Frederick Wilson (1858-1932) was born in Dublin, Ireland to Charles and Elizabeth Wilson. He was raised in Liverpool and London, England, where he was educated in both traditional academics, artistic training, and religious iconography. Wilson began his artistic career in England in the late 1870s, where he is listed in census records as a Stained Glass Artist. In 1891, Wilson married Mary Gwladys Morgan and the two immigrated to the United States the following year. The couple had three children: Gladys, Sylvia, and Beatrice.
Wilson’s first employment in America was with Alfred Godwin and Company in Philadelphia. His time with the firm was brief, as he began work with Louis Comfort Tiffany at his studio on New York City in 1893. Wilson advanced rapidly at Tiffany Studios where, in 1899 he was appointed to the head of the ecclesiastical department. Wilson was one of the few artists at Tiffany Studios who was recognized for his work during his own lifetime. He made significant efforts to gain recognition and maintain control over his work. Wilson’s designs from this period were executed in the American opalescent style, pioneered by Tiffany Studios.
After nearly 30 years with Tiffany Studios, (1893-1923) Wilson moved his family to California, where he worked with Judson Studios until his death in 1932. While at Judson Studios, Wilson abandoned the opalescent style of stained glass in favor of a medieval-type revival. Wilson saw immediate success in his new community and with his new employer.
Though his name is largely linked to his work with Tiffany Studios, Wilson’s work for other studios reflects his ability to develop himself as an artist. His professional associations with groups such as the Art Club of Philadelphia, the American Federation of Arts and the Architectural League of New York demonstrated his interest in establishing relationships within the larger art world. In his career of more than 50 years, Wilson was associated with at least six different firms: Heaton, Butler and Bayne, London, England; Alfred Godwin and Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Tiffany Studios, New York, New York; The Gorham Manufacturing Company, Providence, Rhode Island; The Los Angeles Art Glass Company and The Judson Studios, Los Angeles, California.