Reflections - The Art of Alison Kinnaird

As a glass engraver myself, I wholeheartedly concur with James Holloway, Director of The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, who introduces this excellent book with the words, “Alison Kinnaird is one of the world’s leading glass engravers. She has developed the medium by perfecting old and pioneering new techniques…” Alison certainly has been brave to move on from her successful and sought after classic works on perfect Steuben crystal to master window and panel work, sandblasting and portraiture (where formerly she eschewed facial features on her figures) and, furthermore, to circumvent the deplorably unreliable lighting of her work by exhibition and museum curators (for engraved glass, we know, is like a woman of a certain age and prefers careful lighting from behind ) by cleverly pioneering an original method of integral lighting in her work, both perfectly displaying the engraving and also colouring the same through small shards of dichroic glass, placed over LED lights secreted in the supporting stand. The large new Patrons’ Window in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery is her most impressive work to date.

In Alison’s own words, “Glass is a sublimely surprising medium… it has a purity and a spiritual quality quite unlike any other...”. This book is a worthy record of both Alison’s earlier and more recent work, beautifully photographed by Robin Morton, her husband. Alison and Robin are also accomplished musicians. One can listen to their music which accompanies the book which so amply illustrates Alison’s significant contribution to modern glass engraving. Long may she remain Britain’s most respected and acclaimed practitioner.


Katharine Coleman MBE