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J. W. Knowles and Sons were a firm of glass painters, restorers, and church decorators based in Stonegate, York.
The business was founded by John Ward Knowles (1838-1931) around 1861. A well-known glass painter and restorer, Knowles' work spanned the period 1863 to 1930. His major work was St Lawrence Church in York, but he is also remembered for his restoration of the St William and the St Cuthbert windows in York Minster.
His son John Alder Knowles (1881-1961) continued the family business and spent time studying new glass manufacturing methods in the USA prior to the First World War. He also had an interest in the history of stained glass, carrying out many original studies into famous works of stained glass and the lives of individual glass painters, such as William Peckitt.
In 1936 J. A. Knowles published ‘The York School of Glass Painting,’ containing his own sketches and photographs as illustrations. His work was also published in the Journal of the British Society of Master Glass Painters, which he also edited.
J. W. Knowles & Sons closed in 1953. The house and workshops on Stonegate remained in the possession of the Knowles family until 1999 when they were sold.