Pollokshields Heritage Heritage Trail Two 
Stephen Adam (1847-1910)

Stephen AdamResponsible for Surbiton, Clifton Hall, Pollokshields Parish Church, St Ninian’s Episcopal Church and Sandhurst.

One of Scotland’s foremost stained glass artists, Stephen Adam was born and educated in Edinburgh. Among his fellow students were artist Robert Gibb and writer Robert Louis Stevenson. He was apprenticed to renowned stained glass artist James Ballantine of Ballantine & Allan, house painters, glass stainers and japanners. He moved with his family to Glasgow in 1864 and enrolled as a student at the Government School of Art which became the Glasgow School of Art. In 1865 he was awarded the silver medal for the best design of a stained glass panel. This success brought him to the attention of Daniel Cottier who recruited him as an assistant and when in 1869 Cottier moved to London, he entrusted Adam to oversee completion of outstanding commissions.

He left Cottier’s studio in 1870 and went into various partnerships until 1894, and in 1896 took his son Stephen Adam Jnr into partnership, but due to acrimony it was dissolved in 1904. He then employed talented young designer, Alfred Alexander Webster, as his assistant. Stephen Adam published two books on stained glass: ‘Stained Glass – Its history and development’ (1877) and ‘The truth in decorative art – stained glass Medieval and Modern’ (1896). Examples of Stephen Adam stained glass can be viewed at Pollokshields Parish Church (1878 and 1900) (see right); Maryhill Burgh Halls (1878); Glasgow City Chambers (1887); Paisley Abbey (1890) and St Ninian’s Episcopal Church, Pollokshields.