Letter from the Editor

Farewell to a Rendering Rebel


New headshot for ShawCrop

Charles Ziegler Lawrence was a man who could have easily held his own in a conversation with the likes of Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, or Hunter S. Thompson. Whether reflecting on his life as a young artist in 1960s Greenwich Village or reliving the making of five windows for the National Cathedral, all of his stories were replete with an equal amount of psychedelic detail. Though the truth of the tale was never in question, the content was unbelievable.

From his obituary: Lawrence who died at the age of 83 on January 1, 2019, began his career in 1956 as an apprentice to master craftsman Rudolph Henrick Beunz. In the 1960s he attended design school at Pratt Institute, New York City, while working in the glass department of the Rambusch Decorating Studio, where he perfected skills in glass painting and color selection. In 1968 he went to work for the Willets Stained Glass studio in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Phildelphia, Pennsylvania, completing prestigious commissions for the National Cathedral, the Temple of the Latter Day Saints, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., as well as the University of Rochester and Penn State University. In the 1980s Lawrence established his own studio in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia, completing additional commissions for the National Cathedral; the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia; St. Mary’s at the Cathedral, Andorra, Pennsylvania; the Burlington Bridge Commission in New Jersey; and the Gore-Tex Manufacturing Co., Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

The artist received The Stained Glass Association of America’s Faceted Glass Design Award twice, the Interfaith and Forum on Religious Art and Architecture Award twice, and the St. Francis Xavier Chapel Award of Excellence. In 1994, the SGAA presented Lawrence with its Lifetime Achievement Award. A senior advisor for the American Glass Guild, he was also an associate member of the British Society of Master Glass Painters.

In 1994 Lawrence made his final window for the National Cathedral. In most cases, he didn’t bother to make or apply the putty himself, but this time Lawrence combined linseed oil, whiting, and lampblack, then added one last special ingredient—the ashes of Angus, his beloved dog who had died and was cremated during the making of his previous cathedral window. Lawrence shared: “The cathedral was done, and Angus was in a safe place for the coming millennium. After that we will be together again. I am sure God knows how much I’ve missed him, and She will bring us back together. Until then, I know I will always have a friend in the cathedral and so will Tracy, Vanessa, and whoever else comes after them.”

There will never be another CZ, as he was affectionately known, partially because stained glass and what it takes to conquer the craft has forever changed. But the art and the artist will be represented throughout the ages by his many bold, Gothic Revival style masterpieces.


Remembering CZ,

Shawn Waggoner



Charlesn Ziegler Lawrence

                                                                                                                                                                                CZ Master classLetter200      CZLetter200                                                                                                                                                                  

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