Joseph was born in 1941. Educated by Dominicans and brought up within a milieu of idealistic Catholicism, he left to study at the Central School of Art and the Royal College of Art, completing his studies in 1964. He then worked experimentally, firstly with expanded plastics and metal sheet, exhibiting at the Camden Arts Centre, London in 1970; then making ‘light’ sculptures, incorporating steel sheet and coloured glass, transmitting colour from hidden light sources, which were exhibited at the Cochrane Gallery, London, and with AIM, at the CBX, in Milton Keynes, throughout the seventies. During this period he also taught at schools and art colleges and, for nine years, taught prisoners in Wormwood Scrubs Prison. Encouraged by Patrick Reyntiens, he returned to stained glass in 1978, becoming his assistant, working mainly on John Piper’s windows. On the death of his father in 1982 he re-established this studio and, since then, has designed and made stained glass windows for cathedrals, churches and many other venues.
Throughout this time he has maintained an output of painting (complimentary and vital to his commissioned work) and, in recent years, has set up a relief print shop within his studio, producing woodcuts and linocuts. He regards stained glass as a commissioned art, subject to particular architectural styles and periods, as well as being a response to ideas and themes of interested parties. A successful window, for him, does not necessarily assert his individual style but compliments the architectural space in which it is set, whether it be historic or modern.
Commissioning a stained glass window entails firstly a visit to the building to assess its character and period, and the position of the window, and to discuss its design. For churches the chosen design has usually to be approved by a Diocesan Committee and granted a faculty. The fixing of stained glass into medieval churches with old stonework is done by an especially skilled glazier. For modern buildings, it can be inserted into double glazed panels and fitted into conventional frames.
The Stained Glass Studio was built in 1939 by J. E. Nuttgens and, except during the 2nd World War, has made stained glass ever since. Born in 1892, son of a German father and English mother who moved to London in 1895, J. E. Nuttgens developed a talent for drawing from a young age. However, being born in Germany, he was interned during the 1st World War and this interfered with his training and his ambition to become a portrait artist. His entry into the world of stained glass happened by chance, his drawings being seen by Arthur Orr, a stained glass artist living in Harrow, to whom he became assistant. His early influence was Burne-Jones, Christopher Whall and, at the London Central School of Art, Karl Parsons; a later influence being Eric Gill who was his neighbour. He was an idealist, a countryman, father of twelve children, and though vested in traditional ways, developed a strong individual style. He designed many stained glass windows all over the UK and what was, at that time, the British Empire. He continued to work in this studio until he died, aged ninety, in 1982, his last window, finished a few weeks before he died, being commissioned by Linda and Paul McCartney.
4 windows for St Mark's Anglican/ Methodist Community Church in North Brickhill, Bedford, completed at intervals between 1985 and 2001.
Window for St. Matthew’s Church Addis Ababa 1986.
All aisle windows and Lady Chapel window for St. Martins Church, Basildon, Essex, 1986 to 1990.
St. Joseph window in Swinton Parish Church, Manchester, 1986.
For John Piper, John Betjeman Memorial Window, Farnborough Parish Church, Berks, 1987.
2 windows in Gidea Park Parish Church, 1987.
Rowley Memorial Window, Bierton Parish Church, Aylesbury, Bucks, 1987.
Good Samaritan Window, Buckley Parish Church (redundant), North Wales.1988.
Window in St. Bartholomew’s Church, Fingest, Oxon. 1988.
The Royal Welch Fusiliers bi-centenary windows, St. Giles’ Church, Wrexham, 1990.
Brookshaw memorial Window, Bledlow Parish Church 1990.
Window for Methodist Church, Putnoe Heights, Bedford, 1995.
The Durham Cathedral Millennium Window (1992).
Dragonfly window by John Piper, for Bessie Kelaart, Nettlebed, 1994.
Five turret windows for Symenden House (Andrew Lloyd Webber) 1995.
The East Window (6 lights) for the Royal Private Chapel on the theme of The Fire.
Restoration in Windsor Castle and 2 side lights celebrating the Royal Golden Wedding, 1996.
The Millennium Window and one other (donor Lady Bartlett) for St. Mary's Church, Winkfield, Berks. 1998.
Window for Ilmer Parish Church Bucks. 1998.
The East window for The Chapel of The Sacred Heart in Northampton Cathedral, 2000.
18 aisle windows, 2 loft windows and 2 X 4ft roundels for St. Teresa's Catholic Church in Princes Risborough, completed at intervals between 2000 - 2005.
19 original stained glass windows for the newly restored King's College Chapel, Strand, London, completed in April 2001, (replacing the original Clayton & Bell windows destroyed during the war).
Window for St. Leonards Church, Heath & Reach, Herts., 2000.
The St. Teresa Doctorate Window and the new porch windows, based on a theme from a poem by G.K.Chesterton for St. Teresa's Church in Beaconsfield (2001).
Royal Golden Jubilee Window, 2002, Bradenham Parish Church, Bucks.
4 sanctuary windows and 12 skylight windows for the Church of the Holy Redeemer, Wexham, Slough (2002-3).
Window for Valerie McAlpine, Marlow, 2003.
3 light East Window in Halton Parish Church, Bucks. (2004).
Single window for St. Andrew’s Church, Alfriston. (2004).
2 light windows for St. Peter’s Church, Burnham (2006).
3 windows (Sisters of Mercy Centenary) (2005-7) and the Industrial Heritage Window, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne (2007).
Window for Kalvecks, ‘Liberty’ house, The Lee, Gt. Missenden. 2008.
Four 2ft roundels for St. Teresa’s School, Princes Risborough between 2005 – 09.
Abigail Noble memorial window, St. Michael’s Church, Brimington, Derby. 2009.
Four lunette windows for Henrietta & Christopher McCall, Sphinx House, architect John Outram. 2009.
Christ Carrying Cross window for Ali Sarikhani in the Italian room, Hutton’s Farm, Henley on Thames. 2010.
Window for Adrian & Brenda Morris 2011.
Three windows for Eddie and Sandra Moss, Marlow, 2012.
Window for Honor Somerset, Oxford, 2012.