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Keith Barley Awarded the MBE

Keith Barley at work on sixteenth-century glass from the Beaney Institute, Canterbury. (c) Rob Scott Photography

Keith Barley at work on sixteenth-century glass from the Beaney Institute, Canterbury. (c) Rob Scott Photography

Barley Studio is delighted to announce that its founder and managing director, Keith Barley, has recently been created MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) ‘for services to cultural restoration and conservation’ in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, which was released on Saturday 13 June 2015.

Throughout his career, Keith has been instrumental in challenging and developing the accepted ethics of conservation, restoration and preservation of stained glass. His pioneering work promoting the use of environmental protective glazing to preserve vulnerable medieval (and later) windows has been followed by practitioners across the UK and beyond. His approach to conservation and restoration, carefully considered and adapted for each individual project, and involving collaboration with expert art historians, has also informed conservation projects elsewhere. As Sarah Brown, Director of the York Glaziers Trust, has commented: ‘The sensitive approach to the balance between conservation and restoration achieved by Barley Studio at Stanford on Avon and Fairford revealed to many the capacity of stained-glass conservation to transform public engagement with the medium. Both projects also highlighted the importance of collaboration between conservators and scholars, an approach very much in step with the way we now work at the York Glaziers Trust.’

Keith was nominated by the Friends of Fairford Church in Gloucestershire. The chairman of the Friends, Geoff Hawkes, said his members were delighted with the news. Keith has worked on many major stained-glass conservation projects in the UK, most recently at Lichfield Cathedral, and famously at Fairford. He spent twenty years travelling back and forth to conserve and restore the windows of St Mary’s Church there – the only complete late medieval glazing in a parish church in Britain. You can read more about Keith’s work at Fairford in Vidimus 42.

Keith was ‘surprised and enormously delighted’ by the honour. He is particularly pleased with the citation for both restoration and conservation, as this recognizes his desire to treat stained-glass windows as works of art rather than mere objects of antiquity, respecting their imagery, meaning, and above all the intentions of the original artist.

You can read more about Keith’s career in stained glass in Vidimus 72.