Lowndes & Drury, stained glass makers: records

Scope and Content

Accounts, ledgers and cash books (1893 -1987); sketch books and designs (mainly undated, ca. 1890s - ca. 1900s); photographs of staff, production, premises and stained glass windows (mainly undated, ca. 1890s - ca. 1900s);correspondence and printed ephemera (ca. 1890s - ca. 1981); partnership agreements, indentures and articles of association (1900 - 1953); advertising material (ca. 1900 - 1973); building book (1906); wage books (1906 - 1971); indexed estimate and costing books (ca.1909 - 1939); work and colour books (ca.1912 - ca. 1966); address books (ca. 1917 - ca. 1918); designs by Herbert Hendrie and Francis Spear (1919 - ca. 1957); invoice and letter books (1925 - 1973); bank balance journal (1930 - 1940); order books (1931 - 1965); project papers relating to Christopher Whall, Tonbridge School and Ardingly College (ca. 1934 - 1967); purchase book (1950 - 1953); leases (1953); minute book (1953 - 1967); delivery book (1961 - 1971).

Administrative / Biographical History

Lowndes & Drury was established in 1897 to provide stained glass artists with the studio facilities, staff and equipment to carry out their commissions freelance, making them independent of commercial stained glass firms. The firm was founded by the stained glass artist Mary Lowndes (1856 - 1929) and glazier Alfred John Drury (1868 - 1940) who first met in 1893 whilst working at the stained glass window firm, Britten & Gilson. As well as producing stained glass windows, Mary Lowndes was an active member of the Women's suffrage movement and she chaired and designed banners, posters and postcards for the Artists' Suffrage League (1907 - ca. 1916). Alfred John Drury taught at the Royal College of Art and LCC Central School of Arts & Crafts in the 1900s alongside Christopher Whall (1849 - 1924), one of the leading members of the Arts and Crafts Movement. The firm established their first premises in 1897, at 35 Park Walk, Chelsea and in 1906 moved to new studios and workshops, partly designed by C. H. B. Quennell, on Lettice Street, Fulham. These new premises became known as 'The Glass House' and the studios were rented to stained glass artists who paid for the services of Lowndes & Drury from their commission fees.

Artists who used the premises or were associated with the firm include Hugh Arnold, Robert Anning Bell, Jasper Brett, Harry Clarke, Margaret Chilton, Alice Erskine, Mabel Esplin, Rosemary Everett, Emily Ford, Gordon Forsyth, Moira Forsyth, Joseph Wilson Foster, Joan Fulleylove, Wilhelmina Geddes, Isabel Gloag, George Kruger Gray, Herbert Hendrie, Henry Holiday, Joan Howson, Jessie Jacob, Edith Lungley, Gerald Moira, Karl Parsons, Lilian Pocock, Arnold Robinson, Margaret Rope, Margaret Aldrich Rope, Baron Arlid Rosenkrantz, Theodora Salusbury, Clement Skilbeck, Gladys Spawforth, Francis H. Spear, Martin Travers, Caroline Townsend, Morris Meredith Williams and Paul Woodroofe. Many of these artists were former pupils of Christopher Whall and became leading stained glass artists of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Alfred John Drury's son, Victor Drury (1899 - 1988) had grown up working for the firm and although he briefly worked in partnership with E. Liddall Armitage in the early 1920s he returned to work for Lowndes & Drury in the mid 1920s and took over the running of the firm in the 1930s. In September 1953, Lowndes & Drury became incorporated as a Limited company and closed after Victory Drury's retirement in July 1973.


This catalogue is a complete description of the archive to file level.

Access Information

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Donald Drury via the William Morris Gallery, 2008.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Related Material

Archive and manuscript sources: Papers of Mary Lowndes (NA1402) and the Artists' Suffrage League (2/ASL), at The Women's Library, London Metropolitan University. Papers of Mary Lowndes (BDR/C6/1/75), at Birmingham City Archives.


Armstrong, Nancy, 'Lowndes, Mary (1856 - 1929)' , Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

Cormack, Peter, ' Obituaries: Victor Drury (1899 - 1988)' , The Journal of Stained Glass, Volume XIX No.I (1989 -1990) ISBN 0 9510334 3 3.

Drury, Donald V, ' Lowndes and Drury: a memoir of the 50s' , The Journal of Stained Glass, volume XXI No. X (1997) ISBN 0 9510334 8 4.

O'Donoghue, Ann, 'Mary Lowndes - a brief overview of her life and work' , The Journal of Stained Glass, volume XXIV (2000, published 2001) ISBN 0 9540457 0 X.

William Morris Gallery, 'Christopher Whall 1849 - 1924: Arts & Crafts stained glass worker' (London, 1979) ISBN 0 901974 10 2.

Corporate Names