South African Doyen of Stained Glass Art Passes Away

Hunter Nesbit (1933 – 2015)


It was with great sadness today, that the SA Art Times received the news of Hunter Nesbit’s passing. Only last November, we featured an article about his illustrious career in stained glass artistry.
According to his beloved wife Ruth, 81 year-old Hunter suffered a fall which resulted in a few days in hospital. During this time, he contracted a chest infection and shortly after, suffered a cardiac arrest. He passed away last Thursday, 13 August.
Hunter Nesbit. Photo: Basil Brady
Hunter and Ruth had been married for 39 years. Together they had four children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Over the span of their combined careers, the couple produced exquisite stained glass work in over 94 private homes, churches, universities and businesses; and performed restorations on many public buildings throughout SA.

Hunter was appointed Dean of Port Elizabeth Technikon’s Art School in 1969 (now the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University School of Art and Design). He then stood down as Dean to start the school’s Stained Glass Department in 1985. This was the first tertiary training of its kind in South Africa, and initiating it won Hunter the Simon Van der Stel Foundation Certificate of Recognition. Hunter retired from the University in 1993.

Some of his students proceeded to work on Windsor Castle, Westminster Abbey and big corporate projects abroad.

Hunter and Ruth Nesbit were jointly awarded the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust Award in 1984 and 1995 they won a 4-month studio residency at the Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris.

Hunter Nesbit’s passing is a tremendous loss to South African Art. He will continue to be remembered for the incredible work that he performed in an uncommon field and the dedication he exhibited in mentoring his students.

Read the SA Art Times article published in the November 2014 edition of the magazine (pages 8 & 9):