The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Although traditionally the term was predominantly applied to windows in churches and other significant buildings the creations of modern stained glass artists also include sculptures and other items.
Coloured glass has been produced since ancient times. Both the Egyptians and the Romans excelled at the manufacture of small coloured glass objects. Evidence of stained glass windows in churches and monasteries in Great Britain can be found as early as the 7th century.
Stained glass as an art form reached its height in the Middle Ages when it became a major pictorial form and was used to illustrate the narratives of the Bible. Stained glass as an art form saw a revival in the 19th century with new techniques added to the more traditional techniques. The copper foil method was invented as an alternative to lead and saw stained glass evolve into sculptures and other decorative items as opposed to just windows. Artists sought to transform an ancient art form into a contemporary one exploring the medium of glass in different ways.
Here are some great examples I have found of hand crafted stained glass: