Bringing Back 16th-century Beauty at the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, Brisbane

The Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology holds a significant collection of medieval and Victorian stained-glass windows that are in desperate need of conservation. The museum, just north of Brisbane, is one of Australia’s foremost collectors of fine arts and antiquities. It is a registered charity, but receives no operational funding from any level of government.

Fig. 1. The window to be conserved

Fig. 1. The window to be conserved

A conservation assessment and report conducted in 2006 noted that a 16th-century window in the collection should be conserved within five years, but due to lack of funds this has not occurred. It has now become a priority to raise the funds needed to conserve the window, which contains two panels: an intriguing German roundel of a lady and a shield with the name CECYLIA, and a shield with ermine thought to have come from Lincoln’s Inn, London.

The funds raised will be used for the conservation of these panels. The intention is to dismantle the panel, clean it, edge-bond where possible, replace modern fragments with more appropriate glass, and relead. The work that is part of the Abbey Museum’s stained glass conservation programme, and has been authorized by the museum’s Board.

The Abbey Museum has been fundraising since 2006 to enable the conservation of the 43 panels in its collection. The conservation of 14 has been funded to date through donations. Another three are currently undergoing conservation and should be reinstalled in the Abbey Church before Christmas. Although much has been achieved, as the years pass the urgency to get these windows conserved increases.

For more information on this project, and to donate, see the website.

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