. It seems to have introduced Barnard to the Methodists and he fulfilled many commissions for them over his career. In 1930 he made four windows for the Methodist Church at Singleton where he gave a talk on ‘The How and Why of the Art of Stained Glass’.
Barnard moved to Sydney where he was foreman of a leadlight business on the north shore working alongside designer Wally Verrall and glazier Harry Jennings.[iii] He established and operated Standard Glass Studios at 12 Parramatta Road, Strathfield before moving to 183 Parramatta Road, Concord in the 1930s until the 1950s. In 1931 he made a window for the Crows Nest Methodist Church and in 1934 three windows for the Narooma Tower, an addition to the Methodist Church at Wollongong. The central Wollongong window was a memorial to soldiers who died in World War I. That same year he made four windows for the Church of Christ at Taralga. A memorial window to Brigadier General G.M. Macarthur Onslow made by James Powell & Sons of London was installed by Barnard in St John’s, Camden in 1937.[iv]
Fig. 1: Advertisement from The Catholic Press,
St Christopher’s Church, Canberra has six windows made by Barnard to designs by freelance designer Wally Verrall. They depict St Christopher, Mary Magdalene, Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Conception, St Michael and St Patrick and were installed in 1940-41 and in 1941 Barnard installed a series of five memorial windows in the Gunning Methodist Church.[v] Norman Carter, prominent painter and designer of stained glass windows, used Standard Glass Studios to execute a number of his windows.[vi] Carter’s design for the historical subject, The Signing of the Scottish Covenant in 1636 was made for Drummoyne Presbyterian Church in 1931.
Fig. 2: Norman Carter (designer) P.O. Barnard (maker), The Signing of the Scottish Covenant in 1636, 1931, Presbyterian Church Drummoyne (NSW)
Photographer: Karla Whitmore
In 1941 P.O. Barnard advertised as ‘specialist in stained glass windows and glazing leadlights’ and supplier to Epping, Wollongong and Canberra churches. Leadlights included those at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium which opened in 1933.
During the Second World War, stained glass was considered a ‘non-essential industry’, and unless firms had other income streams, studios were forced to close their doors for the duration. One major undertaking that Barnard secured was the removal of the 1868 John Hardman & Co. multi-light east window at St Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral, Sydney for safe-keeping during the war.[viii]
Fig. 3: Norman Carter (designer) P.O. Barnard (maker), Greater Love Hath No Man…, 1932, Presbyterian Church Drummoyne (NSW)
Photographer: Karla Whitmore
A set of windows was made for the Bundanoon Church in the southern highlands in 1947. In the 1950s Barnard employed Stephen Moor who had migrated from Hungary and went on to establish Ars Sacra studio at Strathfield and David Saunders, an English migrant who subsequently established Eroica studios in the Rocks. Barnard’s last reported window was made in 1952 for the former Chatswood Central Church, now a heritage listed site. Barnard, an active member of the Christadelphians, died in 1964.
[i] Information on Barnard’s family and early life was provided to Karla Whitmore by Janet Barnard, telephone conversation, 26 February 2018.
[ii] According to stained glass artist Kevin Little, Barnard was a maker only and others designed the windows made on his studios. Kevin Little in telephone conversation with Karla Whitmore, 25 February 2018.
[iii] Information on the artists who worked for Barnard, Kevin Little, Wally Verrall, Harry Jennings, Mark Hill, Stephen Moor and David Saunders, was provided by Kevin Little, telephone conversation, 25 February 2018.
[iv] Camden News, 21 January 1937, p.1.
[v] Crookwell Gazette, 26 November 1941, p. 6.
[viii] Daily Telegraph, 29 June 1942, p. 1.