Abbey Museum Stained Glass Conservation Project
Overview of project:
The Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology applied for funding for the conservation of (9) nine 14th to 16th centuries stained glass windows in its collection that were in urgent need of restoration.
- P. I. Porch Window – from Winchester Cathedral – English 14th & 15th century glass fragments.
- P. II. Porch Window – from Winchester Cathedral – English 14th & 15th century glass fragments.
- S. IX. C3. Panel 9 of Nine-Light Window – English 15th century – miscellaneous fragments.
- S. IX. A2. Panel 2 of Nine-Light Window – English 14th century - miscellaneous fragments including 2 heads, hand and architectural pieces. This window is very buckled.
- S. IX. A3. Panel 3 of Nine-Light Window – English 14th century – roundel of architectural detail, finials and patterns.
- S. IX. B3. Panel 6 of Nine-Light Window – German 16th century – fragments including roundel with wool merchant’s mark; the letters “PETI”; below that a small monogram letter “A”.
- S. IX. C1. Panel 7 of Nine-Light Window – English 14th century – fragments including a large head with money-chest (“the merchant”); 2 smaller heads, a monk and nobleman. T
- V. II. Winged Lion of St. Mark – Flemish early 16th century
- V. I. Winged Ox of St. Luke – Flemish, early 16th century
- On the 5th March 2015, the nine windows were removed to the stained glass conservation studio at Eumundi for work to begin.
- Each panel was studied closely and the conservation needs and the best approach to conservation discussed where necessary with the Museum’s Senior Curator and consulting stained glass historian.
- At times through the project, the fragile nature of some of the glass, the traditional glass paint used or the painting methods required further research and consultation with international conservators
- After rubbings were taken of each window they were dismantled and cleaning commenced.
- Each fragment of glass was painstakingly cleaned
- Work commenced on broken fragments that had been identified as suitable for edge gluing.
- Significant missing pieces of window features were painted after experimentation to ensure a good match.
- Every step of the process was photographed.
- Once all pieces were cleaned, edge-glued or replacement fragment painted the window was leaded back together.
- The windows were reinstalled on 28th May
The conservation of these nine significant windows, especially those fragments originally from Winchester Cathedral has made a considerable contribution to the Museum Stained Glass conservation program. Not only is it preserving these windows for future generations but also providing important historical information regarding medieval stained glass manufacture and techniques that has come from this project which will enhance the experience of visitors coming to view the collection and also be included in a planned publication on the stained glass collection.
Of the forty (40) stained glass windows on display in the Abbey Church and originally requiring conservation, twenty-eight (28) are fully conserved and reinstalled and of the twelve (12) remaining, ten (10) are fully funded leaving only 2 to be funded.