New Type of Glass Used in York Minster Restoration

Fig. 1. Nick Teed holds a trial panel of the Restauro UV©.

Fig. 1. Nick Teed holds a trial panel of the Restauro UV©.

A groundbreaking new ultraviolet-resistant glass will be fitted as part of the external protective glazing for the Great East Window of York Minister when it is reinstated in 2016.

This will have a huge visual improvement on the final scheme, as although traditional protective-glazing systems have been very successful in combatting the damaging effects of condensation and other threats, they have been unable to stop ultraviolet (UV) radiation discolouring the epoxy resin often used in the conservation of stained glass and turning it yellow after prolonged exposure.

Earlier forms of UV-resistant glass relied on laminations of glass and a UV-resistant foil, but in the new Restauro UV© glass being used at York Minster the UV resistance is an integral part of the glass itself. The product has been developed by Glasshuette Lamberts of Germany, a world-leading producer of mouth blown antique glass.

The Great East window of York Minster is one of the great masterpieces of fifteenth-century glazing in Europe. Painted between 1405 and 1408 it is the size of a tennis court and the largest single expanse of medieval glass in Britain. Work to conserve and restore the Great East Window is part of the York Minster Revealed project, which is due for completion in 2016. ‘It is reassuring to know,’ said Sarah Brown, Director of the York Glaziers Trust, ‘that we are now able to offer total environmental protection for all aspects of the conserved window.’

Visitors to York Minster can learn more about the work to conserve the Great East Window, including seeing up-close completed panels, in the Orb – a contemporary metallic dome located in the cathedral’s east end.

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