Frederick Charles Eden, architect and stained glass designer: drawings

Scope and Content

94 items, most of which are drawings in pen and ink with colour wash designs for stained glass windows, some mounted on card. Others are black and white or colour photographs. Many of the pieces are annotated in either ink or pencil and include details such as Eden's signature and address, place-names, identification of Saints, dimensions, costings etc. Also a portrait photograph of the designer.

Administrative / Biographical History

Frederick Charles Eden (1864-1944), architect and stained glass designer, was born in Hove, Sussex, to barrister Frederick Morton Eden and his first wife Louisa Anne née Parker. Eden spent much of his early childhood in Boughton House, Northamptonshire, where his father was an agent to the fifth duke of Buccleuch. After his mother's death, he spent much of his time at Melford Hall in Long Melford, Suffolk, where his mother had been brought up. Both houses were acknowledged by Eden to have been a great influence on his taste.

Eden was educated at Wellington College (1877-1882) and Keble College, Oxford (1882-1886). Eden later designed a cricket pavilion (1903) and war memorial for Keble College. On completing his education he joined William Butterfield's office. In 1887 he moved to that of Walter John Nash Millard and W.G.B. Lewis before becoming a pupil of Fairfax Blomfield Wade, a notable textile designer. In 1889 Eden joined the office of George Bodley and Thomas Garner, where the managing clerk was the church architect Walter Tapper (1861-1935), who became a lifelong friend. In 1890 Eden set up on his own practice at 6 Staple Inn, Holborn.

Eden built three churches during his career - St John the Baptist, Harpenden, Hertfordshire (1908), St George the Martyr, Wash Common, Berkshire (1933) and King Charles the Martyr, Potters Bar, Middlesex (1939). He also designed a colonial cathedral at Masai, Tanganyika (United Republic of Tanzania). His two most significant urban commissions were the interiors of St Matthew's, Bethnal Green, London (ca.1918) and George Street's Gothic All Saints', Clifton, Bristol (1919 and 1928). Both churches were destroyed by bombing during the Second World War.

Eden also worked on church restorations, adding Anglo-Catholic interior embellishments, his earliest being at St Protus and St Hyacinth, Blisland, Cornwall (1894-1896), followed by the interiors of Holy Trinity Church, Eltham, Kent and All Saints' Church, North Cerney, Gloucestershire. He was a leading authority on chancel screens in England and Wales.

Eden set up his own stained glass workshop in about 1909. His stained glass works include windows at St Margaret's, Oxford and the lady chapel window at St Margaret's, Barking, Essex (1913). His 'glass book', containing designs for more than 200 windows, is now in the Royal Institute of British Architects library and covers the period 1913-1932.

Eden was also curator of the ecclesiastical furnishings display at the British Empire Exhibition, Wembley, in 1924 and contributed articles to architectural journals prior to the First World War. Although Eden never had a pupil, he was a profound influence on church architect Stephen Dykes Bower (1903-1994). In 1932 Eden suffered a stroke that resulted in the closure of his glass workshop. He continued working as an architect until 1928. He died from a coronary thrombosis, unmarried, in 1944.

Conditions Governing Access

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:

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

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Janette Ray Booksellers, 2013.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:

Custodial History

Purchased by Janette Ray at Inch's Books from a stained glass artist in York, name unknown, who had been associated with John Ward Knowles stained glass business. Sold to a private collector in South Yorkshire and was subsequently purchased by Janette Ray Booksellers in 2012.