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"The design must be subservient to the building that is to house it."
-Edward J. Byrne
Edward Joseph Holslag Byrne was a prominent stained glass window designer in Bucks County and the surrounding areas. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1898, he was one of ten children of Patrick Joseph Byrne and Rose Gahan Byrne. Byrne's father (also known as P.J. Byrne) was instrumental in starting the art school at Carnegie Tech and supported several artists that eventually gained notable recognition. Byrne attended the Cathedral School in Pittsburgh, as well as Saint Francis College in Loretto, Pennsylvania, and Carnegie Tech School of Fine Arts in Pittsburgh.
In 1923, one of Byrne's teachers, George Sotter, moved to Bucks County from Pittsburgh to start the Sotter Studio in Holicong. Byrne followed and assisted in starting the studio, where the two artists created commissions, primarily of stained glass windows, for churches. Many of these churches were in the Bucks County and surrounding areas, however, he received commissions from churches in states such as West Virginia, Connecticut, Michigan, South Carolina, and Louisiana. One major commission was for the Sacred Heart Church in Pittsburgh.
In 1933, Byrne and Sotter split. Sotter continued with his studio, and Byrne opened his own studio in Carversville called the Edward J. Byrne Studio. The studio was often located at various spots within Carversville: a small church on Aquetong Road, the three room school at Aquetong and Saw Mill Roads, and the barn at the Byrne farm on Saw Mill Road. Besides continuing commissions for stained glass windows, Byrne also became well known for church design, murals, and sanctuary furnishings and appointments. In 1950, Byrne moved to a new studio that he built on Cherry Lane in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The Edward Byrne Studio continued to operate under his son, Edward Byrne Jr. (1933-2017).
Edward J. Byrne Sr. James A. Michener Art Museum archives.
Education and Training
Cathedral School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Saint Francis College, Loretto, Pennsylvania
Carnegie Tech School of Fine Arts, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Teachers and Influences
George Sotter, painter and stained glass artist
Connection to Bucks County
In 1923, Byrne and Sotter moved to Bucks County from Pittsburgh to start the Sotter Studio in Holicong. After splitting with Sotter in 1933, Byrne began his own studio, the Edward J. Byrne Studio, in Carversville. It moved in 1950 to Cherry Lane in Doylestown. Many churches in the Bucks County area feature his work.
Major Group Exhibitions
Bucks Fever Art Exhibition, Byers' Choice Ltd., Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 2008
Sacred Heart Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1924
Church of the Good Shepherd, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
Church of Christ the King, Haddonfield, Pennsylvania
Saint Joseph Cathedral, Wheeling, West Virginia
Saint Mary Cathedral, Trenton, New Jersey
Saint Peter Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Doylestown Presbyterian Church, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Salem United Church of Christ, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Commissions in Algiers, Louisiana, South Carolina, Washington, D.C., Michigan, Connecticut, and several Catholic churches along the Jersey Shore